so evidently i'm a raiders fan...

so it's been a month since i've last sat down and made time for blogging, and i guess i probably should since this is so therapudic. anyways, here's a rundown of the last moth or so
the highlight of the month would have to be merry xmas madness, my firts pretty big event with the youth group that was completely succesful. essentially it was a video scavenger hunt with the youth group doing all kinds of crazy stuff around town. for example; getting a piggy back ride from a security guard and eating a jar of baby food were the first two that came to mind. anyways, it was a big succes, and i compiled all of the videos together on my computer and put out our youth group's frist dvd, with many more to come in the near future. the kids were awesome, and the chaperones had a blast too. the only minor problem was that shaving your head was the top poiint getter, and now i have a buzzed head, and one kid's mom was a little preturbed her son had a mohawk when he got home. oh well, its all in the name of fun. however i have to wait a few months for my hair to grow out again, which i was just getting used to being long.
the other big thing is that my parents are officially texans again. i went home over christmas and pretty much packed the whole house, and they flew out a couple days ago. i can't even begin to describe how much i will not miss going to washington. too many bad memories from high school. this move was pretty good for the family. aside from the empty nest syndrome my parents are going through, it's getting really tough for mom to keep up with a three bedroom house and take care of dad (which is now a full time job) and still try and make ends meet when the bills come. the cost of living is so much lower in texas, and we have so much family there it really made sense. however, it's still going to take a while to get used to the idea of going to dallas to visit my folks.
being home reminded me of a few things. first of all, my dad is the toughest man in the world. this guy has a tumor that has wreaked havoc on his body and has handicapped him to a point where he can't walk or talk. but he has the best sense of humor in the world. he can barely say five words, but he manages to get me on the floor rolling with simple noises, hand gestures and expressions. once a marine, always a marine, he still manages to hum the national anthem while watching football games on tv. his body may not hold up much longer, but his mind has had cancer beat for years.
secondly, mom is the unsung hero of our family. she never gets the credit she desreves when things are going right, and always takes the blame when something goes astray. at church dad gets the attention because people can see what he's going through, mom is the sidekick. that might not normally be a big deal, but when five guys at church are standing around while mom is struggling to get dads wheelchair out, and they're too busy saying hey to dad to help mom with the front door, then it becomes very apparent why mom is moving to texas. there's a lot to be said about southern hospitality. anyways, in the midst of all the chaos involved with moving over the christmas weekends, i think mom pulled off one of my favorite chiristmases that i've ever had. good job mi madre.
third, there really isn't a write off in our family for emotional issues. we kind of got at each other's throats this past week, mainly due to the stress of moving, and i think it's because we all expect tohers to pick up the slack for us, because we aren't emotionally on top of our game right now. unfortunately, when the whole family is dealing with the same issues, there's no room for not getting thins such as packing taken care of. i'm not sure what the larger raminfications are from that, but i'm sure there's something.
this past week also allowed me the opportunity to drive from seattle to simi valley. even though most of our drive was at night, we had a beautiful full moon throughout the mountains in oregon. we seriously could have driven with the lights off, the reflection of the moon off of the snow was absolutely unreal. that, and i got to do the trip with my cousin matt, who continuously cracks me up. he's about as west texan as the come, but i love him still.
speaking of west texas, one of my kappa brothers from oc is out here in socal for the weekend. he came out to see his belvoed texas tech stomp cal in the holiday bowl. it was the first time in a while that i've got to hang out with dantheman, the first time i've seen friends from oc in a while, and the first time i've been back to san diego since i've moved to simi valley. needless to say, today was kind of like a christmas present in and of itself. there's a lot to be said for going to football games with your buddies. i'll go into the male bonding stuff later, but i will say now that this was the great american alpha male afternoon.
the only thing that's been getting to me lately is the whole topgun girl situation. i took her to disneyland a few weeks ago and we had an awesome date, but we really haven't talked since. seriously, i don't think i've ever been that relaxed on a date before, and i def have not seen a lot of the stuff at disneyland that she wanted to see. my prents always steered clear off the main street shops, the parades and the cheesy hokey stuff that makes disneyland fun. this was topgun girl's night, so we did all the stuff that she wanted, and i had so much fun. unfortunately the night ended with an akward kiss and me getting us lost on the way back to her friends' house. yeah, i couldn't have asked for a more akward ending. anyways. we've only been able to briefly talk a couple of times this past month and for some reason that's been getting to me the past few days. anyways, she's in mexico with the fam for the holidays and i don't have a clue when i'm going to see her next. all i know is i have to find some cheaper dates if we do go out again. between hard rock, street scene and disneyland we've ran up a pretty good tab. i don't mind spending the money at all, but if we do go out more it's gonna have to be renting a movie and ordering a pizza or something. i guess what's really bugging me is i'm going to a wedding of two of my friends in san diego next week, and it'd be really nice to have a response to all of the 'so when are you going to get married' and 'we need to find you a girl' remarks aside from telling people to shove off. yeah, i'm bitter and tired of hearing comments. i could write a whole new page on my opinion of recently engaged couples and the torment that brings on the singles scene in churches. i'm already typing harder, so i think i'll stop now before i work myself into a frenzy. i'll finish this point with a comment from the cuz, "i can't believe this, my mom bought me two books for christmas...'God's advice for single men' and 'how to be happy when you're on your own'... what does she think i am?epressed and in a spiritual crisis? i love my life! i've got a truck that kicks butt and i don't have to ask permission to do a thing." word.
anyways, the job is getting crazier by the day, but i think getting to see my bros is gonna give me plenty of motivation to get a bunch of stuff done in the next few days. and, hopefully i'll get a chance to see topgungirl before too long as well. the next week is gonna be a lot of traveling down to san diego, between the usc game and the wedding, i'm putting a couple hundred bucks aside for gas alone.
well, it's way past the time when a responsible person not staying at thier friend's house would have gone to bed. and now that dantheman has beat itspronouncedlaMESA in ncaa 05, i'm the only one with a light on so i think i'll shut this bad boy down so we can get some sleep.
more to come soon.

oh yeah, itspronouncedlaMESA reminded me i almost ate it twice today. once at the beach, and once on the way to the hot tub. you gotta love being the slapstick comedy for your friends.

one love, one heart.


no title for today...

Ahhhh blogging… so much to say…
Today is kind of tough to be honest. I found out yesterday that a kid from my youth group back in Tulsa was killed in iraq. For him the army was a way out of Oklahoma. He wasn't really an active member of the youth group, he came with a friend of his every once in a while, which makes it a lot tougher knowing that there was potential there, and not knowing if the potential for the life of a Christian was ever realized. He was a good kid though. He didn't grow up in the church, I don't know a lot about his family, but I know he led a pretty rough life for the most part in high school. I know the army seemed like a great alternative to hanging to in Tulsa for the rest of his life doing who knows what for a living. The thing that gets me is the way we as Christians throw money and time into events, and we forget the urgency of our job. I didn't know this kid that well, but I know him well enough to feel bad about not doing what I know I could have to help bring him to Christ.
one tough situation that death presents for friends and family is the whole 'what do you say?' question. I've learned that the biggest impact can be just not saying anything, and simply being there and acknowledging the pain of the situation. That being said, here are a few do's and don'ts that should be pointed out.

Don't say:
I know exactly how you feel
At least he doesn't have to suffer anymore
It's God's will
Take this, it'll calm you down
They wouldn't want you to grieve
Don't cry, you'll only feel worse
You can't be angry with God
At least you have other family and friends
I think it's time you get on living your life
Don't talk about it, you'll only feel worse
Time heals all wounds
You've got to be strong

Better alternatives:
I can only imagine what you're going through
They suffered a lot didn't they
One comfort I have is God's promise to never abandon us
Do you feel like talking right now
It's hard to say goodbye isn't it
Sometimes tears are the best way to express your feelings
God understands even when we're upset
Everyone has to grieve in their own way, don't' they
We can talk about whatever you want
Time will lesson the pain I'm sure, but you'll always have a part of them with you
I want you to know it's okay to be yourself around me

Just a few pointers from a counselor friend, given to me a few months ago.

This also has me looking at the way I treat kids on the fringe of the youth group. I've got thirty one kids on my youth roll, and ten of those I would consider ten of those 'fringe' kids that come to very few youth events. There just hasn't been that since of urgency to reach out so far to these kids. I can think of things to say or do that might get them interested, but how do I emphasize the urgency of my job w/o trivializing the death of this young man. I don't want his death to be some bullet point on a presentation, or an anecdote for a sermon. Needless to say, today is a day of prayer and mourning.
On a more positive note, I had a great trip home for thanksgiving. Me and my sister were able to surprise mi madre by getting my sister on an earlier flight home. Pops was pretty stoked too, and even our dog dude was going nuts. Yeah, you gotta love coming home. Mi madre and mi hermana spent all day fri shopping, so me and pops got to chill and hang out and watch movies all day. Thanksgiving itself was pretty cool. The typical families were there, with the noticeable absence of my two friends everlast and nordstroms from the table. Dinner was great and we got to celebrate pops' 50th birthday, which is quite an accomplishment in itself. For the rest of the break I pretty much hung out with pops and laugh, which always makes for a great trip. That, and I had mi madre rockin out to guns'n'roses on the way to the airport.
On Sunday I met the kiddos at pepperdine for the last morning of youthfest. it was cool to see them again and def made me feel good about being back in socal. The akward moment came when the youth group from this past summer came down the stairs and said hola. Two of them seemed pretty stoked, but the rest looked pretty ticked, like I had sold them out or something. Yeah, not the kind of fun akward moment that I typically enjoy.
Last night I took a few kids to see an orchestra performance at pepperdine, which was fun in a sixth-graders-don't-typically-enjoy-the-orchestra kind of way. But my boys toughed it out and they may have even had fun. I had a blast because I've been writing so much music lately. It was good to have a different type of musical inspiration and see how different instruments work together. Thursday we are supposed to go back to pepperdine for a student performance, which should be fun, esp since it's outside and the nights temperatures have been getting down to the high 30's.
Well, I've got a lot of random stuff to do… learn how to install stuff on my new computer, get rides organized, prepare for small group, find video cameras, plans a mission trip and figure out what I'm gonna do with the youth room.

Be sure to keep our troops in your prayers, they all have stories.

One love, one heart.


Aunt Bethany: What's that sound? Uncle Lewis: You couldn't hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.

Where to begin...
Well today was one of those days where keeping your mouth shut is the hardest thing to do. Our church helped out this single mom a few weeks ago, when she called on a Friday afternoon and said her and her four kids were going to be evicted if she didn’t pay her landlord by the end of the day. Nothing like coming to the church for financial help at the eleventh hour, especially when we haven’t seen her in a few months. Anyways... we’re a church and it’s our job to help those in need. However, I was reminded of some sr. philosophy reading back in the day, gimpel the fool. The question of the story is, is it better to be a fool and know it and or be a fool and not know it. Here’s the rest of the story...
So one of our guys got a call yesterday afternoon asking for help to move her from one apt to another. Evidently she qualified for low income housing, but that meant she had to move from her apt to another smaller one across the complex this weekend. I’m not going to criticize her for not having her stuff packed up since this was such a rush, but I do have a few things that really got under my skin today. First, she had more stuff in her apt than my family accumulated in nearly a decade of living in seattle. Her kids alone had more toys than my sister and I had growing up combined. Her pantries were full, and this was odd since she asked the church to help her out with groceries. She had more clothes in her closets (3) than could fit in mine and the cuz’s closets combined. Plus, her bathtub was piled three feet high with clothes. I’m not even going to begin to wonder why the clothes were in there. So here we are, myself, three parents and a dozen or so youth groupers helping move her stuff, and she’s on her cell phone the whole time. Aggravating doesn’t begin to describe the feeling... then she starts going off about how her rent is $1300 a month and she only gets $1500 a month in income. This as I’m hauling huge bags full of toys and clothes. Then I realize she’s on the phone with the cable company getting her cable and internet switched to the new place. Did I mention she said she claimed to only have $200 extra to spend a month and she’s asking the church for financial help? Then there’s the topper... we’ve got a bunch of teenagers around, and her four kids all under nine years of age, and some of their friends hanging around, when one of our kids finds some soft-core porn in her bedroom. Now I have to try and urge the kids to look past this and focus on getting the moving done, and try and do it with a decent attitude, all the while this mom isn’t lifting a finger. Aggravation has turned to frustration, to flat out anger over being taken advantage of. Needless to say I let our eldership know about the movies just in case some of the kids say something to their families, and they need to know anyways because they’re supposed to be counseling her soon as well. That and she had this psycho cat that kept attacking the kid, and got my allergies all revved up.
So the question is how should I feel about all of this? Obviously this lady needs help. She can’t budget her money, her kids are running rampant, she has four kids from three dads, and she comes to us for help, then pretty much abuses our generosity. I seriously hoped I could look back at this later and find some good in today.
Well, I guess I didn’t have to look too far. Thanks God. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again gladly. I have an awesome group of church leaders. I came in unprepared for my youth budget meeting, and without any paperwork or exact numbers. I ended up having to ask them to hold back with the money so I could properly plan on how to use it. They were offering way too much to help me out with my new computer, and telling me to take more days off than I have available. Basically, they were going out of their way to help the youth group out financially, and me personally. The big thing is they said to take as much time off as I wanted to spend with my family for christmas, even though I only have two days of vacation after this thanksgiving weekend. Yeah, these guys are getting a nice fat christmas card from me. So here I am worrying about all of this stuff, and these guys are being nothing but nice. I seriously don’t know any of my youth ministry compadres that get treated as well as I do by my elders.
There was another thing that got me revved up this weekend. My cousin found out that kutless and third day were performing at the billy graham crusade at the rose bowl. So we decided to head out there last night to catch the bands and stay for the message, and see what all the hype was about. First, the cuz’s friends ran about an hour late for when we needed to leave, then picked a restaurant that was def going to take too long to get out of. This is why some women should never be allowed to make plans. By the time we get to the rose bowl, and get out of the parking lot, and get to our seats, we caught the last half of a verse from third day and completely missed kutless. Salgoode at this point, at least we’ll get a moving message from billy graham. Not exactly. He spoke for less than ten minutes, and I’ve heard more moving words from jr high kids in my youth group. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt due to his age and medical condition, but that doesn’t explain how thousands of people felt moved enough to come forward at the rose bowl. That, and in his writings and interviews he’s proclaimed the need for baptism, but that was noticeably missing from his message. He’s got the repent part down, but forgot to mention the baptism part of the scripture. Needless to say the six hours worth of time committed to the less than ten minutes of mediocre speaking would have been the low point of the weekend if not for the moving today.
But I’m all about the positive. The kids and I are starting to hang out more often, and I feel like we’re getting relationships set in stone already. That, and I think there are some kids on the fringe that may start to show interest. I can’t wait for the rest of my job. These kids are a blast and we are having fun already, now that the more spiritual groundwork has been laid. Our Thursday roots with the high school was a blast. Friday afternoon two kids playing hookey form school invited me to lunch, then some of us went to see a movie. today we managed to sneak some laughs in while moving and then to top it off, some kids invited themselves over to hang out tonite at the apt.
and to top it off, I talked to topgun girl for a while this week. And it looks like I’m taking her to disneyland for a christmas present. Ok, so that’s more a present for myself, but regardless... I’m stoked. So christmas comes a few weeks early for me, but hopefully she’s as much a sucker for xmas cheer as I am. Ho ho ho.
One love and one heart.


roots, rock and reggae...

so one of my jr high guys (rockstar) is phenomenal at guitar. is it wrong to want to start a band with a 13 year old?
anyways, his brother got me pretty good last night when he started asking me if i liked neil diamond, and proceeded to get a bunch of neil's songs stuck in my head. not even 311 is getting rid of 'coming to america' right now. seriously, 14 hours of neil is enough.
the other thing he got me on was my favorite albums of all time. the kicker is that they couldn't be greatest hits albums which is tough, because that automatically eliminates my numero uno album of all time, bob marley: legend. so, here goes my:

top ten favorite albums of all time:
10. jurassic 5 - quality control
9. the clash - london calling
8. english beat - wha' happened
7. jack johnson - on and on
6. unwritten law - elva
5. strung out - twisted by design
4. social distortion - s/t
3. 311 - transistor
2. rancid - out come the wolves
1. operation ivy - energy

the hard part about this list is there are so many albums, songs and artists that have meant a lot to me, that dont really have a typical list to be a part of. so heres another top ten list of:

top ten most influential albums in my life:

10. green day: dookie
this is the album that made me want to play guitar. i still sing along to every word on this album, and i think i was one of the few that stuck with this as a classic when all the punks were saying that the band had sold out.

9. pearl jam - ten
this was one of the first cds i bought when i got my first cd player. i was about to move to seattle, where i would spend many days listening to alive over and over again while it rained. it was then revived with a vengence in college when juaner and andibro made it cool to listen to non-punk music again.

8. unwritten law - elva
elva was the soundtrack for my senior year of college. road trips, el patioso cookouts, we played the shine off of this rocker.

7. jack johnson - brushfire fairytales
i thought this guy was so lame when i first heard him. he was exactly what i needed to mellow out musically a little bit though. easily the most influential singer for me in the past few years.

6. 311 - blue
the summer i was sixteen and living away from home. i still know every word to this album, mainly because i listened to it every day to and from work. these guys are one of my favorite bands and this album is why.

5. primus - pork soda
i didn't make friends for a while when i moved to seattle, and this ablum was my release. i just gave it a spin to the cuz the other day for the first time and it was like a ten year reunion with some memories of some crazy thoughts. that, and my name is mud has got the best guitar riff of all time (sounds like another top ten list for another day)

4. operation ivy - energy
this was the album that made me put patches on my jacket, bleach and spike my hair, and turn me into a super freak music fan. i can still remember my friend pug buying this and making us shut up as our crew drove home from the store. we sat in my friends driveway until the album was over. this became the measuring stick of everything ska/punk i listen to.

3. mighty mighty bosstones - don't know how to party
i'm not sure when i first heard this, but i fell in love with ska as soon as i did. at the time i needed something more upbeat to listen to. i'll never know how ska became popular, but you can garuntee i was out there with my rudy suit on because of this album.

2. judgement night soundtrack
this was the first album i had that my parents didn't know about. hehe, i should stop there but... this was also the ablum that got me from listiening to rap music to rock. all the rap on the radio was heading towards gangsta, and my white 11 year old self didn't really follow. ironic considering the movie though.

1. bob marley - legend
i taped this off of my youth minister when i was 11. i have probably bought at least a dozen copies of this to give as presents, and my mom normally buys me a copy every two or three years because mine get scratched up from use. this album made me a fan of music. this was the first album that got me dancing around my bedroom. first kiss... marley in the background. the more i think about it, the more i realize i don't have the time to type out how many stories i have from this album.

well, music has and hopefully will be a major moving force in my life. till that changes...
one love and one heart.


i say carpe diem, seize the carp!

man, this weekend was a blast. it started out kind of awkward because i wasn't lined up to go to our jr high retreat this weekend, i had given the duty to one of our parents who used to teach our jr high class, and was looking to stay involved. fortunately he had to bail and i got to go. first off, this kids i took were pretty funny, and always make for some interesting conversation. that, and from what i have learned any and all trips with jr high students is a set up for some comedy, at the very least an adventure. and it wouldn't be a weekend with jr high guys if there weren't any fart jokes. the camp was really well put together, and the kids seemed to enjoy it, and more importantly get a lot out of it. kids aside, i had a blast because i got to hang out with some of my best friends, who happen to be youth ministers around here. dantheman brought his kids up and we had a bunch of good laughs, but the surprise was that joey fatone and noodles brought their youth groups up from san diego as well. sweet action. i got to work and hang out with some of my best friends at the same time. saturday night when we were all standing in the back of the room while a group form pepperdine performed, i got a peek of what is to come in the future for socal ministry. there were a dozen youth ministers there, and all of us are in our mid 20's, with the exception of one, and we all get along as friends. i can't even begin to describe how sweet this is going to be when we start combining camps and doing more stuff together. either way, it was good to see my friends again.
the other thing that was nice about this weekend was getting away to the mountains. i know camps in california aren't exactly as 'roughing it' as some places i've been, but you can't beat the sunsets here in california.
after having such a great weekend, yesterday was a little bit of a downer. my friend from church in seattle got engaged, which means that i now officially have no one to hang out with when i go to visit seattle. i can't exactly explain what it is about peoples' personalities that makes it tough to hang out with them when they get engaged, but there def is something there. sure i'm stoked for my friend, but i know what every conversation is going to be about for the next few years. it's like someone talking about nothing but their favorite hockey team for a year. sure you're stoked they like the red wings, but there comes a time when it's time to find something new. that, and it seems like the sense of adventure is lost when people get engaged. no more random calls wanting to do something at the last minute, no more unscheduled hanging out... and with this friend, no more having someone to dodge all of the 'so when are you getting married?' questions that are prevalent when i go to seattle. this may seem a little selfish, but make no mistake i am happy for my friend and i understand her excitement, which is why i'll be nice when i go home.
that being said, i have committed to doing a random act every day to embrace my bachelorhood. yesterday i drove. for no reason and with no map, i just drove up and down the coast, mainly because it was a nice day and i could. before that i slept in late, watched tv and ate breakfast/lunch while wearing a shirt that is almost a decade old, and has been through a couple hundred concerts and has the holes to prove it. today i think i'm going to build something pointless, maybe a brace in my bedroom to hold my surfboard. tomorrow, i think i'll paint. maybe i'll go hike.i’m sure playing guitar loud enough to meet my neighbors will be in there somewhere too. Whatever I decide to do i'm not going to plan it out. all i know is i have health insurance now and no excuses to go out and do stupid stuff. sweet. let random adventure week continue, and watch out bank account.
well the irony is, i've got work to do before i go out and have fun. what a way to throw some sand in the bonfire. oh well, it's nice outside and i’m going to go play.
one love and one heart.


ryan stiles: I'd like to give you the weather for the next 50 years. Sun in L.A., rain in Seattle.

so trying to teach a dozen or so kids that have never swung a golf club the fundamentals is a lot tougher, and funnier than i thought. gennis is played... hilarity ensues. that's the whole purpose of the game. it's like calvinball meets golf. in todays rules, the jr high guys decided that the square foot wherever i was standing was the goal. and they didn't need clubs, they could just throw their tennis balls at me. way to make your own rules guys, you get the 'spirit of gennis' award for the day. needless to say i now have wilson tattooed all over me, and i owe some headlocks to my jr high guys, esp this kid d.j., whom i lovingly refer to as 'mini me'.

that being said, i love my job! and since i'm way overdue for one, here are my
top ten reasons why i love my job.
10. preacher jokes. i can tell the corniest cheesiest joke out there and you have to laugh, otherwise it's your soul.
9. i get to call old people by their first name.
8. a kid laughs: 1 church point, a kid cries: 3 church points (dantheman, this one's for you)
7. people refer to me as 'shaman'
6. my office is the eqivalent to roughly five and a half cubicles
5. youth events = pizza = nuff said.
4. church league softball
3. i get to wear my checkerboard vans to the office
2. the majority of my work today entailed picking stuff up i could play gennis and eat pizza with my kids, and the days only half over, we still have a bible study later tonight.
1. the kids are always stoked to watch bill and ted's excellent adventure

there's one other big thing today. after talking to my friend gennisgirl today, i read her little blog about rainy stormy days in oklahoma. i made a huge realization; i think i may be at a point where i like rainy days again. i can't emphasize enough how big of a deal this is. i lived in seattle for three years, and the sun was out for maybe 60 days total while i was there. okay maybe 90. either way, i've alway hated rainy cloudy days ever since i've moved there. but i was reading gennisgirl's blog today and started to kind of look at today in the same way i look at nice sunny days. the storm clouds today are pretty awesome, and you can tell where the sun is trying to peak out from behind them. i think knowing that they will not be here for the next 6 months is also part of what’s comforting me. so mad props to the oklahomans out there reminding me to appreciate nature. and no props to the hippies up in seattle that love nature for the wrong reasons.

oh yeah, i was looking for a quote for this blog, and i came across an al bundy one that was worth mentioning,"Raymond Burr, Delta Burke, city of Seattle. What's the difference?"

well, my guitar and my jack johnson cds are calling. one love and one heart.

gennis anyone?

man, this is starting to resemble a job. so i found out yesterday that the kids have today and tomorrow off of school. sweet, i actually get to hang out with the kids some during the day. i think today's weather calls for gennis to make its first official appearance in socal. nice, very nice. gennis is always called for. although the school we are backed up to does not offer the varied lies that the oklahoma christian campus did, it should suffice.
well, they're here.
one love one heart.


You were in a 4g inverted dive with a Mig28?

it's amazing what a couple of well placed phone calls can do for you. last night i called dantheman about a logo project i’ve been working on for him, and through the conversation he ended up giving me a pretty decent compliment that pretty much made my day. then, i decided to give topgun girl a call and we ended up talking for an hour and a half (pretty decent for not being a phone conversationalist). anyways, it was one of those talks where we were able to get past goofy surface stuff, although we did end up delving into past relationships (mostly on her part) which is always thin ice. fortunately, the past is pretty long gone for her. unfortunately for me, these guys were unreal smooth, and i've got a lot of catching up to do... which means extra effort on my part due to the 2.5 hour drive between us. ugh. writing about this is actually not helping the more i think about it...
well today and tomorrow are my 'busy days' with our two bible studies, and the kiddos having tomorrow off of school. the cool thing is i have a bunch of stuff that i've been stressing out about that i think i can take in stride today. i think these mornings where i can get my start and get going help out a lot more than the days where lawdog and i sit around and talk for the first hour of the day.
oh yeah, mom finally mailed my diploma, so i finally have a fully furnished office! i've always seen guys with their diplomas hanging up in their office and not thought that it was a big deal. seriously though, it's pretty cool to finally be able to look up from my desk, in my office, ay my diploma. this begs the question though... how did i ever graduate?
well i'm not gonna hold my breathe to figure that one out. till then, one love and one heart.


dad, we need a fire pole!

So I’ve been a pretty consistent opponent of reality tv, but lately I’ve seen some shows that have me rethinking my position. First, is pimp my ride on mtv. Not only are all of the ‘victims’ pretty deserving people, but the guys at the shop really make the show. Going back to the cars they fix, it always seems that it’s a person putting themself through college, helping the family, etc... the best on that show is big dane though, he’s the one that always has the clutch comment like my new favorite phrase, "aloha oi, holla at your boy’.
Secondly, is extreme home makeover on abc. This one had me on the verge of tears this past week. The family they helped had two deaf parents, one normal son, and one blind/autistic son. The two parents were given monitors for every major room so they could communicate across the house, and keep an eye on their youngest son. They also got to go on vacation for the first time in their lives. The youngest son got a new playroom specifically designed by autism specialists was color and touch sensitive. They also sewed sensors into his pajamas so that when he tried to play houdini and leave the house late at night, his parents would see an alarm and the police would be notified. Needless to say the parents could sleep better at night. The mom got her own room to do art, the dad got a new toolshed that was stocked ready to go and the youngest son got a swingset, his old chimes and a few other things that would help him feel comfortable in his new surroundings. The biggest gifts came for the oldest son, who should be nominated for sainthood. Not only did he get a brand new room, an atv, but they brought in marlee matlin to present a scholarship check for fifty thousand for the college of his choice.
Then today there was a show called ‘the biggest loser’. This show is where seriously obese folks compete for a cash prize, based upon who loses the most weight. There’s something to these tv shows that seriously help people in need. This isn’t a couple of neighbors redecorating a living room, this isn’t people supposedly ‘stranded’ voting each other off... these are shows where the people involved end up gaining more by helping than those receiving the gifts. Esp on home makeover. These designers rarely end a show not in tears. The few episodes I have seen have all been families that are more than deserving, but would never complain or whine. And they all thank God for blessing them before any work is ever done. I think there’s a lot to be said for that.
Speaking of interesting tv, while I was surfing around last night I happened across some star seach type of show on the wb. This was a cool find, considering I never really watch the wb.... anyways... there was this hasidic jewish guy in his twenties talking about what his religion was all about... then he starts singing some reggae song in yiddish. A hasidic reggae singer. His cd should be out soon. I listen to a lot of reggae, and this guy is legit, so you can guarantee that as soon as my ‘no money Monday’ is over I’ll be ordering my copy of mitasyahu’s album. Check back for details in a few weeks for a full review.
Personally, today and tomorrow are days for getting myself out of the funk I’ve been in as of late. My goals for Monday were to not think about topgun girl, not spend any money, and write at least two more songs on guitar. Mission accomplished. It was a good day off and now I think I’m ready to try and salvage this week from the grasp of last weeks’ funk. The goal for this week is to get my work stuff more organized, not spend more than $100 on myself (outside of food), and get my xmas trip to seattle planned out. Yeah, this is one of those hit the fan weeks where I’m gonna have to work my tail off to get things back to snowballing stage.
And for the record... viva la bam is by far my favorite reality tv show. Don vito’s subtitles are reason alone to watch the show.
one love and one heart.


Theo: He's a minister Dad. He'll tell God we're crazy!

you gotta love crazy people.
we had our youth minister's lunch today, and for the first time I didn't see anyone famous on one of my visits to l.a. oh well. one of the youth ministers there was this barbarian of a man that totally caught me off guard. this guy looked like he would be more comfortable at a biker meeting than a youth ministry meeting, which is one of the many reasons he is awesome. he doesn't have a specific church home, instead he ministers to homeless kids in venice. let me repeat that, he ministers to homeless kids in venice. what an awesome ministry. instead of trying to maintain a youth group at some building somewhere, he is truly reaching out to the lost and those ready to experience God's love. if jesus were around today, i have a feeling he would be hanging out with the same people the barbarian does. there's a lot to be said for that. i know i come from a middle class background and still consider this type of ministry rogue or unusual. i'm so wrong. the hard part is what do i do now that i feel convicted? how do i take what i've seen today and apply it to my ministry.
anyways, the ministry is called dry bones venice. it rocks.
as i was driving back from the valley towards simi i almost got in a wreck again. all of the mountains are turning green and the sun was hidden behind what appear to be storm clouds in the distance. no post card or picture could ever capture that moment. if it's not raining tomorrow i may take a hike up the mountains and finally try and figure out how to publish pics of simi on my little slice of blog pie here. seriously, it looked like i was driving through ireland or something. i can't wait for more rain to bring more green to the hillsides. this place is so beautiful, and it makes it so easy to see where God's creativity is apparent.
needless to say, today is a pretty sweet day. i finally feel like i am somewhat getting stuff done, even though my list is still growing of things to do. um, i'm not sure that really makes sense, but the point should be in there somewhere. anyways, i've come to realize that this is a baby steps job on my part, and its up to God to do the huge breakthroughs. last night was really cool, we had our jr high bible study, and i wasn't really sure about what we were going to talk about, and God totally took over and really impressed me through some 6-8th graders. nice. i think they are starting to really come out of their shells. this could be fun in the next few years.
personally, i've been so busy that i haven't really thought to call topgun girl, or any of my other friends recently. i'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but the big thing is i'm not getting down about not having talked to her in a few days. also, i was going through pictures last night and i was having a blast thinking about old friends. i think i may have to crack open the oc yearbook again too. the only thing that got me down last time was the list of girls that i was interested in that i never really acted on. there were a few pics that reminded of times that left deep bruises that i don't think i knew existed until after school was over. i don't live my life with regrets, but i know given another chance to meet certain females, and other friends, i would have def been more open and honest. def taken more chances. oh well, we live and we learn. also, after thinking about some of my friends from oc, i still hold that there are some who are just as hot as any famous actress out here in socal, without all of the smoke, mirrors and camera tricks.
as always, one love one heart.


i wasn't able to vote. does that mean puff daddy is going to kill me?

Politics... man this stuff is crazy. I’m wondering how bad anti-bush supporters are going to gripe and complain. I’m just glad our president survived the media and entertainment conspiracy against him. Seriously, it made me really mad to see all of these bands and actors ganging up against our president. What makes their opinion more valid than mine? Do they get an nbc channel that I don’t? Stick to the acting and or singing, let me be the judge of my politics.
While I’m at it... I have to address religion and politics. The phrase ‘separation of church and state’ never appears in our constitution. Never. It originated in a private letter jefferson wrote to the leader of a baptist church. The letter was in response to a request by the baptist church to be the official religion of the new country, if the leaders decided to have one. That’s it. In fact, the only mention of religion in the constitution comes from the first amendment ‘where congress shall pass no laws restricting the right to practice religious practices....’(loose dj translation). that being said, the fact that the supreme court uses the separation of church and state as the basis for so many laws (i.e. no prayer in schools) is actually unconstitutional.
This has been on my mind for a while. Our cultural pendulum has swung to a point where christians are all but being persecuted. Mi madre worked in the science office at a high school in seattle for a while, a notably liberal area to say the least. I have to give mi madre props because she stood her ground against some hardcore anti-christians. They would criticize her all the time about her beliefs, yet she was not allowed to defend herself or her faith because that would be against the law. I told her to call the aclu and tell them her religious freedoms were being restricted. I love irony. Anyways, I tell my kids to pray in school as much as they can. Anyone that tries to tell them they can’t pray is suppressing their religious freedom. This isn’t to say that every kid in school has to pray, or that a muslim can’t pray to allah, or whatever the case may be, but there needs to be a realization that our culture is doing exactly what they accuse christians of doing. Ok, maybe irony isn’t always funny.
Also, I’ve said it before, and I’ll state it again; the very things that our culture looks for to solve our social ills, are the very principles that God gave us. Our culture is kicking God out the front door, and trying to drag Him in the back door. Ironic.
Well, I guess that’s all I have to say politically.

Other random thoughts:
I’m missing my friends. Simi valley is home, but I’m realizing that it’s been a while since I’ve seen most of my compadres. The hard part is realizing that I don’t have any time planned soon to see most of them again. Ouch.
Needless to say I could really go for talking to topgun girl.

Another thing that has been bugging me is my lack of creativity lately. I simply can’t think of anything to do for fun with the youth group. I feel tapped. I need something to kick me into gear. Those first few weeks of trying to get all of the other random stuff done and visiting families every night killed my drive and energy. The only thing that really gives me comfort is knowing that I am dealing with a lot of stuff right now, and I have to give myself some room to breathe. That, and I know that once I get on a roll things are going to take off at an unreal speed. I’m afraid I’m going to look at the calendar one day and realize days have turned into months of not talking.
I should be on the phone with topgun girl right now.

Seriously though, I really have been in a funk lately. Not one of those deep down, nothing could get worse funks where you have nowhere to go but up, but one of those I can’t really figure out what’s going on funks. We’ll see. Hopefully this writing stuff down will start to pay dividends soon.
Till then, one love and one heart.


Barry: Rob, top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the 80s and 90s? Go...

Well, I felt like writing for a while, but I’m not really sure about what... and I was looking at my stack of movies, so maybe I can occupy my time by commenting on all my movies. Yeah, I’m basically sitting around here bored tonite.

Airheads: my favorite quote from this one is something like, ‘how can you be the lone rangers if there are three of you?’
Airplane: quite possibly the funniest movie ever.
American history x: if you didn’t think racism was a serious issue before... this should be shown in schools for seniors. Scary because it shouldn’t hit home.
Animal house: the best scene in this one is when john belushi breaks the guitar of the hippie guy trying to serenade the girls.
Back to the future: great family entertainment, and it poses the question, ‘when are we going to get flying cars?’ and the hoverboards are pretty sweet too.
Bill and ted’s excellent adventure: my favorite movie of all time. There’s not enough space on the server to write about this one.
Bill and ted’s bogus journey: primus is the highlight of this unfortunate follow up to the greatest movie ever made.
Blackhawk down: this one is an underrated war classic. The fact that it is pretty close to the actual event just brings it that much closer to home.
Blazing saddles: mel brooks uses comedy to push all the boundaries. Mongo punching the horse is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. You gotta love a movie that you quote for days after watching it.
Blue crush: chics and surfing. Nuff said.
Bottle rocket: gotta thank mr. Hollywood for reminding me of this one back in college.
Boyz n tha hood: not only was it the acting debut of my man ice cube (who inspired me to wear the detroit hat), but it introduced the hood to millions.
Braveheart: a great man’s movie. Makes you feel like you should get out and do something important. That does not include wearing a skirt. (I still hold to the belief that if you are not scottish then it’s not a kilt)
bruce almighty: it was surprising to see something that spiritual from hollywood.
Caddyshack: another movie that guys should be able to quote every line.
Carmen the hip-hopera: beyonce knowles. Nuff said.
Clueless: it’s always good to have a few chic flix on hand that you enjoy too. Oh yeah, and the mighty mighty bosstones are in it too.
Charlie brown christmas: instant christmas cheer.
Christmas story: ralphie + bb gun = classic.
Christmas vacation: I’ve said it before, every line cousin eddie has is classic, then there’s his wardrobe, then there’s chevy chase... the list goes on forever. The best part is you can watch this christmas movie year round. I recommend July 4th.
Crouching tiger hidden dragon: visually one of the best movies ever made. Storywise, it’s built like a classic fairy tale. This is one of those you can’t watch with a whole bunch of people.
Dogtown and z-boys: makes you want to go out and skate. Nuff said.
Dumb and dumber: funniest movie ever.
Encino man: instant classic. They need a category at the oscars for best college guy movie.
Fifth element: one of the best future sci-fi movies ever made. Made bruce willis my favorite actor.
Ferris bueller’s day off: I think it should be required by law that every senior watch this movie.
Fight club: one of my top five faves. The social ramifications of this movie are so underrated.
Gladiator: up there with braveheart as one of those great historical-kick-butt guy movies.
Great escape: a pretty funny war movie.
Happy Gilmore: my first friends I made in college came from me throwing this on the tv in the dorm lobby. I think quoting this is a question on the SAT.
Higher learning: one of those movies about racism that unfortunately hits too close to home for me. Ice cube is a classic, and busta rhymes brings the ruckus too. The award for best supporting actor goes to cole hauser though. His neo-nazi character is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen.
High fidelity: my roommates introduced me to this movie one day when I was upset about this girl in college, and spent the day organizing cds and making mix cds. Never has a movie hit home the way this one does.
Home alone: a good youth group movie for the holidays.
Hot shots: this one can make a grown man giggle like a little girl.
Italian job: instant caper classic.
Jackass: where to begin...
Major league: another one of those movies that gets quoted not quite often enough.
Magnificent butcher: old kung fu movie by the guy who did crouching tiger hidden dragon.
Matrix: easily one of the most influential movies of the past decade.
Memento: rehtegot tup saw eivom siht yaw eht evol attog
miracle: one of the few movies where it’s okay for guys to cry (see previous posts)
monsters inc.: I’m not sure how this one ended up in my possession.
My blue heaven: this was one of those $6 buys that was beyond worth it.
North shore: classic 80's surf movie that will have you craving waves... even in arizona.
Office space: modern classic that is probably quoted, and should be, in every office that has a cubicle. Gotta love the irony.
Out cold: by far the most quoted movie my senior year of college. I would walk in my apt and there would be people watching it w/o any of the roommates being in there. Also has my favorite movie character of all time (stumpy).
Out of sight: has the best bank robbery of all time, and introduced me to jennifer lopez waaaay back before the hype. Ahhh the good ol days.
Predator: top five favorite.
Predator: six dollar buy, but just good enough to be worth it.
Return of the dragon: gotta have a bruce lee movie in the collection.
The rookie: baseball classic, and a great youth group movie.
Royal tenenbaums: (see bottle rocket).
Rudy: if you don’t cry at the end of this one you have no soul. Or you need to get off the couch and do something meaningful.
Sandlot: one of the best baseball movies ever made.
Scarface: the people from mtv’s cribs made me buy this one.
School of rock: gotta love jack black. Gotta love the fact that the youth group can still watch this one.
September sessions: jack johnson directed it, nuff said.
Shaft: remake of a classic. It’s important to have samuel l. jackson in the list somewhere.
Shawshank redemption: I bought this for the few days that this isn’t on tbs.
Snatch: by far one of the greatest movies of the last few years. Seals the deal for brad pitt being a man’s man actor.
Social distortion: live concert of one of my fave bands.
Spaceballs: ‘comb the desert’ is the first of many reason to watch this one over and over.
Star wars: all of them combined still make for the greatest movie story ever.
Surf ninjas: this was a gift from the kids in tulsa. One of the best cheesy movies ever. ‘Lao tsu dude’.
Swingers: one of the best guy movies of all time. I think this is the only movie we quoted in high school. Every guy is represented in one of the characters.
Taxi driver: scary. This is where robert deniro got that, ‘you talkin to me?’ line. Scary.
Three amigos: they messed up the scene with the talking animals on the dvd. Dantheman still uses ‘el guapos’ zapatos’ for all of his fantasy sports teams.
Thicker than water: (see September sessions)
wayne’s world: one of the most quoted movies of my adolescence. That probably explains a lot.
Best of will ferrell vol 1&2: the funniest man alive, and this is the one that I quote the most as of right now. Goulet.
Willow: one of my favorites growing up. Madmartigan is still one of my favorite character names. The midgets still creep me out, then there’s the chic that plays sorscha. Toss in that cool bad guy with a skeleton helmet and you’ve got a great movie.
X-men 1&2: the best comic book adaption to a movie.
So those are the 80 movies (if I counted right... it’s late) that make up my collection. Noticeably absent are the lord of the rings trilogy (I’m waiting for all of the special editions in a boxed set), goodfellas, billy madison, tombstone (stolen), demoliton man (stolen), enter the dragon (lost), thunder ninja kids (stolen), oceans 11 (enough other people have it), steel magnolias (broken in an unfortunate skeet shooting incident), bridge on the river kwai, dirty dozen, the sting, sneakers... yeah I think I should ask for best buy gift certificates for christmas.

yeah, i'm a movie nerd that has movie collection alhpbetized. Well, I’m pretty much out of steam with this list thing tonite...
One love, one heart.


FLetch: hey betty, how about lunch at the in n out burger?

Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest impression. I called topgun girl last night around 11 or so, and she was driving back from a wedding in mexico with her friend. It wasn’t really a long conversation because she was stopped at a gas station to change back into driving clothes. Anyways, we talked for a couple of minutes, and she ended the call with ‘it was really good to hear your voice’. Now I know I read into things a lot more than I should, but there’s something about that phrase that really struck me. First, she’s never said that before. Second, she said it in a different tone than the rest of our conversation. I’m not sure exactly what to think about that, but it was good to hear from her again as she was approaching san diego. She called about two hours later asking me if I knew of a motel to stay at in eastern san diego. A few things about this: 1) I crash on my friends’ couches. I don’t have a clue where motels are, or what they will cost. 2) I don’t know east san diego at all. 3) there were so many other people she could have called, but she called me. That’s the one that gets me. Hmmm, we’ll see. Last time we talked we said something about spending a Saturday afternoon relaxing. I’m def not sure what that means, but I can tell you all of my previously planned Saturday afternoons just got cancelled. The reason I mention this is because it is starting to hit home that I don’t know anyone my age here in simi. I’m trying not to think about it or let it get me down, but it’s somewhat hard at times.
For example, the cuz and I were in thousand oaks this afternoon. He wanted to stop at pier 1 to see if they had any rugs for our apt. I was looking for an art store to buy stuff to get a few paintings up on our walls. Anyways, I had a run-in with my debit card at the art store, and there was a decent line behind us. Embarrassing to say the least. The girl behind the counter was pretty cute, and we had a little flirting going on. Not like I was going to ask her out, but the kind of flirting that you do just to show that you can. The cuz was chiming in too, and afterwards it really got me thinking. We’re lame. We didn’t even talk on the way home, I really wasn’t sure what to say. I think it hit home for both of us that neither one of us really have it together when it comes to females. Every once in a while this realization becomes apparent, but this is the first time there has really been an awkward silence after a moment like this. Whether or not this is an issue, I think I’m going to make it a point not to flirt with anymore people that are wearing a name tag. Oh yeah, this was already on my mind from yesterday, when this girl from the taco shop asked me what cologne I was wearing, and I responded by letting her know it was snuggle fabric softner. We both laughed, and then I realized I was flirting with the girl from the taco stand. Not that there’s anything wrong with her, it’s just really awkward. And not the kind of fun awkward that I normally live to take advantage of. No matter what, you’re not going to see my profile on eharmony.com
tonight afforded some other good comedy. I was at rubios downing some fish tacos with some of my kids in the youthgroup, when I mentioned something about ‘lime juice in the eye’, and one of the kids (rockstar) decided I wasn’t joking and went ahead and put some in his eye. Needless to say he was in a great deal of pain almost immediately, and seemed surprised that it actually hurt. The rest of us were laughing so hard we were crying along with him. One of those things you had to be there for, but the point is I need to watch what I say around the 9th graders. Oh man, what a good laugh though.
Another fun part of today, was bugging the cuz, who is from texas, about redneck humor. I made my best effort to single handedly kill the phrase ‘git er done’ myself. That phrase has got to go, along with every redneck, nascar, my mom shot my dog country song out there. Nuff said.

Other random observances:

caller i.d. makes calls from topgun girl that much better. I’m not sure why, but I think it gets me more excited to know that when I open my phone I’m going to be talking to her.
That and my phone displays a picture of her that pops up along with her number.

Will ferrel is the funniest person on the planet. Followed closely by dave chappelle and zach galafianakis. David koechner would be up there but he hasn’t been in enough stuff, although he receives props enough for his role as stumpy in out cold.

Every female reporter on fox sports is extremely attractive.

Pimp my ride uses a lot of christian rap for background music.

Razor scooters need to go.

The day before halloween is too early to put up christmas decoration, unless you are clark w. griswold.

Speaking of which, every line cousin eddie has in christmas vacation is funny, except for when he says ‘bingo’ after clark’s sled run.

People at art stores are continuously sizing each other up. You never know if you’re standing next to picasso, or some random community college anime fan.

Reality tv shows that make over peoples’ houses make me glad to live my life as a minimalist.

Pier 1 is way too expensive, and no one needs all the stuff they have there.

Walking into a glass patio door is about the dumbest thing you can do. That and it leaves a wicked bruise. Needless to say, you can now find my forehead print on our door after this afternoon.

There is a media conspiracy against president bush.

All of eminem’s rhyme schemes are the same. (This is why he was booed off stage at warped tour back in 99)

same with the beastie boys, but their music is much more fun, and for some reason I really don’t mind.

As much as I loved my college experience, it would have been nice to at least once have stormed the field after a football game and help tear down the goalpost.

No sports team should ever have to wear purple.

I can’t wait to get my new computer. It may be the coolest computer ever designed.

Scott ian from anthrax is by far the funniest person on the ‘I love the 80s/90s’ series.

Well, it’s bedtime. One love, one heart.


bob: why is there tape on your nose? dignan: exactly.

i guess this would be as good a place as any to put down some random thoughts.

rap music is in for a big change. rims are the rap equivalent to big hair of 80's metal. throwback jerseys are the equivalent to shredded jeans. what happened to heavy metal was that it go so far removed from the culture that created it with the big hair, pink stretch pants etc, that it totally isolated the musicians from the people. that's why nirvana hit big, they looked like the exact opposite from everyone else that was popular, and they were grounded enough that the songs they were singing hit home. poison had no clue what the people that were buying their records were dealing with, and when you put an 'unskinny bop' on your album, it's time for change. this brings me to lil john and the new crew of rappers. i hesitate calling them rappers because i've listened to their music and i've yet to hear them actually rap. flavor flav from public enemy even had a few rhymes back in the day, even though he was a hype man that was more known for his 'yyyyeaaahhhh booyyyyyyyyyyyyy' than his rymes. even then, he was working with chuck d, one of the great lyricists of our time. ugh. that's why i listen to christian rap. these guys are so under the radar, they don't have to stoop to the 'rims tricks and ho's' stuff that haunts the airwaves today. i guarantee when vh1 does their 'i love the 2000's' airs in a few years there will be a nice two minute section for lil john.

i think it would be fun to be an extra in a zombie movie.

there are a lot of shows out right now making over people's lives. from your house, to your clothes, your hair, even your car. stuff? a) every house/haircut/outfit/car ends up looking pretty similar. 2) why can't i get on one of these shows and get some free stuff.

the red sox b(r)ought in curt schilling to win the world series. hmm, sounds like they have become the evil empire. ironic. all that time they were complaining about the yankees buying championship teams, they were building up the second largest payroll in baseball.

nothing says boston red sox like the phrase 'cowboy up'.

topgun girl saw my print of 'old man and guitar' in my apt and asked me if i painted it. i laughed and explained that it was a picasso piece, but appreciated the compliment.

a few weeks earlier i mentioned to her she needed to do something for herself, to go all out for a day and do something that was unnecessary and involved pampering. my best suggestion at the time was something like a day spa or glamour shots.

i'm glad i'm not smooth.

i love awkward moments. like when your date farts outside and then it trails in the car, but you don't want to say anything to embarass her, but you both smell it.

i have never bought a wig, but somehow i managed to end up with seven by the time i was done with college.

a couple of summers in college i worked on a landscaping crew back in seattle. i was the only white guy on the crew. my first day i showed up to the site late because i had to fill out paperwork. the boss drove me to the site and showed me what to do. i was ready to quit my job by lunch the first day trying to keep up with the guys on the crew. the next day i showed up, and one of the guys figured out that i wasn't the bosses son. that was the easiest day ever. they would bring some sod down, have a cerveza, shovel a little bit, cerveza.... you get the point.
i had to learn some spanish so i could communicate with these guys. one day i repeated a phrase to my boss, and he informed me that i couldn't say that if i went to church. these guys had a pretty good laugh. i had a good laugh a few weeks alter when they asked me how to say cerveza in english. i told them 'cerveza es milk'. a couple of weeks later i had a better laugh when these guys had gone to an english speaking bar looking to order a drink.

90% of youth ministers are overweight, have a gotee, receding hairline, play guitar, golf, bet on poker, and wear polo shirts.

if i could have anyone play me in a movie it would be jack black.
my dad would be bruce willis.
mom... the mom off of malcom in the middle
my sister would be the girl from princess diaries.

japanimation used to be really cool, now it's just creepy.

the best dates i have ever been on were the ones that i didn't spend a dime on. although, that had nothing to do with them being good.

there is something fun about being dressed up in a suit and tie. only for about three hours though. after that it's time to get back to shorts and a t-shirt.

why are ties fashionable? all they are is a piece of fabric tied around your neck. i think it's a sign that 'the man' has got his hold on you.

shaving your head is a last resort. be sure to check for any odd shapes before you do so. that, and make sure not to shave your head at the end of summer when your face is all tan and your head is going to be pale. it looks like you're wearing a helmet.

speaking of helmet, old ladies crack me up with their helmet hair.

weren't we supposed to have flying cars by now?

despite all the innovation they have made with toothbrushes, you still have plastic bristles on some sort of plastic handle.

what drove the first person to look at a pig and say 'i want to eat that'?

i like see what girls look like early in the morning. i think it's a better gauge of what they truly look like, and where their priorities are.

you gotta love girls that look good in baseball caps.

guys shirts always look better on girls. this also goes for jackets and sweaters.

it would take me about almost exactly a month to listen to all of my cds and mp3s.

well, i think i've rambled on enough. more stories and random thoughts to come later, i'm sure.
one love, one heart.


you can't have any pudding if you don't eat your meat...

yet another surreal day. let's just say this rain has put me in the mood to listen to pink floyd. juaner should be here for this. musically this has been an interesting week. I’m really amazed at how the weather effects what I listen to. at the beginning of the week it was really nice out and I was all about 311. Monday got a little cold and windy, postal service took a few spins in the cd player, so did atreyu and taking back Sunday. last night it was buckets, and I ended up buying the new ben harper/ blind boys of alabama cd. today I’ve listened to that, joe strummer, and now pink floyd. I think when I go home it's gonna be some jack johnson.
days like this are hard to enjoy after living in seattle. I was at the grocery store grabbing some lunch, and there were strangers there laughing and talking to each other about trying to not run through puddles. I was quiet, just mad that I had parked in a giant river through the parking lot, and my vans aren't exactly water tight. oh well. at least my feet are staying cool and moist for the rest of the day. regardless, it's weird to see people enjoying the rain.
the worst part of the rain is that I really don't feel like doing a thing. I should probably give my paycheck back for this week cause I’m really no good right now. that, and I had a little fender bender yesterday with a jaguar, and I can feel the days of no money for anything coming up shortly.
the biggest thing that has been nagging me is getting this ministry up and going. I feel like I could be doing so much more right now, but the days really just slip away. part of me is taking the 'rome wasn't built in a day' stance, and then another part of me leans towards 'seriously, what do you do all day'. my newfound addiction to alias really isn't helping either. yesterday I had a kid who had taken a day off of school, struggling with the whole 'finding yourself' thing. man, I felt useless. I can remember so much of what he was going through and I still had no way of telling him what I was thinking. it was like playing charades or something, and I don't think he quite got what I was motioning. I think it's time to call in reinforcements and give 'wild one' (old youth minister in tulsa) a call. once again I’m torn though. I feel like I should be able to go six weeks without having to call for help. well, maybe this is God breaking me down. hope so, stuff like that is a pain to have to deal with for a long time.
personally, there really isn't much to tell. maybe that's why these rainy days are kinda lame. when it's sunny out, at least I feel like I could go out and do something, even if I don't. rainy days serve as a reminder to me of the fact that I stay in my apt too much as it is. last night I made the cuz drive me out to the valley just to get out of the apt for the night. we ended up at best buy, which isn't thrilling in the least. oh yeah, and on the way back we listened to some texas country. sorry, to all my friends out there who swear that is the anti-nashville sound, but I’m not hearing it. I finally talked to topgun girl the other day. it went really good, it even sounded like she was wanting to see me again. I’m trying not to read too much into our conversation, but the more I talk to her, the more I realize I should try and break through to more important stuff. yeah, that's probably the last thing I need to do right now. fortunately, the side of me that wants to wait it out is taking over. at least the waiting isn't due to timidity.
well, the sun just came out, so I think I’m gonna switch cds here and throw on some grits. that, and I should probably actually put some youth events on the calendar.
see you in the mud puddles. one love, one heart.


robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel.

Ugh. I don’t want to hear a thing from any cubs or red sox fans. Being an astros fan is worse, we just don’t get to gripe about it as much because it hasn’t been ingrained in our culture like other teams. Needless to say, the cuz and I are doing what we can to not think about the astros losing tonight. I’m just glad I had the youth group over for a devo, otherwise I would have pulled a ‘derelict’ (yet another former roomate) and punched a whole in the apt wall. Ugh. This is lame. I feel like I’m two steps away from watching a wnba game. Well, not that far... So these past few days have been pretty up and down. The astros and yankees both lost. That hurt. Both of those losses. I’m naming my first ulcer after dan miceli, the astros pitcher that should have been keeping score from home.
Actually, I guess that’s all that has been pretty lame. We started our jr and sr high bible studies the past two nights, and I think they are going pretty well for a start. The kids are really energetic and seem to be into our talks. It’s kind of cool having my own place to invite people over. And, surprising to most of my roomates and my family, our place is pretty much always clean, except for the few hours at a time when I have laundry on the floor. Juaner and the rest of the fellas from 214 wouldn’t believe it if they saw it.
As far as personal stuff goes, simi valley continues to feel more and more like home. I think having the cuz as a roomate really helps out with that. I bought a few cds today for the first time in a while. Today was sort of one of those spending sprees that I really shouldn’t have, and am grateful for the fact that best buy is pretty far away. Either way, here are the cds I bought and a mini review:
yeah, this may be the closest thing to pantera I have ever owned. These guys are right up the middle metalcore, which is exactly what I shouldn’t be listening to driving down the 101. Yeah, it’s that good.
Napoleon dynamite soundtrack:
so this may be the best comedy to come out in a long time. I’ts like hanging out with your nerdy friends for 90 minutes, and one of my fave parts was the soundtrack. The 80's music alon would have been enough, but they throw in a bunch of quotes from the movie to double the track listing. Heck yes! This one put me in a great mood today, and was def what I needed to hear after listening to my other purchase.
Sharlock poems: in God we trust
sharlock poems is from l.a. symphony, the best rap group no one has ever heard of. Why? They’re christian. Actually, the show pimp my ride uses a lot of their beats as background music. Regardless, christian rap is the best underground music out there right now, and it’s only going to get better. Because they don’t have to conform to the ‘rap’ that hits big today, they have creative license to explore new sounds and do their own thing. Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone giving them respect simply because they are christian. Lame, but it keeps the shows cheap and the cds more creative.
What else... I am still customizing my apt. last night I finally fixed my shower curtain issue. The whole clear plastic wasn’t working for me, I’m not really scared of the cuz walking in or anything, but there’s still something creepy about having nothing between you and the outside world when it comes to showering. So I took mine and got some black spraypaint and painted a giant black rubber duck on mine. My shower this morning was great. And I think this may be spurring on a creative streak that may result in a few paintings for the apt. sweet, its about time I did some original artwork again.
I think my guitar playing may be picking up too. I feel like I am playing faster and more precise lately. This should be fun when I get my own mac and can start recording my own tunes. Yeah, this could be one of those things that becomes an expensive hobby...sweet.
Oh yeah, another interesting sidenote, I met the mom from the partridge family today before our youth minister’s lunch. I was waiting outside for the restaurant for it to open and she came up and we actually got to talk for a few minutes. In my effort to not be ‘one of those people’ I didn’t say anything about her being famous, except for the fact the manager opened up the doors early for her, let me in, and I kinda winked at her and said thanks. I think she knew that I knew she was famous, but was really nice and approachable. Either way, that’s three celebrity run-ins in just over a month. At this rate I’ll be starring alongside tempest bledsoe in a lifetime channel movie in no time.
One more thing, when you’re on the freeway, the on ramp is used to accelerate to 65mph. I think I’m going to put a sign on the 405/101 interchange. Either that or I’m going to get a bb gun and start taking out mirrors on bmws that don’t’ know how to merge onto a socal freeway.
Well, before I start to go postal and start rambling... one love, one heart.


why wasn't i watching alias sooner?

man i've missed this therapy.
things aren't really bad right now, it's just a lot tougher getting this youth ministry started up than i thought. i think i could handle the youth ministry if that was all that was going on, but you throw car troubles, moving, constantly thinking about topgun girl and a few other things in the mix and all of the sudden things are hectic. let's just say with the rain outside it's what my roomate juaner would call a 'surreal day', and then we'd cruise around and listen to pink floyd.
on a personal level, i can't stop thinking about topgun girl, even though we haven't talked in a week. anytime i do have to think about her she's at work, or i'm busy and can't call. i have a feeling that flame has been fizzled out. prob not a good thing, but options are limited when i'm working almost every night.
i'm still spending money on the truck too. fortunately the radiator guy saved me about $200 yesterday. now all that is left is the column, the muffler, the smog check, then taking care of the expired tags. yeah, that one could bite me in the butt. fortunately, a review of my finances says i should be able to afford an Xterra or something like that pretty soon. we'll see how that goes.
me and the cuz have the apt looking pretty decent, although we aren't getting cable until later today, which means we've had to go to sports bars every night of the playoffs so far. check that. the cuz has gone to sports bars every night for the playoffs. i join him when i can. as far as the apt, there's something really nice about not having to worry about your room being clean, or all of your stuff put away in your bathroom unless someone is coming over. tonight and tomorrow night i've got kiddos coming over, so there's my excuse to clean. most importantly, i'm sticking to my minimilistic principles and getting rid of as much as i can constantly.
youth ministry was going to be tough but fun. i can see the fun part coming up quickly, it's just a matter of getting all this other stuff out of the way. right now it's a real struggle trying to remember that whole 'rome wasn't built in a day' mentality. the big thing is trying to find a balance between rolling with the kids' readiness to have fun and still getting things set up so that they are spiritually ready to grow. yeah, i can't wait for this thing to get going either.
other personal news... i got to go to my first usc home game the other day and it was absolutely unreal. the coliseum was packed, and there was just as much excitement there as any big 12 game, w/o all of the unnecessary stuff that drove me nuts living in ok. first, there were no flags on cars. only in oklahoma would three bumper stickers, a magnet, and a license plate holder not be enough to let the world know you were an ou fan, you had to put these stupid little plastic flags on your car. (when i say oklahomans, i obviously don't mean all of them, there were oklahoma state fans there too.) that was the difference at usc, just as many fans, just as much tailgating, just no overdone cars. oh yeah, and it was sunny.
that leads me to my next observation about california. you have to have a pair of decent sunglasses out here. it's not really a style thing, (well, not completely) it's more of a necessity thing. you don't go anywhere w/o seeing people wearing sunglasses. even the homeless guys around here wear sunglasses. it's pretty funny. it's been raining the past few days, and is still pretty overcast, but everyone on the freeway yesterday was still wearing their shades. guess that's the trade off for living in the golden state.
shades are one of the requirements for living here. following closely is the possession of a hooded sweatshirt. not sure why, buy every sweatshirt out here has a hood on it. i don't complain, i grew up with hoodies, and didn't really know sweatshirts came w/o them until i moved to ok. next, you have to have a shortcut for getting everywhere. the bank, dodger stadium, it doesn't matter. there are several ways to get everywhere around here. lastly, you have to know about some little hole-in-the-wall mexican restaraunt that you can tell your friends about. that's how they advertise. if you really like your place then you take your friends there so the place can stay in business. the cuz is halfway there, but he sees the need for a hoodie and some new shades, so its really a matter of finding the time to go. now if he'll just get those texas plates off of his truck...
other random sidenote: i actually took a day off on monday and stayed in the whole day and watched the entire third season of alias. man, i'm hooked.
well, my fuagazi cd is almost done and i'm supposed to meet the cable guy in a few minutes at the apt so i guess i'm out.
one love, one heart.


You know, you're wearing a striped shirt with a striped tie, you know that, right?

i really haven't felt like posting lately since things are getting busier, but the more i think about it the more i should write when i'm busy, just to clear my head, and so i can look back and see what was going on in my life. the astros actually beat the braves in a playoff series. unreal. me and the cuz are flipping out. we were at a church softball game on mon when they won, and everyone there left knowing we are astros fans. sorry to all you cubs fans out there, but being an astros fan is just as frustrating, w/o all of the hype that the cubs get. whatever. i'm excited, and i'm going to make sure mom watches the playoffs from this point.
last night i officially became one of those guys that has to wear a suit to some random dinner at a college. ugh. never have i wanted to go ride my skateboard more in my whole life. i remember messing with those dinners at oc, and now i'm participating in them. oh well, at least i don't have any homework anymore.
this dinner did allow for some great awkward moments though. first, was the obvious schmoozing that goes on whenever preachers get together. second, i met a preacher there from one of the other churches i interviewed at back in march. this afforded for a classic awkward moment when he started backpedaling about why they didn't hire me. i let him go on for a few minutes about how they were just really adamant about hiring a married man, then he went on to allude to the fact that this newlywed from arkansas was having trouble adjusting to living in the smoggiest city in california. the irony is that we talked at length during the interview about the importance of having someone who knew socal culture heading the youth ministry. it was kind of mean to let him go on knowing he was uncomfortable, but i love awkward moments too much to let an opportunity like that pass me by. i did assure him though that the Lord had provided me with a great fit here in simi, and He just had other things in mind during that interview. classic awkward moment though. i feel bad it had to happen the way it did, but still, i have to sit back and kinda chuckle.
that may have been mean, but i still have one love, and one heart.


You on the UPN? That explains why I ain't never seen't you.

i had another celebrity run-in at lunch this afternoon. not as cool as jeri ryan, but still one of those things that is unique about living in socal. this time it was debra wilson from mad tv, and a bunch of those vh1 i love the 80's and 90's specials. not exactly an a-list celeb, but still noteworthy i guess.

one love, one heart.


i ain't got time to bleed... but i do have time for a few top ten lists

top ten things that can make my day

a good stereo
hearing someone with a unique laugh (topgun girl)
jeans just out of the dryer
having a half hour or so to crank out some noise on my guitar
the first sip of a pepsi big slam (i'm not sure why, but they taste better)
finding out the astros shut down the braves in game one of the playoffs
when a kid in the youth group finally gets it
driving north on the 101 towards camarillo
when the phone rings and it's someone unexpected
when you are driving and the song ends right as you turn off your car

and to continue on with this whole sentimental mushy stuff... this comes from a discussion i had the other night with yepshesavalleygirl the other night

top ten movies it's ok to for guys to cry at: (this does not mean i have actually cried during these movies, but the thought may have been there)

10. the passion -if you didn't cry at this one you might want to take a good hard look at your spirituality

9. we were soldiers- something about the ending caught me off-guard, what else can i say

8. schindler's list -i'm good till the gold ring at the end

7. the three stooges -who says crying can't come from laughter

6. my girl -not a movie you want to watch when your best friend is about to have a liver transplant

5. glory -extreme acts of patriotism will get you every time

4. miracle -(see glory)

3. field of dreams -kevin costner isn't much of an actor, but you've got to have a cold heart not to get misty when he's playing catch with his dad at the end

2. saving private ryan -it's really tough to watch when a marine from ny you call family looks like tom sizemore

1. rudy -(see passion)

honorable mentions: top gun, remember the titans, lean on me, dumb and dumber, blackhawk down

top ten movies it is NOT ok for guys to cry at:

10. hoosiers -no one should cry at a movie with gene hackman or dennis hopper in it. ever. one of the great sports movies of all time, but it lacks the patriotism thing that makes miracle acceptable.

9. old yeller -if you're a five year old boy, that's one thing... fifteen i'm going to say is pushing it

8. lord of the rings: return of the king -sean astin may still be know as 'rudy', but that doesn't mean you can cry at the end of all of his movies (encino man for instance...)

7. steel magnolias -no guy should ever watch this movie much less cry over it. although losing a 20 year old julia roberts is a tragedy... oh wait. it's just a movie.

6. father of the bride -any emotional outbreaks should be held in check by martin short's less than stellar character

5. braveheart -he wins in the end. tough it up. that's what william wallace would have wanted

4. the alamo -you already knew they lose going into it. just let it go texans... let it go...

3. stand by me -close, but not quite there

2. tie you've got mail/ any other movie besides top gun with meg ryan in it -(see steel magnolias)

1. lion king -i actually heard that guys cried over a cartoon

call me insensitive or whatever... there are just some times it's not okay to be bawling at the end of a movie. now it's time to go home and watch predator.

one love one heart.


i want you... to want me...

so our preacher (lawdog), decided to invite me to go see cheap trick in concert last thursday night down in thousand oaks. it was a pretty sweet concert considering i'm not really into seeing classic rock musicians perform live well past their prime. either way, it was a cool show that afforded some good memories. seeing the infamous five-necked guitar was pretty cool, (by the way cheap trick is know for singing 'i want you to want me', the theme from 'that 70's show', and the guitarist having all kinds of crazy, multi-necked checkered guitars) and i got to see some of my other favorite concert going types, but most importantly, i had my first run in with a hollywood celeb since i've moved here. by the way, when you become a resident of socal, you can officially call famous people celebs like you are a part of that scene. anyways, i'm at the concert and the lead singer keeps staring at me. i'm thinking it's because i'm probably the only person in the crowd he can see that's under 30 years old. after a while it starts to get a little weird, then it hits me. actually she hits me. i had been standing next to jeri ryan (the hot chick from star trek) the whole time. she bumped into me and apologized, i made some random comment trying to act like i wasn't pretty stoked i just bumped into my first celeb, much less a very attractive one. so there it goes, i talked to my first hollywood star less than a month into living near los angeles. the thing i have to pat myself on the back for is not asking for an autograph or for her to take a picture with me. call it a soapbox, but there's something kinda goofy about asking people for their autograph outside of an event specifically designed for that purpose. if she had been at a publicity event i probably wouldn't have to think twice. but she's just a fan in the crowd at this point, and i don't want to be that guy that ruins the show for her by making her sign something and miss out on what she paid to see. props to me i guess. let the movement begin, no more autograph demands from celebs. we'll leave them alone and maybe they'll act more like normal humans. now that i've got geri's phone number and address maybe we can make a pact. that was a lame joke. no matter. i met her, i remember, and i don't need any physical evidence to remind myself of this. (although i will probably actually watch star trek now and then start to wonder what could have been if only she had been looking for the 24 year old youth ministry type to hang out with).

on to other notable things about the concert. first, the opening band. opening bands have a tough job. everybody there came to see cheap trick, and these never-was-beens have to try and pump out the crowd that could care less who they are. that being said, these guys were terrible. i can't even begin to describe, but i might as well try. The worst offense was that they killed my number 2 favorite song of all time, ‘ring of fire’. How do you kill a classic song? Ask these guys, they did it splendidly. the bass player looked like he could have been in a punk band about 15 years ago, but didn't learn to play until he was 35. the lead singer was a pretty hefty white guy that wore one of those cowboy hats that are supposed to look really beat up, and he had a lisp that couldn't be missed. there's nothing like having a lead singer singing, 'thith ith the greateth day that you and i have ever theen' to let you know your band is going nowhere. the drummer looked like ted nugent went shopping at a rockabilly store, and the lead guitarist had me in stitches the whole time. i think he was one of the guys' dad. he had a great grey mullet and handlebar mustache, a shiny, oversized cape-type-thing, jeans that were way too short and boots that were too big. it was awesome. his duck walk looked like a seizure, but the best moment came when he started playing guitar while on his knees, and he couldn't get up without taking a hand off of the guitar in the middle of his solo to regain his balance. if you're band hasn't made it my the time you are 30 it's time to recognize that you were meant to be a woodshop teacher, or whatever this guy did for a living.

the most offensive foul of the night goes to the fans though. you are at the cheap trick concert, we can assume you like the band, YOU DO NOT NEED TO WEAR THE SHIRT OF THE BAND YOU ARE SEEING IN CONCERT.

i will give props to the fans who flew out from japan to see cheap trick. that's crazy. more power to you. and def more power to the lady that was at the actual budokan concert (where 'i want you to want me' was recorded in 1979). they can wear whatever they want. sidenote props go to the band for hanging out with them before the show and giving them recognition before their encore.

as far as personal stuff goes... the truck is dying, it's just going to be a matter of time before i'm gonna have to buy a new vehicle. my apt still needs furniture, but it already feels like home. i actually have office supplies now which means i'm legit. i met some people my age last night that are not only attractive, but fun to be around. then i checked my messages to find that topgun girl had called and was very stoked that i remembered her birthday last week. oh yeah, and i just picked up the new social distortion album today and it's got exactly the kind of guitar riffs that make my day.

before i go, i do want to make public something i realized thursday night at the concert. i was standing next to a woman who is eye candy for many guys, has been in many men's magazines, and in real life you realize how much of that is smoke and mirrors. granted, jeri ryan is gorgeous, but i would go as far as to say that i can think of a half dozen girls from college, and plenty from socal that are easily more attractive than she is. kind of weird how someone gets elevated to a certain level of beauty just because she's famous. i like to call it the christina ricci factor. anyways, much love to the girls out there that are jealous of hollywood celebs. you deserve more love, and rest easy knowing it's all camera tricks. well, with the possible exception of jessica alba....

one love, one heart.


We're no longer Sonic Death Monkey. We're on the verge of becoming Kathleen Turner Overdrive, but for tonight, we are Barry Jive and his Uptown five.

my head may explode in the next few weeks. with the astros clinching the wild card spot in the playoffs, and the ever present yankees making their annual postseason appearance I am torn. I always talk about the yankees vs. astros playing against each other in the world series knowing that is so unlikely, I’ll just be dismissed as a guy dedicated to his teams, nothing more. hmmm, with the realistic possibility of these two teams squaring off I am forced to make a decision of who I am going to pull for in case of my dream coming true. let it be known, that in the event of an astros vs yankees world series, I will be officially going for the ASTROS. my uncle still works for the astros, I have been an astros fan my entire life (my indoctrination into baseball came two weeks after my birth when my mom took me to the astrodome for the first of many trips) and I have suffered for many years as a fan of a somewhat mediocre team. the yankees did not come into the picture until I was in jr high or so when I got my don mattingly autograph, and the neighbor down the street (who grew up in the bronx) became my 'adopted' dad, passing on his yankee love to the son he never had. as much as I love the yanks, this is the time for me to step out and be proud of my years as an astros fan. for the record, I have never NOT been an astros fan, it's just hard to be loud about loving the astros when they choke come the end of the season. (unlike cubs fans who get louder when their team continues to choke). I know I have been very vocal about the yankees in the past, and I still have a lot of love, especially against the red sox... but not enough to go against my roots.

in other news, things are settling down here in simi as of the last few days. my office is finally set up to a point where I can manage hanging out in here, my apt is functional but not really complete, and my truck is to a point where its running well enough that I’m not thinking about the fact that the tags are now expired, and it still needs a new muffler. oh well, I live literally a mile door to door away from work so im not really transportation concerned as of right now.

as far as the new apt goes, I think I’m taking the 'bachelor starting out on his own thing' to a new degree. I have zero furniture in my place as of right now. it's actually empty enough that the apt is somewhat awkward to stay at, so I don't, unless I’m ready to go to bed. yesterday I spread my stuff out across my room so as to make it look 'more full'. yesterday morning was odd, because I had yet to purchase a shower curtain, and I had to throw down some dirty shirts on the floor to act as a bath mat. there's something really weird about showering without a curtain. I know it's a see-through piece of plastic, and there's no one else at my apt for a few days, yet it was still a little unnerving showering without that $3.99 piece of target plastic there to separate me from the world. before any trading spaces fans get all excited and start talking to me about what they want to do to my apt, I did go out and buy a bunch of stuff yesterday afternoon for my bathroom, and it even matches somewhat. I’m not really big into interior design, but having all of these blank walls and rooms is driving the artist side of me nuts. as soon as I can draw out some sketches I think a home depot trip is in order. all I know is that I don't really want any symmetrical design going on. we'll see.

other stuff on my mind... I haven't been able to get a hold of topgun girl in over a week. Friday was her birthday and I sent a card and all that, but zero returned phone calls has me kind of bummed. we'll see I guess, I know she's busy enough to earn the benefit of the doubt, still lame on my end. not a lot going on in simi though, one of the drawbacks of living in an upper middle class town is that not a lot of 24 year olds can afford to live here. a road trip to san diego may be in order sooner than later.

yesterday was the first day that I really got to hang out with a bunch of kids at once and we had a blast. our church is at the base of the mountain where the reagan library is, and after service yesterday a bunch of families hiked to one of the peaks along the ridge where there is a giant cross, and had a devo up there. it was supposed to be an event for the whole church, but it ended up being mostly families with youth group ties. I had a blast hiking with the kids, and I think they had fun too. the one thing they def aren't lacking is energy, and it's so contagious. this is my last week of free dinners with families, and that's going really well so far. it's cool to be able to see what the kids are like around their families, in a non-church environment. even more importantly, I feel like I’ve been able to do some ministry so far that is really going to pay off in the long run. I’m still getting used to that mentality though. I’ve become so accustomed to having an end date in mind that I’ve really had to switch gears from sprint to marathon mode. it's a good feeling though, I realized today that I am planning on being here in simi longer than most of the kids in my group are. kind of a weird feeling, but good to have.

something else I love about simi so far is the weather. the breeze is blowing and it actually feels like fall today. I am still rocking my shorts and a t-shirt, but it's tough to go at nights w/o a hoodie. the school that we are next to provides for the sounds of kids playing all day, which always makes for a peaceful afternoon. as soon as I figure out how to get pix form my phone to computer I’ll try to post a few up.

well, I think I am going to head out and pick up some more stuff for the apt. food isn't an issue yet since I won't have a fridge or microwave till the cuz moves in on sat, but there's all the fun stuff like mattresses, bedframes, lamps, light bulbs, etc... that make for comfortable living.

one love, one heart.