Policeman: What's in the car? Turkish : Seats and a steering wheel.

oh man, where to begin.....
so in the grand iverson tradition i've been having nothing but car problems since i've moved to simi valley. this should surprise no one that knows me, that's simply part of my persona, the guy with the car stories. anyways, the latest adventure involves a fire extinguisher, which is always a sign of a great car story. to keep things fun, and since i haven’t done one in a while i'll just do a top ten list of the stuff that has been wrong with my ride in the past few weeks.

10. one of the headlights went out, then mysteriously came back on halfway home
9. the paint is getting rusty in several spots
8. it's treating coolant like i treat pepsi
7. the shocks in the back are going to have to be replaced before too long
6. temperature gauge is on the fritz
5. needs new tags
4. needs a smog check (to get the new tags)
3. needs a new muffler (to pass the smog check)
2. the rear brakes were not put on properly last week, resulting in them not releasing from the rotors, resulting in a lot of smoke yesterday when i pulled into my apt complex, which resulted in me having to put the smoke out with a fire extinguisher, and having to rent a trailer to tow my truck back to camarillo where the brakes and work are under warranty and are being worked on as we speak (so i can take it to go get a new muffler)
1. the steering column is broken, so i have to hotwire my car anytime i have to go anywhere

hotwiring a car is actually kind of fun. it's almost like having an anti theft device. either that or its doing half the work for any would be thieves. oh well, if it gets stolen i'll let them take care of the aforementioned top ten list.

the only thing that really bugs me about the car stuff is the timing. i still haven't got my office set up and going since i've had to spend the last three work days pretty much focusing on my truck. it's a little frustrating. the good thing is that this may be the motivation to look over my finances again and look into getting a new car. the only problem is i really love my truck, and i know i'm not going to be happy in some new car (which is all that i'll be able to afford) that's too small and wimpy. this is one of the biggest vehicles i've owned and really seems to fit my personality better than a jetta ever could. does that count for anything?

some other silver lining about all of this is i have been able to rely on my preacher and elders here, and they have been nothing but extremely helpful and giving when it comes to helping me with all the truck issues. good people those simi folks....

other cool stuff... i finally picked up the keys to my new apt today. i'm not exactly sure when i'll move my stuff in, but i have a key in hand to my own place in my own name. i know this isn't a big deal to most people, but it is my first time, and i really am stoked. along with having a key to my own place, i am really feeling at home here in simi. i def miss seeing topgun girl around, and all my other san diego compadres, but the people and the town here are unreal at making me feel welcome. simi may even beat out tulsa as easiest city to get around. not a huge deal but it makes all the mexican hole in the wall restaurants easy to find and get to. they even have a surf shop in town. i haven't been able to go yet, but that time will be approaching shortly.

there's a lot more to say, but it's getting time to head out for work. i've got dinners every night for a few weeks with different families, and i've got to pick my truck up before i head out.

oh yeah, i've been meeting all of these kids and they've been asking me to tell college stories, which has me thinking about and missing my oc familia. one love and one heart to all of ya'll once again.


a short time ago in a valley very, very near...

where to begin...... so i am officially gainfully employed! and the real world has pretty much hit home. when i say real world i mean seven total strangers living and working together... wait...nevermind. getting back on track, this week has def thrown me for a spin. last week at this time i was getting all of my stuff packed into my truck. it was the first time i had all of my belongings in one place in six years. that was def a trippy feeling. i was just glad i didn't get a flat or my truck didn't explode. actually, after watching fight club the other day and reading wild at heart, i think it would have been cool if my truck had exploded (without me in it of course) so i could really start from scratch and only get what really matters. anyways, i got up here fine, and i've spent my first week living in camarillo with my cousin, until we can move in to our new apt here in simi (speaking of which, there's a lot more to getting an apt than i thought). the new apt is nice, it's exactly one mile door to door from the church which means i could probably skate or bike here, but i probably never will. still, that's saving a bunch of gas money. this last week has had several good surprises though. i had to drop a grand on my truck the other day for 4 new tires and new brakes after a sketchy trip up here resulting in two flat tires. that def breaks the top five for my most expensive days of all time. it's all good though. the past few weeks have been good to me. i got to be completely free for a few weeks and i spent almost every minute hanging out with friends. joey fatone and i had a few really good talks last weekend when i was crashing with him, and that was a huge uplifting time for me. hanging out with the cuz this week has been pretty cool too, we haven't spent a whole lot of time together, but we're getting along a lot better than i thought we would for some reason. i'm still crashing on his living room floor because i don't really have money to buy a bed, and his leather couch is insanely hot to sleep on, and it's just short enough that i can't really stretch out, and i wake up with a mad stiff back. salgoode though, he's being really cool about me kind of just having a stack of stuff in the corner of his normally well-kept apt. this is why we are getting a two bed-two bath apt, it's really going to be an oscar and felix story with me and the cuz. (for those that weren't around in the early 70's oscar and felix were known as the odd couple) so i'm pretty stoked though because really, the only furniture i have to buy is a bed and some hangers. not too shabby. i gotta give props to the cuz for already purchasing a fridge, microwave etc... i may buy a tv for my room too so i can go to sleep watching the tube like i do so often. that burning sound you hear is my first paycheck in my pocket. as far as the church goes, i can't believe how good of a start i have here. everyone is really hyped up about me being here, and the kids i've met so far seem to be really excited too. my priority is going to be not trying to do too much at first. we had a leadership conference this past weekend and i think i really impressed everyone there with the ideas i had. i just hope they don't expect everything at once. pace yourself is going to be my personal theme here for a while. the biggest thing is that i really feel like i already have all these things going for me that other youth ministers sometimes have to fight for. i get to make up my own budget, (once i get an exact number) i get to combine jr/sr high classes, mission trips are already a go, camp is a go, my interns for next summer should be worked out in the next few days... my only real issue right now is how soon we can fix up the youth room. oh yeah, the biggest thing is that i am in charge of the youth, the deacon over the youth is changing his title to education to give me a little bit more leeway. man, w/o trying to jinx this right now, and recognizing that there typically is a honeymoon period with any job, things really couldn't be a whole lot better. to top it off, i found out i even beat out a married guy for the job! i know i shouldn't gloat, but it's so nice to know that the church here can see past the issue of my lack of marital status and look for more solid justifications for hiring a youth minister. that, and one of the coolest conversations i've had with an elder revolved around the fact that this is a first for me and the congregation, and since we don't really have and history, we really get to make up our own rules. i couldn't have asked for anything better than that.
as far as personal stuff goes... topgun girl called a few days ago but i was really busy and haven't got to talk to her since. this isn't the start to communication that i had wanted, so that's going back on the priority list. esp, since nurse girl goes to school close by and we've already started hanging out again. i don't think dating her is anywhere in the near future, but proximity has a way of making things weird.
other things that have been on my mind recently....politics, video games, the weather and star wars. to start off, star wars is still the greatest movie series of all time. i know lord of the rings is a close second, and may have better features, story, or effects, but nothing will ever permeate our culture like star wars has. i'm not going to go off here or anything, this is simply my opinion, and i do respect the lotr fans, but star wars simply has more classic characters and more places to go, and i think that's why so many people can relate to and enjoy the movies. however, dressing up, and having your own storm trooper outfit will never be cool. bobba fett on the other hand... nope, not even him. i think the only star wars garb that can ever be pulled off is princess leia's return of the jedi outfit. nuff said. speaking of star wars coming out on dvd, there's a new video game out too, and speaking of video games i just bought ncaa 04 for my ps2 and i am yet once again hooked on football. i realize this defeats the whole purpose of me trying to be more active, but there's something about sports video games that is really addictive. i think it's that in the back of my mind i am separating myself from those other video gamers that play typical games. i really think i can justify myself by saying there is something less nerdy about playing sports video games than other types. man, speaking of denial (man these segues are sweet) i've started paying a lot of attention to politics lately. it's kind of hard not to. w/o trying to sound to biased, it really seems that the media has lost it when it comes to objective reporting. both sides spin facts, create facts, and just outright lie so much that's its really getting frustrating trying to recognize who is giving me the info i actually need to know. on one side, i think people are prying so hard into sen. kerry's war record that they are losing sight of what he actually stands for. on the other side, it seems like there is a conspiracy of disrespect in the media towards our president. i have never seen so many people have a complete, outright lack of respect for the office of president. i recognize we all have the right to voice our own opinions, but it would be nice to get a truly unbiased list of who stand where on what issues. that's my political soapbox for the day, more venting than anything else. it'd just be nice to see people put the mud and the gloves down and intelligently talk things out. i'm sure the forefathers really hated each other's stances on issues, but were willing to be mature for the good of those they represented. it'd be nice if we could have the same courtesy extended to us today.
lastly, it feels like fall outside. that's a big thing for socal, where it really stays summer all year long. today reminds me of an oklahoma day. the leaves are changing, the wind is blowing, and it reminds me of so many awesome memories of my time, and my friends back in the midwest. hope to see you guys soon, and whenever things settle down here i'll start calling to say hey to all my midwest friends that i miss. one love ya'll.


i am jack's complete lack of surprise...

so the couch crashing adventure continues.....
only a few days left till i move to simi valley to start my first full time job, and nervousness has changed over to excitement. slowly but surely i am trading self doubt in to God-based confidence, and i think i owe it to a couple of things.
first, God has put me in the presence of so many encouraging people this week, i really feel like i have a whole team pulling for me, and i'm def not going at it alone. God is def working through my friends, and even acquaintances that are encouraging me. man, i hope i can stay this focused on letting God have control.
secondly, i started reading this book, Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. i'm not even halfway through and this book is already having a major impact on me. this book is putting into words a lot of feelings that have been building up in me, that i just couldn't really put into formal sentences. the basic idea of this book is recapturing our manhood, and being men the way men were supposed to be. i love it. this book isn't talking about being macho in the sense of 'i drive a truck, ride a harley, down beers with the best of em and have twenty tattoos'. wild at heart deals more with the way we have been tamed as men, we've become lions in the zoo. we've become too feminine. as kids we dream of hitting the game winning homerun, saving the world (or mine and dantheman's backyards) from countless bad guys, doing barrel rolls to avoid enemy migs.... you get the picture. but what do we end up doing? we end up working behind desks, in clothes we don't like, looking for anything to be a sense of adventure. this book is like a christian version of fight club, office space and braveheart combined. i really think we have emasculated men so much in our culture, that we really are lost. not only that, but the standards for men have become so low, it's almost sickening. all we really are called to be anymore is 'a good guy'. what happened to provider? rescuer? trailblazer? fixer? builder? hunter? dangerous? that's right, christian men need to be dangerous. God used men in the old testament to slay thousands that stood in his way. Jesus hung out with dockworkers and turned over tables of those with corrupt authority. Jesus was dangerous. He didn't die because He was simply 'a nice guy', He died because He posed a threat to the status quo. that's how i want to be remembered. i don't want people to simply expect me to be 'a nice guy', that should be without question. i want people to say 'you never know what d.j. is going to do next, but i'm going to watch because it's going to be big'.
i recognize that on some level our dreams do have to meet reality. i was never meant to play professional baseball. fine. that doesn't mean i can't be a crazy youth minister that pushes his kids to the brink in the name of love. that doesn't mean i can't be passionate about my friends or love interests. in fact, i am doing the people i know a bigger disservice by not reaching in and pulling out my heart to lead me. my dad did this as long as i can remember. after i was born he stopped some of the crazy macho stuff, but he always had, and still does, have that twinkle in his eye of self satisfaction. he busted his butt for our family. he has fought a brain tumor for over twenty years so he could see my sister graduate. he wanted to see me become a man, and he fought for it. he knew his life could be cut short and he wanted to take care of mi madre. he did. mom is going to be taken care of for the rest of her life. this doesn't mean that dad didn't work an office job, or get locked into that 'dilbert' sense of humor that i really can't stand. this just means that my dad would never fall prey to buying something because it was 'metrosexual'. he would not allow us to devote our lives to anything less worthy than God, country, or family. dad bought power tools because HE was going to work on the house. (and a lot of the times i was going to be his sidekick) i love his tools. some are uneccessary, but none of them could be taken back to the store because they all have battle scars. does this mean he was insensitive? not in the least. i remember many saturday mornings were spent working on yards for an elderly lady from church that lived nearby. i hated going there because she always called me by the wrong name and her house was old and smelly, but i see why dad made me do it. he was tough, she wasn't, and he was going to go beyond just being a 'nice guy'. dad was a knight in shining armor to her. i'm just sad it took me so long to learn what he was teaching me.
i'm sitting here with the tv off, because there was just a commercial for 'queer eye for the straight guy'. it's one of my least favorite shows, and now i know why. why should i be pushed into a feminine way of living? so what if my room is messy and my shower curtain doesn't match my towels. i'm so sick and tired of being told that i need to be more feminine.
lastly, i don't think women out there really dreamed about a guy that would 'fix a great powerpoint presentation' when they were little girls. nope, they dream about the knight in shining armor, the guy who fights for them, and then lives happily ever after, not 'in front of the tv ever after). if i'm wrong, oh well. i think i owe it to topgun girl, and whoever else may come along to sweep them off thier feet. show them adventure, fight for them, make them feel beautiful, and like a woman. not like an equal, not like a buddy, but like a woman being cared for by a man. imagine that, a man that would stay around to be a father to his kids. a man that would not take out his aggression on his wife, a man who would do the dishes to take a burden off her back. sounds old school i know, but maybe that's what we're really looking for these days. maybe that's why fight club, office space and braveheart and movies like that do so well.
well, i've got a bbq to go to and a bonfire to hang out at. after that, it's more of this book.
one love, one heart.


Last night, Darth Vader came down from planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn't take Lorraine out that he'd melt my brain...

ok, so dantheman's couch is a little too small to sleep on, and i'm actually on the floor tonite, but that's besides the point: the great homeless adventure continues. tonite i'm crashing up in murietta at dantheman's apt which is actually really nice. i was a little scared that when he got married his wife (futuremom) would take over the decorating and do something drastic that i would have to give him a hard time about, but i guess they did the shopping and decorating together, and the place looks really cool. not too metro, but just nice enough to make it a nice place to crash. the most important thing is that futuremom made a 'pallet' which translates into 'a bunch of blankets and sleeping bags on the floor, stacked high enough to be really comfortable'. i should have been crashing here all along.
another day went by w/o me purchasing a surfboard, and it's starting to get kind of irritating. part of me is very passionate about learning to surf, and another more practical side is holding me back. surfing is pretty expensive to get into though, and it takes somewhat of a financial commitment for what is not guaranteed to be a great return. whatever, i am going to learn to surf. i recognize my athletic skills are not anywhere close to par, but i've got to be able to stand up on a giant board at least a few times. i just want to to be able to enjoy myself at the beach, and be able to harness some of those beautiful waves that God has given us.
that reminds me of my favorite spot in the world. it's actually pretty popular, but i like it still. it's at the south end of la jolla cove, at a place i like to call the rock. we used to have devotionals out there when i was a teenager, and i remember it was the place that helped me realize that there really was an all powerful God. man, the power of the beach is so amazing. people claim that something as beautiful as a wave can be explained by science and physics, but what about the fact that a wave is God at work with a paintbrush. i can't say enough. the beach is such a powerful tool to explain God to people, you can bet on me bringing my simi kids there as much as possible.
speaking of simi kids, i am getting really antsy to get to work. i can't believe that all my life so far has come to this point, where i am going to start work. i was talking to dantheman today about starting and it really hit me that i think i'm going to be just fine as a working man. normally i would say i am being cocky, but i really feel like its more a matter of taking on the responsibilities of working for God, and letting Him take the driver's seat. this is going to be awesome.
other stuff on my mind... i talked to topgun girl for a minute tonite and i wasn't getting the same vibe that i normally get. i'm getting scared that my moving away is going to keep her away from getting any closer. my other big fear is that i am going to try and pull her in too close too quickly, and end up pushing her away. i know what has me scared though; one of my friends, littlesister, was talking about topgun girl the other day, and said she was probably the most eligible bachelorette in churches around our area. so i'm not the only one that sees something in her, and that's a weird pressure to feel. now i feel like i'm competing with every other guy in our church in san diego. i know i'm not, but i def don't see myself as the most eligible bachelor. well, maybe most eligible homeless bachelor. i've got to stop thinking about this or tomorrow when i take her lunch at school i'm going to say something really stupid.
something else that's been bother me is a guy i kind of call a friend, but i'm not really sure where we actually stand. george mcfly (probably the best descriptive nickname i've ever come up with) has been around for a long time. dantheman and i used to give him a hard time when we were (really mean) 4th graders. anyways, george mcfly went to school to become a youth minister, but there's one problem; he seriously lacks the social skills necessary to do so. this is a guy who literally forgot to wipe his own butt when he was 20 years old. dantheman was his roommate for a while and the stories he can tell would scare any potential churches that george mcfly would send his resume towards. needless to say i'm not the only one that feels this way, it's pretty much a well known fact that someone in san diego is going to have to sit him down one day and explain to him that even though he has the heart for youth ministry, he really doesn't have the gifts to do so. it's not like a rudy story where the odds are stacked against him and he has the chance to struggle towards the top. we are talking about the well being of teenager's spiritual lives in the hands of a guy who can't even carry on an adult conversation. it's like this giant cloud that surrounds churches in san diego, that everyone knows is there but him and his family. i feel sorry for the guy, because so many people encourage him, and build him up when they know he's not cut out for full time youth ministry. nobody knows how to talk to him though. the guy has an out of control temper, and you never really know if he gets what you're are saying. i know my mentor, the godfather, spent almost 6 months with him as an intern, and if there was anyone who could really help him out, its the godfather. when the godfather runs out of ideas, its time to stop and bring this guys to reality. but who is going to do it? i have the tenacity, but i just beat this guy out for a job and i think it would hurt the most coming from me. aside from that, it would be so arrogant and cocky just for me to bring it up, i really don't think it's appropriate. fortunately, i discussed with the godfather and joy fatone (one of the other youth ministers that george mcfly worked with, and a close friend) and they feel like i shouldn't have to bear the burden. man, george mcfly looked like he was going to cry when i told him that i got the simi valley job. he really thought he had a shot at it, but was so far off. he was actually waiting for a phone call about his interview, when the church up there thought it was so obviously not going to work out they haven't called him back in almost a month. i don't want to sound like i am bragging, but it wouldn't have mattered if i was going for the job or not, there have been churches that have passed on him that are desperate to have someone step in. in one case a guy got a call from a friend at a small town church looking for a youth minister, and this guy gave him george mcfly's name and resume. after a terrible interview (which included a three hour ride home from the airport where george mcfly talked the entire time) the guy got a call from his friend asking him if george mcfly was some kind of joke. he was truly hurt that mcfly had been recommended to that congregation. the guy apologized and said he felt so bad for mcfly that he just wasn't thinking straight. there's so much more to this story but i think the point has been made clearly enough. this poor guy is realizing the hard way that he just doesn't have the skills to achieve his dream. i remember when it dawned on me that i was never realistically going to be a baseball player, there was a time of sorrow, and then a time of relief knowing i had narrowed down my future profession by one. i'm not saying it's not good to chase dreams (ie me trying to learn how to surf), but there comes a certain point when reality hits and that dream job (catching for the san diego padres) must be put on the shelf. do i love my dream any less? not a chance! i cry when my team loses and i cheer loudly at every miniscule, mundane achievement. i realize my role is to be in the stands when it comes to baseball, and i'm probably not going to ever be sponsored when it comes to surfing. will i still play catch and put on a wetsuit when the mood hits. w/o a doubt. as for george mcfly, i just don't think he's at a point where he understands that a full time youth minister needs volunteers to help out. but who wants to be the one to crush this guys dreams? part of me keeps going back to wanting to do it myself, because i'm already a bad guy in the mcfly household, but another part of me doesn't want to be remembered as the bad guy. who knows. it'll be interesting to see how the next few days pans out. at the very least, i'm glad he heard about me getting the job from me, and not the rumor mill. i know he was pretty crushed, but i think i said it in a way that showed i really do care for the guy. sigh...... doing the right thing can be so tough sometimes.
till the next time i feel like sharing my thoughts, one love, one heart.


kip, would you tell grandma to come pick me up from school...

well, my trip home has been pretty miserable. i got sick pretty much right off the plane, and was too stubborn to go to the doctor until yesterday. the sad part was, i slept about 12 hours a day pretty much every day, which normally isn't too bad, except i wanted to spend that time with my dad. i really didn't want to be around him too much, because his immune system is weak and the last thing i want to do is give him strep throat. the plus side was that i didn't spend a dime, and mom got to be a mom again and kind of take care of me. i guess there's always a silver lining somewhere. oh well, i guess i'll get back on the plane tomorrow and spread it as much as i can, just to spite whoever gave it to me. cause i'm sure three nights in a row of staying up past 3am, and one all nighter last weekend def had nothing to do with me getting sick. seriously, stuff like this makes me wonder why anybody ever hired me to mentor their kids.
on another positive note, i got to see my boy 'everlast' today, which would make anybody feel better. this guy has looked like a thug since he was in 6th grade and he's been through stuff as a dealer that makes my hair stand on end, but has done a complete 180 and turned his life completely around. he's a great little brother, and great big brother to his actual siblings. anytime i ever think i have it rough everlast is one of those guys that reminds me that life is cake compared to what it could be. marital infidelities have hurt our country so much, i wish every story could have a positive turnout like everlast's, but i think the truth is evident by the fact that we all lock our car doors at night. can you imagine what our country would be like if a majority of families stuck together, instead of ending in divorce. i know this may seem tainted coming from a youth minister, but there really is a lot of wisdom to christianity that would solve so many social ills that plague our society. like i was saying about the new bad religion cd i bought a few weeks ago. our society seems to crave so desperately what end up being christian principles, but claim that christianity is so oppressive. the irony seriously makes me indecisive on whether to laugh or cry. part of me just want to hold up a sign that says 'check out the mess you've created'. but i'm not a sign guy. i guess my biggest contribution i can make is stick to my plan of abstinence, so my marriage is built on something deeper than sex, and be a loyal and trustworthy husband and father when that time comes. that's right, i am going to be responsible for my own actions, and the actions of my family. i may sound 40 right now, but i don't really care. there's something to be said for sticking to your guns. i guarantee when everlast has a family (which will probably be sooner than later) he is going to be an awesome parent and husband because he has one of the best example of what not to be. everlast may not make it the classroom, but he has more than his fair share of life experience and common sense to know how to be a man. that, and i've seen him hold little babies at church and he's a natural teddy bear, tatts and all. this guy six years ago carried around a 9mm wherever he went, and made his girlfriend do the same. now she is going to her sr. year at a very prestigious college, and he's going to serve our country in the navy. i couldn't think of another person i would rather have defending out country than everlast. when all is said and done, everlast has become a great friend over the years, and i know that he understands God's grace better than i probably ever will, and he lives his life that way. this guy has probably physically been able to beat me up since he was in 6th grade (when i was a mighty 9th grader) but would never lay a finger on a soul, unless he thought they were going to bring some type of harm to his family or mine. everlast is one of those guys who isn't the typical public speaker, but i guarantee i am flying him down for retreats in the near future to share his story. i think my kids would be blessed to know him. i am. and to top off the good news about everlast, one of his first stops in the navy is not too far from simi valley, and he's going to be on a shift where he gets three days off at a time. yeah, the kids are going to get to know him real well. at the very least, i'll get to spend some time with him. i can't wait for the days of laughter.
so some other sidenotes about being sick. 1. not having health insurance is pretty lame. $104 to see the doctor yesterday for a ten minute appointment, but i did get a jprescription for some pills ($29.99) that do have me feeling better. 2. the pills i got for a swollen throat have to be the largest pills i have ever swallowed, and they don't even have a smooth coating to help them go down easier. i guess you know you're fine when it's not a pain trying to take the pills anymore. there's some wicked medical irony there. 3. no matter how much of a grown man you are, when you are sick at home you may as well be twelve. mom makes soup and gives you blankets to keep warm while you watch entirely too much tv. 4. you always look like like crap. i spent a whole summer in san diego and im about as tan as a marilyn manson fan. i lost several pounds too, which is kinda awkward because i'm going to buy some new clothes next week and there's a good likeliness they're gonna be pretty small by the end of the month. oh well, just another excuse to work out and exercise and all. and finally 5. almost every sickness can be avoided. i should have never worn my body down last week w/o expecting the repercussions. i did this in college during finals week several times and i should have remembered the lessons i've learned. sleep is necessary, and so is some decent food every once in a while to keep the body running itself properly. seriously, how did i ever graduate?
well, it's too late in the night to be talking about sleep, time to take some action. one love, one heart.