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.

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