"What's good for me might not be good for the weak minded." - Gus McCrae

thanks to everyone who voiced their support after the last blog. sometimes when things catch me off guard like that it's real easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

anyways, the long saturday night led to to a sunday of just trying to make it through church with eyes remaining open, which i did. the true test was trying to watch the chargers battle their way through the playoffs. i'll talk about that later. so that lack of sleep on saturday has translated to a few days of not being able to get back to a decent sleep pattern, but who cares. the cool thing about this weekend is that it caused me to spend a monday doing things i never thought i would do. this included (among other things) skateboarding down hollywood blvd, buying lunches for people on skid row, and singing with a street performer to tourists in front of Grauman's theater. i don't know what the connection is between my mourning and my sense of adventure being heightened, but it seems like the past few years when something hits hard, i tend to go on some crazy adventure. i don't know if i've always been this way, or if this is something that has developed recently, but any psych majors who'd like to take a crack at that one i'd appreciate the help.

oh yeah, and the craziest part about skating in l.a. is that no one notices you are there. this is lame when it comes to cars, but it's weird because i almost ate it riding over a storm drain and no one even batted an eye.

and the soundtrack to skate l.a. day goes something like this:
bad religion - los angeles is burning
clash - police and thieves
p.o.d. - youth of a nation
thrice - artist and the ambulance
dr. dre and tupac - california love
sixer - farmington
beach boys - i get around
lupe fiasco - kick, push
switchfoot - american dream
mxpx - punk rawk show
rancid - ruby soho
bedouin soundclash - st. andrews
bob marley - concrete jungle
operation ivy - bad town
and no list of songs for los angeles would be complete w/o guns'n'roses - welcome to the jungle

i know there are plenty more but i didn't skate for that long. by the way, los angeles has really cleaned up over the past few years. there's still plenty of crazy people around, but overall the city seems to be a lot cleaner. at least it was to me.

i think its good to get away from the normal every once in a while and just check out the world from a different perspective. i think it's why so many people in the suburbs listen to rap, why hawaii is so popular as a vacation spot, and why we (as americans) are so obsessed with tv and movies. don't get me wrong, i'm all about being in the here and now, but more and more i'm aware of how much i desire for things to be in constant flux. in the 1940's we had millions of people heading overseas for this 'great adventure' of fighting evil (in no way, shape or form do i intend to be disrespectful to our veterans, just roll with me here). before that we were heading across the prairies to find gold, and before that we were mapping out a new world. our country was discovered by people bent on finding something new. i guess it's inherent in our blood to seek some new adventure. now i feel a lot better about taking a day to skate. all done.

ahhhh, the chargers. i have to admit i was heading up the anti-norv bandwagon at the beginning of the season, but he did bring results. if not for a couple of torn acl's by some though as dirt players (seriously, who would even begin to imagine LT's toughness) i think this blog would be talking about how many times merriman would be putting the other manning into the grass. oh well. the chargers ended up with an excellent season, and i can't wait to see what a healthy bolts team looks like next year. by the way, cromartie gets my pick for mvp, and as soon as he signs on again i'm buying the powder blue 31 jersey.

me and the cuz were watching the lonesome dove series last week, getting ready for the comanche moon mini series that was coming on. simply amazing. there's something about a good western that really speaks to me. i think the cuz hit the nail on the head when he said the most used phrase in both shows was ' a man oughta'. i really like that phrase. i think it is becoming increasingly necessary to clarify that there are certain things that a man 'oughta' do.

a man oughta know how to throw a baseball.
a man oughta know the difference between a screwdriver and a phillips.*
a man oughta own a truck at some point in his life.
a man oughta have a healthy fear and respect for God, his parents, and guns.
a man oughta be slow to speak, and quick to listen.
a man oughta know how to slow dance.
a man oughta have at least one scar from a story worth telling.
a man oughta know how to hold his tongue.
a man oughta know start a fire.
a man oughta pay for dinner.
a man oughta have at least two hats, one for work, and one for sports.
a man oughta be able to navigate using north, south, east and west.
a man oughta know left from right, and right from wrong*
a man oughta be ready to pray.
a man oughta have respect for his elders.
a man oughta try something stupid at least once.
a man oughta leave the house clean, and come back dirty.
a man oughta know how to shine his own shoes.
a man oughta do what he says he will*
a man oughta have a favorite book, hero, and athlete.
a man oughta know how to shake hands.
a man oughta be able to tie a tie.
a man oughta appreciate beauty.
(*from the cuz, although he heard them somewhere else)

well, that's all the 'manoughtas' i've got right now, but i'm sure there are plenty more out there. feel free to send in your own.

and in honor of the fact that i'm the mood for watching a western, here's my:
pale rider/ young guns (tie)
blazing saddles
the searchers
el dorado
butch cassidy and the sundance kid
lonesome dove/comanche moon
the good, the bad, the ugly
magnificent seven

basically anything but dances with wolves.

one love, one heart.


Dr. Tony Alley, 1953 -2008

I can't sleep. I'm mad and I'm crying. I found out tonight that one of my favorite professors, Dr. Tony Alley, died this past tuesday from brain canacer.

Tony Alley,
Tom Haraszko,
Joe Bolger,

it's too much right now. i know i shouldn't be mad at God, but i can't help it right now.

I feel cold. I feel like staying up all night and trying to think of anything but this. I can't go to sleep anyways because I have this huge knot in my stomach. I think I'm going to throw up.

This in not the response that any of these guys would want but right now i just don't care.

Dr. Alley was by far the professor who cared the most for me when i was struggling in college, dealing with dad being sick. He was an art teacher who taught me more about faith than any of my bible professors. He was genuine. He cared. And he was wise.

And now my pillow is soaked and i'm punching my mattress asking God why?

The truth is i know exactly why this hurts. it hurts because i know that i'm not living up to the potential that all of these people saw in me. while i may not be a bad person, in no way shape or form could i look any of these men in the eyes and truthfully say that i am who they knew i could become. that's what hurts. it's beyond hurt; this is torturing my soul.

i can not go on with this pain anymore. i don't want to go to church in the morning and pretend to be okay and smile at people. i don't want to have to hear about others problems or listen to the some song from the 1800s with words i don't ever use outside of church.

i want to drive all night and apologize to the alley family for never letting dr. alley know how much of an impact he made on my life. i want to tell them about the time he smiled when i said i was going to go into youth ministry. i want to fly up to seattle and sit in the back of our old church and look at the grassy hills outside the windows.

i want this sense of regret and rage to go away.

God, i don't care what it is you do, just do something. please. i can't stand this.


"Study hard, I'm going to try out for American Gladiators"

hola blogworld. i was going to wait until i got the pics from mi hermana to put up a post about nyc and christmas, but that may take a while so i'll go ahead and share the details from christmas and all the other usual stuff that makes it on here.

this year for christmas we headed to the greatest city in the world, which really deserves that title. mi madre got us a place right across the street from the united nations, and a couple of blocks from grand central right in the heart of midtown manhattan. it was awesome, we had a great view of the east river and the upper east side. i can't even begin to express how much i love visiting nyc. the place is always alive and there's an insane amount of energy wherever you go. this trip was a little bit slower paced than when i went this summer, but that was a good thing. we went all over the place: times square, empire state building, off-broadway play, liberty island, ellis island, carnegie deli, central park, the met, little italy, roc center. oh yeah, and mi madre got us a helicopter ride for our christmas present. a helicopter ride around manhattan. by far the best present i've ever received. it was insane, the world didn't even look real from the inside of a helicopter. it's expensive, but i recommend it to any ever going to visit nyc. mi hermana was kind of freaking out sitting in the front, esp when the pilot did a ten story drop without warning, but that added to a lot of the fun for me.
all in all this was a great christmas with the family. we did really good for being in the same hotel room for a week, and mi hermana did a good job of keeping up with two excited kids. every slice of pie (pizza) was awesome, every hot dog from the street vendors was great, it was cold but not unbearable (my forty dollar peacoat from ross was the best investment i've ever made) and it was a perfect push into the new year.
anyways, i love nyc, and i can't wait to go back again.

i met jon voight on the plane ride back from nyc. we were walking off of the plane at the same time and i mentioned to him that i happened to be watching a movie with him it on the flight. he asked what movie, and when i told him it was transformers he got really excited and we talked to the baggage claim about how cool the cgi was in that movie. by far the coolest celebrity i've met.

new years.
this year i have no new years resolutions. it's not that i'm anti-resolution, i just have enough stuff i'm trying to do already and didn't feel like waiting till january. that, and my resolution stuff is pretty typical; better shape, save money, more organized... (i'm yawning too). this isn't really noteworthy outside of me just trying to keep track of what was on my mind for when i read this later on (read: when my bestseller makes it to paperback).

the rocket.
a lot of people have asked me my opinion on the steroids issue and the involvement of one of my favorite players, roger clemens. i guess this is as good as any place to put my two cents into the mess. while i do believe there is a major problem with steroids in all professional sports, i do not believe that roger clemens is guilty of doing anything illegal, or unsportsmanlike. we have one person, under duress with plenty of motivation to drop a big name, with only his word and no evidence to back up any of his statements. clemens was also allegedly mentioned in a story leaked to the la times a couple of years ago, and that was proven to be completely false. i think this will wash out the same. at this point there really is no reason not to own up to using steroids, as pettite and several others have done. another point that seems to be missing in the mix is that at the time of these alleged uses, HGH was not a banned substance. only recently has this substance been banned. this also separates clemens from the bonds category, because he was accused of using substances that he knew were banned. clemens did own up to being injected by his trainer with b-12 and pain medication. this is a pretty common practice. the argument has been brought up that this is something unique to this era, and we bring up these magical days of yore when baseball players were elevated above doing anything shady, never mind that mantle would get enough shots to his knees before every game to take down a horse.
i guess my point is that we should wait until all of the facts come to light before we prosecute someone in the court of public opinion. are performance enhancers a problem in all sports? yes. do leagues need to crack down on athletes? yes. is every person accused of shooting up guilty? no. the more we head in the direction of modern mccarthyism in sports, the less likely we are to get clear answers.

i urge all of you to check out bethlehemstar.net. it's an amazing scientific look at what was going on during the time of Jesus' birth and death from an astronomical standpoint. even better, just spend the few bucks and buy the dvd. if you don't like it i'll pay you back.

i remember when i broke my leg a few years ago, the only thing that was worse than the pain was constantly having to tell everyone what happened. i made up stories about kicking in doors for swat teams, motorcycle accidents, steamrollers, and stampedes of wild elephants (in actuality i was outside playing with my dog). it seems like casts do more than help things heal, they draw everyone's attention and create an easy conversation piece. i recognize that people are going to ask about a cast because they care, but that doesn't mean it doesn't get old telling the same old story over and over and over.
there are a lot of things that get old like that. i've been to several funeral where people were glad i would talk to them about the baseball, or traveling, or anything that was a change of pace. in our youth ministry mafia meetings we have days where we make a 'no work talk' rule. a few of the guys here at church are very adamant about never talking about their jobs. i think it's an easy thing to miss too. you don't realize how much conversations start to echo each other, and then you wonder why you feel frustration start set in. i say 'you' here' because this is something i've heard from several people.
as frustrated as i am talking about the same single subject all of the time to certain people, i realize that i am terrible at this myself. kiddos that i don't know very well hear the same questions from me all of the time that scream of my lack of knowing them on a deeper level. the problem is, i only recognize this when i have been a victim of what i call 'tunnel conversation'.

do you ever scroll through your ipod and find things on there and wonder how they made it into your possession? i was looking through my album list and saw deana carter - did i shave my legs for this?' i'm sure she's great if you're into female pop country, but as for me, i'm completely bewildered. and kinda creeped out.

the same people that give me crap for watching wrestling every once in a while are superstoked about american gladiators being back on the air.

a while back i got a cd set of james earl jones reading the bible. i call it the king james earl jones version, and it's pretty awe inspiring. you should get it.

i'm tired of following politics. it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that the more i get interested in following politics, the more jibbberish that is thrown my way. i know where the people running for office stand on my major issues, and unless they change (which is the only thing that could possibly re-captivate my interest at this point) i don't particularly care to follow all of the debating, mud slinging, and grandstanding that is going to happen in the next few months. congratulations politics, you've completely bored me with your non stop rhetoric. i'll see you when it's time to vote. and by the way, i'm writing in gammons/kruk on my ballot.

well, i think that's enough ranting for this lunch break. i've got to get ready for a weekend of working on my truck, helping people move, and heading down to san diego.

one love, one heart.