how do you make extra money?

i was telling jen today about my frustration with not knowing how to go about making extra money beside what's a part of my regular paycheck. that money is spoken for (bills, food, etc.) but there are things that i'd like that don't fit into any of our budgetary categories (musical gear, computer upgrades, big gifts, etc). so, you career folks, you family folks, what do you do for those special purchases? what creative options have you found?

the resolution to end all resolutions

one of my favorite things to do is whatever i want to whenever i want to. while this may not sound surprising, it is also not uncommon. that is why we all make new year's resolutions. it's a way to feel good about ourselves because of a choice we make, that doesn't actually require action until a later date. this way, if i know i need to spend more time with my kids, i decide to make it a new year's resolution. this decision asuages my conscience for now, but by the time i need to start actually doing something about my decision, the urgency i felt is dissipated, and i settle comfortably into the same pattern i've been in for as long as i can remember.

that's why i decided never to make new years resolutions. if it's time for a change, it's time for a change. if i need to spend less $ and save more, why not spend less today? if i want to get my body healthier, why not work out today? plus, and this may be exclusive to me, but somehow i doubt it, if i don't make a change now, it's not gonna happen. the urgency i feel at these watershed moments is crucial to my actually making a change. if i miss this early momentum, the chances that i'll carry through on shear discipline alone, i'm sad to say, is slim at best.

so i say ditch the new year's resolution. today's as good a day as january 1st.


new atheism is the new "revelation"

i'm reading a story in wired about new atheism, an agressive belief system championed by richard dawkins. they are making a case for the fact that not only does god not exist, but that the belief in any god is damaging and must be stopped.

one of the arguments i just read was that slavery was once considered morally acceptable. the contention is that morality should be superseded by logic. it seems strange to point to such beliefs as a definitive nail in the religious coffin. after all, didn't science and reason tell us that putting leeches on open wounds was a good thing? hasn't science sold us as many "lies" as religion? are we still so narrow-minded, selfish and blindly impassioned that we cannot recognize that what we know now, today, may not be the entire story?

i expected to read this article casually and have found instead my mind racing and my heartbeat a crescendo, thinking of not only the defensiveness i feel having that which i hold most dearly called evil, but the obvious fallacy in the argument that seems to be ignored in favor of the cliched traditional arguments of the god people versus the rational people.

i'm gonna finish the article. it's long, but worth a read.

four-eyed monsters

i came across something about this movie in wired. looks interesting, like the website, really like another querilla campaign to promote a film. the more the indie film industry picks up steam, the happier i am. i love a good film. i love to not be sure what's gonna happen next. i love not knowing all the actors. i love stories that are willing to linger in discomfort longer than the surveys recommend and i love the general lack of one-liners and crotch shots that most indie films steer clear of.

truth be told, i really want to be a part of this thing i love. i want to make a film that's unique. i want to tell a story in a creative way. i've got ideas. believe me, i've got ideas. i've got the necessary gear and knowledge to at least do something. the one thing i lack is a belief in myself. i expect to be disappointed with something that i produce. this has happenned before, but it's because i didn't take the necessary time to properly set up and carry out the idea. i rushed it, as i often do, in favor of quick results instead of quality results. bummer.

so, here's the one i did before. you'll see what i mean. good idea+hasty execution=still just a good idea


i've got nothing to say...yet

i've been following the progress of my e-buddy brant at kamp krusty. he and his have stopped attending church in favor of being the church. i like it. what i really love about it is the endless fodder for dialogue and diatribe. with such a cultural/religious/personal/philosophical issue, there are bound to be as many opinions as people, maybe more. check it out and join in the discussion. if for some reason you're interested in my perspective on any of this, ask. i love nothing more than to talk about myself, obviously.


cd release party for tennis's "singles & doubles"

tonight, jen and i were out on the town and wandered into our favorite downtown hangout, downtown crossing. as we approached the door, to our jubilee we learned that tonight was the first night in a 3 show series release party for tennis's first record, singles & doubles. the show was awesome. The first set included a handful of tunes from the record as well as a handful of covers ranging from radionhead's my iron lung to devo's whip it. the performance was spirited, the music was excellent, the atmosphere was very, very nice. if you live in the sandpoint area, stop by downtown crossing tuesday through saturday after 4 and check it out...and if you're in the mood for some good-time-funk-rock-soul, pick up singles & doubles. it'll have you volleying to the beat before you know it!


attempted posts

while we were in Florida over Thanksgiving, i wrote a couple posts in that network-forsaken land that through one glitch or another, never made it to this page. so, without further ado (or re-reading them first) here they are.

Happy Feet

I’m watching a piece on fox news right now about the animated film, happy feet. They’re critiquing the film for making a “far left,” “political” statement, apparently about global warming. Their point is understandable about not wanting their kids getting a message that they disagree with. The thing that kills me is that they act like this is the first time such a thing has happened. I get the impression that, in reality, they’re not mad that the filmmakers use the film to propagate a specific message, they’re just pissed because they don’t agree with it. Don’t get me wrong, liberals do the same thing, claiming that free speech is paramount…except if it’s along judeo-christian lines.

Maybe someday parents will decide to take these opportunities to have a conversation with their kids instead of making them such a big political deal. And remember, seeing happy feet or participating in any art viewing for that matter, is voluntary. If you don’t like it, don’t patronize it. If they don’t make any money, they won’t do it next time.

And why can people not recognize that they controversy has the exact opposite effect? I mean, I’m interested in seeing happy feet now, and wasn’t before. The davinci code was a mediocre movie that became a blockbuster because religious people made such a huge deal about it. If you don’t like, tell your friends not to waste their time and money. Going on tv to complain will only stoke the fire.

The Schema of the Grandparents' World

Stated assumptions:

  1. the moisture from a bath towel left to dry in the house will cause some damage. Better to hang them in the garage.
  2. unplug hairdryers and curling irons whether they’re on or off. It’s just not worth the risk.
  3. no matter what your plans, always take a jacket. Might as well.
  4. don’t spill anything anywhere, including water droplets on the counter next to the sink.


a great magazine

i almost called it new, but i don't think it's very new, just too hip for me to have noticed...until now. it's called adbusters and features everything from well-written sarcastic prose to thought-provoking photo layouts. i saw it a couple weeks ago in our local grocery but neglected to pick it up due the high cover price [8.95! ouch!] but today i splurged and am very glad that i did.

one layout features the stark contrast of the depth of suffering in the forgotten regions of the African continent against the banal debauchery of spring-breakers playing drinking games to their oblivious little hearts' content. ["it's all fun and games until somebody gets date-raped"] [yes, i know that was harsh and i'm a little sorry, but only a little.] the caption to the spread reads something along the lines of "...our biggest goal in warfare now is to keep it as painless and insulated from our lives as possible..." although it's stated ever so much more artistically and powerfully.

my favorite idea so far from this issue is the suggestion of giving away "no gift" vouchers for christmas. basically, and i hope i remember this a year from now, jen and i are gonna hand out vouchers to our family giving them the gift of not buying us anything, the goal being the decommercialization of christmas.

anyway, if you have even an anti-establishment molecule in your body, i highly recommend picking it up, or even subscribing.


most recent netflix

our most recent netflix was dave chappelle's block party (as you may have guessed from the picture). this is a great example of the previous few posts. the music is spectacular. when common, mos def and kanye west are all on stage, i could sense the energy of the show. my heart beat fast as i was transported there, waving my hands in the air, hoping i wasn't dancing too stupidly. the comedy is minimal, but colorful. the sexually charged humor is minimal, but still there. and how should i respond to the racially charged jokes? it's funny. (how many white people does it take to screw in a light bulb? none. they get a n*%&$@ to do it for them.) but does my enjoyment of that humor perpetuate the racial tension that exists in our country? or is it, as dave chappelle suggests, important for us to laugh at ourselves and not take life too seriously? i think yes to both. so then what? do i just skip it for fear of content that is "over the line?" do i watch it like a quick draw artist, remote in hand, ready to fast forward any questionable humor? do i just let it go and find some way to justify it (which i could do, no problem)? do i watch it and then process what was appropriate and what wasn't?

the bottom line is that i really enjoyed this movie. it does contain content that i wouldn't call uplifting, and there is no shortage of the tradition four letter words, but in the end, i felt uplifted after watching it. the energy of the live music, dave's excitement in putting together his dream show, watching the interaction of the artists and yearning to be a part of a group experiencing that level of artistic synergy...it was awesome! i don't know if this system works or not, but i think i'm gonna continue to judge art based on the holistic picture. the sum of the parts may not add up to much, but as a whole, if something is uplifting to me whether by broadening my perspective, shattering some paradigm or simply making me feel good to be alive, i think that means there's more on the positive side than the negative side and that wisdom would suggest that such pieces be enjoyed, digested and shared.


upon further review...

i found the previous post's video to be more crass than originally noted. the video was hilarious, and yet riddled with sexual commentary that may be considered sub-appropriate, depending on your personal convictions inr egards to these matters.

anyway, just wanted to warn you.

incidentally, i had a great conversation with jen last night where we discussed our priorities and standards (actually, my priorities and standards) in regards to, specifically but not limited to, what i choose to watch online, on tv, in a movie, etc. jen feels that my standards have fallen and that i would be wise to reevaluate said standards. the real questions is, what sort of criteria can one use to define such standards? for me, the days of simply avoiding the big four-letter words are gone, but are there benchmarks that can replace the old black and whiteness that is so simple to spot?

in your life in regards to music you listen to, movies you watch, youtube entries you pass along, and tv shows that you tivo, how do you determine whether it is worth your time or not? and especially in times when values conflict (humor and appropriateness for example) how funny does something have to be to make the crassness okay? how inappropriate does something have to be to override the comedy?


this video made me laugh hard 13 1/2 times

triumph, the insult comic dog, apparently voiced by robert smigel, which i'm sure everybody but me already knew, joins a bunch of star wars fanatics and makes fun of them for 10 minutes. it's hilarious!


sometimes, it's just not your day

i mean, you finally get your whole background set up, the camera, the lightingand everything else just right...

the true meaning of christmas?

i got an email including the following poll results. well, at least we're aware of our problems...and that's the first step to recovery.

"my name is justin and i'm a stuff-a-holic."

Gift Giving vs. Gift Getting

  • 40% of those surveyed felt pressured to buy presents for the sake of giving a gift.
  • 85% of Americans said they like spending time with friends and family a lot, while only 17% placed the same priority on getting lots of presents.

Great Gifts Don't Have to Be Expensive

  • 82% of Americans surveyed would rather have a photo album of times shared growing up than a store-bought gift.


  • 92% felt that Americans spend more money than they can afford to during the holidays.
  • 64% would personally spend less money during the holidays if their family would make changes.


  • 47% of all those surveyed reported going into debt last holiday season. Of those, more than one in five was still paying off that debt eleven months later.


  • One out of every three hours spent during the holiday season was devoted to doing things that made survey respondents feel stressed or uncomfortable.

Advertising Aimed at Kids, Family Pressures, Add to the Problem

  • 63% said advertising aimed at kids causes Americans to spend more than they can afford on the holidays.
  • 49% felt pressure from family to overextend financially during the holidays.

Commercialized Holiday Takes its Toll on the Environment

  • 86% said that the commercialization of the holidays leads to excessive packaging and trash, causing environmental damage.
  • 88% didn't think enough people are paying attention to the problem.

# # #

* Poll Commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream and conducted on November 4-5, 1998 by EDK Associates of New York. The survey was administered by phone to 800 people nationwide. Findings from the survey have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent with a 95% level of confidence.


it's not about telling people how cool jesus is

i just read this blog about stephen baldwin and his new found christianity. it seems he's all amped on making the gospel "gnarly." i'm very excited to see that he's found christ. i also want to acknowledge that there are many different ways to reach people with the gospel message; and yet as i listened to him talk and read this blog i realized that his story is a perfect example for a theory i have.

i believe that when it comes to the church being relevant (whatever that word means this week) it's much more important for us each to be who we are rather than create an image of what we think will make the gospel attractive. the fact is that the bigger deal we make about how cool we are, the harder the fall when whatever's cool about us goes out of style. i think this is what stephen is trying to do as he states that these extreme sports are the things he was into before he became a christian. i just wonder if him making such a big deal about how "gnarly" this stuff is, may someday look less cool to him than it does today.

i guess what this is really getting at is the dichotomy between trendy and classic. some like it hot right now, some like it to still be tasty in 20 years.


what am i really worth?

this post that i found through spitbox is one of the most invigorating and inspiring articles i've read in quite some time. and not because i can get rich quick, but because it suggests that there can be more options for my life than i've been told. for the first time, "that's just the way it works," a statement i've heard from the 2 most influential people in my formative years, referring to getting a job and keeping it for as long as possible, may prove to be a fallacy.

the article's called "10 reasons you should never get a job." my favorite reason suggests that i have value that i can offer that equates to more than my ass in a specific chair for a specified number of hours per week. even though it scares me and seems a little ludicrous, i'd like to believe that who i am is as important as what i do. hmmm...i wonder...


character growing...

throughout my recent blog blackout, i've been in one of the most testing situations of my life. i'm sorry to say that i buckled under the pressure. i was spending time with family for a week. i love my family and i love the particular member who was making my life and the lives of those closest to me, a living hell, but i responded poorly to the pressure.

the story in its entirety is a tale for another time, when the clock isn't breathing down my neck. suffice it to say that i've never been treated with so much disrespect and disdain before. the problem is, like i said, i didn't rise to the challenge. i took the abuse quietly but it didn't stop there. i've talked with almost everyone i know, even strangers, about this person and their imbalance. i've been angry at her and not told her about it, i've been extremely passive-aggressive toward her and i've wished, several times, that i could just put her in her place.

this whole situation just goes to show that the progress i thought i was making in my attitude; learning to be less judgemental and more loving, was not the giant leap i'd taken it for but only a small step at a snail's pace. i've GOT TO find a way to remember that Jesus loves her just as much as he loves me, and that i deserve the same fate that i'm so ready to condemn her to.

but i didn't.

i judged.

i complained (behind her back of course).

i'm sorry. i know that she's oblivious to the whole thing, but i wish there was some way to let her know how much she hurt me, how poorly i reacted and how sorry i am for reacting that way.

i've got a long way to go to becoming the child of God that i sometimes think i am.


alright, happy thanksgiving.

i love this holiday because of the focus on appreciation. we're reminded once a year (that's enough don't you think?) that despite our tendency to take our families, homes, friends, etc for granted we need to remain thankful for the good things in our lives. this is why i love thanksgiving.

so today, nearing the end of one of the most stressful weeks of my life, i'm thankful for the opportunity that i have for growth. i've not really risen to the challenge thus far, but today and tomorrow i'm gonna make an effort like i haven't before. afterall, if my thankfulness is only extended to those things which make me feel happy and make my life easier, aren't i missing out on over half of what life throws at me? and as much as i love things to be happy and easy, those aren't the things that help me grow strong, or make me who i am, are they? they're the mile-markers along the way; they're the result of choices i make (and sometimes the result of God's blessing in spite of choices i make).

so be thankful, for all the good things in your life that you think about and smile, and all the rough times in your life when you've been forced to grow or shrink. both are great in their own respect: without the downs, the ups wouldn't be as high and without the ups, the downs would suck even worse.


"she's not human!"

this story was included in a recent newsletter i got from night light, a ministry to prostitutes in bangkok, thailand. below is an excerpt from the newsletter. it's long and completely worth your time. if it strikes a chord with you, please pass this on. these folks can use all the support they can get.

also, check out the jewelry on their website.

A woman's humanity was challenged the other night because she is a prostitute. We share this journal of our latest outreach with you and ask you to please pray for Lina and all the young women trafficked as commodities to a strange land.

"She's Not Human"
Advertising of Women
“She’s not a human being! She sells her body!” The fruit vendor on the street spoke with disgust and her words left me shocked. I felt anger rise up in me. She was justifying her attack of a young Uzbek woman earlier that evening.

The Attack
We were winding up our outreach where young Eastern European and Central Asian woman are trafficked for prostitution. All of the sudden, a fruit vendor on the curbside angrily threw a bucket of water at a young foreign woman. As the woman stood there dripping and in shock the vendor began attacking the woman with her plastic cooler. Again and again she went after her while a crowd of men gathered around to watch. A few laughs filled the air as the woman turned and ran into the street.

Quietly, but quickly I went after her. She was crying and disoriented. I asked if she was okay and then I saw blood gushing from her hand. I started to guide her to the nearby hotel. She panicked and said, “No, no, not there,” afraid of this hotel used so regularly for sexual services. “We need to take care of your hand. Its okay, we’ll take care of you.” In the hotel bathroom, as the water rinsed the blood from the wound she cried out in pain and shock. “Why? Why did she attack me?”

Hospital Visit
The blood would not stop and I said, “We have to take you to a doctor.” She looked frightened. “No, I no money.” “We’ll help you.” I tried to console her and explain that she had to see a doctor. We jumped in a taxi and rushed to a nearby hospital. The young woman, Lina, was frightened but tried to look composed. She said, “Okay, I okay. You go. I go.” I tried to reassure her, “You are alone. You are scared. We will help you.”

At the emergency room the nurses took down information. She is 23 years old and from Uzbekistan. This is her first trip to Thailand. They asked us for more information and we told them we don’t know anything. The doctor was puzzled. “You don’t know her?”

The doctor looked at the damage on her hand. Her finger was not broken but the tendon looked crushed. They injected the wound to numb it and she cried out in pain. She clenched my hand with her other hand which was also cut. The doctor began to stitch up her hand. Blood from the wounds on her back was seeping into the bed sheets. We turned her on her side and tried to comfort her.

Lina spoke very little English. One of our volunteers could speak a little Russian. We tried to communicate what was happening with piecemeal Russian and English, translating the doctor’s Thai. He asked if she had a tetanus shot recently. “Tetanus” was not one of the vocabulary words our volunteer knew. Lina called her friend and we tried to explain. “Has she had a tetanus shot?” “Yes she has passport!” Her friend answered. Still uncertain, the doctor said it would be safer to give the vaccine. When her hand was stitched and bandaged, they dressed her other wounds.The eyeliner that darkly outlined her beautiful brown eyes was smeared from the tears she was trying to hold back. Every now and then her shoulders quivered as she held off the cries that were building up inside.

The Arab Agent
We went to the lobby to wait for the bill. An Arab man approached. “Let’s go,” he said to her. I said, “No, she is waiting for her medicine.” He said, “We’ll get the medicine outside.” “NO!” I said strongly. “She will wait for the medicine the doctor has ordered.” One of my team began to ask questions. He became uncomfortable. “I just came to help her go back to her friend.” I tried the naive approach, “Do you live in Bangkok?” “No, I’m on vacation,” his eyes were evasive. “Where are you from?” (Dubai) “Are you enjoying Thailand?” I tried to dissolve his suspicions. The man was uneasy. He went outside for a cigarette and made a phone call. Lina answered her phone. The man disappeared and Lina changed her story. She no longer had a “boss.” She had come to Bangkok on her own. I looked her in the eyes and said, “Lina, I know. I understand about the Uzbek women coming to Bangkok. We want to help you.”

When the bill was paid, Lina thanked us. We exchanged phone numbers and the cultural three- kiss-on-the-cheek farewell. She insisted she was waiting for her friend. We said good bye and with a deep sadness, watched her walk off into the dark alone.

Humanity Devalued
Regretfully, we headed back to the area of the attack. I approached the fruit vendor and politely asked what had happened to make her so angry. The woman said, “She was hanging around here.” I asked again, “What did she do to make you angry at her?” “She’s a bad person. She sells her body!” She made an obscene gesture with her own body to illustrate. “She’s a human being,” I said. The fruit vendor rudely cut me off,“She’s not a human being. She sells her body!” The anger surged in me. “You caused her harm. Her hand was badly wounded and we had to take her to the emergency room where she had stitches and injections.” “No, that’s not true,” the woman lied. “It was a different person.” “It is true and you know it,” I retorted. “Prove it!” a man said. I got the receipt and waved it in the air before the vendors and the crowd of men. The woman replied with scorn, “This has nothing to do with you!” “It does have to do with me and with you and with all of us!” I pointed at the growing crowd. “This is about community. We must show respect for each other as human beings. We have to help one another.”

I left frustrated and angry. The woman’s attitude summed up so much of society’s attitude toward women in prostitution. “They are not humans. They sell their bodies.” From this distorted belief stems the growing exploitation of women and children around the world through prostitution and trafficking. They have been so devalued that their human identity is denied and they have become commodities available and dispensable. Trafficking in human beings is now tied for second place in illegal global crime. The attitude runs more rampant than we would like to believe. Community values have broken down. The value of a human life is up for bargain.

Humanity Affirmed
Tonight, a young Uzbek woman lay on a hospital bed, crying in fear and pain as she struggled to communicate in broken English to strangers in a foreign land. The image will haunt me. Her physical wounds were treated, but when Lina left the hospital and our care, she returned alone to another form of violence that will leave invisible scars not so easily forgotten.

Lina's humanity was denied in a violent attack. But, God in His mercy was present through us to convey to her His message. “Yes, Lina, you are a human being! Men may exploit your body and label you ‘for sale,’ but I, God, created you in my image. You are precious, and of great value to the one who knows your real name.”


roseanne arnold saves us all

*while the facts herein are true, the intesity is hyperbolized. i'm sure roseanne is doing the best that she can in the place that she is, and i've had plenty of stupid ideas myself and will have plenty more.*

i heard some excerpts from an interview with roseanne arnold yesterday on talk radio. she's got some really dynamite ideas. the best one, and this is really gonna do it for our country, is to close the wage gap by raising the minimum wage, (she didn't give a figure, but it's probably significant since the goal is to "close" the wage gap) and creating a wage cap or "maximum wage", if you will (and i think you might).

"i'm interested, roseanne, please go on. what would you recommend for this maximum wage?"


what are you, stoned? so you think that by raising the minimum wage to, for the sake of argument let's say, $20/hour, and creating a maximum wage of $100,000,000 per year will somehow "close" the wage gap? and just for the sake of comparison, $20/hr at 40hrs/week, 52 weeks/year comes out to about $41,000. and do you really think that somebody who's buymping up against that $100,000,000 marker isn't gonna be able to find a way to make more? they can spend what i'll make in 2 or 3 years in order to keep an extra $1,000,000.

thanks for the help roseanne.


politics schmolitics

top seven political party differentiators:

this list was inspired by this post by Hale-Yeah!

my perspective on the two major parties (which is based out of a general malaise toward politics and a vaguely, cynically naive "understanding," and a belief that both parties are basically the same in terms of their lack of integrity and their desire to say anything to make us believe that the other party wants each one of us dead) is as follows:

  1. reps tend to look out for the interests of those who can or have helped themselves, dems tend to look out for those who can't help themselves.
  2. reps believe in personal resposibility, (i'll pull myself up by my bootstraps) dems belive in situational responsibility (people are holding me down with my own bootstraps so i need governement aid to cut my bootstraps so that the government can pick me up.)
  3. dems tend toward a "live and let live" philosophy toward foreign policy, reps tend toward the "protect-ya-neck, do-unto-others-before-they-do-unto-you" sort of philosophy.
  4. dems want to be cool, reps want to be rich
  5. dems focus on the fact that we were all immigrants at one time and support a more open immigration policy, reps believe this i
  6. reps tend to want a small government, dems tend to see a problem, want a gov't program.
  7. they're both big on freedom of speech: reps for christians, dems for everyone except christians
  8. they're both big on civil liberties: dems to protect our rights to look at porn and have any sort of sex with whomever we choose, reps to protect our right to beat up people who admit looking at porn and have sex with people in ways that we don't approve of.
  9. neither party really cares about abortion anymore
  10. neither party claims to like president bush, i guess they both want to be cool.

i'm way more judgemental than i want to believe

it's funny how timing works. after my previous post, i definitely felt good about myself. the common ground i found with theresa in her deconversion experience was evidence of a change that god's been working in me over the past few months - teaching me to default to what we can agree on instead of where we differ. (a.k.a. where i'm right and you're wrong) i was so proud of this progress made that i guess i needed to be reminded that i don't have it figured out. i would love to tell the story, but it's too long and i don't have the patience. in a nutshell, i went to lunch with someone who believes differently than me on many issues that are important to me (he's also a christian by the way) and instead of looking for the common ground i could share with him, i ranted and raved for 30 minutes after the lunch was over about how i couldn't believe this guy was for real!

suffice it to say, i was reminded harshly of my inner desire to be judge and jury based on the way i felt about this guy. i also realized that i'm the same as him - i have opinions that i can't believe someone else doesn't share, and since he didn't share my opinions/values, there must be something wrong with him.

i had to spend some time asking god to forgive my horrible attitude toward his son and continue the refinement process in me.

whoa doggy, i have a long, long, long way to go.


i've never agreed so much with someone i disagree with before

i just read a blog entry that was one of the most honest and open stories i've read in a while. here's the link to ex-pator, ex-wife, ex-christian. it's long and well worth it. i was pointed to this blog by oblique spheroid. as i read, i was captivated by her sense of loyalty to her husband through situations that would test even the most gracious of people. i was shocked to read a story that didn't include the expected malice and bitterness that one would expect, especially as the list of trials and frustrations grew. i was entranced by her clarity in her journey and her desire to embrace truth. i was saddened by her accounts of people she'd been in relationship with inside christendom. i know that we're all imperfect and i have no desire to stand in judgement over these people who hurt her as there are always two sides to story, and i'm sure those folks have experienced more than their fair share of hurt, but come on. i mean, i guess it just takes me aback to hear accounts of people who seem to be completely blind to the reality of who they are and the choices they make.

not that i'm not in the same boat from time to time, but i'm aware that i do occassionally reside in that boat...

i'm getting judgemental, so that's the end of my commentary on that. suffice it to say, i apparently think i'm above treating people as badly as theresa was treated, even though i can think of instances when i have been a total jerk. whatever, i guess i'm worse than i want to believe i am.

anyway, i appreciated her story, her honesty, her process. when i think of her, i'll ask God to continue to reveal truth to her. just because she doesn't believe doesn't mean i can't.


if you've ever wanted to give church the finger, raise your hand

i don't know why this came to mind this morning, but here we go.

basically, i was just wondering how many of you have, at some point, decided that church wasn't for you, maybe even that god wasn't for you. here's my story:

i grew up in fresno, california as the son of a youth pastor at a run-of-the-mill assemblies of god church. my childhood was good. when i was about 6 or 7 years old, my dad started getting really excited about the idea of teaching english in china. before i knew it, we were living about 10 hours from the russian border in the northeast corner of china. i loved it. our one-year trip was cut short as a result of the student uprising that happened there in 1989. we returned to the states for a couple years before returning to china for another 2. there is a lot more that could be shared but in the interest of this story, the main thing to remember is that once my dad stopped being a youth pastor, that was the end of his paid ministry career.

fast forward a few years, i'm in high school. i never got too involved at school because i was always involved at church. my closest friends were there, i was tight with my youth pastor and i just never really got into the whole school-spirit thing for whatever reason. i graduated high school and stayed in town; living with my folks, working full-time and going to junior college. i was also "interning" with the church and the same youth pastor i was really close with.

after 2 years at j.c., i transferred to southern california to attend vanguard university. in retrospect, this was the path of least resistance and that's probably why i chose it. my 2 years at vanguard were some of the most formative in my life thus far. i came face to face with some serious relational issues between my dad and i, and was able, with some very good counselling, to talk with him about the issues and move past them. i got my first taste of life on my own, and simultaneously realized that life in college was way, way easier than life in the "real world." i also became completely disillusioned with the church and christians and found that the more vocal any person or institution was about their christianity, the more i distrusted its validity.


i just happened to have close contact with a professor who manipulated and guilted students into doing what he wanted, played favorites among students, threw temper tantrums and smiled graciously as he talked about what a great program he ran. it was very off-putting. i had a friend who got into trouble for going to a party that took place while she was out of the country. the biblical guidelines for conflict management took a backseat to hearsay from "good" kids.

my desire to have any ties to anything with a christian label ended with my tenure at vanguard. i worked at starbucks and hung out with my work friends. i loved god and believed the same as i had except i had zero desire to be a part of a church or associate with anyone who claimed to be a christian because i would bet dollars to doughnuts that they were paying lip service to the god of their parents without having ever taken a second to ponder what christ really stands for or why he came to this earth.

7 years later, i'm a pastor. what?!! i moved to north idaho to help to start a church with the youth pastor from my high school days. i chose to go for it because i knew him and his desire to throw off the trappings of christianity and embrace what christ really stood for. for the first several years of my tenuous church involvement, i still held a high disdain for anyone who was too vocal about their christianity as i was still pretty sure that they were speaking loudly to cover something up.

today, i'm the leas cynical that i've ever been (which isn't saying much at all) and am doing my best to allow god to shape my heart into one that gives people the benefit of the doubt, recognizes that we're all hypocrites and loves people regardless of the names they trade on. i am willing to refer to myself as a christian, though it still gives me pause when i have to. i'm really trying hard to live a life that answers the question without words, but sometimes it comes down to that and i'm really trying to embrace the idea.

i'm a christian. i'm not prefect. i put up facades just like my college professor that was so instrumental in giving me an excuse to abandon the church. i allow hearsay from the "good" people to preempt the biblical mandate for conflict resolution. i am selfish and blind like so many of the "spoiled christian kids" that gave me an excuse to distance myself from them.

i realize now, with a sense of irony that makes my throat hurt, that it was my own arrogance and pride that convinced me that these people, this label, was dragging me down. that wasn't the case. i still don't feel it like i know i need to , but i'm trying. so if i've acted in ways that have made you feel like you don't want to be associated with me in any way, i'm sorry. i can't say it won't happen again, but i can say that i'm truly sorry and i'm doing my best to allow god to shape me into the person he wants me to be, a little bit more each day. not that it's a smooth ride, but what am i gonna do, quit? not again.


a halloween tragedy

for those of you who know me in real life, you'll probably feel a little sick. for those of you who only know me through the miracle of modern technology, you may also feel a bit sick. basically, these pictures might make you feel a little sick. but they're worth looking at, if only once, for the impact they'll have on your life.

here's a "normal" picture of me.

and here's a Halloween Tragedy!!

and here's a Halloween Tragedy with his wife


avoid the spam!!

i found a great site today with some tips on how to avoid spam. i just finished making necessary improvements to the sites i administrate.

this list is courtesy of junkbusters. all the links go to the same page, just different spots on the page. there weren't as many links as headings. sorry.

  1. reduce exposure to harvesting - create a bot-resistant site by avoiding linking to your email (href mailto:) and by getting creative with your email address posting, like yourname[atsign]your domain. this way your email address won't read like an email address to those soulless machines.
  2. make sure your browsing isn't giving you away - i didn't really understand what this one was talking about, but here's a link to it anyway.
  3. request anonymity from sources of addresses - if possible, opt out of any member directories you're a part of. they are favorites of spammers.
  4. report spammers to isp's and email providers - how exactly does this need expanded?
  5. report spammers to law enforcement - sick "the man" on them
  6. what about removal services? - some of them are garbage and some may actually add you to more lists. i propose that anytime you find a list of anything, you brun it. the less lists there are, the less lists spammers will likely have with my email address on it.


did you see this letter from haggard?

i received links to these letters in an email from a friend. i hope and pray that the spirit of these letters will carry through this whole thing. first is a letter from ted to his church and the second a letter from his wife gayle.

here's a link to ted's letter.

November 5, 2006

My Dear New Life Church Family,

I am so sorry. I am sorry for the disappointment, the betrayal, and the hurt. I am sorry for the horrible example I have set for you.

I have an overwhelming, all-consuming sadness in my heart for the pain that you and I and my family have experienced over the past few days. I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment to all of you.

I asked that this note be read to you this morning so I could clarify my heart's condition to you. The last four days have been so difficult for me, my family and all of you, and I have further confused the situation with some of the things I've said during interviews with reporters who would catch me coming or going from my home. But I alone am responsible or the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I’ve sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn’t a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. Our church's overseers have required me to submit to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Pastor Tommy Barnett. Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family.

I created this entire situation. The things that I did opened the door for additional allegations. But I am responsible; I alone need to be disciplined and corrected. An example must be set.

It is important that you know how much I love and appreciate my wife, Gayle. What I did should never reflect in a negative way on her relationship with me. She has been and continues to be incredible. The problem was not with her, my children, or any of you. It was created 100% by me.

I have been permanently removed from the office of Senior Pastor of New Life Church. Until a new senior pastor is chosen, our Associate Senior Pastor, Ross Parsley, will assume all of the responsibilities of the office. On the day he accepted this new role, he and his wife, Aimee, had a new baby boy. A new life in the midst of this circumstance—I consider that confluence of events to be prophetic. Please commit to join with Pastor Ross and the others in church leadership to make their service to you easy and without burden. They are fine leaders. You are blessed.

I appreciate your loving and forgiving nature, and I humbly ask you to do a few things:

1. Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.

2. Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.

3. Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life. Those sins, and others, need to be dealt with harshly. So, forgive him and, actually, thank God for him. I am trusting that his actions will make me, my wife and family, and ultimately all of you, stronger. He didn’t violate you; I did.

4. Please stay faithful to each other. Perform your functions well. Encourage each other and rejoice in God’s faithfulness. Our church body is a beautiful body, and like every family, our strength is tested and proven in the midst of adversity. Because of the negative publicity I’ve created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.

Gayle and I need to be gone for a while. We will never return to a leadership role at New Life Church. In our hearts, we will always be members of this body. We love you as our family. I know this situation will put you to the test. I’m sorry I’ve created the test, but please rise to this challenge and demonstrate the incredible grace that is available to all of us.

Ted Haggard

here's a link to gayle's letter

November 5, 2006

Dear Women of New Life Church,

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have led me to write this letter to you today. I know your hearts are broken; mine is as well. Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful.

What I want you to know is that I love my husband, Ted Haggard, with all my heart. I am committed to him until death “do us part.” We started this journey together and with the grace of God, we will finish together.

If I were standing before you today, I would not change one iota of what I have been teaching the women of our church. For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case. My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful.

I love you all so much, especially you young women—you were my delight.

To all the church family of new Life Church—Ted and I are so proud of you. You are all we hoped you would be. In our minds, there is no greater church.

As you try to make sense of these past few days, know that Ted believes with all his heart and soul everything he has ever taught you, those things you are putting into practice. He is now the visible and public evidence that every man (woman and child) needs a Savior.

We are grateful for your prayers for our family.

I hold you forever in my heart,

Gayle Haggard


more on unity

this started as a comment replying to comments on let's not do what i'm doing, but i wanted to expound a bit more, so here's a follow-up to it in a whole new blog entry. yeah!!

i would love to see us (the body of christ) learn to find value in each other rather than trying to figure out who's better or righter. life is full of variety and i, as much or more than anyone, tend to define things by their differences instead of their similarities. this sort of deductive reasoning can be helpful in making observations but also has led me (many, many, many, many, many times) down a path that leads to polarization of people and issues. i mean, we all see the differences between the two approaches, there are a lot of similarities between them as well which can (and i think should) be celebrated.

  1. both are interested in seeing people come to a greater understanding of god's love for mankind.
  2. both are willing to make such endeavors a high priority (maybe the apex) of their lives.
  3. both care for people very much (just express it differently)
  4. both are interested in being as effective as possible communicating the truth as they see it. (i.e. both use the prolific medium of video with some manner of creative reinforcement as opposed to a simple talking head)
why is it so hard for me to look for similarities in the first place? here's an analogy that's helping me to understand this better.

question: who loves a child more, a parent who raises a child to understand healthy boundaries by offering both praise and correction, or a grandparent who's main goal is to make sure that child has the best time they've ever had, every minute of every day?

answer (at least according to me): they fulfill different roles in the child's life, so comparing which is better or worse is like asking whether you need air or water to survive. i'll take both please.


let's not do what i'm almost doing

i found a video today linked from church marketing sucks to finding rhythm. I watched the whole video which is about 10 minutes long and was pretty disappointed. i definitely disagree with the premise of the video as far as approach, but more than that i would love to see a lot more both/and thinking in the church rather than all this either/or. this video is an a+ example. apparently whoever produced this video doesn't agree with rob bell philosophically. understandable. rob's one man with one man's conviction and methodology when it comes to serving jesus and communicating the gospel.

why can't we just leave it at that? you have your method, rob has his, i have mine. obviously we all believe that we're approaching the gospel message from the most effective angle or we'd switch angles. the likelihood of your convincing me that your angle is the better one, let alone the only right one, is slim at best and will more likely result in a greater rift than greater unity.

oh, and technically, aren't all people unique? i mean, sure you've got the problem of twins and best friends, but mostly isn't each person a little different from the next? why then do we need to come up with one "correct" method for sharing the gospel? i'm sure some people respond much more effectively to the "turn or burn" method than the "relational love" method if they've become accustomed to such communication in their life. some people are completely the opposite and want nothing to do with anyone who would presume to tell them what is in their heart.

so, forgive me for the link to the video. i only post it so that you can get some context for whati'm talking about. if you watch the video and feel your ire rising, maybe ask god to help you see their perspective and why they may feel the way they feel. maybe consider that they feel, when they watch rob bell's nooma, the way you feel when you're watching their production.

there's room for all of us. the church is a body. we can't all be eyes. we can't all be knees. we can't all be the cool hair. let's stop trying to change noses to wrists and start appreciating each other for the unique roles we fulfill.



election time tends to get me a little tense because while i feel a civic responsibility to vote, i can't seem to figure out which is bad and which is worse. it appears that politicians are primarily concerned with their own paychecks as opposed to public service, which explains why it makes sense to them to spend campaign donations on smear campaigns against their opponents instead of communicating what they're for. this makes the political structure looks like the world's largest jenga game, with each piece teeters on the brink of disaster, doing everything it can to hold on to it's place.

this year i had decided to vote based on 2 primary issues - the environment and taxation. my reasons for choosing these issues are now obsolete because i've devised another primer. i'm going to vote for whichever candidates run ads telling me about who they are rather than what a jerk their opponent is. i figure, regardless of what they support, if a person will pay a lot of money to write produce and run a campaign bad-mouthing somebody else, i don't trust what they say they support anyway. i mean, i make a concerted effort not to talk poorly of people, even people who i think deserve it. i wouldn't allow my daughter to talk about people that way, and if one of my close friends did so, i'd have some serious questions for them, trying to understand why they felt such talk was appropriate.

so there you have it. if you're spending campaign money to talk smack on somebody, you lose my vote. i don't care if you're running on a platform of giving me $1 million, because i know that if you'll talk about somebody else that way, you'd probably do the same to me.

if you tell me what you support without bad-mouthing others, even if i don't agree, you'll get my vote because ultimately i'd rather have a leader with some character who i disagree with, than a leader who'll do anything to make me think they agree with me whether they do or not.

oh, it stands for "who would jesus vote for" in case you were wondering.


the newest extreme sport - spitboxing

there are a handful of blogs that i look forward to everytime my homepage pops up. (see list at right) my great days start when i see a fresh link under my favorite titles. when there's no new material, i'll be checking back every few minutes until one arrives. one of my new favorites is spitbox. it's a blogzine compiled by a couple guys who apparently have more time to read blogs than i do and yet still manage to be productive members of their respective communities. what they do is scour the internet (yes, all of it) finding the best of the christ-centered-but-not-overly-serious-and-religious blogosphere. they do a great job and it's my new first-look.

and they update this thing more often than i wonder if i'm gonna have to pay for my own lunch today. it's a must read for anyone interested in anything!

and please email if you want to buy me lunch today.


the funniest site i've read in quite some time

here's the link

what you wanna do is check out any posts here. the ones i specifically endorse as "really, really funny..i mean f%#^ing funny. (see? it's so funny it made me swear, almost. the letters i censored were a-r-t.)

my favorite sports team hugged eachother last night

i'm not smart enough to understand

trust me, you won't be sorry

sounds like a great book

i'm sort of a quitter-reader. i've got an impressive list of books i've started reading, but usually get distracted about 3 quarters of the way through. so please feel free to read this book and give me a synopsis. otherwise i'll enjoy the first 75% of the book sometime soon.

THE MYTH OF A CHRISTIAN NATION: How The Quest for Political Power is Destroying The Church

Dr. Gregory Boyd

Dr. Boyd states in his introduction that this book is the result of a sermon series he preached in 2004 titled, " The Cross and The Sword", in reaction to growing pressure being placed upon him to endorse political candidates and thier policies from the pulpit. Dr. Boyd has since been branded a heretic by many for his refusal to bow to the will of his church and board members as they desired for him to use his pastoral clout to make political endorsements. The naive assumption that if you dont vote for the party that best matches God's Biblical Mandates equals your abandoning your faith and betraying God is tackled decisively by Dr. Boyd.

some quality linkage (and i don't mean sausage)

i got to this site cause it was linked from spitbox, a new must read for me. i'm thinking that transitionpete may become so as well.

so check out this list of responses from hollywood squares courtesy of transition pete. it reminds me that some celebrities used to be clever and have some other claim to fame besides over-sized body parts and/or a life resembling the kind of train wreck that makes you want to wretch and yet you can't look away from.

my first guitar lesson

yesterday, i took my first ever actual guitar lesson. the guy i'm studying with is bruce bishop, who has forgotten more about music than i'll ever know and can make the guitar sing in ways that i thought were only possible with camera tricks and overdubbing. we ended up spending about 3 hours together by the time we got done catching up and talking about this and that. we sat in the front room of the house he and his wife are still building and watched the deer through the windows, 10 feet away, eating clover.

i've been playing guitar for like 10+ years now which makes me older than my image of myself, and yet this is the first lesson i've taken. when i was younger i would've been very proud of that, but now it just sort of seems like time wasted, or at least not maximized. why should i spend a bunch of time figuring out what someone could have showed me in 5 minutes and i could've been practicing? i guess this is just the way it goes with youth. we do what we think is best for the reasons that make sense to us. then ten years down the road we see ourselves in a whole different light.

well, i'll post links to stuff i record henceforth with my new knowledge of the guitar. meanwhile, here's some of the old knowledge at work.


what's the deal with aids?

i had a great conversation with a buddy this morning about an Oprah episode he watched recently. apparently the topic was hiv/aids and the fact tha we need to raise awareness that it is killing so many people. ironically, the panel of guest included magic johnson and a handful of other people who were hiv+ but were still living fine and apparently pretty healthy. it makes me wonder why, if one wants to raise awareness that a disease is killing many people, would one parade a bunch of healthy-looking people across the stage. wouldn't you want to bring people face to face with the atrocity that's happening?

my friend's contention is that the situation is thus because aids is a primarily political issue, not a health issue. he believes that because of its ties to the homosexual community, it is taboo to show the ugly side of aids. i wonder. i would love to meet and talk to some people who have aids and are dying. i want to know why i never see them on the news or "special interest" exposes. i want to know why, if it's really such a big problem, are we so insulated from it.

i wonder if the people who are dying from aids would be better taken care of if aids were a health issue instead of a political issue? i wonder if we'd continue to talk out both sides of our mouth as a society (one side: sex is okay as long as it feels right; promiscuity is only bad if you get caught. second side: aids is a huge problem; we need to do whatever we can to stop it) if we were living with people who were experiencing it, not just shown the beautiful people who are surviving so bravely because of the new antiretrovirals that merck is pushing this month.

these are questions i intend to research. these thoughts are only my preliminary ideas and have no basis in research or fact, necessarily. they're just what i think. as i find out more, i';ll post it and hopefully get some feedback.


daylight wastings time

well, my one chance this year to get an extra hour of action or sleep (sleep was the preferred option at this point in my life) and i blew it. i heard a reminder on the radio earlier in the week that it was time to "fall back" with the clocks on saturday night. but then forgot, as well as my buddy david. so we ended up going to breakfast at 6:30am when we found out that it was actually 5:30am. it was a time, but i'm exhausted now so i'm going to bed. it's only 9:41, but 9:41 is the new 10:41.


the stumble button

ironically, i stumbled onto a page on thursday that i initially mistook for a unique site and not the firefox extension that it was. it turns out, it's an extension called StumbleUpon. i installed it and opened up a beautiful world of haphazard enjoyment.

what it does is allow the user to customize their account, then when the "stumble" button is activated, it send the browser to one of the highly rated sites in one of the selected categories. as i selected my categories i found myself in a playful mood and checking boxes in categories that aren't a normal part of my preference set. what a blast! in the first use, i came across world-o-meters. check out the stat about the amount of money americans spend on diets. i also came across the evil bible which is a site all about how horrible the bible is. interesting stuff. coming from my perspective, it's hard to believe that people can misunderstand something so drastically, but then again, without context and looking at the big picture, i guess the assertions therein aren't that unreasonable. i haven't come across any christian sites yet, but i'm sure they'll pop up.

i found that i got sucked in pretty easily and before i knew it, 30 min was gone, so use carefully. but i can't wait until the next time i get to do some stumbling.


we're LOST again

jen and i just got the last 2 discs of season 2 of lost from netflix and we're loving it. we got all into it earlier this year and then sort of got out for awhile. but we're back. this show is so good. the writing is spectacular, the cinemaography is breathtaking and the ciffhangers are as intense as daytime tv.

anywho, if you have never seen it, i'd recommend it. just be sure that you've always got the next episode on hand before you finish one.


some music i've been loving

i had to post another this morning to reflect the most recent mp3 mix i made for in the car. it includes several bands i'm not terribly familiar with, some of which i've never listened to but somehow ended up in my itunes, i think through persuasive rhapsody pages.

so the highlights are as follows:

  1. Frou Frou: The album is "Details" and is spectacular. Their sound is reminiscent of Ivy which is another of my alltime favorites; sort of a down-tempo-meets-quality-pop thing. Check out track 10, "The Dumbing Down of Love," for some lilting vocals and smooth muted trumpets. The vocals overall are very notable: unique and beautiful.
  2. Grandaddy: Turns out these guys are pretty prolific, if their discography is any indication. I'm listening to Sumday and really digging it. My current favorites are track 2, "I'm on Standby," and track 8, "Saddest Vacant Lot in all the World." These guys are on the mellow side of indie rock with a vocal that has really grown on me.
  3. Glassbyrd: The album is "Open Wide This Window." These guys are the a sort of reconfiguration of The Choir and/or Common Children. (i can't remember and i can't find a website to tell me). they don't appear to have a website at all, which is extrememly disappointing, but they can write. Tracks 1, 2 and 7, "This Window," "Tonight (I Want to Live In Your World)," and "Mercy," respectively, are my current highlights. I really enjoy the smooth layers of guitars and how they cascade over my head like warm, thick rain.
  4. Gotan Project: I really have to be in the right mood to listen to lyricless music, but this album, "La Revancha Del Tango," is beautiful, if a bit repetitive, and changes up just enough to keep me involved. For an instrumental record, it's in my top 5.
reply with your recent favorites. i'm really in a discovering mood lately.

my new life slogan!

as i rolled into the office this morning at about 6:15, still in the process of becoming awake and alive (thank you Mortal) i realized that the idea of "living for tady" is what's getting kme into trouble (not to mention a lack of self-discipline, especially when it comes to watching late night Dave Chapelle comedy on Comedy Central) so as i suffer through today, or at least this morning, i'll be reminding myself of my new life slogan, (in hopes of it sticking beyond the first good night's sleep i get henceforth)
"live for today, rest for tomorrow"

holy crap, that's deep. thank you late night dave chapelle comedy.

oh, and i also realized once again this morning as i sat debating which shoes to wear, that i take myself way too seriously and am a much prouder person than i want people to think. i need to pass that epiphany on to my wife, who will help remind me of it at the times when i need it most (and it'll be the hardest for me to hear)


almost first blood

i went to the local skatepark today as i have been for the past few weeks. i've been steadily progressing, even though i'm still almost always the worst skater there, and have been getting better and better at falling well so that it doesn't hurt so bad.

today was going smashingly. i did my first 50/50 and there were about 5 kids there under 10 who i could definitely out-skate. i think maybe i got a little too comfortable, because before i knew it, i went down hard on my knee and hand. in the big picture, it was still a pretty beningn wipe-out, but my hand is bruised and throbbing as i type. i'm just not quite the rubber band i was when i was younger.


i never realized what an idiot i am

jen and i are housesitting for jen's folks and it is awesome!! the house is big, the hot tub is, well, hot and the tivo is my new best friend. man, i love technology. it's a little tough not having wireless internet throughout the house, but the home office is only 13 seconds away and i've got a connection.

watching tv has been fun these past few days as jen and i don't get any cable or satellite or anything at home. just netflix. (which we just joined and you can add me to your friends list with the email justin@cedarhillschurch.com) but i digress. the point is, as much as i love some of the shows i've seen, i've also been very disappointed in several: namely Date My Mom and Parental somethingorother (guidance? protection?) two shows on mtv that look like reality show, but depict a reality in which ALL of the participants appear to be socially arrogant, sex-obsessed,tactless, brainless and heartless idiots! the first few minutes of the first of these that i saw, i took it for a reality show in which there just happenned to be a larger-than-usual proportion of jerks:average people, but as my experience increased, my optimism decreased proportionally and i began to realize that these shows are not so-called reality, buyt carefully crafted and scripted, simultaneous temper tamtrums thrown by no less than 3 people who look, physically, to be grown up, but have apparently missed out on or intentionally avoided the benefit of any sort of personal growth that life makes available to a person over the years lived on this planet.

anyway, a couple shows into this, i also realized that not only were these people idiots, but i was inextricably drawn into the show, even as i chastised everyone who had any involvement whatsoever with such a heinous dung heap of entertainment. thus, i must admit to my own idiocy and banality while simultaneously plotting the catastrophic castration of the male participants on the production staff who okayed such a show. even though they've done their job wonderfully, considering that a person with such disdain for the subject matter still sat through an undisclosed # (at least 2) of episodes.

ironically, since i've got a tivo here, all commercials were skipped, so the joke's on them.


WoW! I'm learning so much

here's a blog i read about a dude giving up playing the video game, World of Warcraft. I know many would condemn me for referring to WoW as a "video game" and not an MMORPG or whatever it is, but come on...
This blog is written by a guy who just got out of this whole thing.


my wife is very impressive

this morning at about 3:15, i was awoke to the covers shifting from me to my wife. she was pulling the comforter off of me and i was getting cold.

"i need that," i said as i tugged the covers back over my shoulder, not really knowing whether she'd hear me or not.

"that's not the top," she replied sleepily.

i didn't know what she was talking about at first, but then as the sleep-fog cleared a touch more, i realized that she was telling me that the part of the comforter i was clinging to was actually the side and not the top and that the whole things had become twisted through the night. i relinquished my hold on the part i'd been clinging to and found that as she pulled, the comforter turned and i was greeted by a full dose of covering.

how did she know that? is there some texture that she detected that i could not? she's working on a whole other level there that i can't even begin to understand. what a woman!


a monday in the truest sense of the reputation

so, it's been a bit of a rough day. the rhythm of the day eluded me until almost 11am, which means that i was about half as productive as i could be for almost half the day. bummer, 'cause i had a lot of stuff to get done today. i revised this video. (this is the old one)

and my monitor keeps crashing out on me. WHY!! i've spoken with Acer tech support and now am going to have to send my laptop in for repair, for which the turn-around time is a speedy 7-10 days. ouch! i'm still checking on some local repair options. i've got to admit, i probably wouldn't buy another acer laptop. this machine promised a lot more than it delivered, and i've been sub-impressed with the service. there's plenty more crap about today, but it's time to turn it around...

on the bright side, jen and ani stopped by after lunch. i have such an awesome family!! there's always plenty of venting to do, but there's also plenty to be thankful for. we are going over to jen's folks, larry & maryanne's, house tonight to work on the barn at the farm and then hang out for monday night football and eat tacos and drink beer. i love hanging out with the family. i miss having my folks and my brother closer to me, but jen's family is awesome. we're so blessed!!


i need to get better at this

during a typical day, i'll have at least 2 or 3 ideas that, to me, seem blog-worthy. some bit of inspiration wil strike and i'll think, "this could make a good blog entry...people might be interested in a topic like this!"

unfortunately, neither focus nor, i'm totally blanking on this word...organization! are among my core strengths, which means that if i have an idea t, say, 3pm and don't get to a computer until 4pm (hell, 3:07 sometimes) that idea has a very slim chance of being recalled when it can be relayed to you.

hence, "i need to get better at this"


2 semi-famous people in one day

so, i was walking out of home depot with ani, when i ran into an old friend named matt who was loading some sheets of drywall into the truck next to mine. i offered some assistance and we proceeded with the typical pleasantries you might expect to transpire when acquaintances are reacquainted. i told him about my family and the summer's trip to uganda and he filled me in on how he's building a recording studio (which us what the drywall is for.

as we were saying our goodbyes, i asked one final question about his job to which he informed me that he's got the week off because he recently won the $10,000 prize on america's funniest videos and is headed back for the taping of the $100,000 show. the video was of him with one of those electric dog collars.

then i spoke with my friend ryan townsed from the overdubs and found out that not only is his record available on cdbaby. com, but also available for purchase on itunes and soon the rest. for the itunes version, search "the overdubs" and look for the album title "here is where we are." the record is really worth picking up, especially since you can now go to itunes and get it digitally. way to go, ryan!!


more ani grace action

here are a couple videos from Monday night in the bath. she was so adorable! AAHHHH!!

i'm such a judgemental jerk, but getting better

as i was driving to work this morning, a guy i know drove past me going the other way. he was driving a new truck. i don't know how new, but i know it's not the truck he used to drive. it was bigger and shinier than his previous truck.

i'm ashamed to say that my first response was to think, "shame on him...buying into the lie that he needs a bigger better truck just so that he can drive the 5 miles from home to work. the payment on that thing must be ridiculous. why does he want to get his family into suck ridiculous debt just for stupid truck?"

just as my judgemental vortex crescendoed, i realized, "hmmm...jen and i drive a pretty nice car, but it was a gift. maybe his truck was a gift. maybe he's been saving for a long time and paiod cash for it. maybe it was an inheritance." as my mind pondered the myriad explanations of how this guy (who as you may have guessed, wasn't my favorite person to begin with) could be driving this newer, bigger, better truck beside the reasons i disapporved of, i beagna to feel a sense of conviction.

"who am i to judge him? i don't know the story. i haven't even spoken with this guy in months. i don't know what he values. maybe debt is no big deal to him. maybe he's richer than i thought."

the point is that i was confronted with the ugliness of myself as i sat there in the car listening to the polyphonic spree. i'm glad the mirror was revealed to me for a moment this morning. it wsn't thie first time i entertained such thoughts, and i'm sure it won't be the last. i just pray that i get better and better at recognizing those ridiculous attitudes before they go on for so long.


our lovely ani grace

jen was fluffing our freshly washed and dried comforter last night and ani was so excited to play. sometimes though, pleasue is followed by pain. poor girl. don't worry, she was fine in less than a minute when she got to open and close the microwave.

happy columbus day!

as we celebrate this most meaningful of national holidays, let's do so by commemorating the reason for the season. Christopher Columbus, while commonly credited with being the first european explorer to reach the americas, he wasn't that exactly. according to wikipedia, there is evidence of several explorers reaching the americas before columbus. as the rhyme goes, "in 14 hundred and 92, columbus sailed the ocean blue." this is true, but he didn't touch the mainland until his 3rd voyage in 1498. it turns out his claim to fame has more to do with his timing than his discovery.

anyway, we reality is a beautiful thing, if occassionally glossed over by our public school system.

for more info click here


skate wreck

here's a video we shot at The GATE the other night and just happened to capture the moment whenclayton wang tweaks his elbow.

soy milk is a suspension

this morning i went through the normal routine of waking to ani's "mama?," going to the kitchen to make her a bottle and returning to bed to rest a few more precious minutes as she drinks. on my way to the kitchen jen informed me that i was to use the organic soy milk in the door, which is a departure from our normal use of organic whole milk.

"no sweat," i thought, "i'm on it."

i returned to deliver the bottle and then got up and went into the adjacent bathroom to blow my nose. as i was taking care of my nasal ogstruction, jen

"did you shake it?" jen asked.

"i shook the bottle after i heated it but not the milk in the container," i replied.

"you have to shake soy milk," she informed me.

huh, who knew soy milk was a suspension?

*author's note: in searching for a link to describe or define a suspension, i stumbled onto this one. hmmm.


my friend nicola

jen and i were in seattle for a meeting and we met one of the most interesting and exciting people i've eer met. he's an artist who lived and worked in pioneer square in the heart of downtown seattle. he had a gallery a couple blocks from his apartment which he took us to on a couple occassions. the collection on display was a chronicle of his recent marital crisis, depicted in unique, dark and enthralling paintings. our initial meeting was happenstance and unexpected and yet we've spent more time with him than anyone else when we've been in the seattle area.

the last time i spoke with him, he was planning on going away for a while. he was going to come and stay with jen and i here in sandpoint for a couple weeks before he left, but he wanted to come before we left for africa this summer and before i knew it, we were gone and hadn't heard back from him. i think about him often, wondering where he is and what he's doing.

nicola capi/nelli, i hope youre well and thriving. i hope your relationship with god is a stronghold in our life that all other aspects of it can take their bearing from. i remember the night we went to a church gathering together and were admonished to not let our emotions disctate our lives. you were very moved. i wonder if you still think about that lesson. i remember playing guitar with you on the beach. i wonder if you still play music. i remember walking through downtown and visitng your favorite coffee shop. i wonder, do you still frequent there? do they still know your name? how are your kids? i'm ashamed that their names now escape me.

i hope to see you again soon. i hope that someday i'll search the web for "nicola carpi-nelli and find that you have reopened a gallery somewhere and your paintings are selling and people are talking about them. i hope that we get to take some more walks together, talking about God or girls or prescription medication or the places you go when you need to experience the reality of human suffering. i wonder how your the girls from your house that day are doing. did the one i taught the song to ever learn it? did she ever rearrange it as she promised? or was it really just the meth talking?

thanks for your friendship and the memories.