Sunday, October 30, 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

Why not become an actual minister?

"Why not become an actual minister? Or is that a silly question?"

Kevin asked this recently in response to one of my posts. I guess it's not necessarily a silly question, but yeah, ok. Why not become a minister?

For awhile, I was an ordained minster in the Universal Life Church, as I believe you still are. But then I thought to myself... perhaps it's not a good idea to be the minister of a religion that's not in sync with the religion I have put my faith in. To me, that's like working for Ford and driving a Dodge. To some, you might be saying "What's the big deal?" To me, if I'm going to believe in something, it's gotta be the full commitment. If I were to move to Detroit and start assembling F-150's, the Intrepid would have to go on Craigslist. If I were to work for a church, I would need to attend that church. If were to work for a studio, I'd have to believe in the product. (Hence my love of Disney.) But, we're not talking about that.

Why not become an actual minister?

Frankly, that's a pretty easy one. That's not what I'm gifted at. That requires a certain kind of skill, a certain type of empathy, a certain type of way of dealing with people I do not possess. In the lingo of the church, the gifts of ministers tend to fall into the discipling, shepherding, teaching type roles. That is not me. I wouldn't have a passion for it, possibly not the patience for it. And when it comes to people, there are a lot of ways that they can be hurt, and I'm not quite sure I can stomach that, or be rationale if my advice were solicited. Granted, I've become much more of a softie/wus since Rachel was born, but that could end up working against me. Lack of training could also be a stumbling block.

No, I am a systems guy. And I don't mean I fix your PC. I mean in a world of logic, logistics, things involving a systematic approach. And I'm also a strategy, big picture kind of guy. I feel that I have the somewhat unique ability to get inside somewhere, but still remain an outsider. I can look at the big picture, I can see what's working, what's not working, and come up with solutions, often ones that people have not necessarily considered before.

And therein lies the crux of my current employment... those that are in charge are not interested in changing, improving or innovating. They're not soliciting my input and I'm learning it's not in my best interest to offer it. Sometimes it's outright dismissed, sometimes it's patiently heard and then completely disregarded. I realize that I'm not some uber-genius and that there is history, politics, egos, etc., that I am not privvy to knowing about, but I desperately crave to be in a position where I have the ability to affect change, to innovate, to improve, to make greater.

I wonder if that really answers the original question or not.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm happy.

I know that seems like a little thing, but if you've been following this blog lately, you'll realize that this is in fact really a newsworthy event.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why are any of us here?

To drink coffee.

One of this year's 63 quotes on Starbucks coffee cups comes from Rick Warren and reads:

"You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself will never reveal your real purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance and our destiny."

That's kinda cool.

Why am I here?

Ok, so a week or two ago I thought of someone I hadn't thought of in a long time. Another one of my reminiscing moments, I wondered what had ever happened to the redhead I met one weekend at a church camp when I was in high school.

Long, long ago, in a state far, far away, our high school youth group climbed into a white rental van with Carol at the wheel, headed for some place at the other end of the state. It was a dark and stormy trip and the rental van was too small for the number of people in it and all their luggage. Even so, our group was far smaller than usual. The usual stuff, Patty freaking out over bridges, Jeff flicking people's ears and everyone laughing and making lots of noise. The windows were all fogged and it was really, really dark.

I really don't remember the camp, other than I think it was on the water and we had to travel out of and back into the state to get to it. It was surrounded by lots of trees, and all the buildings were unconnected. At some point during the weekend, I connected with her, and we hung out a lot of the weekend. There was a meeting hall with tall ceilings, dirty walls in need of a fresh coat of paint, and quite possibly dark wood beams rising up to meet the ceiling every so often. Lots of those metal chairs with built-in cushions covered by that fake leather plastic stuff. Possibly dingy yellow. You know the kind, the metal loops around the top to make a handle and they stack and always have holes where stuffing's coming out. There might have been a big indoor fitness area with an astroturf floor, but I'm not sure. And the biggest surprise of all, I don't remember the food. You'd think if anything, I'd remember food, considering my fondness for it. But then again, I've been to a lot of camps and the food is really all the same, isn't it? The weekend was wet, wet, wet. I'm not sure if the rain ever stopped. And I think there were leaks in the walls of the bunk rooms, because I remember stuff being so wet that I got the car keys from Carol and went and slept in the van. I remember the van was parked under a light and that the van leaked because I did not sleep well. I also remember going to a laundramat in town one afternoon to dry a lot of our stuff. I remember standing with her on the last day trying to find someone with a camera so we could get a picture while my youth group rather forcefully insisted that I get a move on, that they were ready to head back home. So, I said my goodbyes, headed for home.

Ok, that sets the stage. It was a remote place, and in a word, I was living like a sleep-deprived, drowned rat. At yet, something pretty phenomenal happened. Ok, remember the redhead.

Fast-forward to Monday.

As I was getting ready for work, the computer was on on the kitchen and the work e-mail was open like it nearly always is. No time to read e-mail, I hit the refresh button to see what kind of mail would be waiting for me when I got into the office. The usual spam, some mail from colleagues and a message titled "Way Back When" from someone who had a first name I'd only come across once before in my life and a last name I didn't recognize. Odd, I thought, and put the computer back into sleep mode, figuring when I got to work, I'd know if it was spam or not, since the computer at work always did a better job of putting spam into the junk mail folder where it belong.

So, off to work. Fired up the computer, went and got my coffee and came back to start the day. The message was still in my inbox, so probably not junk. So, I clicked on it. And there she was, the girl I'd hung out with that weekend, and whom I'd probably talked to on Prodigy (remember Prodigy?) at Brian Fischer's house twice and maybe corresponded with handwritten letters once or twice.

So I e-mailed her back to say that yes, I was indeed me, impressed that she had tracked me down. I would have to admit that I hadn't remembered her last night. But over the course of the conversation, she referred to me as her "savior" that weekend. Life had been tough and according to her, I had said and/or done stuff that really helped her during that period.

Note: After reading it, she felt that I really hadn't captured "how [she] needed [me] at all that weekend." That perhaps I still today don't fully understand the impact I made that weekend on her life.


What do you say to something like that? I'm still at a loss, but I've spent a week trying to figure out what that means. First off, I was just a goofy little 16 or 17 year old at the time. Those were not some of my finest years, either in how I lived them, or how life was treating me. It was a few years after the "visible black cloud years" but a savior? Second, that particular weekend I was probably functioning as a sleep-deprived half-drowned rat. If I was also connecting with people outside of my youth group, it could mean that I wasn't connecting well with the people from my group that had attended. A savior? Really?

I still can't wrap my brain around that. No matter how big my ego seems at time, I can't take that, blow on my fingernail, polish them on my shirt and sigh-out a "yep, I'm that good." I'm not. Makes you feel really humble to hear something like that. And I've debated with myself all week on whether I should write anything like this in my blog, if I could write anything. After a lot of internal debating, I finally decided that I would ask her if I could write something, offering to send it to her first, and if she was ok, I'd put it out there, just because that's what my blog is... my good, my bad, my ugly.

So how do I reconcile this? It ends up being very easy, very humbling. The only explanation I can come up with is that it wasn't me. Nope, not me. Sure, I was there. Sure, I hung out with her. Sure, words came from my mouth. But I have to believe it was God working through me. And that, that is both humbling and awesome.

And if it's true (and I believe it is), there's hope for me yet.

How Did I Get Here?

(this thought started life as an e-mail from me, but I liked it so much I told the reader I was going to steal it and post it on my blog)

The past is always a hard thing.

Good or bad, it's done and can't be changed. Some people are good at facing it, some people want to bury and pretend it doesn't exist. Some people are really accepting of others' pasts, and some people can't get past it and let it color their judgement of people now, or they want nothing to do with other people's pasts.

But, without our history, we are nothing. Every experience, every person has touched us in some way, good or bad to make us exactly who we are now. I love all that space-time continuum... butterfly effect... back to the future... etc. Change something, no matter how seemingly insignificant and major ramifications could be felt forever. I guess that's why it's good that we can't change our past. All we can really do is learn from it, and embrace it as part of who we are. If we are ashamed or unhappy about our past, all we can do is make sure the new pasts we make each day are better than those before them, I guess. (Yeah, pasts isn't a word.)

God, please pick up the white courtesy phone

This past Saturday night in church the pastor spoke of 'running away from God.' He posited that in most cases, we know quite well what we're doing, and that it's intentional. He used Jonah as an example of someone who heard God's word and turned and ran in the exact opposite direction, ultimately ending up in the belly of a whale wondering if that's how his life would end.

In the end, Jonah relents and gives in to what God has asked him to do.

But what happens when the exact opposite is true? What if you're standing there, arms outstretched, face lifted skyward saying "God, Your will, not mine." but God remains silent?

We've felt pushed to change the circumstances, to which Lori can stay home with Rachel. I've also felt pushed to leave this miserable job. But, how?

We're ready to sell cars, houses, move, change life drastically and dramatically. Or perhaps less drastic measures are needed. I've applied to a few places, but I'm struggling to know what I should do next, career-wise. I've done one assessment and I'm about to undertake another. The only thing I really feel passionate about is making churches better. Ideally, it would be this one, but if that's not the case, maybe there's another church out there who has got a good plan but needs help executing or communicating it.

I've talked to friends who are saying that I'm describing a place they've been in the past. They said that at the time, they couldn't figure anything out, but now they've gotten past that stage and they can look back and see things that were moving into place to make where they are now possible.

I think I can accept that. But it's so frustrating that it makes me wonder if there's a version of civil disobdience with God, or not. Can I stand up and say "God, I'm not going to work hard at my job anymore. I'm going to spend all day on and I'm going to phone it in." I suppose that's not the best way to get God's attention, and I know I'm no Moses, but God's mind has been changed in the Bible, so I sometimes wonder if I should do something just to get God to respond.

Unfortunately, I probably wouldn't like the response. I guess that's not a risk I'm prepared to take.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

Yes, but is it watchable?

MSNBC.COM -- Has a year already passed? The Parents Television Council announces its 10-best and 10-work show for viewing-as-a-family. Using the 120+ hours of primetime television, the PTC culls a list of the shows best suited for watching as a family and least suited. Adding insult to injury, the PTC was only able to come up with 9 for the good list. I'll give you one guess as to which network has the greatest number of shows on the bad list. Yes, FOX with six of the 10 baddies. Now, what would your guess be for the network with the greatest number of shows good list? If you said ABC, CBS, NBC, or UPN, you'd be wrong. Fox and The WB score with two each.

I could (and do) extrapolate from that that Fox is offering the most diverse line-up of programming.

ABC - 2 good, 1 bad. (Dancing with the Stars? Really? Lori says that woman who lost her dress is a scantily-clad "skank.")

CBS - 1 good, 3 bad. (Ghost Whisperer? Really? Aren't ghosts scary?)

NBC - 1 good, no bad. (Three Wishes? Was this originally pitched by their PAX division?)

Fox - 2 good, 6 bad. (American Idol good? Even after Fantasia?)

UPN - 1 good, 0 bad. (A show based on Chris Rock's growing up life is a good show to watch as a family. Well, good for them. I haven't seen it but I've heard good stuff about it. Not sure if I get UPN.)

The WB - 2 good, 0 bad. (Two shows I haven't seen.)

Ok, here's the more interesting part...

Good Shows

Sunday - 1
Monday - 1
Thursday - 1
Friday - 4
unspecified - 2

Bad Shows

Sunday - 5
Monday - 2
Thursday - 2
unspecified - 1

Sunday is when a lot of the bad-for-families shows air? How ironic.

The link to MSNBC links on past that to the PTC's website. I make no judgements on these shows other than the snarky comments below. Kevin, feel free to rant about PTC's inclusion of Arrested Development on the bad side, or wax poetically about your appreciation of 7th. Heaven.

Finally, common sense.

MSNBC.COM -- A woman finds a bullet in the pork loin she's serving, the store gives her a $10 refund and a new pork loin. The best guess is that someone fired a gun at pigs on a farm and somehow the bullet was missed by metal detectors later in the process. Kudos to the woman for not suing, but I think she should have gotten $50 or $100. But, not suing. Cool. More...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Paging Mr. Iger

Hi. My name is James. Please hire me.


Click the link above, and then stare at the black + in the center.

If you have the same reaction as me, everything will get blurry and your eyes will begin to hurt and water and then you'll get a headache.

Friday, October 14, 2005

L.A., my home

I love this quote. It was actually in an article about soccer, or as half of Los Angelenos call it, football. (The other half dreams of football but never stays past the 7th. inning of a Dodger game.) Regardless, I thought it was a classic quote.

The palm trees and the sunshine are deceiving, because Los Angeles is the place where dreams go to die.

Every year it happens, and the silent screams of frustration and desperation from the hordes of musicians, actors, writers and producers who bring their hopes and desires to Southern California add that extra tension that contributes to road rage in the famous traffic.

It ain't happening, though. It's funny how New York has a reputation as a tough town, but really, it's just more honest. Los Angeles will give a warm, welcoming smile to visitors, and then leave them to figure out one hot day while they're stuck for hours on the 405 - it does that for everyone.

You're not special. Right beside you is someone smarter, cuter, younger, and heck, they're not making it here either.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rock On

Well, your CD collection looks shiny and costly.
How much did you pay for your bad Moto Guzzi?
And how much did you spend on your black leather jacket?
Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?

Now tickets to concerts and drinking at clubs,
Sometimes for music that you haven't even heard of.
And how much did you pay for your rock'n'roll t-shirt
That proves you were there,
That you heard of them first?

How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
Ah, tell me.

How much did you pay for the chunk of his guitar,
The one he ruthlessly smashed at the end of the show?
And how much will he pay for a brand new guitar,
One which he'll ruthlessly smash at the end of another show?
And how long will the workers keep building him new ones?
As long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones.
And how long will the workers keep building him new ones?
As long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones.

Aging black leather and hospital bills,
Tattoo removal and dozens of pills.
Your liver pays dearly now for youthful magic moments,
But rock on completely with some brand new components.

How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?

Excess ain't rebellion.
You're drinking what they're selling.
Your self-destruction doesn't hurt them.
Your chaos won't convert them.
They're so happy to rebuild it.
You'll never really kill it.
Yeah, excess ain't rebellion.
You're drinking what they're selling.
Excess ain't rebellion.
You're drinking,
You're drinking,
You're drinking what they're selling.

(Rock and Roll Lifestyle (c) Cake)

This video showed up in the collection of videos sent to our TV station. I featured it regularly in my music video show because I loved the song. Heard it again just now. Still a great song.


That didn't look right. He stepped back and looked again. Was it the light? Was it the angle? No, that was obviously clear. It wasn't supposed to be clear. He stared, willing it to begin to turn darker, but it kept being clear. Stupid, he thought. What was wrong? He recounted the steps he had gone through. Did that. Yep, did that. Uh-huh, did that... oh... wait... yeah, that was a pretty big step to forget. Dang it all.

Now there was no chance that it could be anything but clear. Worse yet, he'd have to wait until it was completely done before he could do it again, this time not forgetting the all-important step. Hopefully this wouldn't be indicative of how the rest of his day would go. He sighed and pulled out another filter, this time adding coffee grounds and leaned against a wall waiting for the coffee machine to finish.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Sometimes the revolution leads to the death of the revolutionary.
Someone came into my office this morning and wrote that on a piece of paper on my desk. No, it wasn't some sarcastic anonymous note, I think it was more of a warning. I was here when they wrote it. I'm not sure if they were trying to be quiet or subtle, but I've since hung it on the wall of my cubicle (if it can be called that). It covers up the
There is no interim in God's plans
banner that I put up about two months ago.

He's not wrong... sometimes you have to die for your cause. I have, of course, come up with several alternatives.
  1. Sometimes the revolution dies with the revolutionary.
  2. Sometimes the revolution isn't worth dying for.
  3. Sometimes the people are too stupid to recognize their need for a revolution.
  4. Sometimes the revolutionary says "Oh, screw it. You would just mess that up, too."

Fire destroys 'Wallace and Gromit' warehouse

CNN.COM -- BRISTOL, England -- The company behind the new "Wallace and Gromit" film said Monday its "entire history" has been destroyed in a fire at a warehouse containing props and sets. More...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Just How Dumb Do You Think We Are?

Ok, so I know they're different.

For Burger King, it's a guy dressed as a king with a mask on. For Quaker Breakfast bars, it's a life-sized statue carried around in a children's wagon.

I have not seen many commercials as of late -- we have a Dish Network PVR -- and a 16-month old -- so it's very rare that we watch anything live, when it airs. So I haven't seen that many commercials.

But tonight I've seen both of those commercials. And then I saw them again, this time, one after the other.

I've gotta say... is all advertising now handled by 9-year old children and focus-tested on monkeys? Awful, awful, awful.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gettin' Jiggy with Target

Target will supposedly start selling vibrators soon. The link above is to a stupid petition. Stupid because internet petitions aren't worth squat.

I have a better idea... go to the store regularly and take the vibrators, put them in your basket, wheel over to the toy section and then leave them all over on shelves and hanging from the racks and stuff.

Now that's both funny and probably much more effective.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Quote of the Day

Ok, it's only 8:58 am, but I'd be surprised if anything I read in e-mail or overhear today will make me laugh more than this...
"Eww. Nothing worse than impotent chinese porn stars.
Especially when they’re trying to sell you a house."