Just working out some numbers

In the past thirty days, I would bet I’ve been cut off on the freeway a dozen times.  Of those twelve times, I’d bet that a quarter of them were by semi trucks.  Of those three trucks, only one driver made any visual, audible or psycho-kinetic representation of an apology.  The other five truck drivers are asking for it*.  So there’s half of the people that have cut me off in the last month.  The other half are much smaller than semi trucks.  In every other (six) instance of being cut off on the road, it’s from one of three groups, which I’ll identify now.

1.  The first group (I estimate 1 of the 9 non-semi-trucks) of people that cut me off are freeway stock car drivers.  Though they’re driving the same models of car that everyone else on the road could be driving, they seem to be able to go 120 mph and swerve in and out of traffic without mechanical, legal or psychological issue.  Part of me thinks that’s awesome.  The other part knows that these people will be responsible for (though they would never take responsibility for) taking the lives of others.

2.  The second group (another 1/9) of non-semi-truck cutter-offers are the oblivious.  These people are probably very nice.  I’m assuming these are the people you and I work with or live near or go visit at the retirement home every Saturday.  Something inside these people says that they don’t need to watch their mirrors because mirrors are for beginners**.  They change lanes when they need to and assume others are watching because, after all, we need to share the road.  Most of these people are over the age of sixty, drive very large cars and haven’t always used the new “unleaded” gas.

3.  The remaining seven people that cut me off are texters.  I know it’s really, really “in” right now to be against texting and driving.  But it’s also ‘in’ (to a surprisingly lesser extent) to be alive right now.  The texters are worse than every other group.  I know they’re not driving gigantic, extremely flammable tanker semi-trucks.  I’m 99% sure they’re not AARP members.  And they’re probably not under any impressions that their Dodge Neons and Pontiac Sunfires are stock cars.  The only real danger texters cause that I can think of is the art of being oblivious.  Eyes on the road are better than eyes off the road, even with cataracts.  Texters drive the speed limit (or a little faster) with one hand on the wheel, both eyes on their phones and no brain in their head.  To me, the worst thing about the texter isn’t that their OMG and LOL and TTYL is more important than my life and the lives of countless others.  The worst thing, in my opinion, is that 99% of the time, they don’t have accidents.  Now, they cause more accidents than they’re in, statistically speaking.  But the fact that numbers tell them that they’re 99% safe REALLY sucks.  And I think I’ll have a hard time containing my rage*** if I ever do encounter a texter in an accident.  A REALLY hard time.****



*What ‘it’ is, I have no idea.  However… at the moment of being cut off, I always seem to come up with something good that these irresponsible drivers must be asking of me.  I also have questions for those drivers in the few moments after being cut off.

**People who don’t know what they’re doing.

***My plan of action is two-fold… First, ask to use their cell phone, then throw it into oncoming traffic.  And second, plaster their name, address and insurance info all over everything I can.  Because nothing says ‘I won’t text and drive again’ like identity theft, public shame and humiliation.

****Just as a brief explanation, I was run off the road this afternoon (in a construction zone, no less) by some dumb teenage girl that had extremely important things to say over text.  Probably telling her boyfriend that she couldn’t text because she was driving.  That’d be responsible, after all.  By the way, I was fine, my van was fine, and I eventually calmed down.  So life moves along.


Just a Quick Thought

I haven’t gotten around to a post in a while, but today I feel like I should get a little something out… more for me than anything.  Honestly, I’ve never had anyone asking why I don’t blog more.  EVER.  Which is probably good.

So today at Panera, there was a really loud conversation going on at the next impossibly small round table.  One guy was old* and quiet.  The other guy was less old.  But he made up for his youth** in volume of voice and length of ponytail*.  I’m not exagerating when I say that his ponytail was three feet long.  A full meter of bad choices***.  The conversation was MUCH less then informational, but was VERY entertaining.  I learned about ‘Google plush’ and ‘Neeshy’ and the politics involved in ‘The Facebook.’  What I learned**** was the following list:

  •   ‘Google Plush’ will be the next facebook, but will have all of the good parts of Myspace.
  • ‘Neeshy’ was the first person to make sense of religion.
  • ‘The Facebook’ was never meant for college students, but there are so many and they’re all so powerful that shareholders had no choice but to let college students on first.

So I feel fairly educated today.  I will most-likely take the rest of the day off just to think through all of that glorious knowledge.

Oh.  Also, the ponytail was also wearing a t-shirt that said “Reason is dead.”  Maybe reason dies when it gets too close to a ponytail that long.


*  The old guy was somewhere between  65 – 106.  I’ no good at guessing ages, especially at the high end.  I use those two ages because I’ve been surprised at the old looks of 65 year olds and have met a woman that was 106 and this guy looked similar.

**  The second guy was not young.  He was in his late forties.  I say youth because he was more-than-likely living in the basement of the old guy he was with.

***  A male with a ponytail is a bad choice.  A full-grown man with a ponytail is a really bad choice.  A three foot ponytail is probably making most of the decisions for a grown man.

****  What I REALLY learned was that men with ponytails and really weird T-shirts are usually full of “information” that they’d love to talk to pretty much everybody about.  Oh.  And need showers.

Owha Taday!

Monday started with my wife leaving (VERY, VERY early) for a week of some post-grad work in Anderson, Indiana. That was an hour before my alarm was set to go off, so I thought I’d stay in bed. That was useless. Didn’t sleep much after that. Next, the roof installer that was coming to my house to install a brand new roof on our home called to tell me he was ready to ‘get the job done’ and I told him to do what he needed to do. Half an hour later, the dirty, broken old roof was in a dumpster and a new one was being installed. After a series of heated phone calls, I found out that the small print on a contract shouldn’t be ignored, because it ended up costing us $1000 over our agreed upon price for the roof. Needless to say, I was ready for the roof to be done and people to leave my property. And they did. But not until they had trampled most of my new landscaping and left the back door to my house wide open. And then the cat left the premises. And I walked at least 8 times around our neighborhood looking for the cat, just to find her waiting for me on the porch last night around 10:30. So…. let’s recap.

Woke up too early for human consumption.
Left alone for a week.
Roof cost an extra $1000.
Hansons trampled my plants.
The cat ran away.

I guess what I took away from yesterday was this… Fred Penner was right. The cat really DOES come back. Sometimes even before the very next day. See what I’m talking about here.

Just Not That Into You

I saw a guy strike out today at Panera. I was reading (as was my wife, across from me) and glazing over a little thinking through what I’d been reading when I saw a guy sit down with (what seemed like) a new female object of his affection (and adult paper-route money). They talked back and forth over their lunch while trying not to stare at each other. As they finished their meal, the guy must have hit a subject that the girl was less than entertained by, because her body language was no longer in english and, if I was reading correctly, was now in french*. He kept speaking. She kept slouching and crossing arms, only rarely making eye contact with the poor guy. I’m no expert, but I can’t figure out how this guy didn’t see how very little she cared about his chosen topic. After ten minutes or so of empty plates and cups, it looked like they were getting ready to leave, but she stood up without him, said something and walked out of the restaurant. She then went out front and called someone on her cell phone, standing outside of the restaurant… ignoring the fact that her recent lunch date was staring at her. As the girl chatted away on her phone, the guy finished his remaining coffee, collected and bussed his dishes, then left out the back door.

I picked up a few things from watching this couple. Here’s what I saw…

1. Luckily for me, the couple was too involved in their conversation to see a big scary guy watching them from across the restaurant.
2. The guy seemed to be putting himself out there, even though the girl was trying REALLY HARD to let him know her intentions through her nonverbal cues.
3. It didn’t seem to matter to either of the couple who was seated near them.
4. The girl really, really didn’t care (and probably enjoyed) that the guy could see her talking on her phone outside the restaurant.
5. I may have read way too much into what I was seeing. After all, I have been listening to Lionel Richie sings the love songs for the past two hours.

Just A Few Things…

1. The house we bought a year ago needs a new roof. What we’re starting to realize is that owning a home is very expensive sometimes! Luckily, we’re provided for… in every way.
2. After watching the Justin Bieber movie, I can truly agree with a hundred bagillion people in saying that this kid rocks. Bieber truly is a talented kid.
3. Cup Noodles is the cheapest, most wonderful meal to keep (for six months) in your office desk… without going bad.
4. When blue raspberry sour straws are mixed with hot coffee, somehow they magically become vomit flavored.
5. It’s time to start cutting the grass again.

There Are Rules, Everybody.

If you’re gonna have a fight, or even just a somewhat heated discussion, there are rules that apply.  You can’t just go in there with gloves on (or off, for our hockey friends) and fists swinging.  I’m not a fighter.  I’m a runner-away and talk-about-feelings type.  But TV has brought to my attention a few good rules for fighting.  They seem to work for me (as I’ve been able to try them out at least a dozen times in the past six months), so maybe they can work for you, too.  So we all know, I got these rules from John Francis Donaghy, who seems to be a pretty good businessman.

Rules for Defusing a Fight
1.  Say No – Don’t let the other person force you into an argument.
2.  Talk Low – Having a quiet voice helps calm the other person and also keeps you thinking rationally.
3.  Just Go – If things get in ‘a bad way,’ just walk away and resolve the issue at another time.

Try it and see what happens.  Or don’t try it and also see what happens.  All I know is that there should probably be more teaching on how to avoid raising voices and tempers.

Take a shower, weirdo!

There’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.  Let me explain the why first, and then I’ll explain the thought.  Ok.  So first, I’m a worship pastor.  I spend my Sundays on stage and my weekdays at a desk, planning, contacting, scheduling, rehearsing, apologizing and drinking coffee.  There’s part I.  Part II is this… What is it about the post-seeker movement* that bugs me so much?  There’s something about that ‘group’ or ‘movement’ or whatever it is they call themselves that makes me want to shower and read a hymnal.  I’ve come up with a list of things that I think really drive me crazy, and I’ll share it with you here.
1.  “Reinventing” hymns by adding really stupid choruses or changing the rhythm enough to screw up the congregation.
2.  Using terms that are obviously made up, like, “I left it on the stage,”** which infers telling the truth or something.
3.  Hair styles that are supposed to look like they’re not washed, but in fact, are washed and conditioned and styled.
4.  Blogging daily thoughts, set lists, guitar polish techniques, coffee bean roasting problems and beard progress.
5.  Deep cut V-neck tee shirts.
6.  U2, though sometimes wonderful and full of truth, is not always appropriate for congregational participation.
7.  Deodorant isn’t a sin, and cologne isn’t ‘poison.’

Now that I’ve shared my list of issues with the group, let me put to words what I guess truly bugs me (over and above the rest).  I think when I look at a set list for a worship team, I try to get a feel for what kind of church it is by the songs they sing.  And lately I’ve noticed that this type/style/sect of church tends to stick to a very specific vein of worship songs.  In a 5 song setlist, there will be 3 Hillsong United songs.  I love that group.  They put out wonderful music.  But I’m pretty sure they’re not the only people that put out worship music.  And a lot of it is hard to sing along to.  But that band wears tight jeans, has beards and uses funny terms when describing themselves.  For the other two songs in the setlist, I’d be willing to bet that there’s a Chris Tomlin song, because everybody gets down with Chris Tomlin… and because he loves to rock the slow jams to Jesus (and how are you going to get people to come down to the altar without a Tomlin song?!?!)  The other song in the setlist is ALWAYS, WITHOUT A DOUBT a hymn.  It always starts with just a voice and maybe an acoustic guitar.  Then as the song hits the chorus (or just before), the whole band kicks in and people raise their hands.  Nothing wrong with instrumental dynamics or singing hymns or raising hands.  All of those things are wonderful.  But the setlist is 100 times out of 100 the same.  I don’t know what the deal is, but I think I’m gonna hold off for a few more years before using that equation.

Am I alone here?

*The post-seeker movement is the group of churches that typically label themselves ‘outside the box,’ spell words strangely in their church name, call their sanctuary something weird like Conversation Promenade, brew and drink coffee that comes from places only Willy Wonka has heard of, and all seem to look like they need a bath.

**  Everybody knows that the term, ‘I left it on the stage’ means that somebody farted on the stage.