Things I Like Thursday: September 29th Edition!!

Leave a comment

To answer the question on everyone’s mind, yes, I am enjoying my vacation. But, that’s not what I like this Thursday. In a sense, I had to pay for my vacation: I worked several days of overtime and traded in the extra money for extra time off… so I kind of paid over $100 per day off…but it was worth it. However, this week I like the things I don’t have to pay for. This week I like

FREE STUFF!!

The first thing to talk about is the featured image. Not only do you get a great view of my chiseled-in-progress chest, but you can also see the most recent free thing I’ve been given. My roommate, James, gave me this sweater last night and told me it should be the thing I like this Thursday… I don’t think he actually believed it would be, but a different recent free thing made me consider doing it too. If I remember correctly, this sweater was either his brother’s or brother’s friend’s sweater that somehow got given to him. But James is a tiny bit taller than me, and this sweater was a tiny bit smaller than he.. so now it’s mine! Today is a cool, but not miserable day, so it’s been the perfect opportunity to test it out — and it’s great. Thanks!

On Sunday, I made a big decision. Before connection group, I had to go to McDonald’s for dinner. I started going to my normal one, but there wasn’t a lot of time to eat and make it in time to find out if Nedna was happening (Simpsons reference). There was a closer McDonald’s and finally I caved in, pulled a u-turn, and went to the logical, albeit not preferred McDonald’s. When I arrived they messed up “big time.” They made me pay for someone else’s meal by accident, but because it’s drive-thru (one of those double drive-thru’s actually) no one really pays attention to the receipt. Well, I ended being charged ¬†$12 more than I should have been. To make up the favor, I swear I didn’t ask for it, the manager gave me my meal for free…. Score 1 for Mickey Dee’s.

Something I really enjoy, but somehow I missed yesterday, is free pie Wednesday’s at the village inn. I’ve gotten it several dozen times, and I promise you it’s for real… Want pie and icream? buy a scoop of ice cream and get your pie for free. Or you could get coffee with your pie…you’ve paid $1 for pie and ice cream. It’s AWESOME… not to mention the Village Inn is the greatest place on earth anyway.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

That line signifies where I took a break for lunch. Every Thursday a group of people who have known each other through different ministries get together for lunch at Burge. I had a feeling that if I didn’t publish this blog before lunch started I would get something for free and didn’t know how to rectify it… the line is such. At lunch, Fern gave me a sugar cookie with sprinkles that she baked and Jessica gave me a piece of gum after lunch. Aren’t they nice ūüôā

All in all, I like free stuff.

Vacation — Day 1 and Day 2 morning

Leave a comment

Most of my readers (at least the ones I’ve been able to identify over the last 9 months) know that I have been getting really sick over the last 4 months. I work overnight, and so when I get off work it magically becomes cheaper to go to the hospital…so on 3 occasions in these months, after work I’ve gone because of¬†excruciating¬†pain and many other symptoms that I’m sure you don’t really know about. The doctors cannot explain what is wrong me; the last one even said nothing is “medically” wrong me… I disagree. Doctors have ruled out several cancers, several bacterial infections, several diseases. They’ve done numerous tests and every one has come back normal, and yet this stuff continues. Well, this weekend the Salt Company is doing their annual fall retreat and I decided to just make a Sabbath of it and take an 8-day vacation to test out 1 of many theories for why I keep getting sick (WebMD and other online sources have become my best friends, giving me many ideas for what I can try and see if it makes me feel better)… so I’ve been trying them. So far none has been a huge help, though some have shown positive signs so I keep going with them.

I live with 4 other guys at the Pretzel Palace, so I don’t want to be the bum that doesn’t do anything for a week, so I’ve decided that during my vacation I’m going to work on some of the projects I’ve been thinking about doing since I’ve moved in.

Last week we had a situation that came up involving food that was trying to kill us. We believe it to be some chicken that has been sitting in our refrigerator that expired at the beginning of August. No one seems to know who it used to belong to, but once it released it’s toxic, decomposing fumes all over the place it became almost unbearable whenever someone would open the fridge. I drew the last straw 2 days ago when I pulled out my milk to drink right from the carton (yes, I know that can be considered impolite, but I’m the only one who touches it) and the plastic on the rim of the jug tasted like decomposing chicken. I realized that even the freezer reeked of rotten chicken. So, yesterday I took to the fridge. It took a scrubbing pad, full roll of toilet paper, 2 scented candles and a lot of gagging, but our fridge now smells wonderful and we magically have twice as much space in the fridge as we did before cleaning (I may have tossed a whole bunch of expired food that made it’s way to the back before being forgotten about.

For those of you who have had the privilege to stay at the Pretzel Palace overnight, or the creepy ones who have snuck in to take showers without us knowing, you know that we have a TERRIBLE bathtub. Since I’ve moved in I’ve had to take showers that ended with water up to my ankles. It’s seriously gross. Not anymore. Since I’ve moved in, I knew I was going to fix it, but our bathtub has a weird tub stop… Normally you would expect to see a screw on top of the drain or a cap that pops off to reveal one, but ours was like 1 piece that you can rotate forever and never get any looser and there wasn’t a screw to be found. Well, over the last week I’ve been examining the mechanics of our tub (the little dial that makes it so you can take a bath doesn’t work, so i knew something was fishy with it’s makeup). Finally I decided to make a go of it, and figured out how to remove our drain… I’m pretty sure I pulled out quite a bit of hair from someone who didn’t live here… and I finally know who at the Pretzel Palace is secretly balding… poor guy. I just finished taking my shower to clean up after morning’s work, and I can say there is no cloggage in my tub!

When I cleaned off the tools I used to get this job off I found that the bathroom sink was finally completely clogged too, but there was no visible debris under the stopper. I have to say, I was kind of worried about even attempting this one, because I looked at the pipes and they are metal in both bathrooms and plastic in the kitchen… so the bathroom pipes are probably 30+ years old and at some point the kitchen ones caused problems prompting them to be changed to PVC. So although I was 95% sure where the clog was (in the trap under the sink) I couldn’t take apart the pipe to get at it for fear of breaking the seals or the whole clamp from damage over the years…which I didn’t want to pay for a pipe. Long story short — a run to Lowe’s for a new “Sink and tub ONLY” plunger and some duct tape and now I have no more clogged pipes anywhere in the house… I was hoping I wouldn’t need to get a snake, and I guess I got lucky… It’s amazing what you can do with duct tape ūüėÄ

I still have a few more things I’d like to do in the next day or 2, but for now, it’s time to scratch “write a blog” from my list and keep listening to Spotify / find something to do

Things I Like Thursday: September 22nd Edition!!

Leave a comment

I’ve got to be honest with you, I ran out of things to write about on Thursdays pretty quickly. I have a few ideas pondering, but the whole point of Things I Like Thursdays was to be something that really caught my attention that week. This week, a new piece of software really did catch my attention, and it really is one of the coolest new things in the future of web media. That’s why this Thursday I like:

SPOTIFY!!!

Spotify has “most” of the cool features that you like from Apple iTunes, except with one major difference… on spotify it’s FREE! Actually, if you use iTunes for anything other than music, there’s actually several things different, but I don’t so Spotify has become an awesome change of pace.

Spotify is a music software program you can download from their website (www.spotify.com) that gives you free access to pretty much every song ever recorded. So far I haven’t found anything not on their (granted I’m not a big music buff). Even my church band’s album is on it! You might remember Napster from several years ago, and you remember that what they did was totally illegal. Spotify is different…. It’s completely legal! They make it free by putting commercials after every few songs and have¬†licensing¬†agreements with all the major producers.

I’m using the free version of Spotify, but for $10 a month (yeah, it’s a bit too much for me…) you get rid of the advertisements, and get 1 more big benefit. You can download all your music so it can go on your phone (if you’re more tech savvy than me) or other mp3 devices. You also get better sound quality… but it’s pretty good even on the free. And since you download the songs, you can play them without internet connection.

Spotify is basically the hulu of the music world. It’s got all the music like iTunes. It’s gives you good suggestions based on the music you have like Pandora. It gives you the ability to listen for free like Grooveshark. It gives you the ability to see what your friends have been listening to like Ping.

So here’s what you got to do to get it… Essentially you have to be invited. If you go to their website and connect with your facebook account and send 1 invitation yourself (I sent to my roommate who already had Spotify) and they’ll send you an instant invitation. Or you can give them your email address and after a day or two they will send you an invitation — if you’re cool… like my roommate did. When you get your invitation, they will let you download it. It only takes a minute to download and then it will let you transfer all your local music, and music from your iPod or Android to it’s library so it has a starting place for music selections… or you can always still listen to your old music if that’s what you REALLY want to do…

As an example, I am currently listening to the new Grungor CD, Ghosts Upon the Earth, on Spotify. I’ve heard of them and have heard one or two of their songs, but never owned any of their music. BUT, several of my friends have either bought the CD or they’ve already listened to it on Spotify, so I got the¬†recommendation¬†to listen to it too. It’s actually pretty good… so I’ll recommend it to my listeners. I know the name makes them sound like they are a hardcore or metal type of band, but they are actually pretty listenable. It’s actually REALLY soft music.

So, I am really interested to see how the music industry will function in the near future. First, buying movies started going out of style with the advent of Netflix (let’s ignore their current issues). Next Hulu took it a step farther and started the beginning of the end for cable/satellite¬†tv by creating instantly available, tv shows on demand for free (or a MUCH bigger selection for just $10 a month). Newspapers have long since been replaced with news website…. iTunes destroyed the concept of buying an album— now you just buy the songs you like. So, does free, legal music mean the end of buying media all together? So much of it is free and instantly available that I don’t see a large market for any sort of hardware attached to music in the next 5 years (except of course there will always be some nostalgic people who insist on the hardware…but they’re dumb). It will be interesting to see how all this turns out.

Just Get Along, Ok?

Leave a comment

I’ve posted before from Mark Driscoll’s status, but I decided to do so again because he made another “controversial post.” Mark wrote a topic on his blog about an older pastor who has counseled him for years — Rick Warren — that created a bit of fighting among his followers.

For readers who don’t know, Rick Warren is the guy who wrote The Purpose Driven Life. Seems like a pretty good guy, right? Well, the problem that many have with him is his non-essential doctrines that he follows. Namely, Rick Warren is Arminian. I’ve written about it before, but the response to Mark’s blog is the thing I HATE about the Arminianism/Calvinism debate.

Despite, Mark (Who is a Calvinist) saying many times at his church, facebook page, and blog that Arminians (like Rick Warren) are still Christian and are not false teachers because neither are Calvinism or Arminianism is Canon… Canon is basically the stuff we all HAVE to believe.

It just irks me when people talk badly, especially to the point of calling someone a “wolf,” “false teacher,” “the anti-christ” etc… just because you believe 1 thing happens differently. The truth about the two camps of thought is that when you look at individual people they both reach the same conclusion about Salvation… they just believe the cause for it is slightly different… they’re different camps of the same team not enemies. Why does a school of thought that wasn’t even defined for the first 1500+ years of Christendom have to be such a device issue.

How come Mark’s followers (I don’t follow Rick, so I don’t know if his do the same thing) cannot just follow the example of their pastor… They both strongly hold opposing beliefs, but they can still work together and be friends. So I beg, just get along, ok?

Things I Like Thursday: September 15th Edition!!

Leave a comment

I know, I know… I took a 1 week hiatus. I was busy beating up zombies and drop kicking ninjas. That’s just how I roll. With such a crazy life, you might ask what it takes to keep such a kick-butt guy like me clean, right? I’m sure that’s what your first thought was, so this week I like:

Old Spice Swagger!!

Why Old Spice? Why Swagger? I’m glad you asked. I want to bathe myself in pure power. It takes a lot of power to go after such mighty foes as ninja robot nazi zombies who hate America, and the best way to have power pour out of my pores is to saturate myself in it every morning (late afternoon).

When you wash with Swagger, you literally feel weakness being scraped off your skin and replaced with titanium battle armor. No lie. I got bit by a¬†tyrannosaurus, but it’s teeth broke because my skin was so well protected thanks to Swagger. He didn’t even make my 10-pack abs lose their shine!

Swagger tells people that I’m a shrewd businessman, but a classy fellow. I didn’t develop my multinational fortune 500 jetpack copmany smelling nasty. Investors walk into my office and know by the smell of me that their money must be in good hands. They just can’t resist me.

Swagger leaves my skin feel smooth and well hydrated. Women can’t keep their hands off me when I use it! They’re attracted by the smooth, cool smell, but they are captivated by the strong, but gentle feel of my skin.

…but seriously, it does smell pretty good and I got $0.50 off by purchasing 2 bottles at a time!

Veritas

Leave a comment

Veritas, it’s the Latin word for truth. It also happens to be the name of the church I’ve attended for the past year. Today I made a big decision about my attendance at Veritas and since I need something to blog about, this is my official announcement regarding the decision. I have decided to become a member at the church!

Here’s a very brief history of the church. The lead pastor, Mark Arant, worked for a church called Cornerstone in Ames, IA. He saw a need for a church dedicated to reaching college students in Iowa City. So he, along with a childhood friend, Jeff Thune, ¬†and 60 some members from that church decided to plant a new church in Iowa City — Veritas Church. Their first several meetings were potlucks in the park. After a month they began meeting in one of the hotels downtown and having a college ministry that met in a couple bars all school year.

By the end of the school year, the church more than tripled in weekly attendance and on some weeks even quadrupled or¬†quintupled¬†in weekly attendance. A group of elders formed and Cornerstone church decided that they no longer needed to consider us a plant and no longer needed to be the crutch that Veritas stood on. Veritas got so big that the church outgrew the downtown hotel’s conference center and started the summer at a bigger hotel in Coralville. By the end of the summer Veritas grew big enough that they needed to expand the conference room. Now the church is ready to begin year two, and I have high hopes for what they will accomplish.

Here’s my personal history with Veritas. I attended the first potluck, but didn’t know anyone but the girls that I walked to the park with. Service already started by the time we got there and it looked like every seat was taken, so we wound up sitting a ways away from the service trying to hear from a park bench near where the children’s church was playing. We didn’t enjoy it and felt awkward so we left after like 10 minutes and didn’t go back the next few weeks.

I know I didn’t put much effort into enjoying the church, so I ignored the first, bad experience and still went to the first Salt Company at the Blue Moose Pub with an open mind. It was mostly fantastic. My initial thoughts was that it was easily the best church band I’d ever heard and ¬†the message was spot on and convicting. The one thing I didn’t like was that only two people that came with Salt talked to me, but neither had time to do anything but introduce themselves before leaving. I sat with a couple other people who decided to leave our old college ministry and didn’t really meet anyone new.

Included with the welcome brochure that every church does, they handed out a little card to give contact information. At the end of the meeting, people who led connection groups made themselves known so people could meet them and exchange contact information about their Bible studies. I did the only sensible thing and gave my card to the person I recognized the most — the leader of the band! Didn’t meet him and couldn’t remember his name, but I saw him twice (when he led worship at the beginning and the end), which was more than any other connection group leader. I gave him the card and got out of the bar as quick as I could push the crowd. I know, it was the most ridiculous choice I could make since I know nothing about music, he looked like a cross between a punk and a hipster, he was too cool to use his real name, and it was very obvious that the two of us had nothing in common. But, familiarity is a powerful motivator.

A few days later I got an email from some random dude named James who said he was leading my connection group and wanting to know if I needed a ride to his house on some random street that I didn’t even know if it was in Iowa City… my first thought was that James is a normal name and definitely not the same guy. Again, I did the only sensible thing and checked out his criminal record. Turns out he’s mostly clean — no arrests and his facebook profile made him look like a decent guy, but not one that I’d actually be friends with.

We had a lot of funny stories. On my birthday I thought they were screwing with me because it was a connection group night and all they did was talk about birthdays. Turns out that they really didn’t know it was my birthday and after as many times as I’ve given them a hard time about it, James and Spaid will never forget that my birthday is October 14th.

I knew that I wanted to be a part of their lives, more than just meeting at their house once a week, when we went on the fall retreat. By chance, I was in their small group at the retreat too. We talked about the story of Joseph and because of the circumstances of his life, one of them asked me a very personal, very difficult question to answer. I knew the right answer, but I knew that once I said it, they would never unhear it. I’ve actually been asked the same question two other times in my life and after answering it both times the person who asked it metaphorically crushed me. I wasn’t sure whether or not they could be trusted, but after 2 months did eventually tell them the answer. So far they’ve proven themselves to be faithful.

We also fought, pretty intensely I might add. In my post On Reconciliation, I briefly talked about a connection group that fell apart. It digressed into a shouting match and battle of wills. When a bunch of stubborn guys disagree and can throw out Bible verses at each other, watch out… stuff’s gonna hit the fan quick! Within a day we made amends had a stronger relationship than before.

It’s now been months later, and I’m living with these guys. I moved into their 3 bedroom house with their other two roommates, who also moved to plant this church. I don’t consider myself to be a man of great faith, but I live with 4 men who left their friends and caused all sorts of problems for some of their college degrees to start a church that odds said would fail. They were robbed twice, some of them lost the things most valuable to them, some of them were separated from the people the loved most, and some of them of had every justification to be miserable, angry, and go home… but none of them doubted why they were here. None of them doubt their purpose in starting a church. None of them gave up faith in their mission. They give me faith, they encourage me, they’ve sacrificed for me, and I know that none of them would let me abandon God’s work, be miserable, angry, or go home.

Iowa City is my home and these guys are my brothers. It only makes sense for me to join them and help in their mission. The church I grew up in did a lot to raise me up. It’s because of that church that I have many Bible passages memorized, and if not for the influence of that church I would probably not go to church today. But, I have not attended my parents’ church on a regular basis since I graduated high school and at the moment I have no intentions of moving back to their area. I can’t wait to become more involved as a member of Veritas and continue to grow with my brothers this year.

Things I Like Thursday!! September 1st Edition

Leave a comment

Do you like how I’ve made things I like Thursday into more just about whatever is happening to me this week? Well, this week is no different. I want to take a moment to introduce you to my new car! So this week I like the:

2009 Chevy Cobalt

I’ll be honest, I cheated. I don’t have a camera, so this isn’t my exact car, but it’s pretty similar. I traded in my mostly broken down 1998 Plymouth Neon for my new car… I’m so clever that I’ve even named him: Colby. I know, it’s lame but I’m open to suggestions.

I’m super excited because this is my first big kid car. I don’t have to worry about my new car breaking, and even if it does, it’s under warranty. My car is covered if it’s stolen or crashed…. but hopefully that won’t happen.

The thing I like most about my new car is that I don’t have to fill up my car with gas twice a week. So far I haven’t gotten close to using a tank. It’s a weird change, but I like it!