Wednesday, March 21, 2007

110 things

Quite honestly, though I'm usually curious enough to read them, I've never really understood the whole "meme" phenom in blogland. Perhaps because they're usually curricular and pre-packaged, fill-in-the-blanks type things. Do I really want to know what were the last 3 desserts you ate? Do I really want to know whom you'd choose between Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, and Cesar Chavez? Or blue, yellow, or pumpkin? How about your favorite number? 9, 3, or 19?
So I've never been tempted to participate in any such goofiness, even if I were to get "tagged" (which I haven't). I'm much too serious a blogger to waste time on such nonsense.
That is, until one of my favorite blogs set off a firestorm of such goofiness. And not only was it cool, it was terribly interesting. And amusing.
Ok, so maybe I could learn a bit about myself by doing a sort of "rod synopsis", but I certainly can't be as amusing as my inspiration. Nor as interesting.
But I can ponder things about myself that pop into my head. Learn from some mistakes perhaps. Count some blessings. Remember to avoid some things next time, and to do some things again.
I don't know. Maybe you should stop here, do an outclick, and go on about your day. But I think I'll stick around and ponder my past and present, and ponder if it tells me anything about me.
Childish and uncool? I make no apologies.
A lot of this stuff has been spilled in more depth on actual blog posts from the archives. I'll spare you the links to those.

here goes:

1. I started playing guitar because Johnny Cash played guitar. I begged for a guitar for a long time, then after I got one, begged for lessons.

2. I bought my first “good” acoustic guitar when I was 11 with money I’d earned cutting grass around the neighborhood.

3. My Dad built a new house in front of our old tiny house in which my brother, sister, and I all slept in the same bedroom. The house took him almost 3 years to complete, and was almost completely paid for when he finished. I was 12 when it was finished.
This is one of the major events of my life, and I think it shaped me as much as any other thing that I witnessed or experienced.

4. I moved into the new house before it was finished, and while the rest of the family still lived in the old house.

5. I have issues with artificial things that attempt to pass themselves off as the real thing. Often, these things have perfectly wonderful uses as something original, but they may never find them because they masquerade as something else.
(i.e.: synthesizers and silicone)

6. I was 28 when my first child was born. I’ve been 28 for the past 15 years. I will always be 28.

7. Although I’m 28, I’ve been married for 20 years. (to the same woman, thank you very much)

8. My wife’s been married to the same man for over 20 years.

9. I’ve attended ballgames at Three River Stadium, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Montreal.

10. I sung the National Anthem at Three River Stadium

11. I am a very shy, introverted person. I can’t make small talk, but if even a stranger hits my button, I can (and have) ramble for hours about a passionate issue.

12. Ironically, my annoying off-the-rail rambles have actually gotten me invited to dinner by guests at gigs I’ve played.

13. I absolutely hate it when people use the article a before the word myriad.

14. I was interrogated at 2:00am in a police station concerning a robbery in which the thief was already known.

15. There was a warrant for my arrest recently when Wal-mart cashed a check that had been stolen from my wife’s purse after the account had been closed and were torqued because they couldn’t collect their $14.

16. A colleague challenged me publicly with a paper that another colleague had published, but which the challenger had not read.

17. I am absolutely elated, moved, and overjoyed by Dove’s “campaign for real beauty,” and “Pro-aging” campaign. But I am very jealous of handsome guys, and I will in no way age gracefully.

18. I believe that John Rutter’s “Requiem” is the perfect piece of music.

19. If I were not a Christian, I’d probably worship fire. I may already have a problem with that.

20. If I were a fire worshipper, I’d have an idolatry problem with the moon.

21. I bought my first computer in 1988. It was a Mac. Mac is all I’ve ever owned.

22. I have a bunch of guitars.

23. I just bought a purple guitar. It is supposed to arrive today by UPS.

24. “Erace”, by the gotee bros. is one of my absolute favorite albums.

25. Neil Peart had a huge influence on the development of my observation and thought processes.
He’s probably also responsible for my steering wheel drumming habits.

26. Whenever “Tom Sawyer” gets to that part where Neil does the half-note triplet bass drum and tom roll, I always have to go back and hear it again. Usually several times.

27. I had an email address before most of my current students were born.

28. In 1998, I used online materials for all my classes, but had to stop because most of my students didn’t have computers or internet access.

29. My blood type is A+, but my grades usually weren’t.

30. I’m 6’3” tall.

31. In the Spring of ’05, I lost 47 pounds. I bought new clothes at the bottom of that loss at 180 lbs. Now I weigh 211 lbs, but I’m still wearing the same size pants.

32. It’s true

33. I bet if today’s laws and government were like 1520s Europe, reformation Christians would still be killing one another.

34. I shook hands with President Carter in 1980 during a whistle stop just before the election. Friends and I skipped school and drove to the airport. I had on my letter jacket so we told them we were with the school newspaper. They put us at the front of the press line.

35. I have a ruptured S1 disk in my back.

36. My left arm is terribly crooked from a break of both the Ulna and Radius when I was in Junior High.

37. I’ve also broken my collarbone, my right pinky, my big toe, and a rib. All sports injuries.

38. I’ve always heard testimonies of how God got peoples’ attention by allowing terrible circumstances in their lives. But God has always jerked me back through undeniable, blatant warm blessings. He’s always saved the terrible circumstances for when I was firmly and confidently rooted in him.

39. Once, when I was gigging with a famous singer/songwriter, I received an email of charts for the gig, including a chart (in my handwriting) that I’d written 10 years earlier for one of my students during a lesson.

40. In High School, 3 teammates and I set a state record in the 4X400 during the state meet.

41. I lifeguarded for 6 summers and taught swimming lessons.

42. I taught high school my first two years out of college.

43. I coached two years of track, and a year of Girls varsity Basketball.

44. I experience timbre as two-dimensional shapes with sustained tones like an extrusion. Think of extruding playdough and you’ll have a rough idea of what I hear.

45. Once, I wired up a 220v junction box in the attic, and when I went to turn the circuit on, I realized it was on already.

46. Once, I removed my alternator, but didn’t disconnect the battery. With a wrench, I grounded my wedding ring to the engine block just as I hit the live alternator wire with the other side of the ring. Sparks flew from my fingertips as I gold-plated the wrench and alternator wire connector. I have a permanent wedding ring brand now.

47. My diet consists primarily of cereal, milk, diet Mountain Dew® and cookies.

48. I had braces on my legs to correct the outward direction my feet pointed when I was elementary school.

49. I had braces on my teeth when I was in 8th grade.

50. I can fix broken things. A lot of the time. One of the reasons I’ve always driven old decrepit vehicles is that I can keep them going far past when most people would have set fire to them.

51. When I was a kid, at the first sign of malfunction, I would take the malfunctioning object apart. I don’t remember what my success rate was back then, but I did learn about what things looked like inside.

52. I am the ultimate Popeye fan.

53. I married the Homecoming Queen.

54. I also married Antigone and Guinevere.

55. I’m colorblind.

56. The colors on the driving test viewer are not the same colors as on the signal lights (which I have no problem distinguishing)

57. Until they started using LCD lights. Now the red and green can only be determined by its position on the tree.

58. This is sometimes a problem when driving in the Southwest.

59. My senior year in high school, I was voted “most musical” and “biggest flirt.”

60. I bought my first car for $200.

61. After I drove it for 7 years, my Dad sold it for $100 dollars.

62. The buyer took the engine and junked the car, which my Dad chopped for parts and set on fire with the cutting torch.

63. My children have musical tastes ranging as widely as mine do. I’m extremely proud of that.

64. When I look out at the congregation on Sunday morning and see my son worshipping, my feet lift off the ground like John Mayer’s in the “bigger than my body” video. Just about 9 inches or so.

65. I think some folks have noticed it.

66. I have no tolerance for artificial people.

67. It took me years to realize that there is a difference between artificial people and people who don’t know who they are.

68. I have no tolerance for stupid songs. I believe that stupid songs are written by people to whom songs don’t matter. If their songs don’t matter to them as songs, then I don’t feel guilty being intolerant of them.

69. I think about the Kingdom of God ALL the time.

70. I don’t believe the importance of the story justifies shoddy story telling. Rather, the story is disrespected by shoddy story telling.

71. Everything I learn has at least two or three contextual applications because I operate under the belief that everything is a metaphor for everything else.

72. I really only understand one thing, but through it process everything else.

73. When the “seen” ceases to explain the “unseen”, I believe we should re-evaluate what we know about the “seen” based on what we don’t know about the “unseen.”

74. I am NOT ADD. I just like to chase rabbits, and mental hyperlinks.

75. I grew up in a world of experience and testimony. I never heard an apologetic until I went to college. A biblical description of my childhood context would be, “…I can see and feel the effects of the wind. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

76. I am a symbol person. Symbols are inordinately meaningful and important to me. They express me, remind me, encourage me, open doors for me, facilitate, and speak volumes of words. I wear them, carry them, decorate with them…

77. I prefer poetry over bullet points and outlines.

78. I believe that without an emotional connection, no amount of facts and information that I disseminate will make a bit of difference to anyone.

79. I prefer to be shaped rather than taught.

80. I once got stranded in Budapest with a pocket full of USD, but not a Forint to my name. I walked for 5 hours in the general direction I thought would take me to the Hotel. I arrived, exchanged coin with the concierge and went to Pizza Hut, by train.

81. I’ve done 3 short-term mission trips to Chisinau, Moldova.

82. Once, when I was leaning against a tree with my feet propped against a stump, a Great Horned Owl, landed on the stump where my feet were. He stood there, 4 feet tall at arms length for at least a minute before spreading his wings and flying away. I felt like I’d been invited into the spirit world for a moment.

83. I ran over my first iPod with my truck. Allison had replaced it by the next afternoon. What a woman.

84. Our first purchase as a couple was a stereo system several months before we were married.

85. Our first CD was “nightfly” by Donald Fagen. Man I love that CD.

86. I’ve never missed a Rush concert tour since Moving Pictures in 1981. I’ve been to their concerts in Pittsburgh, Charleston WV, Greenville and Columbia SC, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Irvine.

87. I saw Charles Dutoit conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony in Pittsburgh and the Montreal Symphony in Montreal in the same year.

88. I went to two proms in the same weekend.

89. When I was first married, my baby sister came to visit us in PA. I took her down to Baltimore to see John Mellencamp. We bought scalper tickets and sat front row center. That’s the only time I ever bought scalped tickets.

90. I’ve had three too-close encounters with bears. Once, we surprised each other in such close proximity, I could feel his breath on my face.

91. My Dad bought me a shotgun for my 7th birthday.

92. I once witnessed a friend eject all the cartridges from his rifle without firing a shot, and then wonder at how he’d missed the deer.

93. I once shot an arrow into a stump between a deer’s legs. He had to step over my arrow to continue walking in the same direction he was going. That’s the only time I ever shot at a deer in my life.

94. A deer took a shot at me and did $2800 damage to the side of the truck I’d bought only 4 hours early. He never even stopped to say sorry.

95. besides my own kids, Winston and Xavier are among my faves. They make me happy the way mine do, and I remember the way my dad used to act annoyed by some kids and light up around others.

96. I am totally in love with my students. I have been for a few years now. This hasn’t always been the case.

97. Last night I was lying in the silent living room on the floor staring at the ceiling and Will asked me what I was thinking about. I answered, “nothing” because I felt strange admitting I was listening to music.

98. When I was in Junior High, I played Johnny B. Goode at a talent show in a Church basement and scandalized my Mom. I think that’s the only thing that I ever did that upset mom that beyond feeling bad for upsetting her, I felt no shame or regret.

99. In the past couple years, I’ve played and sung U2, John Mellencamp, John Mayer, and James Taylor in church on Sunday morning.

100. We don’t have TV at our house. We have a set for DVDs and Vid games, but it doesn’t pick up any stations.

101. I have every episode of “The Office” on my iPod.

102. There are some socially unacceptable/swear/vulgar words that don’t bother me at all. In fact, there are some that I’d much rather hear than the acceptable replacements that everyone uses. But there are some words that were off limits when I was young that everyone uses now as if they never meant anything. I understand that to them, they don’t mean anything, but I’d appreciate some consideration that for me, they still mean what they meant 25 years ago. I don’t just wince, I shudder at a few common, everyday expressions that I’ve actually heard in the pulpit.

103. I love being around people, but it takes a tremendous amount of alone time to fuel for it.

104. I believe that the Church properly operates as the gathering of smaller intimate communities, rather than the community and intimacy being fostered by breaking the church into smaller bits.

105. I’ve witnessed the messy miracle of childbirth three times and cut the umbilical cords to receive the three greatest gifts of my life.
106. My children are three of the most fascinating people I’ve ever known.
107. When Jack says, “I love you,” I feel like God has caused time to stand still and postponed the inevitable.
108. When Will says, “I love you,” I feel like he’s responding to my thoughts.
109. When Molly says, “I love you,” I feel like the most important person in the world.
110. When Allison says, “I love you,” I feel like all is right with the world.

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