Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Define: "Cold"

Oy. It was a whopping 6 degrees when I left home this morning. It didn't take long for my nose turn red. It was the kind of morning when I should have worn a better coat, and could have used a scarf. At least there wasn't any wind. The wind last night was pretty bad, adding windchill to 15 degree weather.

I'm feeling a little sore in the neck today....I wonder if missing a chiro appointment on Monday because of the holiday is the reason?

Going in again today.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Update Ramble

Ok, it's been a couple weeks, and I've told a few people that I would try and do better at updating more often. Maybe I can make it a new year's resolution to try and update at least a couple times per week.

So, as far as update is going well. Last Thursday I had my 90-day performance evaluation. It went pretty well...I got a "commendable" score, and the HR Manager spoke a bit about the potential for my career in HR. Right now I can't say with absolute certainty that this is what I'll be doing with the rest of my life, but whatever path God has me on, I am certain it's the right one. If history teaches me anything, it's to not make too many assumptions or claim that I know what's best for me more than He does.

What are the other options? Well, here's a little soul-bearing...The other options I've considered are areas that I've felt a significant amount of interest in, or had significant training/experience in.
In no particular order:

1. Writing - aside from being my own biggest fan in the area of vocabulary and spelling (of which I am at times painfully aware is a delusion), there is a fiction story I started writing back in 2003 that was on hiatus while I was busy being a band director. Now that I have more time, and a sort-of creative vacuum, I have taken it up again. As of now, I have no particular goals or schedule with this story, but I've made a few minor breakthroughs that are exciting.

2. Sound engineering - running sound at WCHS was the first step. Then a week after moving to the Springs, God providing another opportunity. Not only is it running sound for the services at church, but it also provides a little extra income. Even before moving out here, I researched a little bit into what the financial and time commitments would be to get more formal training in the area. And of course this kind of career would keep me much more in touch with music.

3. Web design - I created my first web page in 1994 when there was only html and little help to be found. It's mainly be an oft-neglected hobby and fun distraction, but it's another interest that turned into income when I was the webmaster for our school's site at WCHS. My tasks were basic enough, I wasn't starting from scratch, but I did see an avenue open up that was intriguing to pursue.

4. Ministry - this is probably the path that I am most apprehensive/hesitant about. Aside from the lifestyle and financial sacrifices implied, it's a broad category that could steer in almost any direction. Music? High School? Short term missions? Administrative/Leadership staff? There are many areas of ministry that I have been involved with and done well in.

So, as wonderful as free will might be, the frustration is knowing that I have different levels of aptitude for each "path" (including HR). I feel confident that God will continue to provide direction and bless my efforts, regardless of which direction I go...though some may be more appropriate than others.

Anywho...for right now, it'll be keep the status quo. I'll keep developing my HR career, dabbling at my story, running sound at church, staying somewhat active on the internet, and active at church so I can keep all those doors open. I have the sneaking suspicion that someday (maybe years from now) I will be wholly-devoted to something, but time will tell.

Thanks for indulging my musing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I'm not using that word as a euphemism for something else, I'm talking about the bad brown stuff, so if you're squeamish, don't read on.

Wendy and I are sitting on the couch watching some of the 2nd season of Lost, when I say something to Wendy about how much it's starting to smell in the apartment. We start to investigate, and I go into Connor's room to check if he went in his pants. Before I even bother checking him, I can see it smeared on their little blue table. Oh...and it's in Connor's underwear too. We immediately get him into the bathroom and start a bath. Since he admits he was using his hands to "play" with it, I start getting him cleaned up while Wendy cleans up the room.

Alas, poor Rusty (one of Connor's Thomas the Train trains) is a fatal casualty that goes to the trash, despite Bubba's protests. Since he hadn't had a nap today anyways, we decide we'll do the early bed time thing.

Pretty yucky, but Wendy says she's seen worse, so I'm not to make to big of a deal out of it, I guess.
Lessee....Connor's been working on potty-training for about 4 months now....and there is no end in sight with the difficulties. The other day I asked him why he went pee-pee in his pants instead of the potty, and he said "Cause I'm playing" he just doesn't want to stop playing to bother going to the bathroom. We've tried the whole "babies go in diapers, big boys go in the potty" argument with him, but that hasn't sunk in yet.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nice job, God

That's literally what I said, out loud, this morning as I pulled out of my parking spot and turned east into one of the most gorgeous sunrises I've seen in a looong time. I even LOL'ed because the pink and orange colors were dead on for rainbow sherbert....too bad there wasn't any green. If there was, I might've lost my mind and tried to eat the sky. (Woah....did I just have an acid trip?)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Snow = Fun Times

I gotta tell ya…I love snow/winter.

There’s something about the cold, crisp (fresh) air and pretty white snow everywhere that somehow makes me feel a little more alive and full of joy.

Connor and Cosette are obviously kids full of wonder to this bizarre phenomenon they haven't experienced until this move. Even Wendy has giggled like a school girl from time to time. I suspect that years from now the novelty may have dulled somewhat. At least that seems to be the attitude of most of the locals. I'm looking forward to every bit of snow I can get, and everyone at work grumbles and worries.

Speaking of snow....I'm patting myself on the back for getting some pretty darn good winter tires. When I lived in Denver back in 2000 I didn't get winter tires for my Ford Ranger and believe me, I slid around a bit. But with the several days I've driven with these new tires I've been very impressed/pleased with their performance. I've even intentionally stopped/started fast and taken curves a little quick (in safe areas with no cars around) to "test" them out, and I've had a hard time trying to slide on purpose! (Wendy doesn't really approve of my "testing") I didn't even get top-of-the-line tires, but relatively affordable Hankook tires.

Check Wendy's site out for some awesome snow pics. medium-sized post every 2-3 weeks wears a fella out. That's all for now.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dude, what's up with your spine?!

Ok, here's the more detailed scoop on what's up with my back/neck problems.

After posture exam, thermography exam, x-rays, and adjustments the chiropractor gave me the prognosis. I found a couple visual aids on the internet that are close to my situation...

A normal neck should be curved, like this:


My neck is perfectly straight, and tilts down a bit too much. This is known as Phase One degeneration. It looks kind of like this:

phase 1 x-ray

In addition to the cervical (neck) problems, my sacrum (very last part of the spine before the coccyx/tailbone) has no disc and is kind of "squished" up against the next vertebrae at an angle. That probably isn't the most accurate/correct description, but sorry it's the best I can do.
I found a graphic of a slipped disc on the sacrum, which looks sorta like my x-ray did, only, there's no disc at all, and the two bones were smashed against each other...not flush, kind of crooked. hurts just thinking about it!

sacrum slip

Oh, and looking from the back, the spine should be straight, but mine is leaning to the right, which is also bad.
(No visual aid for this one)

I was really, really impressed with the doctor at this place (that did an excellent job of checking me out - all as a free consult!). The way they explained how the spinal cord affects our central nervous system, which in turn affects: EVERYTHING made sense. I liked the sound of their "plan" to get me healthy...except for the bill. $2,700. OY! Huh-uh. Even on the credit plan, the monthly payments are more than our car payments.

Wendy has already beefed about this a bit on her blog. (She's got a messed up neck too.) Suffice to say we were(are) pretty bummed.

Maybe in a few years we can revisit the idea.


I'm having a "Laugh-out-loud" moment at work.

I share an office with a lady who has the radio on a classic rock station. I'm really digging it, takes me back to high school hearing some classic Van Halen, AC/DC and even older classic rock stuff that I'm not as familiar with but am digging (Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, etc.)

Anywho...this song comes on called "Lola". Of course, for the last 20 years, I've always thought of the song as "Yoda" by Weird Al. I don't think I had ever actually heard the original version. So I surprised myself at how well I remember the words as I sang the Yoda version.

Friday, November 16, 2007

38 Questions

Stole this from my wife’s blog just because:

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night.
Connor (my son)

2.What were you doing at 0800?
Logging in at work and starting to check emails.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Pulling employee files

4. What happened to you in 2006?
Daughter (Cosette) was born

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
”You too” (Answering someone who left saying “Have a good weekend”)

6. How many beverages did you have today?
2 glasses of water (so far….it’s only 11:00 AM)

7. What color is your hairbrush?
I don’t have a hairbrush. (I have a black comb)

8. What was the last thing you paid for?
$20 stake in poker game on Wednesday night (I got $60 back though, so does that count as “paying”?)

9. Where were you last night?

10 What color is your front door?

11. Where do you keep your change?
In a holder in my car or my desk at work.

12.What’s the weather like today?
60 degrees and clear.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?
Thrifty’s brand Mint ‘n Chip

14. What excites you?
Seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time; getting a package in the mail; a good LOTR discussion/debate; my wife – hubba, hubba

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
It’s already been cut real short, so not again for a while.

16. Are you over the age of 25?

17. Do you talk a lot?
No. (Unless it’s a good LOTR discussion/debate)

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
My brother is technically a Stephen.

20. Do you make up your own words?
Yes, I’m quite the etymagictricator.

21. Are you a jealous person?

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.
Alf. (Shut up! He’s real!)

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?

25. What does the last text message you received say?
”I take it u r winning?” From my wife after midnight Wednesday. The later I’m out on poker night, the more likely I’m going to cash out.

26. Do you chew on your straw?

27. Do you have curly hair?
More like wavy.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
Home for lunch.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
Can't think of anyone... and would I really name them if I could?

30. What was the last thing you ate?
Peanut Butter cookie.

31. Will you get married in the future?
I hope not, unless it's a vow renewal.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
2 Weeks? Have I seen a movie in the last two weeks...? Oh, we did rent The Number 23 and Shooter. I'll say the Shooter was better. And it's Marky Mark! Er, I mean Mark Walburg.

33. Is there anyone you like right now?
I like my wife, and my kids. And I like Rick from poker.

36. Did you cry today?

37. Why did you answer and post this?
Because my wife did it.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good News, Bad News

Bad news first, right?
Apparently, cold weather messes with the cable TV. We turned it off tonight out of frustration, since it’s constantly going in-and-out. So is it gonna be like this for the next 4 months? Funny, I don’t remember the cable company mentioning that when we signed up. Grrrr…

Good: I exist! No, Descartes, not because I’m thinking. I guess I’ve been at the company long enough now for the President to know who I am. This morning I passed by him in the hallway, and we exchanged curt “Hellos”, and I remember thinking he probably doesn’t know my name. Then about an hour or two later we passed each other again, and he actually said, “Hi, Josh”. Woah!

On top of that, I found out the the owners of the building we work in is having “tenant appreciation day” on Friday. So they’re having a big buffet breakfast in the lobby. People who remember last year’s say it’s pretty darn good food too. So, yay!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Ok, I was going to update this last weekend, but a nasty stomach flu bug made war on our family.
Cosette brought something home from church and started throwing up last Wednesday. Then Connor got it, then I got it, then Wendy got it, then my brother Steve got it, then his wife got it. So as of Wednesday this week, we're all on the mend. It only lasted 12-24 hours for each person, and fortunately it didn't hit all four of our family at the same time, or we would've been in real trouble. (Oh and 2 different neighbors had it too)

Fortunately, we were able to attend the church's halloween thing last night. They had several booths with little games for the kids to play and then they got some candy. Connor had a pretty good time, though you would have a hard time telling because Connor always gets "in the zone" when we're somewhere doing something and shows no emotion.

Connor was Bob the Builder, and Cosette was Little Red Riding Hood. (Wendy made that one)

Wendy has great pictures on her website as usual.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Home Full of Laughter

Having kids is certainly draining physically, emotionally, financially, etc....but holy cow the laughter and joy and pride and fun and adventure by far outweighs the negatives.

We're sitting here in the living room after dinner, and Connor is enjoying one of his favorite activities. When Wendy and I are sitting at opposite end of the couch, he'll run up to one of us and say "Push me!". Wendy pushes him in a fit of giggles, then he runs over to me to do the same.

Just a couple minutes ago, he was standing on the couch and started sliding down and off the couch; and he got this dramatic surprised/excited look on his face and asked "What's going on?!" Wendy and I had a great laugh from that one.

Then he watches me type a little bit, and to encourage him learning his name, I start typing: CONNOR NEAL and ask him to tell me what letters/words I'm typing. He gets really excited as he realized it's his name.

Now he has calmed down a bit and is working on a puzzle. He's pretty good at it. He'll try two pieces together until he finds two that fit. "!"

Monday, October 15, 2007


6) It's been a big blessing and a lot of fun to have a regular group of guys to meet with to play poker. Most of them are guys from church, and the others are great too. Aside from the camaraderie, these guys are great players, and I'm learning a lot and improving my game. Texas Hold 'em is just straight-up awesome.

7) Remember our favorite sailor, Scott McMullen?

Last week, while waiting in DMV to take care of car registration and new plates, I got a call from Scott. It was midnight in Bahrain, and he had just gotten off duty. So we chatted for about 20 minutes and caught up a bit. He's doing well...his shifts are 12 hours on/12 off, 3 days on/3 days off. In case you don't know, he works in intelligence and monitors communications of all air and sea craft in the Persian Gulf. And since he's a Petty Officer, 3rd Class (I don't know what that means) he's allowed to have off-base housing.
Oh, and he said that in a couple months, he'll be transferred to a ship off the coast of Japan....or something like that. Pretty cool, eh?

8) One of the things we've tried to do since moving out here is sample local "eateries". There's a decent breakfast burrito to be had a couple blocks from our apartment at a hole-in-the-wall mexican place. Sonic Burger is common out here, but I think it's pretty weak-sauce and not worth it. (Although we get dessert there fairly often) Last Friday, we tried a popular sit-down restaurant that's advertised on tv and radio called "Black-Eyed Pea". Oy vey. Not good. But we'll keep trying.

9) On the TV front, these are the shows I'm watching (and enjoying): Chuck, House, The Office, Journeyman, Numbers, and....I'm getting my foot in the door with Heroes. I guess I'll have to find a place that's renting season one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Long lost update

Well, it's been a while since an update again...mostly because nothing dramatic has happened I guess, but also because I put it off. But there are a few interesting things to talk about.

Forgive the dry structure, but I think it helps me get the update done. (I've always done better with structure vs. free-form)

1. At the men's retreat a couple weeks ago, most of the men (including myself) committed to getting plugged into an accountability group that would meet once a week for at least a year. We're not talking "let's go through a Bible study guide together" kind of thing. More of a hard-core, deep secrets/issues intense thing. Of course I say this having only met with my guys once so far. But the three of us immediately connected and I'm really excited about it.

3. My group decided to try a fast this week in order to ask God about something we wanted answers to (each of us had different questions). I did mine on Monday....and I'm not sure how I feel about what happened. I don't feel like I "accomplished" anything spiritually, and broke my fast a little earlier than I planned, but one of the guys in my group encouraged me by pointing out that you can never fail when you are trying to get closer to God.

4. Cosette. Ok, we all know how cute she is...but did you know that she's a freaking genius!?
Connor's great, God bless him. But Cosette's vocabulary is expanding exponentially at an age way earlier than Connor. Wendy's got a list of her words here:

5. Good news: I found out this week that my company offers $1,800 per year in tuition reimbursement. Hmm...

More later...I'm tired now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

God is Good

Wendy has already mentioned this on her blog, but for those who don't read hers, here's the good news: the place I've been temping hired me on permanently. I'm finally making more money than I ever did in California, and since I'm at the Corporate HQ, I get the Corporate benefits package. What a blessing! Medical, dental, vision for the entire family is covered; 3x my annual salary in life insurance; $15k in disability; 2 weeks vacation per year.

Not to mention that it's a great company and it's nice working with good people too.

The other great thing that happened recently, was church's Men's retreat I went to this last weekend. Steve (my bro) went too. It was pretty intense...and I don't just mean spiritually. The main thrust of the leadership was building relationships. And I guess they thought team competitions was one way to accomplish that.

There were 3 teams (green, red, and blue) Steve and I were on Green. We got checked in around 7pm on Friday, and after an opening session around a bonfire, they launched us right into a 3-hour volleyball/basketball tournament. I chose volleyball since I abhor running. I was pretty awesome - our team won like 15 games in a row and I got a pretty decent workout.

The next day had a couple hours of capture-the-flag: green won those game too. That night, I was holding my own in an impromptu ping-pong tournament.

In between all the sports/etc. there were great times of men sharing their lives, God working on our hearts, and the starting of accountability groups. I've been in men's Bible studies before, but never a real, hard-core accountability group.

I'm tired...time for sleep.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Ok, so several guys from church play poker every Wednesday night. It's a 10-man table, $20 each, top 3 pay out (100, 60, 40). I've gone three times when there's been an open seat (when one of the regulars doesn't come). Steve (my bro) went once too. My first time, I placed 2nd. My 2nd time (when Steve went) I didn't do so hot and took 6th, but Steve place 3rd and doubled-up.

Then there's tonight. I just got home after my first big win! I love playing with these guys. It's awesome male-bonding/fellowship, all the guys are nice and funny. A few of them play a few times a week, and travel to casinos to play in big cash games.

One of them, Jerry, was in California yesterday sitting at a table with Jamie Gold and JC Chan, a couple top pros I see on TV a lot. He's great about helping me learn the game, advising me what I should've done after a hand, or answering questions, etc.

Then it hit me. Hmmm, Jerry Jenkins sounds familiar. He said he's an author. Then tonight, when everyone was pitching in on a string of jokes that I won't try to explain, he mentioned that one of the guys was "Left Behind" and everyone laughed. It dawned on me that this was the guy that wrote the Left Behind series with Tim LaHaye. Woah!

My deal with Wendy is that I'm allowed the $20 stake once a month. If I don't place and get cash back, I'm done for the month. If I win, I've got a stake for another game. When you think about how much dinner and a movie costs nowadays, it's a pretty cheap way to have fun on a guy's night out.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Coming of the King

That’s the title of the 670-page historical fiction I randomly decided to start reading. It’s by Nikolai Tolstoy, grandson of the famous War and Peace author, Leo Tolstoy. In a nutshell, it’s the life-story of Merlin, famed wizard and advisor to Arthur of Camelot. Nikolai is one of the world’s leading Celtic and Arthurian scholars, who thoroughly researched Merlin and the time/place setting such a person may have existed.

As I’ve been reading The Coming of the King, I am constantly getting stumped by Welsh words and people/place references. It’s confounded by the fact that the historical fiction takes place in the British Isles circa 556 A.D*., so I’m always trying to extrapolate the archaic Welsh name for a place with the modern equivalent. For example, the large island to the west of England called “Ywerdon” is obviously Ireland. And they’re referring to Iessu Crist is easy enough to figure out. But it takes me a little longer to realize that “gwyddbwyll” = “chess”; or that a “cyfarwys” = “gift/reward”.

So to help, I’ve been doing a little research on the internet. First, just looking through some Welsh/English dictionaries to get the literal translations of Welsh words. And second, to learn the pronunciation rules. As I’ve been diving into Welsh, I’ve actually had a couple moments when I start giggling and feeling something inside leap for joy. I fancy that it’s a taste of what Professor Tolkien felt.

I feel like I could be a grandson to Tolkien. It’s moments like today that I feel like I miss him (as if I ever knew him). In Professor Tolkien’s writings and biographical notes, it’s obvious how infatuated he was not only with languages, but with Welsh in particular.

So, all that to say I’m enjoying the novel, and subsequently enjoying learning a little bit of Welsh.

*Incidentally, I got that date from an interview with Nikolai Tolstoy I ran across.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Billions served...

Time for another update, I guess.

The big news for the week: I had a hamburger from McDonalds…for the first time EVER.
I’ve always gotten the chicken nuggets at McD’s. For some reason, their burgers never appealed to me, and I was never interested in trying. But on Wednesday, while standing in line to order my nuggets for lunch, I thought to myself, “Hey, maybe I’ll be surprised and actually like it. At least I’ll know what I’ve been missing.”

So I got a quarter-pounder with cheese (and nothing else…I’m sure Ric would agree with me that plain is best). My review: Meh. What advanced technology do they use to remove flavor? It wasn’t exactly gross, but it was pretty disappointing.

Caveat: In California a couple months ago, McD’s started offering a special new Angus burger. I tried it and was quite impressed. It’s pretty loaded with flavor. I didn’t count that in my “Never-had-a-burger-at-McDonald’s” thing though, because I still had never had any regular-menu burger for the last 30 years, that most people have had. The bummer is, they don’t have it at the McD’s outside of California, so…back to the chicken nuggets.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Who’s Good at Updating Their Blog?

Not me. Sorry for being so lazy about updating. I’ve honestly come close a couple times. But then I think about what anecdote or meaningful thought to share…and come up empty. I continue to read my friends’ blogs, and many of them are content to do a little post every day or so without it being ground-breaking news, so I should probably just relax and make the effort.

#1 thing on most peoples’ minds: work. It’s still going well. This whole last week, 2 people I work closest with (including my boss) have been out of town. So it’s been just me and 2 other HR people. It’s felt pretty laid-back and low-stress. I had a couple big projects that I finished, and have really pouring on the quality HR-traits: efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been nearly a month. Hopefully, they’ll realize that the company is so much better off with me around, that this will lead to a permanent placement.

On the church-side of things…I’ve run the board for a couple Sundays and several practices, so I’ve been given a green light. They’re drawing up the paperwork for me to be officially hired by the church as a member of the sound/tech crew. That extra money every now and then will definitely help…plus it’s fun and good experience.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

LOST cast Tuesday

Apparently, tonight is a special “Lost” feature on cable TV. I’m flipping back and forth between Spiderman 2 and The Mummy Returns.

In Spiderman 2, Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) is an assistant to Doc Ock.
In The Mummy Returns, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko) is one of the main bad guy warriors, and Jonathan, Brenden Fraser’s brother is played by Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond).


Monday, August 6, 2007

"It was a dark and stormy night...

...I had taken a creative writing course." (That's from MST3K)

We've had some rain/thunder/lightning pretty much every afternoon/evening for the last week or so, but today was crazy. It's pretty odd driving home from work seeing big lightning bolts strike the ground just a few hundred feet away...several times a minute! And the thunder gets pretty big too...I could feel it in my hands while holding the steering wheel.

This isn't a picture that I took or anything, but it's not unlike what we're seeing around here. Pretty awesome.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Umm...Hello? Is this thing on?

Ok, sorry for the obnoxiously long hiatus from updating, Jeri. (And Jenny?) I'm still not sure if anyone other than Wendy and Jeri have ever seen this blog, but just in case, I'll give a quick update. (And I suppose the catharsis of writing my thoughts down has innate value.)

Today was my first day at my new job!
Here's how I got to this point:

On Monday, Wendy and I were calling each others' cell phones in an attempt to figure out a volume problem she was having. During this I almost missed a phone call from one of the temp agencies working for me. But I talked to them, and they wanted to set up an interview for me on Tuesday for a Human Resources job.

Tuesday I had the interview, and at the time I felt it went really well; I answered questions strongly, and promoted my strengths, and got a good feeling from the whole experience. The interviewer said she had one more person to interview and they would make a decision by Friday.

2 HOURS LATER....I get a call from the temp agency saying the company was offering me the position! Naturally, I accepted. And they wanted me to start today (Friday).

It's basically a Human Resources Assistant position, M-F, 8-5. I was warmly welcomed by everyone on the staff today; had a tour of the office; and got to work. They basically showed me the process for new hires and terminations, filing, etc. I was pretty busy all day and am looking forward to Monday.

Thanks for the prayers, God has provided, and Wendy is much happier/relaxed knowing that we will be able to afford things like rent/bills/etc.


Friday, July 13, 2007

The Terminal

No, this isn't Tom Hanks borrowing Josh's computer, this is actually Josh.

I'm in the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport terminal, and since they have free WiFi available, of course I had to take advantage. It's a beautiful day here, so I'm preparing myself for the convulsive body shock of the toxic, noxious fumes of southern California again. :) j/k

Wendy is picking me up around 6:45 tonight, and we'll immediately head over to my parents' place to get the rest of our stuff out of their garage over to our house on Bright. The movers come tomorrow, and then we'll spend the night at the folks'. Our flight back to CoSpgs for the whole fam is Sunday at 4:00.

I've signed the lease, handed over the deposit and July's rent, and gotten the keys, so we're all set.

Apparently the Human Resources gig I had my sights on went to "a more qualified candidate", so I'm just waiting to hear back on the El Paso County job, and continuing to send out my resume a couple times a day every day.

As we were talking last night, Wendy and I were mentioning how exciting this is getting. It's going to be great to see her and the kids after being gone for a month!!

See you soon, CA.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Josh Goes To Jail

Fortunately, I went not as a new resident, but as a potential employee. My interview for an inmate fund bookkeeper position was at the El Paso County Detention Center.

Now, I had spoken to a woman on the phone about the interview (time, location, what to bring, etc.) and thought that I would be interviewing with her and maybe one other person. Imagine my surprise when someone ushers me into a back office, and there is an administrative employee in a polo shirt, and two fully-uniformed sergeants with the sheriff's dept.

I kept my cool, though, and the 3 men each took turns asking questions. I fielded most of them alright, except I didn't know who the current Sherriff for El Paso Co. is. (I looked it up, it's Terry Maketa) The whole interview was done in about 10 minutes.

A couple of things have me uncertain about whether I would accept the position (assuming they offer it):
1. The shift schedule. There are two openings...a day shift and swing shift, which is either 6:30-2:30 or 2:00-10:00. Not ideal times.
2. Pay. The pay starts out at a lower amount, then after 6 months goes up to a maximum cap. As for annual seems chancy. One of the sergeants said that in the last three years, there have been two years with NO increase, and one year with a 2% increase. Not painting a bright picture for a successful future.

So, I'm hoping that I have a good interview tomorrow for a Human Resources position. I spoke with the woman I would be working with, and it was a pretty positive conversation. She seemed pleased about my being a trumpeter/musician....her dad played trumpet in the Air Force!

On the apartment front, things are going well. I physically saw almost a dozen candidates on Saturday and Monday, and after talking about them with Wendy, we think we've chosen one. So, things might start happening in the next couple of days!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Kwik-E-Mart time I'm in Denver, I'm going to have to visit a real, live Kwik-E-Mart!

This Flickr Photo Site has a list of all the other locations too.


"Today is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Psalm 118 came to mind as I have thoroughly enjoyed today.
I got up around 8:45 and Steve & Nikki hadn't stirred yet. There was a service at 10:00 at a church that Wendy and I wanted to check out, so I showered and left by 9:30 to give myself time to find the place: Vanguard Church

As it turns out, Stikki did end up going here, but they came late and sat in the back...I met up with them aftwerwards.

Of course, to give Wendy a better idea, I had to take a few photos. Steve said photos wouldn't do it justice, but it's better than nothing I think. They're in a former movie theater complex while their new auditorium finishes construction, so it can be taken as a novelty, knowing that the finished product is around the corner.

It was a tad odd walking down the aisle of a movie theater getting in a mindset for worship. But the seats were the really comfy kind that recline a bit...and it was easy to see the words to the songs on the giant screen!

Here's from the parking lot:

Here's the lobby:

Here's inside:

Here's a sample of the worship:

Most of all, I liked the sermon. The pastor is younger than is typical for a senior pastor. Kelly Williams is 36 (he mentioned his age today) and is apparently going through Isaiah naming his theme "Redemption & Restoration". Makes sense, since we know that the history of God's relationship to the nation of Israel parallels our relationship with Him.

As God often seems to do, the message seemed to be aptly timed and directed for me personally. The title of his message "The Devil's Language" reflected on how the Enemy is always trying to kill, steal and destroy. He often lies, manipulates and intimidates us sometimes in subtle ways. Anyways, Kelly used an example of the fear and anxiety associated with...oh, say trying to get a new job!

Without going into a complete exegesis of the sermon, suffice to stay I caught every word and was moved and inspired....thank you, God. (The sermons are available on their website too.)

Afterwards, Stikki and I wanted to check out the young marrieds group, but I guess summer has things a little unorganized, and so instead of meeting at the church, they were just going to go to lunch for fellowship. We tagged along, and Stikki and I sat with an awesome couple named Taylor and Becky. We got to know each other and were laughing and genuinely enjoying each other's company. It felt like a real good match. Can't wait for you to meet them, Wendy.

I'm in the library again, doing this update and other internet-related activites. It occurs to me that I haven't updated on here about the job search progress. I speak to Wendy just about every day, so she's up to speed, but everyone else isn't! This post is starting to feel a tad long, though, and I don't want to frighten/bore any readers, so I'll save the rest of my update for tomorrow.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Hi there, July: Here’s a really long post.

Here’s the short version:

Saturday: sleep, movie, computer game, attempted doing laundry
Sunday: finished laundry, visited park, bookstore and library.

Okay, now the long version…which people who know me will probably find interesting (at least certain parts). People who don’t know me…will probably not be reading this anyways….

Today I found a new place for WiFi…..the Pikes Peak Library (Penrose branch). I’ve got a temporary day permit, I need to apply for a library card to have regular access….and for that they need proof of residence…hmm. I’m going to see if I can use Steve’s address since I’m living there. Then I’ll just notify them of a “change of address” when I actually get my own place.

Saturday was a lazy day. I stayed up late Friday night, so I stayed in bed till about 11 am! Oddly enough, I wasn’t hungry like I usually am when I get up. I didn’t end up eating till 2 or 3. It was kind of odd having no concept of what time it was. I didn’t have anything to do or anywhere to go, and since Steve had to work and Nikki was refinishing/repainting furniture I just played on the computer for a few hours.

Anyways, the one constructive thing I tried to do Saturday was a flop. I had about 2 loads of laundry to do, so around 6-ish I threw a load into the washer in Stikki’s building. I started watching a movie (Aeon Flux) and of course didn’t think about the laundry till the movie was over.

So at about 8, I went to throw the wet stuff into the dryer…uh-oh. The coin slot for the dryer is broken. Jammed all the way in and won’t come out. I banged on it for a while with the handle of a nearby snow shovel to no avail. What would you do in this situation?

No seriously…don’t read ahead…think about it. Like one of those “choose your own adventure” books I liked as a kid.

Do you:

A – Say “Forget it!” and take the clothes back inside to “air dry”?

B – Realize “air drying” is a stupid idea and decide to take them to a laundromat tomorrow (they’ll be okay wet for one night, right?)

C – Decide that they need to be dried as soon as possible, because they’ll get moldy-mildew yucky if you wait till tomorrow. So you drive around town for 45 minutes, and after seeing three places that closed at 8:00 or 8:30 decide to take them to a laundromat tomorrow (they’ll be okay wet for one night, right?)

Sooo…I chose C. Frustrating…but the last place I checked was next to a hole-in-the-wall Chinese food place that looked promising, so I decided I had earned the reward of finally trying a Chinese food place in town. (I’ve seen several, but wasn’t sure if any were good.) I got a combo of my two favorite items: orange chicken and kung pao chicken….and they were pretty darn good, and there’s enough left-over for lunch the next day. Is it racial stereo-typing to say that I had a feeling the food was going to be good, because of the three adults there (mom, dad, and daughter) the daughter was the only one who spoke English, and even that was a little difficult.

So…now it’s Sunday. I left around 9-ish to take care of my laundry, and decided if I pick a place near Colorado College, I might be able to snake some WiFi access while I wait. I end up finding a place a little south, but too far from the college to get WiFi. Oh well.

Now, speaking of stereo-typing, I felt a little out of place here. We’re probably on the lower-end of “middle class”, but let’s just say I felt out of place enough having a cell phone…and didn’t dare whip out the laptop. I was a little confused by the many “No smoking” signs (that used words and/or pictures)…because at first I took it literally. Then I realized I was in danger of getting thrown out because I was the ONLY person NOT smoking. Maybe the sign is to be interpreted: “No smoking, no service”. Huh?

A lady (80% sure it was a lady) rode up to the entrance on a bicycle. She had an interesting fashion sense, and a cat in the basket on her bicycle. As she started to enter, the attendant (who also ran the connected dry-cleaner business) got off the phone long enough to yell at her to leave. I think because of the cat…but not sure. I also noticed that bicycle woman had marks and scabs on her arms that led me to an alleged presumption of drug use.

Anyways…long morning short, I got my 2 loads done and left ASAP, hoping the Bounce dryer sheet would be strong enough to combat the cigarette stench I felt clinging to the place. (I spent most of my waiting time in the car: air-conditioned, clean air…ahh.) I was done around 11:45, too late for church, too early for the libraries that open at 1pm. So I hung out in the park and browsed the used book store across the street.

The park was very nice: lots of shade, families and friends having picnics, and a nice playground area. There was a large fountain that a lot of kids and families, etc. were hanging out at, so I went to check it out. I decided to try and take some videos so I could show Wendy what it was like. But as I neared the playground and fountain, I started feeling a little self-conscious as people noticed me filming…being that I was a grown man by myself video-ing kids at the park. So I cut it a little short.

It looks like a fun place that Connor will certainly enjoy…and then it won’t be creepy for me to take videos and pictures.

Here’s me walking through the park:

Here’s the fountain:

I looked it up on the internet...the park is Acacia Park, and the fountain is known as "Uncle Wilbur":

Uncle Wilbur Fountain

Oh, and I couldn’t help myself…I bought a book. But it was only $3.00…and I’ve been feeling like should try reading more, rather than just watch movies or play video games on my free time. The Coming of the King is a fantasy fiction novel about the history of the Celts/Britons focused on the person of Merlin. It looks pretty interesting, and standard fare for me. Believe me, I utilized quite a bit of restraint, here’s a list of some of the other items I “almost” purchased:

The Faith of George Bush (About our current president)
Children of Hurin (Christopher Tolkien’s newest book that I’m foaming at the mouth over, but it’s still only available in hardcover which is more expensive. But it’s on my wishlist and my birthday’s in August!)
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (I’m a huge Dune fan, and this novel is a prequel about the war 10,000 years ago that freed mankind and started the feuds, and…oh I could go on.

So the library opened at 1:00, but because of my foray through the many, many shelves of a great used book store, I didn’t get into the library till 2:00. First thing’s first, check the emails. A weird spam that I deleted without opening had a humorous subject title: “Hot Sexy Christian Singles” Now that’s something we don’t hear every day, huh?

After checking my emails, I did the online testing for AppleOne which only took about 10 minutes. My alpha numeric typing score was 12,364 keystrokes/hour with a 97% accuracy (39 out of 40). I’m not sure if that’s good or not, but I felt like I did well. The other typing test was a typical “type the text you see” and I did what I expected: 70 wpm with zero errors.

So now it’s 4:30 and I’m wrapping up my update, but realized I have to edit the videos and upload them to Sharkle which will take a little time, and the library closes at 5:00. I still have to apply for a card at the front desk, and I’m really hungry. (I ate at 9:30 before going to the laundromat.)

So I’m gonna go home and eat. I’ll try to upload the videos and do the actually blog post tonight if I can snag the WiFi at the apartment…otherwise I might not get this on till Monday.


[Today's WiFi brought to you by the East branch of the Pikes Peak Library District]

Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy Friday

Today was a good day. A lot of people got to finally get their hands on an iPhone (not me), and I had a great interview with AppleOne Staffing. I had filled out their lengthy, detailed application ahead of time online. When I got there today, I did a couple test things on a computer and then interviewed with a recruiter. was definitely a very positive experience. She seemed very impressed with my professionalism, varied skills and background, and liked how flexible and easy-to-work-with I am.

I might see something as early as next week. So here's hoping....

But not idle hoping: I also applied to about 8 other jobs this afternoon. I'm becoming something of a wifi junky. Since I can't get access in the apartment, I've been going either to Panera Bread or Einstein Bros. Bagels and spending about 1-2 hours each visit. Tomorrow I think I'm going to try out some of the other wifi spots so I can find the closest, most comfortable ones. (Right now, Einstein Bros. is closed, so I'm doing this update in my car parked in front....not too comfortable.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rumble, Rumble

The last couple days have offered some thunder/lightning in the late afternoon, early evening. As I sit in Panera Bread right now ( WiFi!), I'm chatting online with Wendy via Google and monitoring my email accounts, etc. Just a few minutes ago, a crash of thunder was really close and literally shook the building. Cool.

I had an appointment this afternoon with a temp agency. I went all right, nothing too exciting/unexpected. It's going to be pretty difficult to hit the target pay range I'm hoping for....but I've only been at this for about a week, there's still time.

After that appointment, I didn't want to go back to the apartment right away, so I decided to check out the menus of some chinese and mexican food places, as I figure those are two styles that will be hard to find quality stuff around here.

When I was looking at the menu in the window of a chinese food place, I noticed this litter critter trapped there in the window:

Chinese Moth

That must be an authentic "hole-in-the-wall" ethnic dining establishment, yes?

I also stopped by a Verizon Wireless store since my 2-year anniversary is next week, which means free upgrade.

More updates when there's something worth mentioning...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Flimsy Connection

Sorry for going so long without an update. I'm not able to get Steve's DSL line to work with my laptop, so I'm "borrowing" a wireless connection from a neighbor. My laptop says there's a connection available, and I hop onto the interent; but it doesn't work all the time.

Anyways....I've been able to talk to Wendy (and Connor & Cosette) every day on the phone, so at least they've been able to hear what's going on.

Wednesday-Friday I did a lot of passing-out-of-resumes and filling-out-of-applications, mostly in person, but some online too. It was a little tiring, but I feel like I've gotten to know the area pretty well too.

Saturday was a rest/recuperate day....except I spent a couple hours driving around the western end of Colorado Springs exploring the nice homes high up on the mountains and Garden of the Gods and Bear Creek park, etc. That's where I got the photos you can see in my "Scenery" collection: Colorado Springs Scenery

CoSpgs Scenery-14

Sunday, Nikki had to work (her last day as a waitress) so Steve took me to his company's "picnic" day at Six Flags Elitch Gardens. The first thing we did was go on a ride called the Minderaser. It was one of the best roller-coasters I've been on....real fast, corkscrews, upside-downs, feet-dangling fantastic! After that we wanted to cool off, so we found a water ride that we were hoping would be the typical "log ride" we've experienced at Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm. But it was real short (read: up-turn-down) and we got absolutely drenched.

And that was it. We checked out about 3-4 other rides, but they were all closed, so we bailed after being in the park for about 2 hours. At least it was free.

Today, I stayed home, looking online at jobs and apartments, and did get a couple phone calls....basically leads that are now officially dried up.

Good lightning/thunder/rain-storm tonight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Sunday was great. Since Nikki was working (Server at Old Chicago restaurant), I decided to visit my home church from when I lived in Denver. I really, really liked this church for the 7-8 months I attended…..and I’m happy to say it’s still a great church and I felt very comfortable and it’s an even better church. Here’s their website:

Greenwood Community Church-1 Greenwood Community Church-2

The first person I saw was Roger, a gentleman who recruited me to help start a college group because they didn’t have one back then. And though the main pastor wasn’t there, the man who spoke (Rich) was a guy who had taken me under his wing, so it was exciting to hear him.

After the service, I explored the renovated campus a bit, and enjoyed the view behind the church. Absolutely breath-taking. And not just the view, it was shockingly quiet and serene. I spent several minutes standing there just being; just soaking it in.

Greenwood Community Church-4
Greenwood Com. Church-5

As for the job hunt, yesterday (Monday) I spent hours going over my job leads and decided that I wanted to go to each Christian ministry in Colorado Springs in person to deliver my resume and (hopefully) speak with someone in person. Here’s the challenge: there are close to 100 ministries here!! So I spent a lot of time researching them on the internet and called on a few to narrow down the search some. I narrowed it down to about 30, I’ve got a street address and phone number for each. Today, I planned out a route that would be efficient to hit all 30 in one (long) day-trip.

But then I realized the only cover letter I had done was targeted specifically at a company I had applied at, so I made a new cover letter…..and there was no printer paper. I went to the store and got some. I got back and realized I only had about 15 resumes….soooo off to Kinkos. I make sure I’ve got at least 30 copies of my resume and cover letter, then headed back home to sign and collate. Oh yeah and I had to eat, but I had to go to the store because I started making something I didn’t have all the ingredients for.

Ok, this is kind of rambling….the point is, I got sidetracked a lot and didn’t make it out on the road. That’s ok, I’m going to fill out some applications that were available online so I can turn them in as well, hopefully speeding up the process.

So it looks like Wednesday I will be able to be on the road finally. I’ve been emailing/applying about other jobs off and on the last couple days, so I’m still creating new job leads. I’m feeling pretty positive about tomorrow.

I’ll have another non-work-related post soon.
Sorry for the long post!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My first hours in the Springs

[Editor’s note: This post was written on the night of the 15th, but I wasn’t able to get on the internet at Steve & Nikki’s, so I’m posting it today.]

Well at the end of Day 1 in Colorado, I’ve got a lot to report. I’ve started taking pictures too, to help give you a visual.

Budget Inn
I left the Budget Inn a little after 7:00 this morning, gassed up near Pueblo around 9:00, and arrived in Colorado Springs a little after 11:00. Unfortunately, being so far ahead of schedule (I told them I’d arrive Friday night) Steve & Nikki were at work. So I decided to make use of the time and did some exploring:
View from Austin Bluffs

I ended up in the downtown/business area, and driving past the Palmer Center, I noticed some live musicians. It was about noon, I was hungry, and they had a bbq going, so I stopped for lunch and listened to the band. They were actually quite good. Here's a short clip I took of them:

(Caution: it may take a minute or so to load, it's a 20mb video file.)

Stikki's place
I drove all around the neighborhood around where Stikki live (read: Stikki = Steve + Nikki) looking at apartments for rent. There are a lot! I called on about a dozen of them, saw one today and will see at least two more tomorrow. Around 3:00 Nikki came home and we had lunch before she had to go back to work. After a couple more hours of exploring and apartment-hunting, Steve came home and we watched a movie and ate dinner.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Viva Las Vegas far the trip has gone smashingly!
Here's the timeline:
9:15 - left home
9:30 - left home again after returning for a bag I had left (grrr)
10:00 - left WCHS (dropping stuff off) and Carl's Jr. (breakfast)
(So I'm counting 10:00 as my official "hit the road" time.)
1:15 - gassed up in Needles, CA
4:30 - gassed up and had dinner in Flagstaff, AZ
8:45 - gassed up and considered motel in Albuquerque, NM
(didn't want to pony up the $60+ and felt ok to drive some more)
10:45 - Las Vegas, NM: ok, now I'm tired....I cave in and shell out $50 for the "Budget Inn"
(oh, yeah, I'm in mountain time now, so it's really a few minutes past midnight as I write this.)

So.....I guess I made pretty good time. There was almost zero traffic, and I was averaging 80-85 mph. There were at least 8-10 times today where the highway went down to one lane on each side because of I would inevitably get stuck behind a semi for a mile or two.

Best part of this trip: "I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov
I've done many, many, many road trips. And the ones where I was driving by myself, or just a really long turn at the wheel, has always been a vagabond-spirit of adventure tainted by boredom and tediousness. But this time, I had an audiobook downloaded from iTunes. I like the movie "I, Robot" and had considered reading the book for over a decade. The audiobook form was one man speaking for 8.5 hours! It sounded daunting to me as well.....but time flew by and I really enjoyed it!

So, it's late and I'm going to try and get 6-7 hours of sleep before hitting the road again.
I should hopefully make it to the Springs in one 4-hour-ish drive tomorrow. Yay!

BTW, here's a map of New Mexico to give you an idea of where Las Vegas, NM is (it's a little NE of Albuquerque)....and thanks to the "Budget Inn" for the free wifi access!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Next Chapter

So, as I set out to discover what the next chapter for life holds, I've set up this blog as a way to allow friends & family to keep up with what's goin' on. Hopefully, I'll be able to update it semi-regularly and add pictures, etc.

To quote an obscure reference to the words of a song by an industrial-metal band from the 90's
called "Mortal":

"So it begins."