Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jason Bourne Meets Knott's Berry Farm

Jason Bourne can fight and overcome a lot of things, but there is one thing that could put him over-the-edge….a day at the amusement park. If you’ve seen the movie, or are familiar with the genre, you know he gets beat up, wrecked up, shot up, kicked up and all without a crack up. Last week while watching the movie I kept thinking, “Man, is he ever going to hurt in the morning.” But as I sit here typing; my bruised and battered body full of Advil, I can testify that I’ve overcome greater things than Jason Bourne.

I’ve survived the “Crash-Test Dummy” ride. They put you in a little car, and it carries you up the tracks to a significant height, then you spiral down finally crashing through a number of walls: Styrofoam, foil, PVC, and finally the ride ends when you hit a wall of bricks at speeds greater than 60 miles per hour. Okay, I’m lying. In the real ride its a little boat that carries you up to a significant height. You plunge straight down-nose down, and the only thing keeping you in the boat (relatively speaking) is the harness that they strapped you into at the beginning of the ride. You finally stop because you’ve hit the water at ground level.

A couple of notes on the flying boat ride. I should have noticed in line that I was the only adult around. The rest of the folks were barely past the age of puberty, thus allowing for significant time for life to heal their bruised and scarred bodies. Later, I understood the situation better. Leaving the ride I heard a dad saying to his daughter, “Just get in line Shelly. Mom and I have to go call our agent and see if you’re still covered under our health insurance.”

We’d survived the Flying Boat Ride, but only barely. Hailey’s head hurt, and my neck was a wee bit sore. Now on to the roller coasters. Because, if you know me, you know there’s nothing I like more than super high places and throwing up! We went on the Sidewinder. They have this new gimmick where they video parts of the ride. Because it’s good to have that remembrance of your dad turning white and passing out. “Quick! Somebody put a piece of walnut-fudge under his nose. He’ll come around soon enough.”

It was after doing Sidewinder, the Flying Boat Ride and Side Winder (Yes, I know I said that twice) that my back began to hurt a little bit. The kind of hurt that I think Jason Bourne may have experienced after his 20th car wreck. But he’s younger than me.

Despite being adventurous, we decided not to do the ride where you hang upside down while a machine sprays water at you while you spin at 5,000 revolutions-per-minute. We also skipped the ride where you hang upside down while on a rollercoaster while it loops at 5,000 revolutions-per-minute (but hey, at least you don’t get wet!). Onto the mild roller coaster (“My daughter does this ride. She’s only six and gets scared easily.”) which we did three times. More surges of back pain. And I call it quits on the roller coasters. Time to head home.

The next time I say, “Let’s do it. We’ll regret it if we don’t. (After all, I’m ‘wild at heart.’)” could somebody just hold me down or kick me. Because I’ve seen Jason Bourne survive that, but I haven’t seen him survive a Flying Boat Ride.

Knotts-The Last Hurrah

Friday: the last week day before going back-to-school. Hailey and I visited Knott's Berry Farm. It was a blast. We laughed our way through the whole day. We were having so much fun that after being there an hour-and-a-half, we realized that we'd only gone on 1 ride. But we were having a great time!

We did all the usual stuff; rides, BBQ, Roasted Corn (sadly, without the benefit of Lawry's Seasoned Salt), and more rides.

Hailey won YET ANOTHER stuffed animal (a bright emerald green teddy bear thing) at a shooting booth (maybe we should have named named her Annie Oakley instead of Hailey). The "bear" will take its place with the rest of the menagerie; Baby Beluga, Boom-Boom, Sunshine (the Panda), and a host of others.

Great end to a great summer. For more on our adventures, see the following POST.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mississippi By Flashlight-Things That Are Important

As my friend Robert relates the story, it started with a question: "Do you want to ride from San Francisco this summer?" I suppose all great adventures start the same way; ‘What say we climb Everest this summer!’, or, ‘Why don’t we try to Race Across America in two or three days!’ So we mapped out a route and did it. San Francisco to the San Fernando Valley. No “Look” Pedals, no light-weight camping equipment, no experience, and not a whole lot of sense. But we did it. What makes it important almost 20 years later?

I’m still riding bikes. And I’m currently planning to ride across the United States (or part of it) to celebrate my turning 50 in 2010. And whenever I doubt the possibility of the ride across America, I always fall back on this: Not a problem. I rode from San Francisco to the San Fernando Valley in ‘88’. With tennis shoes!

Second, Robert and I are still the closest of friends. And I’m fairly convinced that a significant aspect of the continued friendship is that we did the ride together. We survived yelling at each other during major bonks. We survived big hills; we survived bad truck drivers (I hope Julianne isn’t reading this), we survived hail storms and rain and ….more days with bad blood sugar levels.

The year was 1989. I was driving to inner-city Chicago for a short-term mission’s trip. Glenn and I decided to make a road trip of it, driving across Texas and then roughly following Blues history as we traveled up the Mississippi.

From my journal:
Mississippi by flashlight. City: Durant.
“Let’s see-Tues. Glenn and I got in a tiff after I asked him not to cuss. A fairly heated argument ensued in which he said that he wasn’t going to go out of his way to avoid it as it was part of his usual repertoire…..I said-for he said I was always judging him…..Anyway, it went as far as me screaming, ‘Well, maybe we shouldn’t be friends anymore or some such thing……”

Needless to say, 20 years later and I count him as the closest of buds. Looking back; those friends that I did road trips with, or rode on trips with, remain closest today. Even through some heated fights and immature behaviors. But through many rich experiences as well.

Also from my journal:
“Wed. we did New Orleans the French ¼. Quite nice. We spent the morning walking together then separated til dinner. The evening was wonderful. After dinner we went to Preservation Hall and, despite one obnoxious character, enjoyed some classic Jazz….”

New Fat Burning Diet

The new fat-burning diet: coffee and green M&M’s. That IS my diet; but it’s not fat-burning (as you might have guessed)---it’s fat producing. So I’m doing it. Yup. I’m going to buy a scale, one of the ones that measures % of body fat AND tells you your weight. And I’m going to try to not consume boxes of cookies and bags of M&M’s while I’m at home. I only have to lose a little. It’s the attempt at discipline that’s scary. (Kudos to those friends of mine who successfully fight this battle and continue to win).

I’m going to consistently ride (as I’ve been doing since March). I’m going to start doing intervals. Really. By December 31, 2007 my average riding speed will be AT LEAST 15 MPH! And to gain ground on the bike, there is one more thing that I must do.

Back and stomach strengthening. The back pain scares me. It reminds me that I’m only a short step away from significant pain, short-term paralysis, and possible surgery. So I need to do these exercises.

I’m worn out just thinking about it. I need a cookie.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

There Will Be Great Earthquakes...

There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:11

My customer thanked me for the strawberry croissant, and then reminded me to buy water. Three days worth of water, at least, is what he advised. Because if an earthquake hits the Coachella Valley, they are predicting that it will be around 7.8.

Side note to this: I was getting ready to go out and buy water, and then I thought: Wait! Water comes out of my tap, doesn't it? Why can't I just fill plastic bottles with my tap water? If there's an earthquake, and I'm dying of thirst, am I going to be thinking-"But it's not from an artesian well!"

After the Northridge quake, I'd taken an earthquake preparedness class, and had taken all the appropriate cautions. TV velcro'd down, book cases bolted to the wall(s), water and food for three days. But I've slacked off. So, this was a good warning. Especially coming on the heels of a small earthquake last week in the Chatsworth area.

I got home to see news of the devastation caused by a quake in Peru. And warnings of hurricane Dean's move into Jamaica.

Reminders all to pray for those in the path of destruction, and do whatever else we can. Contributions to aid groups, or whatever our hearts lead us to.

Additionally, prepare for calamity. Just in case.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Governor Richardson and Melissa Etheridge-Missing the Mark (But Melissa's Closer)

“Do you think homosexuality is a choice or is it biological?” That’s the question Melissa Etheridge asked Governor Bill Richardson the other night as Democrat Presidential candidates met to debate the issue of homosexuality.

I came across the issue on Hot Air,(see video here) and while listening to the Phil Hendrie show while driving home in the wee hours this morning. I’ve read and listened to numerous discussions on the issue, and I’ve not heard anybody address the issue with any truth or compassion. On the truth side of things, Melissa Etheridge is closer, but still ends up missing the mark significantly.

When asking the question of Governor Richardson, Melissa said, “Your Creator made you that way…and there’s a document that was written 200 years ago that says you are entitled to certain rights.”

Melissa’s right. Our Creator did make us a certain way. Furthermore, there’s a document written 2000 years ago that speaks not only to our rights, but to our sin and brokenness as well.

The Creator made the world a certain way. We were made to be satisfied completely in God. But Sin entered the world, and we decided to go our own way, apart from the way we were created.

As part of the brokenness, much of our wiring is haywire since birth. More than likely there are pre-dispositions towards same-sex attraction, or alcoholism, or over-eating. That coupled with all of our experiences in childhood cause us to think and feel that this is how we were created, or meant to be.

Say I have big hurts (though I may not be cognizant of them) that I need fixed. So I run to sexual experiences; pornography or one-night stands (or a million other bad behaviors). All of my experiences, plus my brokenness, and hurt, is so bad that I feel a strong bent that way. Try as I might to do anything else, something akin to powerful locomotive power is pulling into whatever my particular bent is.

So when Melissa Etheridge says, ‘Do you think a homosexual is born that way or do you think that around 7th grade we go, oooh, I want to be gay?’, she’s obviously referring to the pull of that train; that for all she can tell all of her ‘being’ is being pulled into homosexuality. But that is not her true self being pulled, it’s the bent of her broken self.

Her true self was created to be satisfied in God. And it is as we fight for, and joyfully delight in, our true selves that we fully see the emptiness and darkness that we gave way to in living in our false self. But seeing our brokenness and bent for what it is requires that we go to our Creator for healing, and not try to fix ourselves by ourselves… that’s part of how we continue to be broken in the first place.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Bodie Pictures-First Set

Bodie, Ca. Where, "being framed" has a different meaning now than it did in the late 1800's.
The Methodist Church. "H" took this picture of Bodie from the hill where the stamping mill is located. Gold ore, gold mustard.

Catholic/Protestant Discussion

I listened to all 2 hours of the interview....It's mostly 'inside baseball'; a thought provoking discussion about Frank Beckwith's reversion to Catholocism. The link will send you over to Hugh's website where I originally found it.