A Rough-Hewn Kind of Life

On New Beginnings and Finding a Guru...

If you've read some of my past articles you might remember that for a few years I was an upholsterer...You know, creating and repairing all types of furniture, stuff like that.
It was probably the least glamorous job that I've ever had or could ever want, but the life-lessons that I learned from that job were invaluable and I think back to those times on a daily basis, nearly.

One of these life-lessons learned from upholstery that I've been pondering lately is that everything and every-one can have a new beginning and often all that new beginning needs is time and attention, patience and love.

Just like the rocking chair that sits in the middle of our living room with multiple layers of different colors of paint showing through the surface where time and use have worn down the appearance, lop-sided and tweaked from one-too-many well-intentioned repairs and upgrades, and a markedly lazy comfortablity acheived only by years and years of remaining the same by changing as necessary to accomodate every new person that wanted to take advantage of it's simple design...Lennon and McCartney said "I am the Walrus", Simon and Garfunkel said "I am a Rock"...I guess what I'm saying is that I am a Rocking Chair.

Except that I don't want to remain, I want to improve.
Over the past few months I've found a renewed energy and personal drive to become a better version of myself. And rather than adding more layers onto who I've been; I've found that I'm beggining to chip away at the layers that have come to be me and I'm finding out what I look like when all of the pretention is removed...Physically, Mentally and Spiritually.
I've been asking "What does it all mean?" for so long that I've forgotten what I wanted to know, or why it was important in the first place.

is what it all means. This. Life. At least that's what I've found works for me.

At it's grittiest and most surreal I'm finding that life happens everyday, all over the world, and all I have to do is decide which life I want to be mine. I guess that sounds simple, and maybe it is, but I love that simplicity...It's freeing.
In allowing the sandpaper and chisel of grace and time to develop me into something new; I'm finding out that life isn't really as complicated as I thought it was...it's just as complicated as I made it...and sometimes it takes a new perspective and a little bit of polish to bring out that new creation that I, we, are longing to be.

Since Lindsay and I became adventurers like Lewis and Clark recently (except in the exact-opposite direction) and have made our new home in Colorado; we have been making small changes in our personal lives too...You know how it goes "New House = New Rules"...
Except for us it's "New Lives = New Rules".

A big way that I've determined to change my life is that I decided to apply to a medical school so that I could get an Associates of Science Degree in Ophthalmology, which is a really big word to cover the very big field of medicine involving the mirror of the soul...

The first part of my application and testing is over now and I'm happy to tell you that as of this past Friday I did in fact get into the school and class begins on April 11th of this year...YES!

One of the small ways that I've been pushing myself to be a better me is by changing my mentality toward being healthy.

I've always been a sort-of-healthy person, but only because I've never really had to work for it, not that the health that I've enjoyed necessarily parlayed into a strong body or a high-tolerance for lenghty workouts...But that too must change and so I set out to embrace and encourage my physical health in much the same way that I, at one time, embraced and encouraged my spiritual health...

I sought a Mentor, a Guru...I found two.

Matthew McConaughey says "Sometimes you can get the body in shape, and the head ain't in great shape. But it's real nice if you can co-ordinate 'em"...And his motto is simple "Just Keep Livin'"...I'm tryin' bro, I'm tryin'!

In a recent interview with Jason Statham in Men's Health magazine he said "I'm a firm believer in attitude, some people just don't have that desire and they need a good kick in the ass. Look, you've come to train here, let's f--king train! Your body's like a piece of dynamite, you can tap it with a pencil all day but, you'll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer, BANG!"

So, I'm doing it...

I'm taking my vitamins and dietary supplements...

Working out every morning and sometimes in the evenings too, as well as going for long hikes in the hills behind our house...

I'm drinking enough water to fill a swimming pool and eating healthier than I ever have, which means that I'm feeling healthier than I ever have and I'm seeing actual results! Not only have I lost some belly, I've probably gained about 10 pounds of muscle; which means that I can actually see a six-pack poking through the dough.

Sweet. This feels good.


Yah, but it's a "Dry Cold"

Hey everybody, we made it to Colorado, we are all moved into our apartment and are watching our house be put together piece by piece on a daily basis!

I don't have much time to blog right now because I have to get ready for my appointment with a career advisor at PIMA Medical Institute to learn more about the school I'm applying to go to.

Lindsay and I are loving it here and are very excited about our future here in Colorado, we miss our friends and family in San Diego but we are actively planning to have as many people out to visit as we can manage as soon as our house is finished.
So, until I've got some more free time to write some more I'll just give you guys a few pics of our first few days in Highlands Ranch, Colorado!

The view from our apartment...

Our house as we first saw it...

As of right now, it's THIS cold outside...

And we are waiting for a 7-to-10-day snowstorm that we will hopefully get to take advantage of on the slopes!


And now, for my next trick!

We did it!

The house is sold and we are packing up our last boxes of random crap and linty quarters right now, which means that the computer is next:(

Tomorrow morning the moving company will come and pack all of our stuff into two gigantor-sized-trucks and drive it all off into the mountains, we'll follow our stuff shortly after they leave but we will also make a stop-over in Albuquerque (do you know how long it took me to remember how to spell that?) to visit my mother-in-law and then onto an apartment in Highlands Ranch where we will be living until our house is finished, which should be at around mid-June.

Also, I'll be applying to go to school for an Assosciates of Science Degree in Ophthalmic Technology as soon as we get there, so hopefully I'll be accepted into the school and after a few short years I'll be blasting peoples eyeballs with lasers...and won't that be fun?!

Sooo, I will not be posting for a little while, hopefully just a few weeks, but never fear; Badly Drawn Me will return as soon as we get our place settled, and I'm sure I'll have lots of great stories to tell you all!

Thanks for your support!


Ch-Ch-Changes and Christianity is the new F-word

Over the past few days I've been reflecting back on 2005 and this blog. It's been a sort of spiritual journey for me and this blog has been more of a platform for me to get things off my chest than to entertain others...and now I want to share my thoughts with you since you've pretty much stuck with me since I started this blog up.

To begin with, Linds and I are in the process of selling our home in Southern California and once that is finished we will fulfill a dream that we have shared since shortly after we got married; a move to Colorado and the beginning of our plan to have a family of our own.
The selling of our townhouse has been one of the most stress-inducing challenges that I have ever gone through and everyday seems to bring a new challenge in the process...My daily mantra to get through is simply a countdown of the days until we're done with the sale and on our way, followed by a deep, deep breath.

Lindsay and added a new family member to our little clan early in 2005, a little white puppy named Sugar that has become a 70 pound terror with a whip-like tail and teeth that don't quit...Flash in general is not amused, but they do get along like good dogs should.

I have decided that I am going to go to school after we move to Colorado, a career school to be exact. I'm considering one of two career paths at the moment, either a career in Radiography leading to Sonography or MRI...OR, a career in Ophthalmology. Either one is very exciting and rewarding with great opportunities, and both have an approximate time in school of 2 years...it'll be tough go to school and work part time, but it'll be worth it in the long run.

Writing in this blog has been a big deal for me, not just the writing though but also meeting new friends and getting connected with old friends...it's been a blessing.

On a more serious and personal note, 2005 was actually a pretty hard year for me, and since I tend to internalize my issues; I didn't really go into detail with some of the harder things that happened. I don't know if this is to my benefit or detriment that I haven't been forthcoming with my hardships but I just don't think that telling the world my problems is going to make them go away...or make me feel any better.

To be as brief as possible...Hard times fell both financially and spiritually at about mid-year of 2005 when a person, who I had thought was my friend, decided that he was going to drop the hammer and be an ultra-micro-managing boss instead of the friend, community leader and pastor that he had always passed himself off to be. It was hard for me on many levels to understand and be OK with how things went down, hard enough that I wept bitterly for hours and still think about it on a daily basis, but I am a stronger and wiser person from the experience.

It pains me to write this now because I know that my family members and close friends from years-past read this blog, but I am tired, weary, of trying to make sure that everybody else is OK with how I am and who I am; when I am not OK with how I am and who I have been pretending to be.

Over the past several years, my faith has been shaken, and this past years events that caused me to quit the ministry I was a part of; was no exception. In fact it may have been the bell's toll for any reserve of faith that I had in The Church.
In fact, at this point in my spiritual life I don't know that I can ever go back to living in the suffocating bubble that I have found Christianity to be.

In brief, I've lost my faith in Christianity. Thank God.

What was shaken in me over the past few years is probably summed up best by a question that my friend Dean asked recently on his blog... "Would Jesus be a Christian?"
Based on my perception alone, my response would be a firm "NO" but, I didn't respond to Deans question right away, maybe because I don't think I was ready to say what I really wanted to say; which was "Should I be a Christian?"

Christian, it implies a life of devotion to a set of moral and spiritual ideals, a service to God and Man with an inborn peace brought about by the very spirit of God.
Yet, I see a gang of fools led about by pride and guided by people with no more sense than a flock of geese, condemning like-minded people because of insignificant differences in opinion, all the while making a mockery of the peace of God; which they so-boldly proclaim lives in their hearts.

The Church was to be built upon a rock, to be the very followers of Christ.
Yet, today the Church is nothing more than a fancy looking building where Christians meet in a clubhouse type of atmosphere, a Sunday morning fashion show for the Faithful-Elite, a meeting place for spiritual-socialites to gather together for the purposes of Worshiping the Lord (See: Showmanship), Prayer for the less fortunate (See: Gossip) and Meditation on the Holy Scriptures (See: Thinking about what's for Lunch. See also: Sleeping)

And the Bible? What's that? It's like Poems and stuff right?

What is Christianity anymore? Really?
It certainly isn't what Christ intended for it to be. Christianity has become a religion unto itself, a club with required membership, lifelong member benefits such as life, death and fire insurance that will never expire as long as you show up on Sunday morning looking spiffy with a grin and a "God-Bless". Because of the judgmentality, aloof attitudes, infighting and general inability of "Christians" to be IN this world without damning it to hell on a daily basis, rather than just being OF this world; Christians are now seen as Bible-wielding maniacs; and the savior who's virtues they espouse so vehemently has been turned into no more than a mythical patriarch who lords over a group of social pariahs that excel in contradicting themselves on a daily and public stage.

It seems to me that over the course of time and due in large part to the actions and/or inactions of well-meaning-yet-not-too-bright "believers and followers", Christianity has become the new F-word; Socially Unacceptable.

I've lost my faith in Christianity, maybe now I can finally get down to knowing God.


Personal Best of 2005

I was looking back over the various posts that I've made on this blog in 2005 and thought it would be worthwhile to post the ones that I am most proud of on a personal level...I also thought this would be worthwhile since the majority of these posts can only be found by searching the archives...which can be a pain in the arse.

1. The Bride, The Geisha and The Whitewashed Tomb
2. "You've got to do something, Or else"
3. 12/21/2012 - The End? and 12/21/2012 The End? Part Two
4. The Divided States of America
5. On Patriotism and Love of Country
6. I thought I had to be perfect
7. Crawdad fishing and the Death of the American Church

And from my life stories blog...

8. Broke a bone
9. Kissed a girl
10. Got in a fight, Peed my pants


I wonder...

I was hanging out with my brother-in-law Casey a few days ago when he posed a question to me that has been plaguing me ever since he brought it up!

So, now I'm going to bring it to you...

What won't Meatloaf do for love?


Choose Your Own Adventure

I was into reading mystery novels for a while in my early teen years, it was a nice break from the science fiction and adventure books I would usually read.

I remember reading stories about Hercule Poirot and his amazing ability to see an obvious clue where others could only see clutter and chaos. Sherlock Holmes was great too, the whole deductive reasoning thing went a little over my head but I enjoyed it none the less.

My favorite mystery stories were the ones where you could choose your own adventure and consequently; your own ending.
Some of you might remember these stories and the various points in the story where you would be prompted to choose how you wanted the story to unfold...IE "If you want Bobby and Cindy to push the red doomsday button and see what happens to the rocket aimed for the moon: Skip ahead to page 155. OR, IF you want Bobby and Cindy to leave the red button alone and open the creepy door and go down the creepy tunnel: Skip ahead to page 98."

Being an impatient and inquisitive sort I would always read all of the possible story paths and decide later which one I liked best.

Of course, no matter what adventure you chose Bobby and Cindy still ended up in some sort of bad situation where the outcome was basically the same...but in some cases the outcome was vastly different. Disturbingly different sometimes.

*** *** ***

I was thinking back on these "Choose your own adventure" stories this morning after I had read about the 12 miners in West Virginia that had died after an explosion and subsequent collapse had sealed their fates nearly 2 miles underground.

A list of 10 of the mens names was released.

Alva Martin Bennet, 50
Jim Bennett, 61
George Hamner Jr. of Gladyfork
Terry Helms, 50
David Lewis, 28
Randal McCloy, 27
Fred Ware Jr., 59
Jack Weaver, 52
Marshall Winans, 49

Many of the friends, family, onlookers and viewers from around the world were understandably angry that these men had perished in such harsh conditions and so unexpectedly. Family and Friends were also very upset because of a glimmer of hope that turned out to be false...this anger is also understandable.

I do understand the anger, I do.
But I do not understand the confusion over how and why these men died, nor do I understand the deaths of these men being blamed on the mine officials and owners.

Every one of those men from Jim Bennet at the age of 61 down to 28 year old David Lewis chose their own adventure at some earlier point in their lives.
They knew the risks and the downfalls of the path they'd chosen and yet they got up everyday and chose that same adventure over and over again.
Rather than trying to blame the mine officials or the earth or God for those men not being around anymore, I think that we should be celebrating their lives and understand the fact that those men chose to be in that mine; even after they understood the risks involved.

Sometimes, even though we know the end will be the same no matter which path we choose, we still have to choose our own adventure and go along with it until the story ends; and hopefully the ending will be happy.


Drumroll Please...

We got an offer!!!

Finally somebody figured it out and put down an offer on the townhouse, we are very, very excited!
I'll give more details as we progress...but for right now, just know that we are in a 30 day escrow which means we'll be out by the end of January and we are SO...FRIGGIN'...STOKED!

Goodbye to this...

And Hello to this!

Happy New Year Indeed.


Time gets the best of us...again


Merry Christmas!!!



And for those that don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Happy Festivus!

Let's all gather round the metal pole, air our grievances and later tonight we'll have the feats of strength!

Happy Holidays Everybody


There is a new story on my other blog for your reading enjoyment.


Caption Me!

Ben Says What?


Words That Matter

Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac is standing underneath a massive tree, looking up through the branches and wind and confusion to the focus of his unrequited love. Roxanne.
She stands on a balcony looking down through the same branches and confusion at who she thinks is the young and handsome Christian de Neuvillette.

With his face, and nose, covered by a scarf; Cyrano speaks the words of love that he had only until this time been able to relay through the dull-witted, but good hearted Christian...but now, hidden by the night; Cyrano seizes his opportunity and speaks..."I love thee! I am mad! I love, I stifle!"

Cyrano and Roxanne flirtingly spar with all of the words ever invented that could describe love and beauty and truth and feelings...All of these words flowing from the earthen floor up to a balcony made of stone and back down again.
At one point Roxanne remarks that she can barely hear Cyrano's words and Cyrano explains that because his words must travel UP to her they lose some of their strength, but not their meaning...Cyrano then warns Roxanne to be careful..."A harsh word from such a height would kill me!"...

Be careful, a harsh word from such a height would kill me.

*** *** ***

Shakespeare wrote of a similar looking scene in Romeo and Juliet where the unrequited lovers are separated by a balcony...but not just by a balcony, they are separated by blood and by name foremost, and therefore can not be allowed to love each other.
Juliet remarks that if not for Romeo's last name their situation would be vastly different..."What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet."
Is it the words that matter or the meaning behind them?
*** *** ***

The other day I got a voice message from my friend Monte.

When I got his message I hadn't seen Monte or spoken to him for almost 6 months, reason being that Monte attends a church that I used to lead worship at but now no longer associate myself with. The church was also how Monte and I met and became fast friends.

The voice message went something like this...
"Ben, it's Monte. I haven't seen you for quite a while and I just wanted you to know that I miss you...and I love you...and I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and just to tell you that I think that the New Year is going to be...fabulous...for you, and I hope that we see each other soon. Bye."

Though his words were few, Monte's message lasted almost a full 2 minutes.

I think it would be easy for anybody who wasn't paying attention to discount or trivialize Monte's words; especially when he's telling another man that he Misses them and that he Loves them and that the New Year is going to be Fabulous.
But trivializing what he said, and how he said it, would be truly foolish. In my opinion.

I believe that I know enough about Monte to know that the reason he speaks so slowly and deliberately is because he wants every single word to matter, and for the meaning of each of his words to be known and understood.
Understanding this about Monte helped me to soak in what he was saying and not just discount them as just being what you say to a friend that you haven't seen in a while...
I guess that what I'm trying to say is that I want my words to matter.
If I, we, want what we say to count, I'm sure that we will have to be so careful with what we do say and probably not say the first thing that comes into our heads. Far too often, for me, what comes naturally is to drop harsh words from such heights that the hearers would be hurt.
I'm reminded of a quote on my brothers blog from an author who said "A bad attitude is arrogance." In the same way, a harsh word could be seen as foolishness.
We should want for the gravity of our words to weigh heavily on ourselves before we allow them to leave our lips and place their weight on others.
*** *** ***
If I don't get a chance to say this later, Merry Christmas to Everybody, and yes, I too believe that the New Year is going to be fabulous!




My Fellow Americans,

The Freedom of Speech is your right as an American Citizen.
The Freedom of Speech is not a privilege which can be disallowed, rationalized or mitigated.
The Freedom of Speech is a right granted to you by our founding fathers in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The First Amendment reads as follows..."Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Though you may not be aware of it your Freedom of Speech is at risk of being taken away and the First Amendment is in danger of being trampled upon by those that represent YOU!

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a minority of Government Representatives are actively working to give sufficient power to the FCC to Regulate, Censor and Filter the Freedom of Speech in the areas of Cable Television, Satellite Radio and other mediums.

If the FCC is allowed to have this power over Freedom of Speech; it will be the beginning of the end of our Constitution and our basic American Rights.

Stand with me in support of the Stamp Out Censorship Act (HR 1440)
This bill has been brought before the House by Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders. Click here to learn about the proposal.

If you care AT ALL about your American Rights please...PLEASE go to the following links and email or write your government representatives and request that they pledge their support to the Stamp Out Censorship Act (HR 1440)

Click here to find out who you can contact in the House of Representatives.
Click here to find out who you can contact in the Senate.

Drop what you are doing and email or write your government representative NOW!

Before it's too late.

Knowledge = Power

"Now," men said, "Now we have knowledge, and with knowledge power."

"Now let us demonstrate our greatness. Let us build a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves - lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth."

And of course, they were scattered.
According to the Bible the builders of the Tower of Babel were a people of one mind. They spoke one language, they lived in one place and soon they had One Desire: The Greatness of a god.

So they built their tower and it reached to the heavens, until God struck a blow to their egos with language. Lots and Lots of different languages! (umm...isn't Language a weird word?)
So many different languages in fact that the people got so confused that they began to tear the Tower of Babel down brick by brick until the whole thing collapsed! The collapse of the tower was immediately followed by a mass exodus born of confusion and panic.

Obviously, the moral of the story is to moderate your desire for power from the knowledge you gain, lest it destroy you.

Question: If knowledge is power, what is wisdom? The ability to let power go?

*** *** ***
On the subject of having just enough knowledge that leads to power...
I give you Exhibit A. GOOGLE EARTH.
Just type in a city, state or country and zippitydoodah you're looking at a satellite photograph of that location. Then you can get more and more detail by zooming in or tilting the 3D image...what could be bad about that, right?
Who wouldn't want to see Disneyland from above?
Or maybe Vatican City?
No big deal right? How about something more sensitive...maybe Hoover Dam?
If you don't understand where I'm going with this yet maybe the next image will make it clear...
That's Groom Lake in Nevada, otherwise known as Area 51.
My problem with Google Earth is exactly what it was made for.
Google Earth puts knowledge into the hands of the people, and not just those that would use the knowledge for good or fun (Like me) but also into the hands of those that would use this information to harm or plan to harm others.
I just don't think this sort of information should be available to anybody who wants it!
You may call me paranoid but I call Google Earth a security risk.




I'm speechless, I mean...I am...without speech!

Jones Soda Unveils Salmon Flavored Soda.

Why not? I guess.



I was checking my StatCounter.com account this past weekend and was interested to learn that the most searched item on my blog is an article I wrote back in February of this year...I thought it might be worth bringing the article to the top today - if for nothing more than the sake of conversation.

*** *** ***

If I mention the date December 21st of the year 2012 and ask how you feel about it; you'd probably do some quick calculations, come up with what your age will be on that day and say something witty about aging before your time...but you might miss something that could be important...ultimately important, as is becoming increasingly clear.

Before you stop reading this and start making a talking motion with your hand and saying "Yada, Yada, Yada..." - Take a few minutes to read the following facts about the date 12/21/2012.

***********************The Infallible Calendar***********************

The Maya people are perhaps the most mysterious of all of the ancient civilizations that have disappeared from the face of the earth...what we don't know about Mayans outweighs what we do know about them by about 100 times - That's pretty substantial, to say the least.
A few of the things that we do know about the Mayans was that they were smart...Incredibly so.
So smart in fact that they created (perhaps) one of the first recorded languages based solely upon mathematical principals rather than symbols and designs made to imply a commonly understood idea...So, they were very smart with math...but just saying "They were smart with math" doesn't even begin to encompass how smart.

Another thing we know is that the Mayans were as knowledgeable about the pattern of stars and constellations as we are today, if not more...Here comes the kicker...
Their calendar was (is) so accurate that it told the future...(Fact)...Predicting the exact time of such events as Solar and Lunar Eclipses, Dynamic changes in the heavens such as Super-Novae and Black Holes, Extended extreme weather forecasts far into their own future...And, are you ready?...The Maya Calendar Ends on 12/21/2012.

This is not a theory, it's not even an educated guess - That the most advanced calendar of all time ends in our very near future is a solid and confirmable fact.

**********************The Age of Aquarius**********************

There are many in the Astrological community (If you can take them seriously) who believe that the Age of Pisces ends soon and the Age of Aquarius begins...Can you guess on what date?
Now, if you can stop humming that uber-annoying song by Hair for a moment - I'll continue...If you pay any sort of attention to what the crystal-wearer's are mumbling as you pass them on the street corner; you would know a little of the following...

1. Prior to the Age of Aquarius is the Age of Pisces - most commonly associated with the fish symbol that represents Jesus (And gets torn gleefully from the bumper of the faithful's cars while they attend service) - The Age of Pisces is most notably seen as an era where Man is told what to think, how to feel, what to say and how to live, again, in a nutshell...I guess this could be seen in a few different ways...The Church telling people how things should be, The Government telling people how things should be, The People telling the People how things should be...take it at your own speed, I can't say I understand it...my point out of all this gobbledy-gook is what I'll hit on in a moment...
2. The Age of Aquarius (In a nutshell) is supposed to be a period of time where man is no longer imposed upon by the powers that be - whatever those powers may be - and that the mind would be opened up so that people could live freely in the mind, spirit and body...again, this in a very brief and tiny nutshell...Anywho, all of these changes are supposed to take place, according to most, on a specific date...that's right, you got it...12/21/2012!

**********************The Singularity**********************

The date of 12/21/2012 also presents a Mathematical Certainty or Singularity which is not very widely understood but is discussed briefly here... I'll try and give you an instructional walkthrough that points out the major issues of this Singularity...

1. Some mathematicians have plotted the asymptotic graphs of all of humanity's technological developments and projected them out to a point where they all, almost simultaneously "Hit infinity"...The day that they arrived at is 12/21/2012 - the one projected date of "The Singularity."
This day is when some say everything as we know it will change.
*Stick with me on this next one...it may take you a while to wrap your head around it...*
2. If we take a look at some of the Species-Altering events in our history, we can see three MAJOR developments that changed the entire course of Human History.
*The Agricultural Revolution, 30,000 years ago we learned how to farm.
*The Industrial Revolution, 350 years ago we learned how to mass-produce machines.
*The Information Revolution, About 50 years ago we learned how to build computers.
As you can see, the rate of change is increasing; as is our abilities afforded by the changes. With computers, we have the ability to build more efficient things, fly planes and spaceships, educate more people, etc...Each of these enabling technologies will build further development, and at a faster rate...But to what point?
According to the mathematical model, we should see approximately 61 more of these Species-Altering developments before 12/21/2012 and all of the changes will have the same magnitude as the three noted above.
Again, it's only a model, but...The mathematical model predicts that 18 of these changes will be on the last day prior to 12/21/2012, and that 13 of these changes are to happen in the last FRACTION OF A SECOND of 12/20/2012, as things accelerate towards that infinity point - The Singularity.
I won't give you my own version of how things could go down, I'm sure you can create your own.

************************The Bible Code************************

The date 12/21/2012 also makes an appearance in the much-disputed Bible Code.

If you haven't read anything about the Bible Code I would recommend it, I'm not ready to tell you that I believe in it totally - but I will say that the Bible Code has predicted many major events, such as assassinations of major world and religious leaders, disasters - both unpredicted and planned. As well as many, many dates...One of which is of course 12/21/2012.

In the Bible Code the 21st day of the 12 month of the year two-thousand-and-twelve is criss-crossed by the words "EARTH DESTROYED".
Now, I don't know what all this means, I don't even know if I'm going to think about it again after I finish with this article - But I do know that all of these small points do seem to line up and point to a certain date.
But does all this mean that the earth will be destroyed? That all man will be wiped out and our beautiful planet will be turned into a lifeless rock?
Or, does it mean that the world as we know it will change, for better or worse...Not that we'll die, Not that life will cease...But just...Change?

Come Sinner, Come Saint...I welcome your thoughts on the END...whatever IT may be.

*** *** ***


Gotta be Cruel to be Kind?

"Dear Mom, Dad, and Jennifer, I will make this short as I know It will be hard to deal with. If you haven't heard by now, I've passed away"

I read this article on cnn.com today about a 19 year old girl named Suzzane Gonzales who commited suicide 9 weeks after meeting an online group called A.S.H. (Alt.Suicide.Holiday) that apparently provides information and suggestions on the best and worst ways to commit suicide.

"Members of this news group trade advice on how to commit suicide, using code words like 'transitioning' and 'exiting' and 'catching the bus.' Suzanne found this group nine weeks before she died, posting nearly one hundred messages detailing her plans.
"My chosen method is potassium cyanide....I've stopped eating so my tummy will be nice and acidic," one of Suzanne's posts read.

Suzzane's family are quick to point out that Suzzane had always been a "bubbly girl" and very bright. With a future practically carved out for her with a science scholarship in hand this would seem to be true. But something changed and Suzzane obviously found encouragement in her new found community of suicide-dwelling online buddies.

Suzzane's father maintains that A.S.H. gave (Suzzane) everything she needed to kill herself.
"The knowledge, the tools, their psychological encouragement. ... She was led to her death"

An older member of A.S.H. called "River" emailed cnn.com the following..."Suzy had me proof-read her notes and we went over all the details of her exit, just to be safe,"
But "River" disputes his role in Suzanne's death. "No one in ASH encourages anyone else to commit suicide. ASH is pro-choice,"
Another A.S.H. member called "Geo" said that "If it weren't for (A.S.H., I think the chances of me having committing suicide would have been greater," he said. "Having a place where you can write those thoughts, get them out of your head. It can be very therapeutic."

Suzzane's father feels differently: "That's not pro-choice, that's brainwashing. And they are not being held responsible."

*** *** ***

If a suicidal person goes to a gun show, openly discusses their desire to commit suicide and then is assailed by hundreds if not thousands of gun sellers telling that person "Hey, this 12-gauge shotgun will sure do the trick!" OR "I've got a .38 special right here that'll end your life quick and painless...just tuck this baby under your chin and pull the trigger!" - Should the gun-sellers be held accountable for selling that suicidal person the item that hurried their demise?

Just imagine the same scenario with any physical item that can be used to commit suicide with...Cars, Drugs, Rope...Whatever...
In a rational society doesn't it seem that this group A.S.H. and the people that facilitate and frequent it should be held accountable in some way for encouraging another person to kill themselves?

If it's illegal to commit suicide shouldn't it be illegal to help someone commit suicide by telling them the best way to do it?
And how is what A.S.H. is doing any different than what put Dr. Jack Kevorkian in jail for second-degree murder?


Higher Fences = Better Neighbors

From an article in nbcsandiego.com

WASHINGTON -- A local House Republican wants to build a fence along the entire 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, a plan that could cost billions of dollars and that critics say would do little to stop illegal immigration.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, planned to announce legislation Thursday to create a two-layer reinforced fence with lighting and sensors from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a 100-yard border zone to the north of the barriers, and 25 new ports of entry.
Currently, most of the westernmost 14-mile stretch of the border is lined with parallel fencing and there is secure fencing at other vulnerable points, but long stretches of the border are protected only by patchy barbed wire or nothing at all.
"Illegal aliens continue to funnel directly into many of our local communities and adversely impact our way of life by overwhelming our schools, inundating our health care system and, most concerning, threatening our safety," said Hunter, who was introducing the bill with Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va . He said building a fence and enforcing immigration laws could reverse the trends.
A conservative group called Let Freedom Ring that is promoting a border fence estimates it would cost about $8 billion.
The plan is controversial. Republican Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado recently announced his support, but Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has said he doesn't think a fence would stop illegal immigration.

Groups including National Council of La Raza, the largest U.S.-based Hispanic advocacy group, oppose a fence.
"It doesn't really deal with why people are migrating or why our economy is so dependent on their labor," said Cecilia Munoz, the group's vice president of policy. "The resourcefulness of people on both sides of the border is likely to be greater than a fence."

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, planned to join Hunter at his news conference Thursday to support the idea.
"The U.S. and Mexico, if they're going to remain friends they're going to need good fences," Stein said.

Hunter's bill contains other immigration reforms including authorizing 10,000 new Border Patrol officers, empowering local police to enforce immigration laws and increasing penalties for hiring illegal immigrants.
Hunter is a leading opponent of illegal immigration who earlier this year pushed the Bush administration to commit to fortifying the westernmost 3.5 miles of the border, over the objections of environmentalists, the California Coastal Commission and the local Democratic congressman.

*** *** ***

How about some quick figures on illegal immegration and how it is affecting us, shall we?

- 10.4 million illegal aliens reside in the United States.(source: Pew Hispanic Center)
- Every year, 500,000 additional illegal aliens enter the United States(source: Pew Hispanic Center)
- California's nearly 3 million illegal immigrants cost taxpayers nearly $9 billion each year (source: Federation for American Immigration Reform)
- Illegal aliens cost the federal government $10 billion more annually than they pay in taxes. (source: Center for Immigration Studies)
- Taxpayers pay $750 million annually to house the 18,000 illegal aliens in California prisons. (source: US Govt. Accounting Office)

*** *** ***

In my opinion this fence should have been built 20 years ago, I will follow this story very closely and look for ways to support Duncan Hunter's bill.


From Zimmerman to Dylan, Vampires to Jesus

When Robert Allen Zimmerman decided to change who he was in the late 1950's he became Bob Dylan; the freewheelin' epitomy of American songwriting and the trailblazing leader of a new form of politically minded, socially commentative and philosophically driven culture of musicians.

Nobody knew then why Robert Allen Zimmerman had changed his name and chosen such an unpaved path to follow, to this day nobody knows why he chose the last name Dylan. (originally "Dillon")
It was a big deal back then to change your name and your lifestyle in the blink of an eye and Bob Dylan was one of the first to do it in the name of music; but for Bob it paid off in a big way. Today Bob Dylan is recognized as one of America's most highly regarded popular songwriters, and his enduring contributions to the American oeuvre are comparable to those of Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, and Hank Williams. In the interests of time I won't mention the countless legion of songwriters that are known today because they took a page from Bob Dylan's "How-To" book on becoming an icon.

Changing his name and reinventing himself was not the last big change that Bob Dylan would make.
In late 1978 Bob Dylan got "Saved".

His widely-publicized conversion to Christianity made Bob Dylan perhaps the most famous Jewish apostate in American history.
It is interesting to me and I think it should be noted that Dylan was suffering at this time from a painful divorce as well as an exhausting world tour and far too much alcohol...these life issues must have compounded Dylan's fever for answers and so he began to search the ether again for his next big decision...Jesus.

Many of his die-hard fans rebelled against Dylan's new-found faith...maybe because his lyrics lacked the hard edge the fans had grown accustomed to?
From: "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"
"I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it, I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it, I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin', I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin', I saw a white ladder all covered with water, I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken..."
To: "Are You Ready?
"When destruction cometh swiftly, And there's no time to say a fare-thee-well, Have you decided whether you want to be In heaven or in hell?"

Dylan's hard personal edge toward politics and social injustice had turned into a hard spiritual edge that alienated his loyal fans and caused his personal success as a songwriter to take a backseat to his decision to follow Christ.
Yet again, Bob Dylan had forsaken his past and who he was to choose a new lifestyle and a new direction...a new "god" if you will.
Did he have to forsake his personal feelings for social and political reform to follow Jesus?
To quote Dylan shortly after he declared his new-found faith in Jesus: "There was a presence in the room that couldn't have been anybody but Jesus. I truly had a born-again experience, if you want to call it that.... It was a physical thing. I felt it all over me. I felt my whole body tremble. I told you the times they are a-changin' and they did. I said the answer was blowin' in the wind and it was. I'm telling you now Jesus is coming back, and He is! And there is no other way of salvation."

Dylan's Christian albums when compared to his previous "non-religious" offerings could only be called commercial flops. In a 1980 interview in Dayton Ohio he was asked if his choice to become a Christian was an easy one, Dylan replied: "It would have been easier if I had become a Buddhist, or a Scientologist or if I had gone to Sing Sing."
Dylan's evangelical phase didn't last long and he went back to writing the songs that his fans had been waiting for for several years...he continued his career as a critical and commercial success to this day.

There are several icons of music and film that at one time during their career they chose to be a Christian-Singer, or a Christian-Actor and virtually every one of them found that their original passion for music or film or whatever had to be placed on the back burner because they were too busy defending their decision to become a Christian - Ultimately their careers and personal lives suffered because in their attempts to reinvent themselves as Christian artists they had lost all credibility as artists in the first place.
Just ask Pat Boone, Kenny Rogers, M.C. Hammer and Ozzie Ozborne.

The question is this: Does a relationship with Jesus require that all attributes of a former life die and a completely new life begin in order to glorify God?

*** *** ***
Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last 20-plus years you are pretty well aware of who Anne Rice is and why you know her name.

To be fair, you may not know Anne Rice by name but instead you may know who she is because of what she has given the entertainment world...Does "Interview With A Vampire" ring any bells? Anne Rice has been writing vampire horror novels since 1973 and many of them have been hugely successful; "Interview With A Vampire" and "Queen of the Damned" to name a few.

In a recent article that my brother emailed to me, interviewer David Gates got in touch with Anne Rice to find out where she's been since 2003.
According to Gates "After 25 novels in 25 years, Rice, 64, hasn't published a book since 2003's "Blood Chronicle." Maybe because she was busy having surgery for an intestinal blockage, and also back in 1998, when she went into a sudden diabetic coma; that same year she returned to the Roman Catholic Church, which she'd left at 18. Maybe also because Anne's Husband of 41 years, Stan Rice, died of a brain tumor in 2002.
But now she's back and guess what...yep, she got "Saved."

Anne Rice's most recent novel "Christ the Lord - Out of Egypt" gets released on November 1st, it is Rice's first novel since becoming a Christian.
"I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord."

History, does indeed repeat itself.
I hope for her sake that Rice's millions of fans are accepting of this major change in her fictional bent and more power to her; but I'll be watching Anne Rice very closely.


A Costco Kind Of Weekend

I wasn't going there to pick up much, just some Jack Daniels, Captain Morgan and a flat of Bottled Water, so I wasn't at Costco for that long. However along with 20 gallon jugs of Olive Oil, Ultimate-Value-Packs of Unmentionables and 30 foot Trampolines; a trip to Costco is also prime people watching time.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Largest Item Purchased...
A 62" flatscreen TV with matching TV stand...it took two flatbed carts and three Costco employees to move the TV from one side of the store to the other in 15 minutes...I saw the new TV owners in the parking lot on my way out...they were trying to convince the Costco people that the 62" TV would fit into the trunk of their Toyota Corolla if they would only give it a try.
Hilarious, I wish I'd had a comfortable chair, popcorn and a soda.

Most Well Rounded Shopping Cart...
An Iranian couple that couldn't stop their little girl from screaming anymore than they could stop yelling at each other had a pretty eclectic gathering of goods by the time they got to the cashier. Included in the cart: A ten pound bag of Unsalted Peanuts, a bag of unripened Mango's, a 6x6 Persian rug, a "valu-pak" of No-Drip Afrin (6 dispensers total), a bag of assorted socks, Chicken Cutlets, a lifetime supply of Scotch Tape...and finally...A family-sized KY Jelly dispenser.
Will Coscto wonders never cease?

Confrontation Overheard While Waiting In Line...
A middle-aged Asian couple are in front of me in line and they are purchasing a dump-truck-sized load of Flour, Sugar, Cooking Oil, Cake Mixes, Soda, Bottled Water, Napkins, Toilet Paper, Toothpicks and 2 Cases of 10w40 Motor Oil. I didn't think this was out of the ordinary given the plethora of goods at Costco until the cashier said something to the customer about whether he was going to sell the Motor Oil out of his Donut Shop, I couldn't help at this point but realize that the Donut Shop owners were purchasing goods for their Donut Shop with their Merchants license which gives them a healthy discount as well as a tax break.
The Donut Shop owner was either a genius or a genuine fraud because he pulled the "I don't understand your english" move with the cashier and continued to load his goods onto the counter and smile with every tooth in his mouth. The cashier started to get bent out of shape and confronted the customer by saying "Are you telling me that you sell Donuts with a side order of Motor Oil?!?" to which the little Asian man happily grinned "Yes, Yes...Donuts!"
Needless to say I left Costco in search of a Donut Shop.


On Old People and the Cars They Kill With...

Have you read this article?
If not, I'm sure you've read an article or saw a report on the news with virtually the same story over and over again in the past few years..."Old person drives car through crowd, kills several, doesn't realize what he/she has done and parks car in driveway with bodies strung across car grill."

Here are some highlights from the article from cnn.com today...

- A 93-year-old driver apparently suffering from dementia fatally struck a pedestrian and drove for three miles with the man's body through his windshield, police said.

- Parker (the driver) was not likely to face charges because "he did not appear to know what happened or where he was", said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant in the Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney's Office. "He may have somewhere in his mind have realized it was a crash, but immediately forgot about it."

- Parker had renewed his license in 2003.

And remember that story in the news from last year or so?
The one where the old man was driving around and got confused, he ended up driving his car through a streetfair at break-neck speed killing 8 or 9 people and wounding a whole bunch more...he didn't remember anything either and as far as I know he still has his driver's license.

According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety in Arizona...One of the most significant social trends of the new century will be the graying of the population, a fact that raises serious questions for everyone concerned with traffic safety and education.
- In 1990, elderly drivers accounted for 6.7 percent of all miles driven.
- By 2030, according to our conservative estimate, elderly drivers will account for 18.9 percent of all vehicle miles driven, almost triple the 1990 figure.
- Based on current rates, the number of elderly traffic fatalities will more than triple by the year 2030.
- If this expected increase occurs, the number of elderly traffic fatalities in 2030 will be 35 percent greater than the total number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 1995, a fatality number that is viewed by policymakers and the public as cause for serious concern.
- They (elderly drivers) tend to become more conservative on the road, driving less often at night, avoiding busy highways, and taking fewer long-distance trips to unfamiliar areas. However, older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes, particularly at intersections.
- They're also more likely than younger drivers to be seriously injured in a crash because their bodies are simply less able to withstand an impact. This raises the likelihood of increased medical and insurance costs in the future.

Also on cnn.com today was a poll asking if states should revoke driver's licenses when motorists reach a certain age...Surprisingly (to me) the results of the poll are split right down the middle!

I know I'm showing my colors here but this is my perception and in my opinion - If I ever reach a point in my life where my mental and physical health are called into question and I may be a danger to another person because I'm not all there when I'm behind the wheel of several tons of steel on wheels; Yank my driver's license like you're starting a mower!!!

all pictures pulled from www.flickr.com click on pictures for photographer info

Sign Language for the Bar

I’ve been waiting for a drink so long I’m growing a beard.
I will use it to strangle the bartender.

Thanks to my brother for this link and the wisdom therein...


I've Got Two Tickets to Paradise...

Streets made of Gold, Eternal Peace, Crystal Lakes...Jeweled Crowns?


I hope they at least have Sushi and Waterslide Parks!

What do you want?


The Parable of the Terminals & Success!

Well, Linds and I got back from Colorado on Sunday night and I've been meaning to update my blog with a little info about our trip.
Of course, it's Tuesday now so I've had a chance to digest everything that happened and I'm happy to say that we weren't just high on the idea of living in Colorado all this time; it really is all that we thought it would be and linds and I are really in love with the idea of living there!

I'll give you the layout of the weekend...
Linds and I were scheduled to fly out of Lindberg Field in San Diego on Friday night at 6:15pm so Lindsay got off work a little early and went home to pack and make sure we were ready to roll as soon as I got home from work at around 4:15pm...good to know at this point is that the San Diego airport is notorious for having a very slow and meticulous security process and getting to the airport 2 hours prior to your flight is not only common practice for Linds and I; it is par for the course...however, in this case we didn't have that luxury and we were going to be cutting it closer than we ever had before.

I got home from work, changed my shirt and grabbed a bottled water and we were out the door a minute later with our bags, our tickets and two VERY excited 60 pound dogs. The plan was for our dogs to stay with our friends Mike and Kristine and their dog Bailey for the weekend, of course Sugar and Flash didn't know this yet; they thought they were going to the dog park - and they were PUMPED! Translation: Hard to manage and deaf to commands.
Linds and I got on the freeway at about 4:20pm and OH NO! TRAFFIC!

55 minutes later...(5:15pm)
Extremely frazzled and stressed to the max; Linds and I pulled into Mike and Kristines complex and quickly said our hellos, unloaded the dogs, said our goodbyes and sped off back to the freeway. We had one hour till our flight was supposed to leave and we to drive less than 12 miles to get there...No problem...OH NO! TRAFFIC!

12 miles and 45 minutes later...(6:00pm if you're keeping score)
We pull into the parking lot of the airport, Linds says "We bought our tickets through Frontier Airlines; they're in Terminal 2 - HURRY!"...we park in the most expensive parking complex on earth because we're out of time and we run to the terminal.
At this point we're sweating bullets, breathing hard and barely holding on to our tempers at being so close to being screwed. We make it into terminal 2 and to the ticketing counter for Frontier Airlines by around 6:05; we're in good shape in spite of being so late..."Wait, doesn't that "UA-282" on our tickets mean UNITED AIRLINES!?!"..."Yes sir, it does."..."But isn't United Airlines in Terminal One?"..."Yes sir, it is."


5 minutes later...(6:10pm - flight leaves in 5 minutes)
Sprinting through terminal 2 as fast as the wheels on our carry on luggage will spin; we're in deep kimshi now! Terminal 1 is approximately a 1/2 of a mile away from Terminal 2 and should take a leisurely stroller 10 minutes to accomplish...We made it in 2 minutes. And thus the Airport Olympics we're born!

We'd made it to Terminal 1 without a moment to spare and ran to the security checkpoint and were relieved to see that the line was not long...maybe they could hold the flight a few moments while we run down the concourse yelling for them to hold the plane.
We hand our tickets to the first security guard who looks us over with a cautiously suspicious eye and smiles sweetly as she hands our tickets back to us and reaches to her left to open up a whole new security checkpoint lane! Maybe she saw that our flight was leaving as we stood there and she was going to rush us through! "If you could just step this way; you've been preselected for a pre-flight security screening"


6 minutes later, freshly groped and prodded, tested for radiation and bomb building materials...we were on the run again only this time we were half dressed and dragging our poorly closed luggage behind us.
Stop for a minute and imagine the scene in your mind, got it? Good. Now, thank God it wasn't you.

We made it to our gate about 10 minutes late for our flight but not a moment too soon because the very last call was going out for passengers for the flight to Denver just as we arrived...ahhh, sweet relief.

It was then that I recalled all of the episodes of LOST that I'd been watching...Here come the butterflies...

"Hello, welcome aboard...yes, you're seated in Row 8 by the emergency door at the middle of the aircraft."..."So, I'm responsible for the operation of the emergency door in case...you know?"..."Yes sir, that's right."


The Moral: Pay attention to the tiny letters on your ticket information and always pack clean underwear.

*** *** ***

The flight to Denver International Airport was smooth, but not as smooth as the whiskey that I demanded as soon as we were airborne...Tranquilizer says what?
We landed and got our rental car a little while later...the car rental guy must've liked us because he upgraded us for free from a tin can with wheels on it to a Dodge Durango with a bad attitude...Sweet.
We were pretty disoriented trying to navigate around the freeways that surround the Denver Metro area at night and in a strange and very large vehicle but I think we did pretty good...Just ask the 5 or 6 people that we nearly crushed with our monster truck between the airport and our motel. Emphasis on NEARLY.

The weekend got off to a quick start on Saturday morning and we were looking at model homes by 8:30am...by 1:00pm we were meeting with our realtor and by 6:00pm we were discussing the process of placing a hold on the lot we wanted! Talk about a whirlwind day!
I have to say, thank God for our realtor Marcia McCorkall and the representative for Shea Homes Annie Packard; without the two of those ladies Lindsay and I would have had to make an additional trip to get everything done that we did get done on Saturday...who knows, we may have had to make several additional trips!

When it was all said and done we knew which house we wanted and the lot we wanted it on...and so we set the plan in motion with the shaking of hands and signing of papers...smiles all around we drove away from the housing development with high hopes and light hearts.
Here is a few pictures of the style of house we're going for...it's called The Sage.

And here is the corner lot where it's going to be approximately 6 to 7 months from now...

We love our dirt lot on Heatherton Lane!

We spent the rest of Saturday evening and all day Sunday driving around our neighborhood area, seeing the sites of Denver South Metro and learning about the state of Colorado...We had a great time for sure.
Something cool about where we'll be living is that about a stones-throw from where our backyard will be is a nature preserve called the Backcountry Wilderness Area (Used to be called OSCA which I think stood for something but I forget what)...the Backcountry Wilderness Area is basically 8200 acres of protected land that will never be built on and will never be developed...Which means that there will never be tons of traffic or other houses built behind ours, good news for us!
Here's a few shots of the Backcountry Wilderness Area, as well as some Buffalo we saw on the side of the road and a Prairie Dog that popped up under my feet and said hello...

All in all it was the fastest, busiest, fullest and most satisfying weekend Lindsay and I have spent in a long, long time and when it was all said and done; if we hadn't had to come back to San Diego I don't think we would have!
I'll definitely keep you all updated as things progress, thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Big thanks to Mike and Kristine for watching our "Kids" - I hope they didn't slobber too much!
all words badly drawn ben ©