The older you get, the more you get to realize that you are becoming your own person. That you're really an adult now.

You go home, and the tendency for the parents is to treat you like a child - for the siblings to treat you like the same old brother. But that's not what you are to the rest of the world anymore.

Out there, you're now "sir" to the kids at the fast food joint or the grocery store or the gas station. There was that period where there was an awkward pause when they went to adddress you - they realized you probably weren't that much older than them and then they weren't sure quite what to call you. But that's long gone. These days, you are a "sir." The world expects you to pay your bills on time and show up at work regularly and clothe and feed yourself and drive somewhere close to the speed limit and a number of other things that all the rest of the adults are doing. And you manage to accomplish most of these things with some regularity.

But not at home. At home your expectations haven't changed much at all. You can still act like a kid. Sometimes you even do...but its not who you really are anymore. After a little while you need to go back to facing the world on your own.

Its like...there's at least one part of home that you can never go back to.


Well, we haven't had some links in a while, so why not a vacation-special. Off and running...

Listing Square is NYC specific (at least from my first perusal) but it looks like a step-up on CraigsList for finding a good place sans-realtor fee.

Top 100 Vin Diesel Facts. (serious language warning, also serious laugh your butt off warning) (Chuck Norris is so 2005)

If you didn't catch it already, Google Calendar is live. Here's how to import your Outlook calendar.

Taco Bell Champion! I would vote for this guy for city council, hands down. Even if he hasn't seen the light of Crunchwrap.

You probably saw the email at some point with the pictures of that crazy street art stuff - here's his website.

This Ask Mefi question
was a great one and got a TON of response, including my own. And in case you miss the great link in there, here's how NYC sees the rest of America.

Haven't linked to a decent photoblogg in a while.

This picture was made with Photoshop. In 2000 hours. Wow.

More Google goodness - now those "related links" you see above your Gmail can be integrated to your own site.

Not sure if I ever linked to this fabulous Times article but here it is.

And we've finally cleaned up my 15 or so open tabs. That's what I do - I leave the good stuff open in tabs to some day be accumulated into a linky blog post. Sometimes FF freaks and I lose my session before I can post everything - probably happened twice to me since the last link post, oh well.

Update...I'm in the safe, warm, enclave that is Panera. This one's near the 'rent's place in Cali. Mom found my blog (hi mom, like you'll ever actually read this thing) recently, by the way. Thanks, Margy. She said you showed her your "nursing journal blog." Cha, right. Its only by the grace of God and the fact that I am the ultimate awesome older brother that I am not posting a huge HEY MOM THIS IS MARGY'S REAL BLOG LINK. She knows its out there, so your days are numbered, especially with all the linking you do to kids from the church back home here. Bad idea. I hear there's a dad in the church who religiously follows all the kids blogs and makes reports to all the parents. You're toast.

Anyway, youngest brother and I went skiing yesterday, my first and last day of the season in this hemisphere (still hoping to make Chile happen in August). We took today off because a potential rain storm was moving in. Too bad I didn't get here a couple days sooner.

Tomorrow, who knows what. Sunday is church day with the family. I have to endure an evening service. Not entirely restful for me - the pastoral prayers usually stress me out. Monday is flying back through the surprisingly pleasant Houston airport. I get in late Monday night and Tuesday is back to the craziness.

In my hours here at Panera, its slowly become a Friday night, which is surprisingly similar to Hoboken - couples start coming out of the woodwork. Only difference is the mean age here is probably 5-10 years younger.


Last Friday night I was finally back in the city for a decent night out on the town. Being as it was Good Friday, and I had worked a good long day, I wanted to have a good night. Out.

Caught the 8pm service at church, where Dave and I met up to head down to the West Village. His brother and his brother's wife and some friends of theirs were down there having dinner (they had gone to an earlier service). We met up, walked around for a while, and discussed the problems that Christian singles have with actually meeting other singles. Let's put it this way: when there's a whole sector of a whole industry actually directed at helping Christian singles meet each other, we have a problem.

Defining it is surprisingly simple.

Christian guys, in general, enjoy going out. Having a beer, playing some pool, maybe even meeting some girls. Problem is, most of the girls the Christian guy meets, while out, aren't Christian. Most aren't even interested in the topic. But still, sooner or later he meets a nice girl, who looks pretty good on paper, its just that her life resume is missing that one critical reference - she doesn't have the same Best Friend that the guy does. (Let's put the whole 'missionary dating' conversation on hold for the moment). But he meets a girl, maybe he has - or has not - ascertained where she ranks on the spirituality spectrum, and maybe he meets up with her for coffee or something at some point to gauge it a little better. Its usually the same story, though. He's an attractive guy, she's an attractive girl - and at some point not too far down the road, the guy finds himself in the awkward position of having to have a conversation to define why pursuing things further just won't work for them.

Why can't he just meet a nice Christian girl?

Well, because, I think, in large part - Christian girls don't like going out...at least not in the sense that Christian guys do. And with good reason - most bars are rife with guys with less-than-admirable aspirations, waiting to meet them. Just the first few minutes in the bar we were at on Friday would tell you that story, ten times over. I see guys and girls relating in ways I'd never really think to, in these bars. I mean - its a little shocking to me, but how much more so to a decent Christian girl - the prospect of getting treated the way a lot of these girls do. Suffice to say - based 100% on their looks - its pretty clear what that does to a girl's motivations (and psyche, simultaneously). In the end, at best, the Christian girls resort to going out in large groups of friends - which, frankly, any guy, Christian or not, finds it a little intimidating to break into. At worst, they're sitting at home reading Jane Austen and trusting that their beau will someday plop down in a pew next to them, ready to propose.

"But what happened to all those Christian guys who like going out?" you ask. Well, they still like going out... but after a while, they get used to not seeing so many prospects in the pond, and fishing it becomes a less and less enticing project. Not to mention those conversations with the girls where things just aren't going to be... certainly no more pleasant than pulling a catch off the hook and throwing it back in the water.

Its a downward spiral. Christian singles stop going out for very nearly the same reasons we see so much avoidance of a healthy understanding of sex itself. There are so many bad things associated with sex, we begin to taboo it, avoid even defining and teaching and celebrating the good things about it. There's so much in the bar / dating scene that is just not pleasant, or downright wrong, that we begin to avoid it en total. And that's not right. The Christian guy or girl begins to let their social skills with the opposite sex languish, and next thing you know, when they do (somehow, don't ask me how) run into a decent prospect, they're too rusty to convert.

So, problem defined. Now you expect me to offer the solution. Not so fast.

Dave and I talked on this at length, and actually put together some ideas on working to fight against the norm - practical ideas. More on that to come.


A whole week? ...Really?

Wow. I think - well, I'm pretty certain, at least, that this is the first time I've actually gone a full 7 days without getting around to blogging. I mean - I knew the new job would kill *some* of my ability to update the blog, but I never imagined...all of it.

This is what happens, though, when you're working a 60 hour week, plus another 12-18 hours of travel on either end, depending on the weather and flight patterns and traffic on the way to the airport and the butterflies in Timbuctu.

I really should have started this kind of hectic work lifestyle a few years back, when I was young enough to handle it. But...God's plan in everything. I just feel so...tired, all the time. When I get home, there's no time to rest, its time to work on the youth group lesson, do the laundry, re-pack, get the taxes finished, pay a bill, actually have a real meal, etc.. And that's on the weekends when there isn't a wedding to attend or a camping trip with the kids or something.

A three-day work week couldn't have come at a better time. This week's excuse for no blog updates will be the fact that I'm trying to kill myself via hurtling down snow covered mountains. If it doesn't work, expect another post, maybe sometime next week. When...I'm back at work, all the time.

I'm still a little confused as to how people in this line of work actually manage to meet someone, or even just date. Half of my team, I'm pretty sure, met their significant other through work. How sad is that?

Speaking of which, I have a big idea for a new ministry opportunity - that to come in a soon-to-be-blog post...

Of course, the nearly complete committal of brain-power to work has eliminated my ability to write anything decent, as evidenced by the crappy posting, lately, and yet the demands still exist...need to get together another piece for Relevant Mag (my buddy Garland, who started after me, has already gotten 2 in - here's the second). And I need to write a piece on opportunities to serve with the youth group for the church newsletter. That one has to happen this week - needs to make it into the June edition.

Oh, and yeah...then there's the blog, too. No idea when I'll get another Christian Carnival post up, let alone any other decent albeit random writing, let very alone even just a links post. Keep checking back, I beg you...

(I promise pictures, in the next week or two...how's that for incentive?)


Who ever thought, months ago - when my excuses for not blogging included falling asleep on my deck, or spending 12 straight hours on Soldier of Fortune - that come spring I'd be unable to blog due to...dare I say it...work.

They kept telling me its a feast or famine business. For weeks on end I begged for work to do, and no one I talked to had anything for me. Then...bam. 20 people need my services and the one that I did go with needs more hours than I can possibly give. And I'm fearing that it will be this way for the rest of my stint in consulting. No wonder the vacation plan is...generous.

I'm headed home the weekend after Easter, to reap the benefits of a late snow season. There were 3 days in March that some part of Tahoe actually did not get snow, so there is an awesome spring base going, its snowing right now, and its going to keep snowing for the next week and a half or so until I arrive. To reap the benefits.

Thursday I will ski. Friday, I will ski. Saturday. I will ski.

This is the longest I've ever gone in a ski season without skiing, thanks to a late snow season almost everywhere, including the northeast, which had basically no snow season at all. Although...in late August, I'm trying to put a trip together to Chile. Dave conquers Las Llenas. Yeah.

What else...

Youth group is going super awesomely. I haven't really done a good job of putting as much time as I should towards my lessons, but God's grace seems to be working, still, as ever, in spite of me. We have a core group of kids that continues to grow - new and old alike. And its totally a New York group of kids. We have kids from every walk of life you could imagine. With every kind of problem you could imagine. Its a challenging and rewarding experience.

Peggy and Kuz got married this Saturday - wedding on the UES and the reception was at an incredible restaurant in Tribeca. Pictures to come, hopefully. Needless to say, it was a blessed day with blessed friends. P and K are two of the most graceful, kind people I've ever met, and are obviously (and that's a word I'm trying to eliminate from my vocabulary) perfect for one another.

So that was Saturday, and Sunday...well, it started out normal - church, youth group, but then I headed back to Hunter, where Redeemer was putting on the first open forum in a while - The Spiritual Music of John Coltrane.

It was truly a spiritual experience. Grammy award winning musicians, playing the music of a deeply spiritual, deeply humble man - a night I'll never forget.

I closed my eyes when they played Alabama. Its the song Trane wrote after hearing MLK Jr.'s sermon after the 4 little girls were killed in the church bombing. Dave's dad introduced it that way, as Trane's musical rendition of that sermon...and that's exactly what it is. You can feel all the emotion of the era...the south...the pain and the sorrow...the trust and the perseverance. There's no way to put it into words.

The music takes you there. You feel it.



I now have Google Analytics for my all-but-abandoned blog.

Took freakin long enough - registered like months ago, only a day or two after it came out. That gives you an idea of the kind of demand on their service. And yet its still free. (Slight shudder.)

So, screw you, S-tracking. You deleted my account, and almost 2 years of analytical data on my blog. Screw you very much.

I apologize for that outburst.

But really, S-tracking...die a slow, painful, internet death. I'm still trying to figure out a way to make that happen, fyi. If I was a hacker I'd turn a massive network of sleeper bot computers on you the likes of which the world has never seen. But, lucky for you, I'm only a consultant. So you get to live, for now.

Anyway, 12 unique visitors in just the few hours I've had it installed today. Doing the quick math in my head, and not that it would be an accurate picture anyway, but I think traffic may be constant to when I lost S-tracking data, if not up a bit.

So that's cool. What isn't is that I'm done with my 15 minute brain break at work. And its 10:30. Back to work.