Tuesday, December 12, 2006

movin' on down the road

I've relocated to Atlanta. I left the snuggled embrace of Nashville for a job at Turner in November. We just got a contract on our house in Nashville, and we'll be out of it by mid-January. Dawn's excited as can be, and she's been prepping the house for sale like a little bird in a nest. I could never pull this off without her. In the meantime, I'm doing systems admin work for the web farm at CNN.

Atlanta's given me the chance to spend part of my life downtown. I've spent more time on foot, on the street and in the subways, than at any other time in my life. God's showing me how to love people and see them with a new compassion again. To be honest, He's bringing me to confront some stereotypes and prejudices I haven't dealt with in a long time. It's a good thing. I'm looking at apartments in a couple different areas around town, all train-adjacent and culturally rich. This is a good thing. I'll keep you posted and include a few pictures along the way.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Vacation at Kentucky Kingdom!

So Friday morning, my wife says "I feel like getting away for the weekend". A couple hours later, I get TXT that says she's found such-and-such price on a hotel plus tickets to Kentucky Kingdom, the Six Flags location in Louisville. An hour after that, I get TXT that we have reservations and leave after work!

Had a great time. Rode some stuff. Rode the "Change" coaster twice! Got wet a few times. I tell you... it's been almost 15 years since I went on a coaster or had my stomach drop out from under me. That first time is like "whooOOOOOOAAAAAHHHH!" Nothing else feels quite like that. So we got a little time away, just her and me. It was great. You have to do that once in a while. I worked OT the few days before the trip, and I've worked 20 hrs OT in the week since. It was good to get a break.

Uploaded a few new pics. Not very many to speak of, but a few good ones. My favorite's the one of Dawn showing off the ink on her arm in front of Tattoo Charlie's. She didn't get it done there, but we spotted it from the road. The cool thing is that I saw a Tattoo Charlie's billboard from the interstate the day before and got a kick out of the slogan. Purely by chance, we drove by it Sunday morning, so we HAD to take a couple pictures. "Tattoos while you wait." Think about that a minute... how ELSE are you going to get a tattoo?

Friday, April 21, 2006

off to the races

I've got a family reunion coming just before July 04, and I can't wait! I've got family from Louisiana to Washington that I haven't seen in years, including some nieces and nephews I've never even met. It just amazes me how the clan spiders out to plant new roots, then brings up all these remarkable kids all over the country. People I last saw as elementary schoolers are marrying and having kids of their own... it's just mind-boggling.

Aside from joining a new church a few weeks ago, I start a new job on May 01. I gave notice at the current place a few days ago, which hit a lot of people like a wheel of cheese to the head. The new post is as a Systems Architect, a promotion from my current post as Systems Administrator. I'm really excited about the change. It's definitely a higher level of responsibility and a more advanced level of work. I've been three years at my present post, several times longer than any IT stint before I left Baton Rouge. That was the one substantial thing missing on my resume, seniority. I'm glad to get that off my back.

To all my family who have signed me up in the last few weeks, I'll see you soon! David, Andrea, Lisa, Jonathan, and all the rest. Take care, and see you in July.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

if a band plays a great show and no one is there to hear it, is it still good music?

I caught the Violet Burning again in town Sunday night. Exit/In. TVB's web site says that they are co-headlining the tour with John Davis. Exit/In didn't put up any posters until a few days before the show, and their calendar and posters never mentioned TVB. There was just John Davis with the local opening act. John Davis' own site mentioned only him and the local opening act. The only place that mentioned TVB on the bill was www.thevioletburning.com. Today I got this email from TVB's mailing list about how their booking agency has been putting no effort into advertising and nobody's coming to their shows. The tour is struggling and asking for fans to help advertise and hang posters. That's real "indie" of them, but something's got to give. The crowd of some 120 people was the biggest crowd I've seen at a Violets show in Nashville in three years, and they're losing money on the tour.

It's a shame that Exit/In has posters of
Mute Math and Kevin Max by the front door (playing March 26 and 28) with ink mustaches and smiley faces drawn on them. It's just sad that a band with some 18 years of history and a dozen CDs can come into town on a co-headline tour and not even get billing from the venue or their tour partner. I hardly know what to do with that. I'd like to go support Christian music and independent rock music and show the venue that people will come for these bands, but I hardly want to justify their disrespect for the artists.

The local opener played 55 minutes, and they did well. TVB played 35 minutes and left the stage to a standing ovation. When the crowd called for an encore, the house engineer started a CD and cleared the stage. I heard 10 minutes of the "headline" act and went home disappointed. I'm almost glad that all the friends I invited didn't come. It would have been hard to explain starting a 7:00 bill at 8:10 and getting a half hour of the headliner I paid for.

I hail from the great city of Baton Rouge, LA, where I ripened on the vine until my arrival in Nash Vegas three years ago. Baton Rouge generally speaking "doesn't have" Christian shows like this. You wouldn't see shows at all outside of large churches, and those would be bands from adult contemporary Christian radio stations. Mute Math and Earth Suit hail from New Orleans. Twelve Stones comes from Mandeville, if I remember correctly. Nobody you ever heard of came from Baton Rouge except Jimmy Swaggart. For me, this is Mecca. This is a veritable gold mine. I hope I can stretch my allowance enough to catch some of the four shows left in the next three weeks, but I doubt it. I sure hope SOMEBODY goes.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Grasping the elephant

There's an old quote whose author I've been unable to verify. Someone asked a sculptor how he was able to sculpt an elephant out of a block of marble. His answer was that it was easy, that he started with a block and chipped away everything that didn't look like an elephant. I ripped that quote for my profile page, but it crossed my mind again recently.

We are what we are. Somewhere below the marble shell, I am an elephant. (That quote's also been used for angels and a few other things, but an elephant will do.) I'm taking a couple days out of town to clear my head and get away from it all. Somewhere in there, I hope to grasp the pachyderm. Of course, there's another story about three blind men being asked to describe what they found in front of them. One mistook the tail for a rope. Another said the trunk was a snake. The last identified one of the legs as a tree. I have to wonder what corner of my elephant I'll discover first. That has got to be one butt-fugly block of marble to endure so much refinement and still be so misunderstood.

This all floated to the top when I showed up at Vineyard Community Church in Marietta, GA this afternoon. I have a friend who's just planted here a few weeks ago. Like three people know him. I dropped his name and said I was early for The Violet Burning's show. They offered me some wifi and drinks out of the fridge, and I crashed on their sofa for the afternoon. Having been planted at a Vineyard for three years, I can walk into just about any Vineyard and be accepted like this.

I'll hand them this much. When you say, "I go to such-and-such Vineyard", there is an understanding that you are cut from a certain cloth -- sculpted from a certain marble, if you will -- that you and they hold in common. It's oddly even farther-reaching than being a Catholic or a Baptist. The whole denominational division of Christianity (I will accept for discussion's sake that Vineyard is a denomination) introduced some oddness into the family. This is one group of believers with such a common, natural, culturally real personality that just the name itself carries as much familiarity as skater or surfer or cowboy. I'm no longer in a Vineyard, though I'm in a Vineyard-like independent church. I may actually come to miss having a denominational name that carries so much familiarity.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

clarity of thought

Had an interesting discussion last night among a few other Christians about the definition of the church. As near as I can see it from the original examples, the church was the collected group of people who believed in Jesus and continued in His work. There were recordings of those people meeting in homes, in synagogues, and in public common areas. Groups ranged in size from two through dozens up to several thousand in outdoor meetings. People recognized them by their clear conviction that Jesus was the Messiah and the herald of the Kingdom of God on earth. People were drawn to them because, everywhere they went, they worked miracles and showed compassion. It was largely this display of supernatural power and clarity of thought on the modern work of God that distinguished them from their own spectators. It's made me revisit the question of what defines us as The Church today. Are we hundreds or thousands of people who own a building, handfuls of people who meet in homes, followers of traditions handed down from our forebears? Too often our first answer is this or that denomination that meets in a crowd of so many in such and such a location. I fail to find where any of that is actually in the Bible as the definition of the church. There were seven churches spoken to in the book of Revelations, and I don't recall how big any of them were or where they met. I do recall some of them had identity issues and bickered with other Christians about how to conduct themselves as the Kingdom of God. I've seen too many movies where the king walks into the chamber were all the lords are arguing about war and taxes and land. I hope and pray we don't get caught in one of those movies.