Thursday, March 25, 2010

Foreclosures and financial reform

I came across a new blog I think is pretty good. Have a read.

I think he outlines these two things pretty well, and I don't really have anything to add. I haven't figured out his particular bias yet.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I've been reading lately that optimism may not be the best attitude for this country. Here, here, here, and also here.

In short:

"Optimism has always been the enduring spirit that made us a great nation, brought us back from overwhelming challenges and impossible odds -- WW II, the Civil War, the 1776 Revolution. Yes, that spirit still burns in our soul, says the poll.

But we also know, as we said earlier in "The Death of the Soul of Capitalism," that over the long-term, through many centuries, historians give nations an average of about 200 years before they burn out. Why? Because the "blind optimism" that makes a nation great in the early years of its rise to power and glory becomes, paradoxically, its worst enemy in the end-days.

Their arrogance traps them in a self-sabotaging cycle that weakens their resolve, makes them vulnerable to new, unpredictable challenges, ultimately destroying them from within. That happens over and over throughout history, even as their optimistic brains tell them they're still the greatest."

Wow. I'll agree with that. But what do we do? Clearly depression and pessimism are not the answers either. But I think that any optimistic solution for this country has to involve sacrifice in the present term. And if they do not then I believe they are the sort of 'blind optimism' spoken of above. None of the serious pieces of legislation in Congress have had anything like that in them, probably since WWII. When we will have the courage to realize that is what is required?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Well the wife and I have decided to pass some kind of cold/flu back and forth between each other for the past few days here. Not really sure if it was the big SWINE FLU, but here's hoping it is so that we will now have the anti-bodies.

But what really got me on here was that I've had a couple of vivid strange dreams over the last couple weeks and I wanted to write them down.

The first one involved me and Darryl; we were in an airport waiting to board, and it was very clear that we were going to Brazil. It wasn't really clear why Brazil, but I think it did have something to do with telling people about Jesus. But the details for that were definitely not worked out. So they start boarding, my ticket is scanned and we're walking down the tube to get on the plane.

But then the tube isn't just a tube, and we are in a larger airport terminal, and we've gotta hustle to get to the plane before it takes off. And the building is freaking huge and not all that well marked, but also mostly empty so we can run without looking stupid. After I get a ways away from when they scanned my ticket, I realize that I don't have my wallet or keys. I must have still had my ID because I wasn't worried about that, and I did have my phone. But I realized that my phone wasn't going to do me a bit of good because I'm going to Brazil and Verizon doesn't work there. So I just shrug my shoulders and press on trying to get to the plane, because I figure I don't need my wallet or keys. Which is weird for me because normally I would freak out about that and maybe even wake up, but I think the fact that I freaked for just a minute and then said "oh well" confirms that I was going to Brazil to just tell people about Jesus, and what the heck would I need money or keys to stuff in the States for?

So we're running through this terminal trying to find the plane, and a couple times we almost get lost and I don't think we're going to find it. But after going up some stairs and around some very strange architecture we find a room with a bunch of people that are going to Brazil, and we can see the plane through the window. Sweet.

The room with the people turns out to be set up kinda lecture style, and I realize that it's a bunch of people about the same age as me and its like a neighborhood association meeting only they are near the end of a long and involved conversation about racial reconciliation. And I just have enough time to realize this when we start getting on the plane and I wake up.

Now. I had this dream like two weeks ago and I still remember most of it, which is weird. I did tell some people at work an abbreviated version of it the day of though, which I think helped it stick. But I don't know where the heck Brazil came from. The closest thing I can think of is that Darryl's wife lived there for a while. But our wives weren't with us in my dream. I've been to Bolivia and that was alright but I don't know quite what to think.

And then about a week after that I had another maybe related dream. This time it was me and David (my youngest brother) and we were out in the bush in some third world village in the southern hemisphere. That's all the detail I had on the location on this one. So me and David were hanging out with the tribal people, doing whatever. Specifically then we were hanging out in one of the huts, only it was like a dorm room because we were up on top of bunk beds and there were a bunch of us in there. Just hanging out and shooting the breeze. David is talking and he's gesturing wildly or something and then he falls off of the bed. And somehow he just does a face plant without bracing his fall at all and lands right on his forehead. Knocks him out cold.

So I hop down to see if he's OK, and we decide that he'll be fine. Just knocked him out for a bit. And at that moment I've apparently got to leave for a few weeks to take care of some business, or go preach in another village, I'm not really sure. When I get back at the end of that trip David had undergone quite the transformation. The fall apparently erased his memory completely, and he is now one of the tribe. Loin cloth, dirt all over himself, spear, speaking another language. And he doesn't recognize me as his brother at all. But I see that he is much happier. He's doing quite well for himself in his new life and all of the anger and resentment he had at our dad (and me) is erased and it is as if it never happened for him. It's sad for me and our mom that he doesn't recognize us, but we see that its probably for the best. And then I wake up.

So, I don't know if they mean anything, but they are interesting. And I swear, this was well before I got sick and I had not been drinking the night before. So where's the interpreter?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My New Truck

Well sheesh, has it really been two months since I've posted? Sheesh. Well I bought a new truck yesterday, and the experience was definitely blog worthy.

I got a blue '94 Toyota Pickup 5speed extra cab 2WD 4-cylinder with 211k miles for $2500. I'm pretty happy with it so far. 2500 was what I had budgeted, and despite the high miles I think I got the most I could for my money. I actually found it on, not craigslist surprisingly, it was at beaverton Honda. It was definitely the only vehicle there under 5k and probably only 1 only a handful under 8k. They were asking $3k, which is really quite reasonable for a '94, except for the high miles.

We made a total of five separate trips to their lot.

So Ginny and I mosey over there the first time at about 11:00AM, give it the once over with the salesman, drive it around, and come back and sit down in the dealership. As we are walking away from the truck I mention that I have 23 benjamin's in my pocket that I would like to pay for the truck. The salesman doesnt acknowledge my comment, and this doesn't come up again for a while. He gets our phone number and address, he asks for my social security number and I tell him he doesnt need it. Then the dude disappears for about 15 minutes. Ginny is kinda anxious, she just wants me to buy a rig so we can be done with this.

Then Darryl calls me. He had just bought his plane ticket to come to the wedding, we get to talking about whatever and just as he is explaining to me that he's going back to school, the salesman finally comes back over. But I'm a little bent out of shape that he had me waiting, so I ignore him and I guess he walks away. Darryl is talking to me about how he's going to med school, and that is just blowing my mind. I let him know that I'm kinda in the middle of trying to buy a car waiting for some folks to come back, and then he just goes off on them for making me wait. See, good ole Darryl hasn't led me wrong yet, especially on buying something, or more accurately, waiting.

So I get off the phone after only about a 8 minute conversation, and my sales dude is nowhere to be found again. what the crap. We wait another 5 minutes or so and then I tell Ginny that we're leaving. She isn't convinced that is a good strategy, but darryl and my spider sense were telling me that it's time to go. And amazingly, we successfully walk out without anyone saying a word to us. But they were watching, oh yes, the eye of Sauron is always watching.

Ginny and I hadn't had breakfast, and it's about 1230 so we go to her mom's favorite vietnamese place for lunch. My phone rings in transit, I figure it must be the salesman so I don't answer. Ginny thinks this is ridiculously rude, so before we go in to eat I call him back and say that we'll be back in like a half an hour. I particularly enjoyed that I did have a legitimate excuse, we were hungry, so I can be friendly and not act like I'm playing hardball.

During lunch I realize that 2300 is too low, so we hit the ATM for another 200 before we head back. We there and I really don't want to sit down. They want you to sit down. But I do anyway. Bastards. The same salesman gets his piece of paper out with the 4 squares on it and he's got $2995 written in one of the squares. I tell him that's great, I like the truck, but it's got a lot of miles and I can pay $2300. He hems and haws blah blah blah I'm not really listening because I know he's not the one that can make these kinds of decisions. I tell him 2300 a few more times and he finally goes and gets his manager. Finally. We're making some progress.

The middle manager dude is much more direct. We can look each other in the eye and I know that there's a chance he's not totally full of crap. He tries to pull out blue book numbers and I tell him that won't really help because he gets different numbers than I do. He tells me the truck only had one owner. Blah blah blah. 2300. At this point we stare deeply and authentically into each others eyes. He tells me that he will sell the truck for 3000 this very weekend. I congratulate him for that achievement, but am firm that I cannot pay 3000, I can pay 2300. We reach an impasse and shake hands to leave. As we are walking towards the door, he asks if 200 would do anything for me. Without looking at him or slowing down my path for the door I say that it will not and that I can pay 2500. Exit stage right. I cannot hard the middle manager worked to overemphasize his every word to make it as nice sounding as possible. It was like talking to someone who is consoling you over your dead cat. I'm so sorry, thank you for coming in today, we REALLY appreciate it.


At this point I've moved on mentally. It took 2.5 hours to get to the point where we could have the 5 minute conversation on whether I could buy this truck or not. Honestly I wasnt sure. I had a list of 7 trucks from the internets, this was definitely the one I liked the best but it seemed like a bit of a reach for the 2300 I wanted to spend, and I was already at 2500 and dude was only down to 28. So whatever. I call the one on the list that was only asking 1000, but there's no answer or voicemail. OK fine. Maybe today is not the day.

Ginny and I head to Sears to register. (thats another topic, this one is already way too long) We're looking at mattresses about 2 hours later when the phone rings. Its the master negotiator middle manager dude from beaverton honda. He says that he hasn't sold any cars since I left and wants to know if I'd buy it for 2500. I say sure, I'll be there in about 40 minutes. (knowing it'll be more like 75) Wow. That was fantastic. I guess that's where you have all your bargaining power, when you're lying on a mattress inside Sears. Ginny and I laughed pretty hard. We still took our time and finished up our scanning. I am so done with waiting on these people. I went with Anthony and Keith when they bought their Honda's, and the Man sure made us wait a lot. I will make him wait for me. And if somebody else swoops in and buys my truck, good for them.

Amazingly, when we get back, neither of the two people that have been helping us are around. Are they for real? I mean I don't think they were just making up stuff this time around but still, they could have found someone. We left again. I will not let them make me wait, that is one of the main sources of their power. Just as we are walking in the door to Target, they call me back. This time I turn around immediately and head back and we are able to get r dun. woot. 2500 plus the bs 105 dmv fee that I just dont have the energy to fight over at this point despite carrying cash. 50 electronic filing fee my foot, 55 is legitimate but the rest is bologna.

So in six weeks I'll have the title, and hopefully it will end up being a good rig. (the 5th trip for those counting was because they forgot to take out their key box) But cash is definitely the way to go. Don't let those people make you wait. Props to Darryl for getting me fired up, and to Ginny for coming along for all the drama and keeping me bold.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life is pretty good.

Hey yeah, it's alright around here. God is good. I finally feel kinda competent at my job, I'm still learning, but my confidence has improved a lot. I've tried to pray before site visits that they would go well and surprise surprise, its been OK.

Ginny and I are doing well. When she needs or feels something she is able to directly communicate it to me, and I am oh so grateful for that. With Jen's help the wedding invitations are coming together. Many logistical/manpower questions were solved by the simple decision to make the reception a potluck; meat and beverages are provided, folks are invited to bring a side or a dessert. The Facebook seems to be working OK as a savethedate/RSVP system, hopefully the wall will fill up with potential sides and desserts.

We have scheduled our initial meeting with our premarital counselor. I'm very glad to get that rolling, I think it's one of the more important planning activities.

We're thinking fairly seriously about buying a house. Prices and interest rates are low, and BO wants to lend me money without interest. We will hopefully be getting pre-qualified for a loan here soon, we haven't started that part of the process. I do have three ML#'s to share: 8110121, 8107310, and 9007936, if you would like to look. All are bank owned. All have their own plusses and minuses, but I think its a good cross section and something in that range should work. Ultimately it is up to the Lord, I'm not totally convinced it is the right thing to do for us but the iron does seem like it is hot.

I joined a gym. It costs too much, I did it when I still wasn't thinking that a house might be attainable, but it has been great. Amazing how consistently sore I am from only 2 hours a week. The Crossfit program is a great concept. At the end of my four month membership I will know how to safely do all kinds of free weight and gymnastics exercises. I feel really great.

Also feel great because I have changed my diet quite a bit. Not completely eliminating, but drastically reducing carbs, sugar and dairy. Especially the more processed variety. For the longest time I pled blissful ignorance with what I put in my body, but I think Jake finally wore me down and a switch got flipped. For instance, tonight my dinner was some ground beef, onion, bell peppers and mushrooms cooked up and then spinach "wilted" in. Fantastic. I just feel way better eating more fruits, veggies and simple homemade foods than a bunch of garbage with long confusing ingredient lists that nobody knows the origin of much of it. Rice and beans don't fit the Paleo specs but they sure fit my budget.

Jake said that one of the keys was that I just have to get over needing my food to taste good. I completely disagreed at the time but that sentence has stuck with me and I think its often true. Perhaps not in all situations, but if you wanted to make an arguement about wealth, priviledge and social justice I think lowering food standards (in an appropriate way) fits in well with that.

The main problem is I'm not getting enough sleep. I struggle to get 6 hours a night. And I am very blessed that that feels like my main problem. I hear folks talk about their TV shows or movies that they watch and I struggle to react in a socially nonawkward way, because I just don't understand where anyone finds the time for that stuff. I don't know where my time goes, but its not to sleep or TV.

And we finally sang a spanish song at Ethnos! That has been a long time coming for me. When I first came I had no problem articulating all the reasons why that could be awesome (and I think I even did to Paul once) but I've almost forgotten much of it now. But it was such a joy for me. Because I haven't had hope for that for a while when I try to talk about it with folks I fear that I am coming across as condenscending to anyone who does not understand, but I think that's just my excitement getting ahead of my brain. Essentially seeing Jesus when I went to Bolivia and striving for multi-ethnicity with Intervarsity were central turning points in my spiritual journey and maturity. And I don't know how to explain that casually without having a really really long conversation. And I can't do that now, I have to sleep. :) But I'll close with the words (roughly):

Si tuviera fe como un grano de mostaza
Esto lo dice el Senor (2x)

Tu le dirias a la Montana
Mueve te, mueve te (2x)

A la Montana, se movera, se movera, se movera x(4x)

If you had the faith of a grain a mustard says the Lord
You can say to this mountain: move, move
And it will move move.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I'd really like to blog more. Really. But the time slots just aren't there. I take too long to develop my thoughts out, and even then they come out fairly convoluted. Just know, internets, that I have been thinking about you, and your time will come again. Sometime.