Saturday, December 08, 2018

Re-configuring my phone

I was directed to this great article "How to Configure Your iPhone to Work For You, Not Against You" by Tim Ferriss. So, this is what I changed the front of my phone to look like.

I didn't follow all the advice in the article, but I moved a ton of apps to other pages, and buried my social media and whatnot in second-tier spots. In just one day I think it has helped keep me from looking at my phone so much.

These are the things I need the most: texts, my work time clock, email, calendar, clock (alarm), phone, and camera. The things I used to spend a lot of time looking at - and getting distracted by - were Facebook, Instagram, my blog, and the Fighting Illini forum. It's now more difficult to get to them, so I tend to not go there as often. Which I like.

So, that happened. I may tinker some more, and re-read the above article again too. Until then, if you get ahold of my phone, this is what it will look like.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Christmas ideas

Okay... everyone take note... here is my Christmas wish list. I don't believe I've ever done one of these (as an adult anyway). It's pretty simple. There are three things I can think of...
  1. This mountaineer beard care kit:  
  2. This pair of gloves:
  3. A bottle of whiskey... either
 And that's about it, folks. Of course, 'nothing' is always most acceptable too. But if you feel you need to buy something... one of these three things, or a bag of chocolate covered cashews is about all I'm interested in. Unless, of course, you have another picture for the Jesus Wall... :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Oil change at wally-world

I've been driving around for maybe two weeks with the "Oil Change Needed" light on in the 2011 Ford Escape. For one thing, I don't recall that ever coming on before (which doesn't mean it hasn't), but I don't know why it was so difficult for me to finally just get it changed! It's like I can't do anything anymore...

Anyway, so this morning I finally got up the nerve to call the nearest Walmart AutoCenter to schedule an appointment. Well, guess what? They don't schedule appointments... it's simply first come, first served. Eesh... I wasted all that stress for nothing (I actually looked up their number and put it in my phone last week). So I hem-hawed around and finally mustered the gumption to drive over there this afternoon. I walked in, waited for a bit to be waited on, and was told it would be TWO HOURS before it was done! Well, at this point I didn't figure I better back out, so I just said "okay."

I walked around the Southtown Walmart for an hour and a half... Yeah. I think I looked at every thing on every shelf in the automotive, toys, shoes, men's clothing, crafts, and I was just venturing into the hardware section when I thought maybe I would just go check on it. It seemed kind of like I might have heard them call my name over the speaker at about the hour point, but I didn't think that possible, plus I never even gave them my name. Turns out it must have been me because the car was all finished. It was $30 and change.

If you remember, we used to always take our cars to a family shop owned by some people in our former church. They were super nice people. Well, they retired and their son is now running the business. He is really nice too, but he's much more of a businessman than they were. In other words, things cost more, and I'm not sure the quality of work is quite the same. I didn't really like how we were treated when our old Buick died, and Drew Carrie just had some questionable things happen that aren't sitting too well with me at the moment. So I decided to try the Walmarts.

Other than that, I've nothing to report. The guy I talked to at the AutoCenter was very nice. I asked him if they were busy like this all the time and he said, "Seven days a week!" He said some nights he's so tired when he gets done that he takes an Uber home because he doesn't even want to have to drive. I find that quite interesting that they are that busy...

Well, that's about all there is to say about that. I was quite proud of myself, though, because I walked around Walmart for 1 1/2 hours... and didn't buy a single thing!!!! :)

Monday, December 03, 2018

2018 concerts/shows

As I tossed another concert ticket in the garbage is occurred to me... you know, I wish I had kept some of these so I could recall all the shows I've attended over the years. Anyone who knows me knows I can't remember squat. So I thought I could at least make a list here of the concerts/shows we've attended this year.

I thought the U2 concert at the football stadium in Indianapolis was this year, but it was actually in September of 2017. Fortunately I discovered I can go to the 'events' page in Facebook and it has record of all the ones I marked as "interested" or "going." So at least from that list, here are the concerts I attended in 2018:
  • 1/14 - Jake Allen (C2G)
  • 2/3 - Tinsley Ellis (C2G)
  • 2/23 - Anthony Gomes (C2G)
  • 5/9 - Heaven's Gateway Drugs w/The Meat Flowers (our first show at The Clyde)
  • 5/23 - The Marcus King Band (C2G)
  • 6/27 - The Wailers w/Phil Schurger's Sungate (The Clyde)
  • 7/26 - Blues Traveler (The Clyde)
  • 8/30 - Super Diamond (Neil Diamond tribute band) (The Clyde)
  • 9/14 - Middle Waves Festival (Headwaters Park)
  • 10/26 - Martin Barre band (C2G)
  • 10/31 - Gov't Mule (The Clyde)
  • 11/10 - Pink Droyd (C2G)
  • 11/15 - The Accidentals (C2G)
  • 11/30 - Here Come the Mummies w/Sun Stereo (The Clyde)

Just typing through those I realized there were some other bands/performers we saw that I've forgotten. Most were likely locals - at Rock The Plaza and other places in town - though it seems I'm forgetting some more regional types too. Of course that also doesn't include the number of times we saw the sol's band Swimming Into View. Anyway, I guess this is better than nothing.

I should also probably note that we don't/didn't pay to see all these either. We work at C2G so we don't pay for any of those shows, and we randomly get free tickets to other places now and then too. That definitely helps.

There was a time I wished someone would offer me free tickets to shows with the stipulation I'd give them a review and blogpost, but anymore... that sounds like a lot of work. Geez, does that mean I'm getting old? Like the bands we see isn't proof enough.... ;)

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Let us begin: advent

I woke up this morning and, lo and behold, it's December! What brought me to this realization was opening the book I use for my daily devotions. I use the book "Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals" (online link: It follows the Christian calendar, so the last day of November was the end of the book, and the first day of December the beginning. This is because the season of Advent is the beginning of the "Christian year" (for those mindful of such things).

I don't put a lot of stock in such things, but I have found the liturgy to be helpful to me personally. Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and all the periods that fill in the gaps are good reminders for me in living out my faith - which is probably what the whole point of liturgy is.

Anyway, we are now at the beginning of the season of Advent. My devotional for today began with this:
"Everything in our society teaches us to move away from suffering, to move out of neighborhoods where there is high crime, to move away from people who don't look like us. But the gospel calls us to something altogether different. We are to laugh at fear, to lean into suffering, to open oursleves to the stranger. Advent is the season when we remember how Jesus put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. God getting born in a barn reminds us that God shows up in the most forsaken corners of the earth."
As the authors write later, "Advent, meaning 'the coming' is a time when we wait expectantly. Christians began to celebrate it as a season during the fourth and fifth centuries. Like Mary, we celebrate the coming of the Christ child, what God has already done. And we wait in expectation of the full coming of God's reign on earth and for the return of Christ, what God will yet do. But this waiting is not a passive waiting. It is an active waiting..."


I've been thinking about that this morning... this 'active waiting.' It seems my waiting has been much more passive for a good while now. As has my listening, and pretty much everything about me.

I was immediatly struck by this prayer from the devotion, written by Charles de Foucauld: "Father, I abandon myself into your hands, do with me what you will. For whatever you may do, I thank you. I am ready for all, I accept all, let only your will be done in me, as in all your creatures."

Dang, that's a scary prayer. To me. So I've decided to begin this Advent season with an active confession... Yes, confession. And it's active because I want to expect something will come from it. I am not even in a position to repent as of yet - where I could actually change direction - because that would be beyond my abilities. Confession is where it must begin.

So, I confess, Lord, that I cannot pray the above prayer. Yet. I want to be able to, but I am too passive; too timid; too... afraid. I seem unable to yeild myself into your hands and your will. That's all I know to do right now, and I wait for You to show me how to repent. Amen.


This is where I find myself today. One can't begin if we don't know what we're to begin to do. Perhaps the beginning should be before... in seeking guidance, and confessing our need. At least that's where it is for me... today.