Bingo Night

I snapped this picture during a break at the Grand Oaks Palace Bingo Center in Citrus Heights. People take this stuff seriously. Several people have their little good luck items surrounding them. One lady at the end of my table as already won 2 games for a total of $500!

I already told the Lord I would tithe on my winnings, but so far, it just hasn’t happened. It’s 10:25 PM now, and the late night session will begin soon and go until 1 AM.

There’s still time!

Rocklin Redeeming Quality #5

When relocating to a new area, there are a million things you need to consider in taking care of the necessities of life. For some families, schools are important, churches, jobs, getting your PG&E set up, cable/phone/internet. Those are some of the bigger things. But then you come down to the “little” things which are also important.

I’ve gone to the same woman to get my hair cut for about 7 or 8 years. Finding someone who I could trust with my ever thinning and graying hair is actually important to me. It’s not that I’m vain or anything. It’s just that we’ve probably all had a bad haircut somewhere along the line and they don’t fix themselves very quickly.

So with this unfortunate fellow’s mishap in mind, I asked around for a place where I could get my hair cut without spending a disproportionate amount of money for the work involved with cutting what’s left of my hair. A place I had never heard of was recommended to me called SportsClips. They cater to men by using a sports theme as their hook. Hey, I like sports as much as the average guy, but this place almost sounded a bit over-the-top with the gimmick. Lots of sports paraphernalia, an all female staff with referee shirts, small TVs embedded into each station with ESPN or some other sports programming on all day. But what really hooked me were the other services they offer.

Yes, I realize that can sound bad when in the context of an all female staff serving an exclusively male clientele, but stick with me.

For $17, you can get in and get out with a nice haircut. They call this the “Varsity” haircut. For kids, they call them the JV haircut. The next step up is the “Triple Play”, which includes a steamed towel for your face after you’re done as well as a “massaging” shampoo. And for all the gusto, you can get the “MVP” which includes all the aforementioned services, but also includes leave-in conditioner and a neck and shoulder massage.

Now how much would you pay?

Before you get too excited, the neck and shoulder massage is done by one of those vibrating suction cup dealies. They put a little smock over your shoulders and run the massager around your neck and back. Hey, it felt good. What did you expect for a grand total of $23? The face towel, just like you see here, also includes a gentle facial massage. You know, I had never had one, and I’m sure this wouldn’t rival any special spa treatments people get, but dang, it really did feel good and refreshing.

Evidently, there is a SportsClips in Morgan Hill, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have driven all the way down there from San Jose for what they offer, cool as it is. But here in Rocklin, it’s just a few miles away from where I live, and definitely worth it. They only take walk-ins, so you don’t even have to plan ahead to go there.

Sounds like a man thing, doesn’t it?

Blog Therapy

Well, my first rehearsal at Sunset Christian Center is now behind me. I am not really happy with how I did, but if I am fair to myself, I’ll give myself a little bit of a break in that I really didn’t know this song, and I’ve only had the music and recording of it since late Monday afternoon. However, I feel the pressure to really nail it. This was the first time most of the people there have heard me sing, and they must be wondering if this new guy can bring it.

While I struggled with it a little, everyone was very gracious. It’s a tough song in the best circumstances, and considering that there are a whole lot of peripheral issues going on, the encouragement from the folks really was nice.

I have to get used to rehearsal being on Wednesday nights. At Bethel, rehearsals are on Thursdays, so you get a little more time to get things ready for rehearsal, and less time to think about it before Sunday. With it being on Wednesdays here, I had less time to prepare for rehearsal, and a TON of time to think (and rehearse it on my own) before sound check Sunday morning at 9:15.

I still feel pressure to nail the song. Not from anyone else. It’s all self-inflicted. You’ve heard the saying “you have only one shot at a first impression”. Well, Sunday is that one shot for me at SCC. The music pastor is sticking his neck out letting me get involved so early in my tenure there, so I feel I need to do a respectable job for him. But ultimately, it’s not about me, or him, but being prepared musically and spiritually to deliver the message of the song in an effective way. It’s a great song with a powerful message of God’s renewal and restoration.

His mercies are new every morning, so I’ve got 4 new mornings ahead of me before I do the song.

Ok, I’ve gotten that off my chest. Now hopefully I’ll be able to sleep now.

Wow, That Was Fast

Well, it looks like I’ll being singing my first solo this Sunday since moving from San Jose. I didn’t expect things to move along quite so quickly, but at the same time, I’ve tried to allow myself to be open to whatever God has in store for me, and whenever that might be. So I got a call Monday afternoon asking if I’d be able to learn a song for this Sunday.

The song, fittingly enough for my personal story, is All Things New by Steven Curtis Chapman. It seems that the church I’m attending is also going through a bit of a transition, and they seem eager to enter into a new season. So it appears the Lord is taking this new guy and planting him in a place which seems to be open to, well, new things.

Some things just can’t be planned this well.

I’m doing my best not to read into anything, but just take things as they come for what they are. I am not expecting that my arrival here will serve any huge purpose. But if the timing of my arrival serves as another stone in the path this church is taking to get to a new level, I’m happy to be part of it. If my situation can be seen as an encouragement for people who are ready to do whatever it takes to grow in their personal relationships and to reach a community, then I’m eager to do what I can.

In the meantime, I’ve got the song on permanent loop on my iPod just drilling the tune into my head. Tonight is rehearsal night, and the only time I’ll get to work on it before sound check Sunday morning. I’m the new guy, and they seem to have high expectations.

No pressure.

In the words of my very good friend Melinda Smith, “here we go!”

Weekend Update

With apologies to Saturday Night Live, I thought I’d simply call this post Weekend Update because, well, that’s what this is!

Friday evening I went to dinner at Ruby Tuesday. I had only seen tv commercials on this place and was intrigued, and lo and behold, there is one just 5 miles or so from where I live! I ordered the “triple prime” hamburger expecting delicious beefy goodness. I was surprised by the relatively high brow decor and design of the restaurant, being that they have a salad bar and their primary dinner plate is a hamburger. When my dinner arrived, I was rather shocked and disappointed at the rather diminutive portions, considering it was about $11 for a burger and fries. However, once I took my first bite, I was hooked. It was likely the best tasting hamburger I’ve ever had. Not the biggest, not a lot of frills, just a very good hamburger.

After dinner, I returned home in time to watch the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. I was completely blown away. Having been to China back in 1996, I was especially intrigued by how the Chinese would present themselves in this show. Yes, it’s a Communist country. We all remember the images of unrest in Tiananmen Square back in 1989. These things can not, and should not be forgotten. However, the Olympics are supposed to transcend these things, and I believe they should. So with that in mind, I could really enjoy the spectacle with an open mind. And what an amazing show it was. And frankly, I wasn’t surprised. When I was in China, I could see even then, without the eyes of the world trained upon them as closely, the Chinese government does everything it can to show the world how beautiful it is and how happy the people are. I remember large, brightly colored banners, such as those in this picture I took in Shenzhen, strung along the roofline of buildings which, despite the fact that I couldn’t understand what was written on them, they were clearly messages of propaganda. However, if you looked between and beyond these banners, you could see the facing of the delapidated building they were designed to shield. The Chinese government is quite adept at utilizing the “oooh, shiny” factor to mesmerize the world and try to distract from the oppressive nature of their leadership.

Saturday was a pretty uneventful day, which was just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday was a really nice day. I went to church at Sunset Christian Center in Rocklin. The service was very nice, and as a special treat, The Katinas were on hand to lead in worship. They will return to SCC about every 6 weeks for the next year for the purpose of worship leading, so that should be interesting. After church, I had lunch with the Bethke family. Dennis and his wife were in town visiting their sons Kyle and Todd and their families. We had a great time, and it’s always special to see some familiar faces in my new home town.

Last Comic Yawning

With my new cable system, the HD selection is quite limited, so there’s not much to watch tonight. I have always heard from people how funny the show Last Comic Standing is, so I thought I’d flip it on tonight. Apparently it’s the finale, which one would think would be pretty funny.

Yeah, no.

Jon Lovitz was just on, and I thought he was terrible. I loved him in the movie League of Their Own and some other acting performances, but as a stand up comic…yawwwwnnn.

Thankfully I have a DVR and I can watch an episode of Arrested Development which I recorded from earlier today.

Great Lunch Date

Don’t let the headline fool you. No, it wasn’t that kind of “date”. I had lunch today with the new Creative Arts pastor at the church I visited on Sunday. The church is home to many people I have known over the years in San Jose, or have some other connection to them, either directly or indirectly.

I have been acquainted with this music pastor for over 20 years, though the nature of our “relationship” was somewhat fleeting. I can go into greater detail about that in the future. Suffice it to say that it’s a small world, and it’s funny how paths begin in one place and come together again in a more substantial way years, even decades later.

I have to say that our meeting excited me. He is just as new to Rocklin as I am. Well, he beat me here by about 36 hours if you’re keeping score at home. So we’re a couple of fresh faces in the fabric of this church. I had a strong feeling before I arrived in town that this would be the logical church for me to attend, but you know, you want to keep your options open. God sometimes has a way of taking us down different paths than what we thought. After Sunday, I felt a bit more comfortable in that idea, and after today, even more so.

We’ll see how it all plays out, but it feels good.

New Poll

Now that my latest move is now behind me, the mere thought of ever doing it again makes me want to, as George Carlin once said, have an involuntary personal protein spill.

With that being said, I figure that this will not be the last place I live. So it got me wondering about you. Yes you, my faithful Crossing Paths reader. So I created a new poll found at the top of the page in the right hand column. Some of you have lived in the same place for a long time and have great memories where you are. Maybe you’re not that sentimental. Maybe there is a dream destination which may be closer to reality now than a mere dream. Maybe you want to upgrade from your current digs, or downsize.

I’m just curious how you all feel.