Thursday, November 20, 2014

Just 15 Minutes a Day

No, the title isn't a reference to the annoying but memorable Geico slogan.  That's "15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance."  But in some ways I guess you could call this insurance.

When Amanda and I lived in Sacramento, our church home was Horizon Community Church.  One of the activities that I participated in there was a 6:30am Friday morning men's group.  It may sound a bit odd, but the pastor there, Brad Swope, had a few rules for attending this group.  Mostly they centered around being considerate for one another (trying to attend consistently, not being late, being honest in conversations, etc.).  The one that stuck with me to this day though was that we all had to commit to spending 15 minutes a day with God.  The time usage could take any number of forms, including quiet time, prayer, reading the Bible, etc.

It's a simple concept really - even with everyone's busy schedules, 15 minutes seemed feasible.  As important as God is, especially to men who are committed to getting up hella early for spiritual growth, it shouldn't be too hard to set aside just 1/4 hour for Him.  Not surprisingly though, it always ends up being much more challenging than it sounds, especially with all of the responsibilities and distractions that adulthood, home ownership, and parenthood require.

At the beginning of each men's group, we would hold each other accountable to this commitment, and discuss how we did for the previous week with regards to it.  Very rarely did any one of us accomplish spending this time every single day, but I did find that whatever time was spent was certainly worth the effort.

If you truly believe that there is a God of the universe, and you also believe that we can communicate with Him (through prayer, meditation, reading the Bible, etc.), then doesn't it seem worth sacrificing such a small amount of time to dedicate to Him?  So for all you Christians out there, what do you think of this idea?  After all, the 15 minutes you spend with God will save you a helluva lot more than just insurance premiums.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dream on 11/18/2014

I was in a public place of some sort, with a female (sister, friend, unknown, but not romantic), both of us were sitting in white reclining plastic chairs.  There was also a small plastic table between us.  She warned me that "You should get your gun."  I was stunned by her statement and looked at her, confused.  Then she repeated it, but more urgently.  I replied that “my guns are at home”.

Just then three people walked up, wearing white outfits with red trim.  One woman and two men.  They were similar in size/gender to the three villains in Superman 2, but had otherwise drastically different appearances.  They were pointing odd looking guns at me, with multiple vertical slots at the end of the barrel, instead of a single hole.  I was thinking they were going to provide an electrical shock of some sort, like a tazer but possibly more powerful.  That was just a guess though.

I was closest to and facing the middle sized male, who seemed to be the leader.  He was wearing eye glasses (not shaded).  I was trying to decide whether to lunge to the side and rush in on him (hopefully avoiding the direction of the barrel and/or getting to him before he has the chance to pull the trigger), or what else I could do. 

I woke up at 5:20am, realizing that I need to do a much better job of preparing myself for the unlikely event of a threatening situation/attack.  In hindsight I could have grabbed the table and used it as a shield while rushing in.  I could have looked around me and maybe grabbed something to throw at him, striking first.  I should have also positioned myself better in relation to all three attackers, such that I would only have to directly confront the one main attacker first (instead of having all three aimed at me).  And finally, I should have reacted better/faster when she told me to get my gun and when I realized I was under attack (I was stunned/surprised like a deer in headlights).

I know, it was just a dream.  I don't believe that dreams are always foreshadowing, or even that they are supposed to necessarily mean anything significant (although I do think that both options are possible).  I also know that the likelihood of me ever getting attacked in the real world is slim to none, let alone with a scenario similar to this dream.  However, having experienced in my mind the emotions and thoughts associated with this type of event, it seems foolish to not at least be better prepared for something similar, even if it does only happen in my dreams again.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Joys of the Gym

One of the many things I enjoy about working for GE is the benefit of their nearby gym.  At $15/month, the facility and equipment aren't anywhere near as impressive as Gold's or LA Fitness, but they have all the equipment I need, they're rarely crowded in the mornings (I try to get there around 6:30am), and the building is less than a mile from my desk.

Like any gym, there is a wide variety of people you’ll see there, but lately I've been finding myself observing the oddities of humanity more than usual.  This provide a mixture of amusement, amazement, annoyance, and sometimes disgust.  Some examples of the things I've seen recently are:
  • I typically go to the same locker area, mostly out of habit.  But if my usual area of the locker room happens to be crowded, or even if there are just one or two guys in the vicinity, I’ll shift to a different one.  Most of the lockers are empty in the morning anyway, so there are hundreds of options to choose from.  Similar to the shower though, it still surprises me when a man walks in a virtually empty and spacious locker room, then just has to go to his usual locker, which is right next to or just across from mine.
  • My work out partner actually found toe nail clippings on the floor in front of the lockers.  What kind of man would think that this is acceptable behavior?  If I were to see someone in the act of doing this, I would have a really hard time not saying something to him.
  • Sure, aftershaves and/or body sprays often provide decent aromas, but when the entire locker room is gagging from the overpowering stench, how can you not tell that you've used too much?  I mean, how can someone’s sense of smell be that bad, that they would need to use an entire bottle in order to tell that it’s enough for one day?  I feel bad for anyone who is working next to him, or even in the same building.
After using the gym in the morning, I always take a shower before heading to work.  That’s provided some interesting fodder as well, including:
  • There are 18 separate enclosed shower stalls (w/a curtain as the door).  Since a lot fewer people go to the gym in the morning than any other time of day, there aren't too many stalls being occupied when I shower (2-3 at a time maybe).  Why then, when I’m taking a shower, must a man pick the stall directly next to mine?  This may sound a little extreme, but it kinda grosses me out to know that some guy’s shower water could be running down his naked body then splashing on me from under the gap at the bottom of the partition.  If enough shower stalls are available, then can’t you just leave a gap between us?
  • I have seasonal allergies (for a week or two each in the fall and spring), so I know how it can be when your nose and/or lungs are struggling with the blockage that sometimes accompanies these times of year.  I also know how working out can help clear some of this blockage (force the cardiovascular system to expand and open up).  But do you have to spit your cleared blockages on the shower floor?
  • My co-worker/workout partner Chris noticed some of the shower stalls have boogers smeared on the walls.
  • I once found a used band-aid in the shower’s soap dish.  Luckily I didn't see any blood or puss on it, but even still…
  • There is an odd looking man with very fair skin and gray hair.  He’s tall and slightly overweight, (but not obese).  He has a nasally voice and does not look like he has a single hair on his face or his entire body.  How do I know this?  Because he often stands in the locker room air drying for an extended period of time.  Sometimes he shakes his hips with his towel waving in the air behind him, like he’s trying to dry his backside.  But he’s not really trying to dry off – it’s just a sickening show.  I thought to myself “am I being too judgmental?”  But I asked my workout partner about it, and he laughed and exclaimed “Yeah, of course I noticed, and I hate that!”

    A few weeks ago when I got out of the shower he was doing his usual thing in the locker room aisle, but this time he was standing on one foot and had the other one propped up on the front of a standing fan, so that the fan can blow on his little pink, bald junk.  I couldn't take it anymore and said “Come on!  Really?!”  He looked over at me.  “Do you really have to prop your foot up and dry your balls off in front of everyone?”  He stepped down and responded guiltily “I’m um, drying my toes.  Have you ever had athletes foot?”  “Yeah, I have.”  I replied, calling his bluff.

    I didn't see him in the locker room for a number of weeks after that.  I wasn't trying to be a bully, but blatantly airing your manhood for way more time than necessary is just gross and inconsiderate of everyone else around you.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Satisfaction of a Hard Day's Work, Especially When it's Helping Others

I helped out with Habitat for Humanity today, in association with GE.  My co-worker Chris started organizing the event, but then he got overwhelmed with work and also went on vacation.  So I ended up picking up where he left off and doing a large portion of the planning, organizing, and communicating for it.

When the day of volunteering was done, my forearms and hands were (and still are) pretty sore.  It was enjoyable and satisfying work though.  I really like assembling things and putting together projects.  There's just something innately gratifying and therapeutic to being outdoors (though under a roof) and using your hands, especially when (in this case) there were people there to help us if/when our own knowledge and experience was lacking.  Although, I can see how that might not be the case if it was a full time job.

In addition to enjoying the manual labor, I learned some new things about home building and improvement.  I am now more familiar with hanging door frames and closet doors, and also got to work on the bathroom floor (putting down water-proof floor panels in preparation for the ceramic tile).  As a bonus, the lady who is going to be living in the house (with her kids) stopped by to say hi.  So we got to meet the person who's going to be benefiting from our efforts.

The four hours of manual labor really boosted my appetite too.  I was hungrier than usual, and since I brought the lunch to the site (paid for by GE) I got to take home the majority of the leftovers (after asking around and giving some of it away to whoever wanted it).  So I not only got a free lunch, but I got dinner out of it too.

I'm scheduled to help again next Wednesday, and I gotta admit that I'm somewhat looking forward to it.  I'm also curious to see if the conditions (weather, assigned tasks) and end results will be as positive as today's were.
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