Monday, January 28, 2008

"The Beetle is Back" V - Day Two - The Voyage Home

I get back in the van and I realize that everyone in the van is a bit restless...

I call my travel agent and a few minutes later she has me booked at Hertz, downtown in the lobby of a hotel. I ask the driver if he knows where it is and he does. I just multiplied the amount of money that I was spending to get home and I wasn't going to "relax" until I was in a car.

We arrived downtown at the hotel and circled around looking for a Hertz sign and didn't see one. I just asked the driver to stop at the main hotel entrance and I thought I would just check inside. I felt like I was pushing my luck keeping the driver out this long, but I didn't have much choice.

Sure enough, just inside was a Hertz desk and a lady was sitting there. Still not ready to accept that this was going to be easy I slowly approached the desk. She asked..."are you Bryan?". My heart skipped a beat - our travel agent had called personally and set things up. I was all set. When I confirmed with her that I had a car, I stepped outside and told the boys to unload the van.

10 minutes later we were loaded up in the car, the van was gone and the first thing we did before pulling out on to the street was to pray...

15 minutes later we stopped to have lunch and we all took a deep breath - we were still 3 hours from home, but we were on our way. Oddly enough, we stopped at the same place we stopped on the way up to eat (Hardees). It seems that if you want to eat north of Beckley and south of Parkersburg you only have a few choices. The car has XM Satellite, so Shawn and I listened to "The System" (a techno station) the whole way home and talked the whole way.

We were home by 4PM, the beetle was still in WV, but at least WE were home. The beetle, unfortunately, still had a long road home...

Monday, January 14, 2008

"The Beetle is Back" IV - Day Two - Enterprise Surprise

Sunday night was actually OK, if not just a bit surreal. We had spent the last 5 hours getting from the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere and now we are in a comfortable room - relaxing. It turned out to be a decent evening.

I realized that I couldn't get anymore done on the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving, so I relented and waited until Monday morning...

I got up fairly early and got started. My plan was to arrange for a way to get us home so that my youngest could be back at school the next day and that my oldest could be back to work. It occurred to me that I might get some good advice from the travel agent that works out of our office. I have talked to her a lot over the last few years traveling for my company and she is awesome - she'll have some ideas.

I was right - within about 15 minutes she had a car reserved for me just a few blocks away from the dealership at Enterprise - for a good price too. We had breakfast, showered and dressed and relaxed some more. I wanted to see what the dealership could tell me by noon. If they could fix it before say 3PM, then we'd just stay and drive the car back home. If not, they we're outta there.

By about 11AM it was obvious we would not be driving the car back home that day since they had not even looked at it! So, the boys and I pack up and have the hotel van drive us to the Enterprise car place to get the car so we can go home. Sounds simple, huh?

It's cold and rainy and we get to Enterprise and I have the boys wait in the hotel van with our stuff while I go get the car. There's a line... I wait about 20 minutes and I finally get to talk to someone. I give him my reservation number and everything looks good, I go to pay and he asks me the question that still haunts me.

"Is the a debit card?"

I say, "no, it's a Visa card". He wants to know if I have another card, I tell him that I don't and I ask what the problem is. You see, he hasn't even swiped the card yet! Well, "we don't take debit cards" - I say, "this is not a debit card, it's a Visa card". "Yes, but it's tied to your checking account right?", I say that it's none of his business how my bank and I have arranged to fund this card, you will process it through Visa just like any other Visa card. "But it says 'Check Card' on the front." - yes, it does but what does that have to do with anything. When you authorize the amount you need to rent me this car it will be accepted - and if not then you can tell me that it's not.

He went on to tell me that he couldn't take the card and that if he did he could lose his job. He also tells me that he can't take a card over the phone either or cash. Wow - what a place. I now understand why my company uses Hertz (by the way, THEY use my card all the time).

So, now I have a reservation that I can't pay for even though I have plenty of money for it. I hotel van waiting outside in the rain with my two boys and all of our stuff and I have to get home today. My wife is furious, I'm rattled...

The story continues...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"Hero Advice"

I found this on MSN and it's awesome. It came from Esquire magazine.

Dave Grohl's six rules to a good life. I don't think this is the best advice on earth, but it's unusual to hear stull like this from a guy like him. Some have called him the nicest guy in rock - I've yet to hear anything to make me think different...

1. Dress for the life you want.
It shouldn't be about career and ambitions. It's not rocket science. I manage this organization with no shoes on and a Mr. Bubble T-shirt with chili all over it. There's more to life than work. Your heart has to work to do what we do — to write songs and to jump onstage after you've been on the road for two years. It'll kill you if you don't.

2. Love your family like you love your guitar.
I had a revelation after meeting Neil Young and his family that you can make music forever so long as you have something outside of it to keep you inspired. The time I spend with the band is amazing and so much fun that it makes me want to puke. But the love I get from my family keeps me energized and alive enough to keep up with the music. I'd be [messed up] without one or the other.

3. Moderation in all things.
I'm nearly 40. The last thing I want to do is wake up with a raging hangover and have to listen to Elmo songs with my daughter. I might be able to drink longer now; I just don't drink as often. If I get a night out with some friends and J├Ągermeister, it's going to be a long night, and somebody's going home with cracked ribs.

4. An audience is an audience.
To me, music was an escape from working in a furniture warehouse. It still feels like that. And at the end of the day, does it matter how many people are standing in front of you when you play a song? You're still going to play music. I'd be just as happy as I am now if I was at the [shack] down the street playing Creedence covers for six people.

5. Try to be in two incredibly successful bands. If not, that's okay.
When I think of Nirvana, I think of Krist, Kurt, and me. I think about us driving through Canadian snowstorms in a van leaking fuel. We reek like guys working in a gas station. I think about us selling equipment for food. I don't think about number-one records. I think of it like any other band I've been in, although that was the one that touched the most people. But I don't wear it like a badge. For starters, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. And beyond that, it starts sitting like a chip on your shoulder. I was in a huge band at one point of my life and I can't believe that happened to me, but I'm not looking back.

6. Man up.
Anybody who has to focus on being real has a problem. It's like having a panic attack over how you're prone to panic attacks. Be a guy. Play music.

I think that last line could be my new motto -

"Be a guy. Play music."

Nice work Dave...thanks for the advice.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Beginnings and Endings...

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."

That's a quote from a line in "The Matrix Revolutions", and it's true - but not about God.

Revelation 22:13 tells us "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." I don't think its interesting or coincidental that this verse is in the last chapter of God's word. In this same chapter he tells us he is "coming soon" - he uses this time (through John) to reassure us that he has been wherever we are going and not to worry about His return because whenever it is he's already been there.

God has no ending because He had no beginning He has always been and He will always be. Any beginnings He refers to in His word is in relation to our beginning - not His.

There is no ending for God, because there was no beginning.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Little white sin...

We've all done it. How many times have you said something that wasn't quite true, but not so false as to be a REAL lie? I mean, is it really necessary to tell that lady that you think her new dress makes her look like a walking optical illusion? Maybe not...maybe so - either way we still know down in our heart that an "un-truth" is a lie. However, I'm not convinced that telling the nice lady that her dress looks nice to make her feel good is bad - it's not going to hurt anyone...

But is there something that we Christians do that we twist around in our minds and hearts until we believe that it's OK that has the power to hurt ourselves and others? I'm sure that there are plenty of things, but let's talk about one that gets very little "press".

No "self respecting", "Church going" Christian honestly believes that stealing is OK, or that it's good thing to just stop going to Church or that swearing a lot is no big deal.

However, what about...gossip?

"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
James 3:3-6

James tells us that our words have the ability to corrupt. What gets me is how often we as Christians use our words as a weapon. Not in a frontal assault - no street corner preaching or face to face rebuking - but a sneak attack. A little white sin...

We claim to love each other, we do great deeds and give and give and give of ourselves in the name of THE LORD, but in the same breath we talk about others behind their backs. It almost makes sense - we are "lovers, not fighters" so why should we confront our brother (or sister) with something worth saying to someone else? No, it's just easier to talk about it with others - maybe they'll get the message through osmosis... It's just so much easier to talk about them to others than to get involved.

I think I'll go brush my teeth now...
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18