I’ve enjoyed Mike’s and Stick’s posts so much I had to do my own. Forgive the “Me-Too-Ness” of this post. The length, also, will require forgiveness.
1. There are only a few times in my life where I feel like I have applied myself fully to a project, and the results always surpass my expectations.
2. This is perhaps my favorite corner in the world. I have spent more fun times here with family and friends than in any other public space.
3. Often I get genuinely frustrated that no one really sat me down and told me how difficult it is to raise children.
4. Other times I am glad that no one really sat me down and told me how difficult it is to raise children.
5. Both of my grandfathers flew B-24 Liberator bombers during World War 2. One instructed cadets in Nebraska, and one flew combat missions overseas, including the famous raids on Ploiesti. He was shot down in 1944, and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp. I only heard the story one time, and I remember this most of all: he said that he didn’t fear the Nazis, who regarded American officers as misguided peers, but the he feared the fellow Russian prisoners, who he recalled as reckless and indifferent to human life.
6. Only one of my grandfathers liked to talk about World War 2.
7. I grew up on CCM music. I did not purchase a secular CD until my Sophomore year of High School. It was Bonnie Raitt’s Luck of the Draw. I still love that CD, which was also the first CD I ever purchased from the thing that would become what we know as The Tubes.
8. A pure coincidence, my father took piano lessons with Bonnie Raitt when they were both children.. We are SoCal through and through.
9. If my grandparents still owned home that they purchased in the late 1950′s, it would be worth nearly 2.7 million dollars. I’m glad they sold it in 1989 and moved to Thousand Oaks after they retired. I knew them well. I believe our family still own the offshore oil drilling rights for that property. When I was a younger, I used to resent environmentalists who legislated against such things. I no longer resent environmentalists.
10. In order of preference: Beach, urban, mountains, desert.
11. I do not know specifically why, but I strongly dislike California’s Central Valley. I have only enjoyed driving through it one time, returning from Stick’s house, disc-jockeying between the freshly mixed Dailies record and the new John Mayer record that I bought at Starbucks that morning before dawn.
12. Echoing the sentiments expressed by the Stickman, I have never voted for a Democrat, but that might change. I know many lifelong Christians and dyed-in-the-wool Republicans who feel betrayed and disenfranchised by the administration of George W. Bush, myself included.
14. My wife loved me when I was fat. This is one of the most important things she has done for me.
16. I am an extremely competent snow skier, but when I was 14 I broke my left forearm and my right clavicle with one truly spectacular fall.
17. I am acquainted with someone who’s a minor legend in the porn industry, albeit recently retired. His family lived on our street when I was young. Now, they live three doors down from the most prominent Mormon family in town, a fact that pleases me no small amount. Connecting Ron Jeremy with Dr. James Dobson requires only four degrees of separation if you go through me, and only three if you go through my dad.
18. In 1997, I spent Thanksgiving weekend staying with my friends Matt and Liana at our friend Rob’s dorm in Manhattan. Our final night was a long stroll from Greenwich Village to the World Trade Center, where we paid our money, rode to the roof, and made a sweet memory at a place that no longer exists.
19. I do not believe the official story of what happened on September 11th, 2001.
20. The best argument I have ever heard against any conspiracy theory came from a family member who is also an employee of the FBI. He said that the a combination of ego, bureaucracy, and incompetence keep the federal government barely functioning as it is. Someone still needs to explain why building 7 fell down in a neat little pile.
21. There was a double murder on my parent’s street on Memorial Day, 2005. We drove past the scene about 45 seconds after it happened, and neither the police or the paramedics had yet arrived. The shooter hid in the hills overnight and killed a mother of three the next morning before stealing her car and driving to the Wal-Mart in Simi Valley, where he shot himself once the police arrived. I have not once driven past that house without seeing it’s former owner lying in a pool of his own blood on the lawn. Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley consistently vie for #1 and #2 as the safest city in the United States with a population greater than 100,000 people.
22. My wife still never locks her car.
23. I think the first and second seasons of Alias were some of the finest examples of writing in the history of episodic television. I also think seasons three, four, and five were some of the worst. I wish I knew what happened to that writing staff.
24. Perhaps the most interesting, interactive, engaging tour I have ever taken was of the Taylor Guitar factory in El Cajon, CA.
25. Famous People I have met, or encountered in everyday life, in no particular order: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Heather Locklear, Richie Sambora, Mark Hamill, Denise Richards, Will Smith, Geena Davis, Avril Lavigne, Jodie Foster, Jim Caviezel, Don Henley, Will.I.Am, Keith Green, Brandy, Kelsey Grammar, David Hasslehoff, Pat Boone, Norman Lear, Kirk Cameron, That Chick Who Played Small Wonder, That Dude Who Played Newman in The Fugitive, That Guy Who Played The Shrink In The Terminator Movies, Hugh Hefner (See Mike’s list #88).
26. Famous People I have seen via ticketed events: John Mayer, Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Sheryl Crow, Bill Cosby, Sting, Annie Lennox, Stevie Wonder, Nickel Creek, Garrison Keillor, James Taylor, Santana, Alicia Keys, Fantasia, Jaime Foxx, more CCM artists then I care to admit including Carman.
27. I have a friend who claims to have been slapped in the face by the aforementioned Carman. He probably deserved it. Bobby can confirm or deny.
28. Reflecting back on #26, the list of musicians that I have seen live only vaguely reflects the music that I listen to on a regular basis. I find this somewhat sad.
30. Speaking from an aesthetic perspective, as well as the witness of two childbirths, I will say with some assurance that the vagina is the single most wonderful thing God ever created.
31. Speaking as a man who prides himself on not being a racist, I would like to ask every Asian female driver in Los Angeles to please stop trying to kill me.
32. Speaking of stereotypes, here are two that I believe are accurate: 1. Christians have too many hangups about sex. 2. Non-Christians have too few.
33. I cannot believe I am only 1/3rd of the way through this project.
36. I’ve been completely burned out on church life twice in my life. The first was in High School, where my experience echoed Mike’s and Stick’s, and the second is right now. My time at Azusa Pacific University helped me survive the first time, and I am hoping that resigning my job as a worship pastor will do the trick this time.
37. I was elected “Most Likely To Appear on Star Search,” my senior year. I was offended until I found out that my female counterpart was an extremely popular cheerleader.
38. The kids in my youth group were cruel, and punished me for taking a very public stand on sexual purity. My habitual mistrust of Christians is rooted there.
39. Cut and Paste alert! I grew up believing that losing your virginity before marriage was just about the biggest sin any child could commit. In order of severity, it was above assault and battery, just below murder, tied with smoking.
40. I wish cigarettes contained vitamins and promoted good citizenship.
41. I am going to find a new way to talk to my kids about sex. I think I’ll start with the truth. For the record, I think my parents did a pretty good job, but were conspired against by a community whose sexual values are pretty FUBAR. Please refer to #32 and #38.
42. The older I get, the more I dislike chain restaurants. In-N-Out Burger violates this rule.
43. I miss 70mm movies. They sounded bigger, and you had to drive to Westwood or Hollywood to really see them right (please refer to #2). In 1994, after a couple of years of the digital revolution, True Lies was the final major studio film released in this format. It sounded huge.
44. When things go pear shaped, I can be a very aggressive consumer, particularly in restaurants and movie theaters, which often embarrasses friends or family. Sometimes, I think they actually like it, because they get what they ordered and didn’t have to take care of it themselves, and once I’m done, the server always pays proper attention to us.
45. I always feel guilty afterwards, no matter how polite or impolite I was. I feel like I should be grateful that I have the opportunity to see a film or eat a meal without complaining about it. It’s my distaste for the impersonal nature of businesses with off site corporate management that drives me to it. I rarely chew out a waiter at a family run business, because I rarely have to. Their boss makes it his or her business to make sure the customer has hot coffee once in a while.
46. I have an abiding love and talent for deadpan irony and satire, oft to the dismay of my wife, when I engage strangers in public spaces or with our daughte, who is three. Toddlers don’t get irony, it turns out.
47. One of the things that I like the most about myself is that I cannot remember the last time I hurt someone’s feelings on purpose. Literally. I cannot remember the last time I was purposefully cruel, even when dealing with a waiter with an attitude.
48. One of the things that I like the least about myself is that I manage to hurt people’s feelings without meaning to.
49. I think the fact that red meat, cigarettes, potato chips, McRib sandwiches, fast cars, unprotected sex, skydiving, polka music, internet dating, movies starring Freddie Prinze Jr., and alcoholic beverages are legal and marijuana is not to be absolutely absurd.
50. I firmly believe that if abortion rights advocates had full intellectual honesty with themselves that they would fight for the right to terminate children up until the age of about seven.
51. I have a bad habit of throwing provocative statements out in a conversation without making justifications for them. See #19 for another example.
52. Roles I have played on stage, in order of preference: The Major General – The Pirates of Penzance, Nicely-Nicely Johnson – Guys and Dolls, Judge Hathorne – The Crucible, Aslan – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Yes, I know Aslan should have been first, but by heavens it was a terrible production.
53. I have been to Europe one time, in a pre-children, If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium sort of whirlwind tour. English food is truly bad. French people were warm and helpful across the board. Dear Italian men, my wife is not interested in sleeping with you, but your country is lovely. We were strolling in Amsterdam and a man approached us from behind and asked if we were interested in purchasing cocaine. We politely said no, and he said thanks and wished us, and I am quoting here, “A pleasant evening in our fair city,” leading me to observe that that average coke dealer in Amsterdam is more polite than the average waiter in Venice.
54. In order of preference: impressionistic, 20th century, romantic, baroque, classical. Copland’s Appalachian Spring almost reverses the order of the first two. My memory of hearing to Esa-Pekka conduct the L.A. Phil through Ravel’s Bolero keeps them as they are.
55. I think Silverado is the most underrated western of all time.
56. Sometimes I wonder if fundamentalists actually read the Bible.
57. One of my grandmothers was a consummate hostess, a joyous giver, and a lover of children. I only have one memory of my other grandmother doing anything kind for me in my entire life, and it was fixing an authentic crawfish etouffee dinner at her home for our APU small group in the summer of 1997. She recently lived with my parents for three years, and I am certain that one of God’s purposes in that was to help me understand how far my mother has had to journey to become the wonderful human being that she is.
58. Why yes, my distaste for fundamentalism (and the South, for that matter) is rooted in non-objective, totally biased personal experience, thanks for asking.
59. In an effort to make personal growth strides in regard to #51, a brief anecdote: When my sister and I were small, trips to visit family in Baton Rouge included a long speech about, “Yes ma’am, no sir, and speaking when spoken to.” We were poor at it. I was a compliant and tender child, and there was little rebellion in my heart (which is, I believe why my heart is now full of it), and we still got in trouble every single visit. My cousin, who was a southern gentlemen in front of his parents and grandparents, and was regularly used as an example of proper behavior, often told me stories about sneaking beer and smokes from his friend’s parents. I remember, at age eight, thinking that southern culture was total bullshit.
60. I would rather make $1,000,000 from writing a hit song then $10,000,000 from the lottery.
61. I love it when my children fall asleep in my lap, or on my shoulder. I find their breathing soothing, and their limp weight as a sign of total trust in their father.
62. One of my concerns about marrying Erica was the fact that I didn’t find her regularly funny when we were dating, a fact negated by her hotness. She now makes me belly laugh more then any other person I know, remarkable because I’m not a cheap date in this area, and also because we hang with some pretty funny people.
63. My father-in-law is currently the second oldest active Navy Seal in the history of the United States of America. He is also one of the most gentle spirited men I have ever known. Go figure.
64. In order of preference: going to sleep and not waking up, in a plane crash, cancer, drowning, at the hands of violent and unreasonable men. (Link will not cause nightmares, but it should.)
65. Repeat after me: I’m ok, you’re ok. Good! Ok… one more, ready? Chad’s opinion of my musical ability is not a big deal. Don’t you feel better now?
66. I got an 1150 on my SATs. If my memory serves, about 760 points came from the reading comprehension half of the test. Thank heavens musicians only have to be able to count to 3, 4, and 6.
67. Stick holds two friendship-related distinctions in my life: fastest friend (tied with Zack), and the only friend based mostly on time spent on iChat. Sometimes I think that he, Mike, and I were separated at birth.
68. Most of my male friendships started with some pretty heavy-duty rivalry.
69. I have never found a friend’s wife sexually attractive, which is not an indictment of the tastes of my friends, but more a statement about the goodness of God in regards to my own marriage.
70. Remember Matt and Liana from #18? The sweetest summer of my childhood was the summer of 1993. I played the Major General. Matt played the Pirate King. Carrie, my sister, played Ruth. Liana played a female pirate, and was hilarious with absolutely zero spoken dialog. Rob played the police captain. The show killed (who’s ever heard of a teenaged community theater production that sold out every performance?) We met Zack at the end of that summer. Jurassic Park blew our collective minds.
71. I consider my friend Liana to be my “Pre-Erica,” because she loved me as I was. The fact that our friendship never turned romantic (a factoid that frustrated me to no end at the time) means that these two wonderful women can enjoy one another’s company with no baggage. Erica had her as a bridesmaid at our wedding, although I wanted her in a tux in my side. I actually think Erica might have gone for it, but then her friend Ty would have had to wear a dress on her side. That would have been weird.
72. Aly played a similar role in my life, but our friendship began at a time when I was more secure in who I was. She also holds the distinction of being the friend with whom I most often disagree but whose opinions are impossible to write off.
74. Nominees that should have won best picture, in order of moral outrage: Saving Private Ryan, Lost in Translation, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Right Stuff, Witness, Beauty and the Beast, Jerry Maguire, The Insider, Traffic, The Aviator, and I’m sorry, but L.A. Confidential and As Good as it Gets are both superior to Titanic, which is not aging well.
75. The professors at Azusa Pacific University are responsible for my love of Scripture. One time, Dr. Joel Hunt referred to King Josiah as “The Roy Hobbs of Jewish Kings – He was the best there ever was,” and I knew I was home.
76. I believe in both heaven and hell, but I don’t think the decision as to who goes where will be as simple as I have been assured it is.
77. In the fullness of time, I believe that the Book of Revelation will provide an accurate guide to the apocalypse, but literal end times interpretations drive me insane. In the history of our faith, dating back to it’s Jewish roots, we’ve never, ever once (as a collective) correctly interpreted the movements of God, even when He provides us with prophecies. How arrogant it is to think we will this time. Sheesh.
78. In the year 3000, I believe the church will have many of the same problems it has now. (HT: Philip Yancey)
79. I believe that Genesis chapters 1-3 are not a literal telling of our beginnings, but a poetic one. On the other hand, I love asking people who don’t believe in the Bible how it is that Moses accurately managed to correctly record the fossil record. Was he psychic?
80. I have never expressed the ideas contained in #s 76-79 aloud on a church campus for fear of being marginalized as a heretic, or weak in my faith. This fact makes me never want to set foot on a church property again, even to pick up my paycheck. We are searching for the truth, right?
81. Climate Change fervor strikes me as something akin to a religious revival for the secular left, and I think it’s kind of cute.
82. I’m scared to death that the conservative right is as wrong on Climate Change today as it was on Civil Rights in the 60′s.
83. Sometimes, I put honey on Honey Nut Cheerios. Did I mention I lost 80 pounds last year?
84. For all the strong opinions I hold, I cannot think of anyone I know who’s undergone as much significant personal change as I have in the past ten years.
85. Nothing makes me angry faster then someone who tried to talk me out of my own feelings. This statement does not refer to measurable facts, but only my feelings, on which I am the world’s leading expert. Please feel free to tell me how you feel in reaction to them. Please tell me about experiences you’ve had that either echo or contradict how I feel. Whatever you do, don’t try and talk me out of them, because then you’ve told me that you care more about feeling comfortable then knowing who I actually am. I promise to do my best to return the favour.
86. I like it when English people spell words with an extra “U.” It looks cool.
87. I cannot decide which is my favorite quote, or which one applies more to my life: “Do I contradict myself? I am large. I contain multitudes.” Walt Whitman. “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddel, in the film Chariots of Fire.
88. As much as I love the film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s worth noting that it was not included in the list compiled in #74. Chariots of Fire is a hell of a good film.
89. My family has sung together as a mixed quartet since my sister and I were very young. One time during a particularly testy rehearsal, my mother turned to me in frustration and said, “Do you think that you can do this better then your father and I can?” I answered truthfully, and said no. Many years later, when I was acting up during a Male Chorale rehearsal, Rod Cathey looked at me and asked me the same question. I answered the same way. To my mom’s credit, she told me once how much it pleased her when my musical abilities surpassed her own. I’m not holding my breath for a phone call from Rod, and if he asked me again, my answer would still be no. In a totally fair world, I should cut those two a percentage of every paycheck I’ve ever received.
91. When they grow up, I hope my children are better musicians then I am, but I won’t be offended if they choose not to be. One thing I did learn from my folks and my in-laws is to celebrate who we are, and not to punish ourselves for we wish we were.
90. I wish I had a deeper relationship with my sister. I believe this would be easier if she would start drinking coffee. It would also be easier if I had been a better big brother.
92. This is the best song I have written so far. You should download it right now. It’s really, really good, and the reason it’s so good is because I have great friends. Also, if there was any doubt in your mind that my wife is a brilliant singer, this track should also help you deal with that sin in your life.
93. Salespeople who succeed with me are the ones who seem to genuinely believe in their product.
94. My son is a tank, and my daughter is dainty and likes princesses. People who say that gender roles are assigned by society are full of crap, because they emerged from their mother’s womb that way. Boys and girls are different, kids, and ideology doesn’t change biology, like… ever.
95. I think that the church should be ashamed of the manner in which it has historically treated homosexuals. We totally deserve the beating we’re currently taking in the media.
96. I do not believe homosexuals were born that way, and have no choice in the matter. Most of the time, I choose to remain silent about this belief, as I truly believe what I said in #85. Apparently, I am still guilty of #51.
97. My friend Chris is gay, and taught me early in life that gay people are not the enemies of God, no matter what that asshole Fred Phelps says.
98. I wish I had a more sunny topic of discussion to wind this amazing little project down, but as long as it has taken me, I don’t have the heart to cut, paste, and renumber.
99. Zack has introduced me to more music that I love than any other of my friends. Someday, when Mike, Stick, and I run a label, I am gonna make him the head of A&R. (interested, JC?)
100. I’d rather be in a recording studio with my friends then anywhere else in the world, even The Village (see#2).
101. (Pot Bonus) Several times throughout the writing of this list, I have thought to check my usage of then vs. than. I didn’t, and I’m pretty sure I got several uses wrong, but my kids are up from their nap now, and it’s time to be done.