Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gene *Hearts* Winter.

No, winter is not the name of a person, not in the particular context I'm speaking of anyways.

Winter is the time of year when you breathe in the type of air you can taste - air that comes from high atop mountains from far away, that falls slowly from thin clouds in the sky, and that infiltrates through your very flesh and into your bones. It is that time that makes you draw close to others out of necessity, an not mere desire. Winter is definitely a time of year that I love.

You may have already seen some of these pictures on Laura's blog, but I'm posting a few here. It was such a fun time for us - which was a much needed relief from the monotony, divisiveness, and heartache of life. We probably saw more snow than we've seen in our collective lives and generally loved most of the time we had with each other.

I couldn't help but post this picture of Laura because it really encapsulates the fun we had with each other. The blur beside her right hand is a snow ball that she threw at me [without as much success as some of her others].

I also love winter because of the season it brings - we've enjoyed having Laura's family up over this weekend and are currently taking a "time out," from running around (we walked all around NYC yesterday and around the Schuylkill River today - we plan on heading out again tonight). I love the idea of reconnecting with family and friends and hate the fact that I don't do it more often.

On another subject, I read through The Road about a week and a half ago and think it may definitely be worth your read. I'll be posting a review soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


If you've tried to call me in the last few days, I probably haven't answered. Perhaps, however, someone else did.

I've been looking for my cell for the past few days (I'm currently in Portland, ME for business) and haven't had any "luck" in finding it. I was checking my usage this afternoon and noticed that my last call was at 2:52 this afternoon.

You might remember, I just said that I haven't had my phone for the last few days.

Ass. That is, stubborn mule - you jerk. You, the one who refused to answer my calls from my wife's cell phone on my very own phone. You, the one who is enjoying my chocolate while I cannot. You, the one who is stealing.

No more.

If you try to call me in the near future, you'll get some kind of message that my phone has been disconnected. Verizon suspended the number until I get a new phone.

Sorry that this is the next new message after weeks of dark quiet, but if you know of a place where I can get a new phone for next to nothing (just need one with e911, Verizon won't allow me to activate a phone otherwise.

So, for now, I've been thrown back into the early, um, 2000's. That is, that point in time before I ever had my first cell phone.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home sweet home...

Unfortunately... at least for those of you who have, in the past, taken great pleasure in my traveling woes, our Thanksgiving travels went off pretty cleanly.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Twilley Travel Time without some kind of hitch.

Though really, when it comes down to it, this isn't typically of Twilley Travel. I think I've mentioned this before, but prior to my marriage I rarely had travel woes. In fact, I was once even bumped up to first class on a flight for nothing. I've talked to my bride's father and he concurred that these traveling times are more typical of something that would happen to them.

So here is a recent Twilley Travel update.

We left
Amanda and Renee with our home last Sunday [they both ran the Philadelphia half marathon, congratulations!] in hopes of making it to the airport early... by regional rail [which is kind of like a subway, except it's mostly above ground and goes throughout the region...on rails...] We made it to Suburban Station [basically the regional rail's hub in Center City Philly - all the trains out to the burbs end up here at some point] about ten minuted before the RR [regional rail] was supposed to show.

I looked up, and our RR had a number "29" beside it and the word, "Late."
Laura and I debated a little about what the "29" meant. That is, we debated until the LED for our RR disappeared altogether. Why show up 29 minutes late if another train is going to be there @ 8:30 anyways?

We decided to run out and catch a cab [the RR would have couse us circa $14, Philly cab? $26.50].

Did I mention that there was a marathon, half marathon, and 8k being run on the day of our departure? Did I mention that there were somewhere around 15,000 runners out that morning? We walked south and smack into a wall of runners [actually, when it comes down to it, our path was perpendicular - ancillary point].

We walked two blocks east and then a block north to city hall [this is where the major N, S, E, and W roads that dissect Philly converge] in search for a taxi.
We found one and he brought us to PHL post haste.

No real hangups in the security lines [and actually, you can read a new installment re: travel on
Twilleynomics - because I'm going to try to run with the idea of Twilley based economics there].

The plane was [surprisingly] on time.

Our actual departure, not so much.

We sat on the runway a while. You know, because it takes a while for 17 planes to take off before your's does. Yes...seventeen planes.

So, we made it to
ATL after some time in the air, grabbed some lunch, and headed to our gate for a flight to BHM.

A few situations here.
First, our preferred mode of travel is with
limited luggage - meaning we've usually got our lap tops and a carry-on with our clothes with nothing else.

Apparently, the gate domimistress decided that Laura's bag was, in fact, too large for the plane. Checking the baggage at the gat was completely against our plans, yet we obliged.

Then, as we are literally on the runway [of couse, after we had already boarded the plane and
left the gate], the captain informed us that one of the doors appeared to be open on the plane. Not only that, we'd also have to head back and wait for an open gate before any of the doors could be checked and rotated through their sequence. He knew that it was open because a light on his dash told him so.

The question begs, why didn't someone check this light
before we left the gate?

After an hour of waiting, a gate opened up and we were checked out and back out on the tarmac in little to no time.
But, you see, we were taking off close to when we should have been landing in BHM. I was actually composing my letter of complaint to Delta in my mind during the flight. However, my dreams of compensation were short lived - we actually made it to Birmingham in little less than a half hour than we were supposed to.

All to say, pilots must be
regularly flying much more slowly - which I am sure helps with fuel economy.

In BHM, we thought Laura's carry-on was lost - for some reason, they had taken it straight to the luggage office instead of tossing it on the conveyor belt with everyone else's.

In a nut shell, that's it. We actually made it home early through one of the world's worst [read - most congested] airports [PHL]. I guess, you could say the only thing we regretted about the trip home was that we didn't get bumped [last year, we gave up our seats for $400 worth of flight vouchers, two free meals, and extra skymiles - see Twilleynomics for more info].

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Short Look Into My Past...

Nothing deep here [though the title may allude otherwise]. Just thought it might be interesting to post a link to snippets of my past. In High School, I was one of maybe 3 football players that played a collectible card game [CCG] called "Star Wars."

You can see my e-bay sale here.

I don't get sentimental about too many things, but this was literally such a large part of my life in High School.

Altogether strange.

BP also posted this video of me on Youtube. Thanks - thought the video might have been lost or something...imagine my relief to know that Brian's e-mailed this to me and God knows how many others;-).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Gene loves the city...

Last night, I thought a lot about movement and windows.
I thought a lot about the lives people were leading – how they were doing, where they were going.

I’ve started taking the train to work – I’ve talked about this before, but as every day passes, this seems to be more and more of a viable option for us. To be honest, I feel so much more rested and composed when I do not have to drive for 1 ½ hours on one of the busiest roads I’ve ever driven. More than that, riding while someone else is “driving,” gives me the time and opportunity to sort and process all of my thoughts from a given day, or a given week, or a given relationship.

Last night, I was reminded why I love to live in a city like Philadelphia.

When you’re riding in from the suburbs in the evening, there is darkness. Even from the tracks of public transit, you can see the homes, lawns, and privacy fences of those who were tired of the City and ready to literally “get away.” There’s less graffiti, more trees, and the tracks become slightly more removed from its surroundings.

Riding back into the city, there are monolithically constructed buildings of mortar and reflective glass. There, all the tracks seem to coalesce at 30th Street Station in University City. The remnants of older trains stand guard as you enter into a grand old station.

There is graffiti.

There are few trees.

There is chain link, but no privacy.

There are city lights. There, on the left, is the art museum. There are people bustling to get out of the city and people hustling to get their next meal (or, their next drink, or, their next fix). The buildings of mortar and reflective glass are lit like Christmas trees covered with votives and garland – beautiful in a way that an urbanite would appreciate.

In a city like Philadelphia, the tower of Babel has fallen and there really seems to be mass confusion. Despite the fact, people have decided to stay for one reason or another; they have decided to love the city. Perhaps it’s a mere tacit approval; perhaps they’re here because they couldn’t have afforded the quiet life in the suburbs – but the fact remains that all 1.4 million of them are here.

Last night I thought about movement and windows.
I thought about how the past has been left behind and how that same past has shaped my loves and desires today.
I thought about all the people who had come and gone through my own life – where they were going, what they were doing.
Sometimes, I wonder if they ever think of me.

A city in all of its grandeur is a stark reminder of the reminder of a world broken by sin. Someone once asked me what I like about the city, and that (in a nut shell) is it. It’s easy for my skin to become thick when I am removed from a situation, a people, or a reality. The city allows me to be surrounded by the beauty that is man created in the image of the Divine. The city allows me to be surrounded by the death that is man breaking the covenant made with the Divine.
[The picture used in this blog was found on Wikipedia and taken by "surplusparts." Picture used under the guidelines of Creative Commons Attribution 2.0]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Link laden and laughing

If you watch The Office, you'd probably agree that Michael [Steve Carrell] is so funny because he doesn't know that he's breaking the rules. It's a part of the show that hearkens back [or maybe for you, even presently] to the problems of sexual harassment, cultural ignorance, and self-centeredness [come to think of it, a time much like the 80's].

Switching gears, I always thought Birmingham, AL had a lot of problems - especially with the Municipal government. Everything there seemed a sham and the problems of the city seemed to be far from those who were in authority.

Switching gears again - Gene and La move to Philadelphia. Statistically, a safer city than Birmingham [to the senses, it's a much harder place however]. Gene begins to hear of the disdain of the current mayor and the hope of a new leader moving up through the ranks. Gene sees why folks are so upset with the way things are now.

You see, our mayor now [John Street] seems to be the personification of Michael Scott [in a slightly larger, darker, and lighter haired way]. When the new iPhone hit the streets, John Street was one of the first in line to get one...because he had been in line since 3:30am [at that point too, the Philly murder rate exceeded 200 - but taking into consideration that the city has 1.4mil people, your chances aren't that great of being one of those 200, especially if you're reading this now]. You can listen to NPR's story on Street's time in line here. Listen particularly closely for the talking points where he becomes defensive.

5 Days ago, our mayor decided to spend a day in a wheel chair. However, according to Street, this isn't the first time that he's done this. You can read an article here [as well as watch a video]. My favorite quote is, "I'm having today a sensitivity experience. I'm going to be in this wheelchair all day. This is not the first time I've done this..."

In times like this, it's hard to submit to the command of respecting the authority that has been placed over me - seriously.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Auto Autonomy

Rule number one: Oil and Water don't mix...especially when you're talking in terms of brake fluid and power steering fluid.

Laura's car seems to be leaking power steering fluid. When we leave her car for extended periods of time without driving [i.e. because she's traveling on business with me, or because she's not using her car], it becomes difficult to steer [well, at least for her - my arms are so strong I can barely feel a difference...]. Last Saturday, I decided to fill her power steering reservoir with what else but power steering fluid.

I'm going to pause here, because I want you to know how very competent I am with car repair [wow, humble post today].

My first vehicle was a 1985 Ford F-150 [affectionately called "The Brick" by some of my friends] - American Assembled Ford Tough. During the latter of my teenage years, my dad [I affectionately called him "daddy," - that's what you do growing up in the deep South, even if you are half Asian] put it on me to repair the family vehicles. He would usually watch and direct - sitting in a chair that looked too old and worn for normal use - while drinking sweet tea out of a mason jar and smoking cigarettes. Every now and again there was something that was too difficult for me to do, and he would make the monumental effort he needed to get on the ground beside me and show me how to do things the right way - always start with your hands, always clean the parts before you put them back on, don't stop until your finished, etc.

Over the course of time, I changed the brakes on my truck, my sister's car, and my mother's car. I replaced 2 clutches, replaced tie rods, changed out a rim, added a muffler, and replaced the master cylinder on The Brick. During those formative years I learned how to change a tire in less than ten minutes, how to change my own oil [and I did it for a good bit of the family], and how to
listen for what was wrong with my vehicle. Later in life, I also replaced an EGR valve on my '94 Cougar.

My crowning achievement? In one evening, I replaced a head gasket on The Brick [started before my dad came home from work so I could show him just
how competent I was].

Last Saturday I was tired to say the least

I walked outside, opened the Sentra's hood, and marveled at just how much power steering fluid was left in the power steering reservoir. Unfortunately, I wasn't looking at the power steering reservoir, but the master cylinder's [which is what basically helps your brakes to function correctly - ergo, only brake fluid
should go there].

Still, I proceeded to top her off.

And after my work was done, I realized the error of my deeds. I ran into the house and immediately consulted Google. The multitude of other words meant to advise other people proceeded to tell me just how wrong I was to pour power steering fluid into the brake fluid.

You see, power steering fluid has a water base and brake fluid has an oil base.
My hands haven't been clean for a week. Laura hasn't been able to drive in a week [and this is a week where a car would have helped her more than usual].

Today, however, she has auto autonomy.

I drained the fluid out of the master cylinder and bled the brake lines. Testing the car out proved that the job was done well [i.e. the car stops quickly].

My hands are clean.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where I've been part deux

A followup on my last post about work travel: Where I've Been

While a great deal of my travels take me to different states in the NE United States, I also travel within the Keystone State.

Scranton, PA. Don't let The Office fool you, Scranton is not as "hip" as it looks on TV [for those of you who need it, this is a form of "Sarcastic Irony"]. I'm sure, if you looked, you could find a Chili's, but the entire place seems to be pretty Sub-urban [there's a movement in the city to become the urban center of NE Pennsylvania. If you know NE PA, this will not be a necessarily "great" feat]. To their credit, they do have the only Krispy Kreme that I've seen in the NE [this place is saturated with Dunkin Donuts].

Also, if you're ever in the town of Scran, you should definitely hit up La Trattoria, a small italian restaurant within walking distance of Scranton's Radisson hotel. There are a few things that made this place special - fresh baked bread served at your table, huge tastey portions [with free seconds if you can handle it - I couldn't] and a wonderful family atmosphere.

Altogether, I may not be giving this small city in Lackawanna county a fair shake; I was only there for two days [it was a split trip - half of it was spent in Farmington, CT, the other half in Scranton, PA]. If I go back, maybe I'll stick my hands in a bit deeper to let you know how it is.

Pittsburgh, PA. I am actually in Pittsburgh as I type this [this is my second time here]. I can definitely say that the trip is better with La than it is w/out her. I don't know what I've expected of the city, but I figure that I like it better than I thought I would [there's a lot of Pittsburgh bias vibes coming out of Philly]. There's a lot that I'm sure she'll want to post about it, so I won't put too much here except that the food's been great and that I wish I would have found $2 Yuengling before tonight.

One thing I didn't expect in Pittsburgh: Dinosaurs.

Check out some of our Pittsburgh pics at fotki.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Tonight is one of those rarities where I just can't sleep.

We had dinner with a great many new friends in our new city from the church we've been a part of since we've been here [today = 5 months...I think]. In part, this was a celebration of the fruitfulness of a couple, and the fruitfulness of God's people. This couple had basically invited everyone who had brought them dinner after their giving birth of a new son. Needless to say, there were quite a few people there [hospitality is not patently

Fruitfulness is a wonderful thing. It is also a wonderfully scary thing. I imagine, however, when our first child comes along there will be a mix of emotion much to what I'm feeling tonight.
I imagine that our child [our = me and La] will be a lot like I am; that literally scares me on more levels than you know [and I am not "just saying" this...] Part of what scares me is remembering how I reacted when taken to a grave site growing up.

That is, with

It was not with a flagrant disregard or in abject disrespect - it's just that I didn't know the person in the grave. I couldn't relate to who they were. I didn't have late night conversations with them, I never sat back and drank sweet tea on a hot Southern summer's afternoon with them, I never shot pool with them, nor did I play Scrabble on the living room floor with them.

But I did with my dad.

And so I think about taking my children to his grave in Huntsville, AL and how they'll react. What will they be thinking? I doubt that they'll have much of a thought of what life would have been with him - I never did [in regard to visiting the graves of people I never knew]. I don't ever think of life with my mom's parents, right [I had never met either of them before they passed]? Thinking about it the other way around - he'll never get to hold them in his lap and tell them about how goofy I was when I was their age. He'll never get cherish them, to see them grow, to see them change, or to be loved by them.

A lot of what I hoped for when he was still alive was that when
I had a family, that he would get to see a different kind of faith being lived out than what he was accustomed to [being generally skeptical of "Chrsitians" altogether]. I literally used to dream about what it would be like to pray with my children in his house - how something like that might grip his heart [as none of our conversations re: Christ ever seemed to].

And now, all of that is...impossible.

And now, I rarely even pray with my own wife except for meals.

That aside, when I am in Huntsville, I rarely visit his grave. Being at his grave once was enough. His bones are there, his casket, a concrete vault, a suit [he only wore it twice in public that I know of - my wedding and his own funeral - he said it was what he'd be buried in], and a headstone paid in part by the US Government [your tax dollars at work in memory of a Vietnam Vet] are all there.

are no memories there.

It is an unfamiliar place...a literally lifeless place. It was a place that he'd only been to once and was never able to leave. It was the last place I saw his body, but not the last place that I saw him. And if I were to ever take my children there, they might remark about the trees, the landscaped lawns, the pond down the hill, but not about how life was with him; they'll never know that life or his.

Tonight is one of those rarities where I can't sleep - even after being surrounded by new friends, after enjoying good food and drink... even in bed with my own wife... as the loneliness of death is weighing upon my own heart.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


So Katie tagged me and now I'm doing this little tag type game. To be honest, I secretly hoped someone would tag me as it would be easier to keep up with my migratory patterns.

Seriously though, I look forward to this.

As I understand it, the object is to describe myself using the letters of my name. I wanted to use my middle [since it has more letters] but La advised against it. So, what I've decided to do is to enact some Bushtitude [the aptitude of making up words - i.e. Bushtitude in honor of the 43rd president of these United States].

My name is as follows -

G E N E [I've actually had arguments with people, usually older ladies, who swear that my name is Eugene; it is, in fact, simply Gene - like Gene Autry or Gene Wilder, etc].

Googloid - [word origin = Google: to google, meaning to search, to inquire, to find + oid; suffix meaning resembling, similar to, like]. I use Google a lot; so much so, that sometimes I think I'm actually beginning to resemble the online search behemoth. Sometimes, I'll even pull out a vanity search [you're lying if you say that you don't, unless this is the first time you've used the web - if so, my bad].

Erroneous - [this word is not, of course, made up]. You may want to check out Merriam-Webster's definition on this - I contain error. Pretty self explanatory, but the more that age adds to me, the more I can see how wayward my mind and heart are. The "archaic" definition seems to apply to me as well - I love to lose myself in a place, or multiple places. I'm also prone to wander.

Night Owlistic - Not to be confused with Nighthawks [although I'm putting the pic up here]. This is a point where La and I can tend to butt heads [only sometimes though]. I am definitely a late nighter, and I usually require a few hours less sleep than she. So, when we go out, it's usually best to be in by 10, otherwise La's going to sleep in, but I'm still ready to be out. The converse of this is my uncanny ability to sleep anywhere. This ability has cost me dearly at times, unfortunately...

Ex-Alabamian - I don't say this as a cut, but as a matter of fact. I am now a resident of PA. I am a registered voter here [fyi: as an independent]. My vehicle is registered here. Most of my belongings are here. What comes as a shocker to most [maybe due to my asianicity? Maybe due to my lack of a thick southern drawl?] is the fact that I grew up in the cotton state. I grew up near a military base in Huntsville that afforded a diversity that isn't necessarily found state wide [I had many friends from mixed Asian American families, some Germans, Hispanics, etc.], but it is part of who I am in a historical sense. that I've done this, I'm glad it was over. Although it was something I've wanted, it's been the proverbial monkey on my back for the past couple of weeks - I haven't blogged anything because I've been wondering "How does this letter best describe me?"

Being the case, I don't know if I'll tag anyone else. I will however hold out an open hand slap - if you're reading this and want to be tagged, then consider yourself as such. Leave a comment that you've written about yourself and I'll post a link from my blog to yours!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where I've been

For a broad view you should check check out my Tripadvisor profile.

My new job has me traveling all over the Northeast of our United States and I was recently asked on a comment [from BP] where I've been traveling. So what I'll do is just give a brief overview and add something to the mix in way of personal opinion or suggestion.

Warwick, RI
. I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express there, you may remember my post about their wonderful coffee. That was actually my first trip with the company I work for, didn't get to do much there since the classes were long and I didn't drive myself. I will say that it's the first time I've ever seen a Sbarro's [Michael Scott's favorite "Authentic slice of New York"] in a rest stop how ever.

Farmington, CT
. Farmington is not so much a town of farms as much as it is a town of corporate offices and business parks. For those of who who are interested, ESPN is located only 9 miles away in Bristol CT. Farmington's just 10 miles S of Hartford. All to say, for someone who is not really that into sports, there's not a whole lot going on here. However, there is this.awesome brewery/restaurant in downtown Hartford called City Steam Brewery Cafe. I've been to Farmington twice and am actually leaving for there again tonight, and I will be marking a third visit to the above said "Cafe." Everything I've had there has been excellent and the service is wonderful too. Farmington itself is near where David Daniels went to school, I think...

Portland, ME. Actually, the place I stayed in was in Scarborough - 7 miles Southwest of Portland. La and I have actually been there before, but it was nice to have a little extended time in the city. When it comes down to it, what isn't there to like about Portland, ME anyways? One place I will suggest is Gritty's - another pub style restaurant that makes some incredible Cajun Sweet Potato Fries with a great honey sour cream dip on the side. Again, another place where everything I tried was outstanding.

I'm in a bit of a rush right now, so I'll leave it at those three for now. I'll add Pittsburgh and Scranton later this week - right now, we're getting ready to leave for Farmington.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I write with some trepidation today as I know my wife may become angry after reading this... you see, she hates blogs about blogging [i.e. if you're one of those who says "I'm sorry I haven't blogged," she will still read your blog, but only with loathing]. But today isn't one of those - because I blog regularly [only, more infrequently than I used to] so I refuse to apologize for a lack of posts at this juncture.

Into the blog.

How do you Google?

More specifically, when you want information, how do you use Google [or preferred search engine] for your web search? You may think this is crazy, but I generally ask Google the information I want to find - and it usually comes back with a stellar answer.

Today's question:
Why Blog? I thought that the answer Google shot back was a little short of incredible. There are, of course, more answers out there - but the common threads were that people wanted to communicate [to be heard] and wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves [you know, like a community of sorts]. It's not necessarily surprising - weren't we told at some point that in the beginning was the Word and that after the Word had created one man, the Word said that it wasn't good for that one man to be alone?

I'm sure I've said or blogged this before, but I think the American ethos has long been one of isolationism [it was part of our national identity - it's a policy the George Washington espoused]. Furthermore, it's spilled over into the American dream - it's what keeps us at arms length from the other families in our neighborhood, the problems of our cities, and what motivates us to move out to the suburbs or the country where our nearest neighbor is a mile [or an acre] away.

In the midst of our loneliness, we long to be together.
What is occurring and has been occurring in the blogosphere since 1999 is an ongoing event wherein people seem to feel like they're being listened to - where they have a voice, where they are admired, where they are wanted. Blogging provides a forum where we answer the questions that we wish people were asking us.

To another point, sometimes we blog because we already are part of a community and we wish to continue to the edification, knowledge, and intimacy that already exists there. The
blogosphere provides another medium through which we can stay "connected."

Still, it's the juxtaposition of these two images that interested me in the first place: on the one hand you have an individual with typing on a piece of equipment with a connection to the
Internet. On the other hand, that individual longs not to remain as they are, but to become something of a larger whole.

Altogether, is that amazing or amazingly sad?
Two questions then, Why do you blog? and How do you see your blog integrated into your community?

If you post a response and contact me via e-mail or via comment here, then I'll link up for the sake of dialogue. These are some of the other blogs addressing the same questions that I referenced earlier: Sandhill Trek, The Journal, MarketingProfs Daily Fix, WebMasterView, SoloSEO, iBLOGthere4iM.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Screaming. Children. Constantly.

Sometimes, there are children outside as late as one or two in the morning [yes, I've heard them because sometimes I'm up that late too] and more often than not I wonder where their parents are and why they're letting them out like that.

That's one of the funny things about our neighborhood though - children are out all the time. When I leave for work in the morning [sometimes before 6:30am], they're there. When I get home, they're there. When I go to sleep, they're there.

This morning Laura and I went to grab a bagel for breakfast at South Street Philly Bagels and I noticed that there was a lot of what appeared to be grease on my truck. If you're at all familiar with our travails, you'll understand that a lot of our life lately revolves around "my truck." I made mention that I bet that kids were playing around it [which has been one of my hypotheses for quite some time]. In our sickened state [as both of us seem to have come down with a cold], we shrugged it off.

Tonight's not too different - except for the fact that we've been holed up in bed for the past 4 hours - both of us coughing, both of us sneezing, both of us miserable.

But not the children - they're laughing, screaming, running...

And hiding in my truck...

Since both of us have been laying down since about four [watching The Breakfast Club on Netflix's watch instantly and then a variety of videos on YouTube], I decided to check the mail - because yes, the mailman sometimes runs after four. I turned on the outside light, unlocked the door, and peered out. I looked at my truck [it's parked in front of our home] and two small eyes peered back at me.


I laughed. I asked if he was hiding. He nodded and slowly climbed out of the truck. I unlocked our mailbox - nothing - and went back inside. Laura and I laughed when I told her about seeing this small boy hiding out in the back of my truck.

I opened the door, saw him hiding down the street, and made eye contact. I told him that it was fine for him to hide there.

Sometimes it annoys me when I hear the kids running around. Sometimes it makes me question the mindset that goes behind their parenting. But in the innocence of a game of hide and go seek, it makes me wish I could run around with them [and not sit here feeling like my head is going to explode].

It reminds me that at some point the laughter of children points to a joy and a peace that's not here yet. Not for us anyways.

For them, now, it's pretty much all fun and games.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A writing glut...

Lately, a lot of my time has been spent on the road.

It's kind of sad how the exploratory nature of traveling can leave your mind wandering in so many directions and yet how the actual act of traveling can leave you totally sapped of inspiration. The difference, I suppose, is between the vacation and the commute.

The vacation brings me something new - new sights, smells, experiences. I write a new history in paths worn by millions before me though the paths seem fresh because it's the first time I have, upon them, trodden. The vacation gives me a reason to explore - to find something to eat, or drink, or wear.

It gives me a reason to be more introspective in relation to how much bigger the world is than self.

The commute leads me down a different sort of beaten path - the path I've beaten down. It leaves me on cold, heartless, and unforgiving interstate roads behind a train of a thousand different cars all driving in the same directions as I: work or home.

Too, maybe the vacation is in some ways representative of a bit of heaven...without the work that is. Most of our time vacating our homes is spent within an industry called hospitality. We're greeted warmly by people who are seemingly thankful for our stays, for our plays, for our eating, drinking, and merry making. They love us because they love our business, but they play out their act of love well - and in that it's no heaven at all...just an act.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Picking up the pieces...

Sometimes I forget.

I forget that that the life of perfection has been broken irrevocably.

I forget that the church is composed of those sharp blood letting shards.

In a way, this is an apology re: the post I left about a month ago referencing the church in Huntsville. I spoke out of anger and without grace. Where is Christ in that?

I had a response, of which I never responded [it was a private one from a friend in the not so distant past] - to that response I would simply say that we cannot hope to expect the Church of God to be perfect, or even near perfect, for when we do we really have no hope in Christ.

You dig?

It's the same mantra that expects self-perfection, right? If we were able to make ourselves better or whole then Christ, in fact, died for nothing and God becomes a sort of sadist. The argument is by far simplified, but sometimes that's what we need.

Part of this response comes from the fact that my truck has been keyed...again. I don't inspect the other vehicles on my street, but I'm pretty sure that no one else is having the same problem [there's a gold Caddy that is flawless usually parked right behind me].

All I can do is sigh again.

Today was different though, La looked like she was going to cry. The intent of the perp really seems to get to her.

But here's the deal [and I said this, in the fashion as usual with me - sin grace or mercy]. We expect sinful men and women to treat us with the dignity that was never granted to Christ, right?

So the whole keying deal [hopefully, I'm not giving up too much of Jason's promised blog] really causes me to think more about the nature of man, the nature of God, and how closely I cling to material wealth.

We don't need the truck.

And every time someone keys it, I think "jeez, that's going to bring down the value of the vehicle," [which will be summarily posted on soon]. It causes me to think about how little grace I show to my own wife. It causes me to think about how I expect too much from everyone and still yet all the while proclaim "Grace alone."

Of course, there are always a myriad of thoughts swimming fervently through my head, most never blooming to fruition here or anywhere.

And so, who picks up the pieces?

Sometimes, I wonder if Christ really wants this mess to be cleaned up. I look at the crime in my city, I look at the inaction in my neighborhood, I look at these broken lives and I wonder why. I don't think the answer will be easy, maybe not even palatable.

Which begs the next question; how do I repent from my domestication of God?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Yet another travel woe

I've told Laura that before we were married, I never had travel problems.

Not even a delay.

Once, I was bumped up to first class with a ticket Brian Prentiss purchased for me on Hotwire [or travelocity, can't remember].

Last Sunday, I traveled to Portland w/Laura. As expe
cted, there was a weather delay. Part of the lateness was my fault as I opted for the red eye. Here's a little comic we worked on to illustrate some of our time spent @ PHL.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Glad to be home...

The trip to Alabama has been a walk back into a past that I certainly don't miss. So, when I get back to Philly, I'll say "I'm glad to be home."

I came to a retreat for my mom's church to lead the youth group. I don't honestly know if I'll write about that here, but I will say that it went better than I thought it would. Her church flew me down to teach the youth over the past couple of days - sometimes it felt more like baby sitting, but for the most part they were super.

I don't know if we generally associate "memory lane," with the negative - right? We have a fond nostalgia thinking of main streets where window shopping was fun, where there wasn't the graffiti of our lives spray painted on the walls of our minds, where there wasn't the blood of a thousand murders on the streets of our hearts. My mom told me about a falling out she's had with a "friend." Essentially, she wouldn't testify at this person's divorce hearing (she wanted my mom to testify about an event that she never saw, but was told about by this same person - that's called hearsay if you're wondering, and is generally not admissible as real evidence).

This person came back and quoted a scripture to my mother and actually said something along the lines of "On the outside you act like an angel, but on the inside you're full of the devil. One day you'll need a thousand witnesses and you won't have any."

I reminded my mother that her standing before God was in Christ, and that this person has a really screwy view of what Christianity is. My mother knows this.

The fact of the matter is that this person wanted money. She screwed over her husband. She stole everything out of his home and sold it before the court had her move out. She even had balotas to tell my mom that she needed her there to get more money out of the divorce settlement.

After the dust cleared, she then said that she wanted the money back from my mother that she gave to me at my college graduation and my wedding.

I don't miss the divisive back biting. I don't miss the politicalization of the "church," here. I don't miss that thinly veiled spiritualism that people trump up through spending time at church on Sundays. I don't miss this "Christian," culture of destruction, of abuse, of misusing and misquoting scripture for the sake of personal gain. I don't miss this cultural implosion brought about by isolationism.

It's not as if this junk doesn't happen everywhere else, it just hurts when it comes from someone who has said that they've been your friend for the past 20+ years. It hurts when it comes from the people who claim that Jesus died for them. I don't think I should expect perfection from anyone...just a little sanctified living at the least.

Sometimes people ask me if I plan on coming back to Huntsville to live.

What can you say when you'd rather go home to a place where the individual murder count has just hit the 200 mark, where the streets are littered with trash, where the parking is hard and the people are too?

"Anything can happen." Um. Yeah.

5 more hours, and I'll be glad to be home.

Friday, July 06, 2007

What a crumby flight...

No, I don't mean crummy, but it could be that too. I just got off a flight from PHL to CLT - when I entered the plane, my seat was literally full of crumbs [this was only my second time flying US Airways...ever...could be my last], the roof of the plane was actually leaking water droplets [blamed on the humidity, only it must happen frequently as there were stains from the water and rust on the metal] and as I was watching the baggage handlers load the plane, they were literally body slamming some of the luggage onto the conveyor belt to the plane.

Then, it Broke.

Then, they kicked the machine [yeah, like that ever works].

I'm just glad they didn't handle my package...all of my luggage was carryon.

And so I sat at the gate and left about 45 minutes later than what I was supposed to. We still yet and amazingly landed on time.

I pulled out the in flight branded magazine and noticed that most of the pages also had water stains. Some of the pages were ripped out. To top it off, half of the crossword was finished.

I guess it could definitely be worse, but it's kind of strange when a $350 airfare yields as decent a cleanliness as a $2 bus [or SEPTA subway] fare.

I hope that this was more funny for you than whiny. I'll be in Huntsville, AL through Sunday. My mother's church asked me to come and lead a youth retreat. More later - plane's loading!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A few fun links...

Spending a lot of time working on some extracurricular stuff this week, so in the interim I thought I'd put up some fun links.

TBNN - Tominthebox News Network - kind of seems something as a Christian satirist. There is a hilarious article about a missionary suing travelocity for 4 trillion dollars for the loss of souls due to a delayed flight and travelocity's guarantee. This guy [Tom] is pretty funny.

If you haven't heard of Fujiya & Mijagi, you should check them out. They seem to be pretty creative [as far as their musicianship and video skillz go] and are an all around good listen. Laura found these guys off of another site...we bought the CD off of iTunes the next day. Here is a video of theirs:

Friday, June 29, 2007

You live in the house, not the neighborhood, right?

We've had two visitors today [so far]. The first was at 8:00 this morning - he was a representative from ADT who was coming to make our security system "live" rather than in test mode. He told me, "Yeah, I called in and said 'I need to go back out there to make sure everything is right.'"

Yes. Right.

I spent my entire lunch on the phone with ADT [transferred 7 times, every name written down, and a letter to be written] because I was told 3 weeks ago that they were going to set someone else up to come out. This, however, is a story for another time [as seems fit, the Lord is putting me through the grinder right now in having to deal with people who are blatantly trying to rip me off].

The second visitor was actually a double whammy. I wish I would have responded more smartly, but instead probably seemed as some naive fellow who was out of place. Two older African American witnesses of Jehovah were standing at my door [straight from Kingdom Hall, no doubt] to share with invite me to a Jehovah's Witnesses conference being held next month where I can come [where I will not go as I am a witness to the Truth that is the Christ] to find out how Christ can help me to:
  • improve family life
  • deal with life's difficult problems
  • draw closer to God
  • oppose the Devil
  • gain everlasting life
They also came, apparently, to complement me on my smile.

"Do you live here?"
"Yeah, we moved in about a month and a half ago."
"Oh, so you live in the house and not the neighborhood, right?"
"Excuse me?" [I find myself asking this a good bit these days, especially when people ask me something as peculiar as this]
"You live in the house, but not the neighborhood, right?"

I looked around. My neighbors all seemed to be looking my way - their bright neon clothing highlighting the fact that their skin was darker than mine. There were children, people I had smiled at, people I've had minimal conversations with [though conversations nonetheless]. There was Mona, she knocked on our door a few weeks ago asking if we had gotten the Sunday's paper and if we were finished with it - she then asked if she could have it. Standing in the door, seeing these people around me, the thought came as to whether or not they thought the same thing - that we've moved to the house but not into the neighborhood.

It's a difficult place, no doubt. I've tried to get out of the habit of saying, "South Philly," to be honest by saying "Point Breeze," when asked what neighborhood I live in. Right now though, I don't know if there are too many good neighborhoods in Philly. I sometimes wonder what is going through the minds of the younger guys when they look at me with a stern face. I sometimes wonder what is going through the minds of the older residents when they shine bright and welcoming smiles at me when I get home from work.

I wonder how I can get to know these people, and whether or not they want to know me as much as I want to know them.

"Oh," I laughed, "I live in the neighborhood - not just the house. I like my neighbors, they've all been very friendly."
"Well, you have a nice smile. You keep on smiling."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth...just off the blogosphere for the week. I'll ensure double of them may be a new survey so keep an eye out.

Why have I fallen off the blogosphere? I don't have readily available net access - I'm out of town for bidness [what do you call it?] and don't have the desire to pay $10 for 24 hrs of access. So, no opinions or thoughts today, except for this:

*Although this information was typed and transmitted through the company that I work for, it does not represent or encourage any of the views or opinions expressed on this page [I said "the company," because I make a conscious effort not to list "the company's" proper name]. All views and opinions are those of the author and are not representative of the company or any of it's affiliates.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cost of Living, Schmost of living…

Many questions people asked when I told them about moving to Philly invariably revolved around the cost of living [COL] here. I suppose that the assumption is that the COL is so high in the Northeast that Philadelphia surely couldn’t be immune.

However, I think that if you do things the right way, the cost of living isn’t really that much higher here than from where we left [I used to say this before we left and some would look at me incredulously].

Here’s the thing though – homes here cost similar to what homes cost in the Ham. However, if you purchase a home here, don’t expect to have a large yard, large trees, or easy parking. Do expect to be within walking distance of 30 corner grocery stores, Chinese restaurants, and pizza / Italian places. In addition, our home doesn’t necessarily have “large” bedrooms, but we don’t necessarily need them either [maybe most people don’t – see this article which will probably turn into a future twilleythought].

Housing costs aside, everything else is reasonable [and, to be honest, I really believe the housing costs are reasonable too]. One of the best things about PA is the way taxes on essential items work – that is, there are no taxes on essential items. Therein, we don’t have to pay taxes on groceries or clothing. In Birmingham, I paid a 9% premium on stuff like that [thanks to city, county, and state taxes]. The state income taxes here – if you can believe it – are actually lower than Alabama’s also.

Where they get you [in Philly at least] are the property taxes and the Philadelphia employment tax [living in Philly exacts a 4% tax out of each of my pay checks – it would be less if I lived out of Philly but worked here]. Also, I may even start taking the train to work [when I’m not scheduled for travel] – which would cut down even more on gas [and traffic – heavy storms caused something like a 2 hour today – no joking].

The only thing, I suppose, that costs is that of trash can lids. As in, when people steal your trash can lid, you have to purchase a new one. Apparently, that has happened to us…recently [yesterday]. But hey, it’s better than a bike valued over $400 [thanks Birmingham].

Hopefully, I can spew some more interesting tidbits to get you to want to move here with us [not actually in our house, but that would be fine too…temporarily].

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I’m Sorry…Tremaine?

Everyone wants to be a part of something where they feel they belong, right?

That's what kind of helped us to make a quick decision as regarding our "search" for a place to worship - when we came to City Church, people told us that we belonged through the many ways they reached out to us as a new couple in a new town [we went to 3 separate dinners the first week we were here - we'll be trying out a small group this week].

This, however, is no particularly sentimental blog on belonging.

Sunday night, I dropped Laura and her sister off while I parked the car [it was raining and we were already late]. When I finally found them, I had to make my way through people on the outsides of the rows of folding metal chairs so that I could make it to them [since they were standing on the inside]. We worshiped, but I noticed that the guy standing beside me didn't stand up for any of the songs, prayers, or creeds. Unfortunately, we didn't meet during the "meet your neighbor," [for lack of better words] time in the middle of the service.

Partaking of the communion meal was interesting - he didn't seemed interested in waiting for everyone else before his tasting of the sacraments.

After the benediction, I thought, "I need to meet this guy." I introduced myself and picked up his communion cup [he had dropped it].

"My name is Gene," I said as I reached down.
"I'm Tremaine," he said from behind his dark sunglasses, beneath a sea of a jerry curl sheen.
"Germaine?" I asked, as I generally can't seem to hear what most anyone says the first time around.
"No man, Tremaine. Hey, are you a Jap?" he asked smiling, oblivious to his cultural faux pas.
"Excuse me?" I asked laughing, with some amused disbelief.
"Are you a Jap?" he was smiling innocently.
"No, my mom is Korean, but I can't even speak the language." I laughed - this wasn't necessarily uncommon ground for me. A few years ago, I was riding a bus through Birmingham (actually, it was a trolley) and a guy asked me if I was related to Yao Ming. It's the kind of thing you become sadly accustomed to when you have a somewhat olive skin, slanted eyes, and black hair.
"Aw man, thems is some of my favorite peoples. Some of my good friends is Korean man. Hey, do you have ten dollars? I need it to get a ride home."
Bold as a lion.
The thing about Philly, is that there is public transportation. I've read some complaints - but I've seen buses everywhere. A SEPTA ticket (for a bus or the subway) is $2. A token, if you have the privilege of entering one of the stations that sells them is $1.30. So, unless he was making 4 transfers, a ride home shouldn't cost $10.
"No man. I don't carry cash with me." I'm always honest with this - I don't keep cash unless I know that I'm going to need it. I knew I wouldn't need any tonight.
"That's alright man," he said this before walking away.

It didn't scare me away. More often than not, it's this very kind of encounter that keeps me wanting to live in "the city." It's the very boldness that someone like this has to remind me of our abject and complete brokenness and the grace that is really alive and abundant in my Christ.
I had wondered if anyone like this entered into this congregation.
I am happy that they do and hopeful that in the midst of the broken worshiping the Perfect, that they too will see His holiness and grace.

Also, thanks to BP for giving us the reference for this church.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Traveling times

My new job requires that I travel around the NE of our United States. Overall, I’m pretty excited for the opportunities that it’ll provide. This week’s assignment in my “Education Path,” (as I am learning my new position) took me to Warwick, RI.

My company put me up in the posh Holiday Inn Express. To be honest, the hotel wasn’t really bad…and I wouldn’t be writing about it now if it wasn’t for a few strange happenings.

First off, my body itches…a lot.

Really, it’s just my rib cage, stomach, back and neck [my extremities don’t seem to be affected]. I can’t understand why but I do have assumptions based on my own physiology. I have allergies, and they can be pretty bad. During allergy season (it still seems to be spring here for the most part) I usually use a mild or hypoallergenic soap such as Johnson and Johnson’s baby wash or Dove.

On any given [non-allergenic] day, I usually get along fine using a hotel’s soaps and shampoos. My assumption, was that my allergies were aggravated due to the high pollen content in the air [evidenced by the fact that cars are still yellowed by the stuff here] mixed with the usage of an unfamiliar and potentially strong soap and shampoo [that smelled unfortunately like cinnamon].

My second assumption would be similar to the first, except you would substitute “…unfamiliar and potentially strong soap and shampoo,” with “hotel towels washed with an unfamiliar and potentially strong detergent.”

Both of the assumptions are possible, even while Allegra D 24 hrs is coursing through my veins.

The third assumption is the worst – the assumption that perhaps I have shingles.

New topic.

Holiday Inn Express now serves coffee along with an ambiance that that produces [no, I did not mix meanings – I did not mean “elicit”] an obtuse arrogance within its guests. Thankfully, this coffee can be brewed in the privacy of your own room or while challenging the elderly for their space in front of the bagel toasters during your continental breakfast. I don’t write this out of experience, per se, but by the very words and advertisements of Smart Roast Coffee.

You’ll recognize that you’re drinking Smart Roast by the bold styling of their cups: 90% purple, 10% gold [Go Falcons!]…100% FREE. To be sure, you’ll want to look for the circle on the cup that ensures that your brew has been selected from only the finest and that it is in fact created with 100% Arabica beans [as an aside, if this was the finest that Arabica beans had to offer, I would never drink a coffee brewed with Arabica beans againrevision…I would never pay for a coffee brewed with Arabica beans or engage in the purchase of Arabica beans again].

If that’s not enough to identify dark substance, then find the joint HIExpress and Smart Roast motto:

Consuming Smart Roast® while staying at a Holiday Inn Express® may increase brain activity, creating a euphoric state of superiority.

(Emphasis added by me). Remember, in order for this surrogate arrogance to be implanted, you must stay at a HIExpress.

The power of this coffee is further evidence by means of the sheer size of the cup – what mere mortal could endure more than an espresso size hit at one time [the coffee lid says 8oz, which may or may not be true – but there’s no way I’m ever filling a coffee cup to the brim – that’s foolish].

While I do appreciate free coffee, I think I nearly reached my limit with Smart Roast – I had to admittedly doctor it up with creamers and Splenda as the very taste of this particular coffee started to make me gag.

This is something I nearly never do.

If I’m buying a truly tasty coffee, I drink it black. If I’m brewing my own coffee at home, I drink it black. If I’m drinking coffee at someone else’s house, I drink it black.

When I pee, I stand up, and that’s why I like my coffee black – dark black – the kind of black that bends light by the seriousness of its blackness.

Other than that, there wasn’t much eventful that happened in Warwick. If there was, I had such a euphoric sense of superiority that I couldn’t have noticed anyways.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Working through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount has been a little slower going than first expected. There are the obvious hang ups (the business of life, moving nearly one thousand miles, starting a new job, etc). Then, there’s also the not so obvious hang up of definition (i.e. translating from English back to Greek for a more inclusive understanding of what I’m reading when I read it).

There’s been a lot of good in taking the time for definition, however, as it has reminded me of how I do take words for granted rather than dwelling on their inherent and implicit meanings. In addition, it reminds me of how some words (maybe in their over usage or flippant understandings?) have lost the significance, breadth, and depth on me (i.e., reading over a text and glossing over what it’s really saying all for the sake of “just reading”).

In the very act of translation, we may lose some of the force of what was originally said. Being the case, I will put out the caveat that we are not to mistrust a translation simply because it is a translation. In the vein of Christianity, we can believe that though we may not (at first) understand the intricacies of meanings behind the words we are reading, we can still yet trust that the Holy Spirit is real and that He will enlighten, penetrate, and correct our hearts and misguidance to the end that Christ is made more beautiful in and through our lives.

A little sharing regarding three verses in the Beatitudes (and hopefully, a reprieve from my “How To’s”).

Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Generally speaking, I would have seen this as “Blessed are those who really desire holiness because God will give them satisfaction.” Honestly, in breaking apart these words I was kind of blown away. Spiros (the main resource I use in my translation as I can’t yet understand or read Greek) gives some great insight. First, “Those who hunger” is altogether one phrase and is more correctly identified as “Those who starve, are famished; to metaphorically hunger for something other than literal food.

As a middle class American, it is hard to understand the impetus that starvation is for action to someone who is starving. The implication is that Christ is not speaking of mere desire, but of a deeply seated and desperate desire (hunger) for righteousness. The implication is that when one is starving for something, there’s not a whole lot that can avert the pains of starvation apart from satisfaction.

So the Holy Spirit reminds me, “You aren’t starving for righteousness, but you should.”

Matthew 5:7 – Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 5:7 is the only verse that uses this sense of merciful (eleēmōn) to reference believers in the New Testament of the Bible (according to Spiros). It means compassionate, benevolently merciful involving thought and action and is generally relegated in speaking of God’s mercy to us. As such, mercy is much more than giving a sandwich to the homeless person who asks you for extra change. Mercy, as defined, is a planned and intentional action for the benefit and well being of others when there is a recognized need (i.e. compassion). Therein, it is much more than “I forgive you.”

Matthew 5:12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus tells us that we are blessed when we are persecuted for his sake (see the preceding verse 11). If (or when) we are persecuted for His sake, the translation of verse 12 could be elaborated upon by saying “Joy to you! Be glad in an exuberant and absurd way!”

I don’t think that it is something that I can quite understand, because when I feel wronged I am not prone to turn the other cheek and rest in quiet faith. Instead, my actions will more often dictate that I simply don’t trust that God has a plan for the situations I am placed in and that there is more truth in chaos rather than in a God who has a perfect and exacting plan for my life. In essence, it’s easier to know what the truth is than it is to believe the truth.

Sometimes hope comes with the knowledge that I’m wrong, however.

I can hope in a Christ that speaks the Beatitudes so that I might be drawn to Him and changed through His power rather than a Christ that speaks and says, “Now do this, or else.” The same grace that opens my heart to see this Jesus is the same grace that allows me to accept the broken world around me and to not expect the very thing that it is unable to produce apart from God’s grace: righteousness. When I drive through the streets of my broken city, I can lament with those who are not part of my family in the knowledge that in and of myself, I am lacking too. In the vein of that knowledge, I can also (from the depths of my own iniquity) point to one who is better than us, but who became like us so that we could be better than ourselves.

In short, the Beatitudes remind us that we suck. But they also remind us that there is a God who came to us to save us, that there is a transcendent hope beyond what we consider as tangible, and that there is a completion to be fulfilled by a God who sacrificed Himself and was resurrected to give us real life. They remind us that Jesus is about the building of His kingdom and that we have the privilege and unspeakable joy (rejoicing in persecution…) to be a part of that work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Different times call for different men

There was another note about the truck. 2 Days ago, I was checking my Amex balance online and noticed that Penske had tacked another $100.10 onto my bill. I called (this time, calm) and they said they would take care of it. Sure enough, I see a credit on my balance today for the amount.

All do say, different situations have called for different attitudes. Some of you may have read my bit (or, maybe even talked to me) and thought, "Geez, you really shouldn't have lost it like that." The truth of the matter is that if I had not, I wouldn't have been in Philly the next day to buy our house - which is strange. It was not, in fact, until I exploded at the front desk that they even afforded me the option to talk to someone who could actually and honestly do anything about me getting switched.

Of course, this same method wouldn't work in an issue regarding weather (Jason may attest to this?) as the weather is out of the airlines' controls.

Crew issues are not.

Regarding Penske, the process was pretty smooth overall (shouldn't it, I probably spent a total of 5-6 hours waiting for 3 separate tow trucks). But what would have happened if I wouldn't have called?

The question too, is whether or not the gospel affords me the freedom to become angry as I did at the airport. I've even had others tell me that I should write NWA to get further compensated (maybe the same with Penske?) - does the gospel of Christ allow me to do that when I've been compensated for what I purchased (in the one case - airfare; in the other case - transportation of my home to Philadelphia).

In those cases, how am I to view the sovereignty of God? In a practical sense, the sovereignty of my God is something that I don't know if I've really believed as evidenced by practice.

The ethics and cognizance of it all is something entirely different than anything else...what do you think?