19 Feb 2006 The Swirling Brain   » (Master)

Our pastor quit. It was either that or get voted out. He saw it coming. I hated to see the guy go but he had a few problems with people and became ineffective. Anyway, since he left, we've had a little revival of sorts. We started up our visitation program again, and started a few programs such as youth choir and men's bible study and a few other things. I don't know why we couldn't have done it before, but now we are so I guess the change is a good thing. For now we are not going to persue searching for a new pastor. A guy who used to be a preacher until his wife left him is preaching Sunday mornings for now. He's been doing an excellent job. I have a lot of optimism for our church this year - I think things will work out for the best. It's too bad church has to be such a soap opera all the time, tho.

Teresa's mom gave us her dad's GMC Sonoma pickup since her dad died. It has 192k miles and the paint job was totally washed out. I talked with my dad, and we decided to repaint it. He wanted to repaint his truck too. So we went on ebay and found a company that sold the paint, reducer, clearcoat, paint suit, and masking tape fairly cheap. It was a little more than $100 per car for everything. Well, I spend a few weeks sanding and bondo-ing. My dad did too with this pickup. We painted mine first. Mine came out with a bit of an orange peel texture to it rather than the smooth finish we wanted. My dad waited about a week and tried to read up on the internet about how to do it. He then tried but his didn't do much better than mine. I got some 400 grit, 800 grit, 1000 grit, rubbing compound and other compound. I sanded and rubbed on the hood and finally got a finish that was smooth as a mirror. It takes a long time, but I'm confident I can make the finish look good. Too bad we couldn't figure out how to spray it right so that we didn't have to waste a lot of time and effort sanding and rubbing. But at least it should look nice when we are finished.

At church we had an old concrete sign that needed to be removed. I talked to my dad about it and he recommended renting a jack hammer to bust it up and then haul it to the dump. The youth minister and myself started around 9am and took turns with the jack hammer. We then loaded the concrete into the back of my little GMC sonoma. It totally filled the bed. I guess a small concrete sign when it's busted up grows about 2 or 3 times it's size when bused up! The pickup was very weighted down. Driving was like looking at the sky! I was really worried that we would pop a tire and then that would be a bummer to change as we'd probably have to unload all the concrete to change it. Anyway, the tires didn't pop. We didn't finish until about 3pm. It really took a lot longer that I'd thought and we were really sore after it was over.

Got my tax money back. We actually got most of our money back since I've been out of a job for the most part. I estimate we're good until about June at this point. I really don't know how to explain how we've managed to survive a year without me having a job other than to chalk it up to help from family and friends and to just praise God for them.

We've had a few appliances that have broken down. Our stove and our oven no longer works. I bought a little $10 electric range from walmart so we could fry some hamburger meat now and then. Also, our washer now overflows. Without having any money, it's been a little bit of a bummer. We've made due with a microwave the electric range and a george forman grill. Also, our food stamps run out this week. I'm hoping they will reinstate it but we'll see. I'm sure there will be a lapse as the food stamps people work as fast as mollasas. When I went to the doc, I mentioned that I didn't have a job and they let me have a bottle of insulin for free (yes, I have diabetes). That was like $80 bottle! That was cool! However, the doc bill was over $200 so it's not like I really made out like a bandit or anything. My credit cards are getting close to being maxed out. I noticed that I've started getting junk mail that says stuff like "you can still buy a car with your bad credit" kind of stuff. I haven't missed any payments yet and I still have some credit but it's really getting to a point where at some point I'll cross some threshold that I won't be able to recover from if I haven't already crossed it.

I've pretty much given up on a computer job. I don't get any headhunter calls, and any emails I get ask questions like, "what have you done since '01." Which pretty much the answer is "nothing" so I'm in a type of catch 22. Like you can't get recent experience if you aren't working, and they won't hire you without recent experience. Like I can have 15 years of experence but if it hasn't been in the last year then it's no good. I'm sure not having a bachelors doesn't help either. There was a time way back when, when I thought I'd always be able to get a computer job with my experience that I've had. So, now it's just a matter of finding some low life job and trying to supplement it with all my odd jobs and ball trail sales.

I got to do a little computer work for Roger. It was a Robots.net konfabulator widget for robots.net. Roger and I both have it running on our desktop. It's fun watching the RSS from robots.net show up on my desktop. I'd release it to the world, but Steve mentioned that he's needing to make some changes and such first that he's been wanting to make that would break the widget. So I'm waiting until the changes are made and then we'll release it so everyone can enjoy it. Anyway, it was kind of fun actually doing a little programming again. Yeah, ok, I did some PIC assembly recently for one of my ball trails, but this was like real programming that the world might get to use.

Sold some more ball trails on ebay! I'm not getting what I really want for them, but at least it's some income and I'm not losing money on them. I had one dentist that wanted to buy the grandfather clock. He won't buy it until he comes back from vacation. I'm not sure if I'd rather be led on like that or not. A few days ago, I had a Korean guy express interest in buying about $3000 to $5000 worth of ball trails. Haven't heard back from him either. Anyway, the thought of possibly selling that much at one time was exciting. I've just about given up on him by now - I guess I'm just impatient. The Korean guy also wants the grandfather clock and is willing to pay more for it. There again, I'd sell it to him if he'll just "show me the money!" :-) I can always make another clock for the dentist guy if I need to sell two clocks. It's funny that I had no buyers and now I have two on the clock, yet neither two will "show me the money!"

I got another ROBOT magazine today. I haven't looked at it yet, but I'm excited!

For our cell phones, we had virgin mobile prepaid. It's a really great deal if you don't do much talking and it's only for emergancies kind of thing. Anyway, we found another company called STI Mobile that had a deal where you get the phone free after rebate if you buy a $50 minute card. The minutes are 12 cents on weekdays and 10 cents nights and weekends. So we got two. About a week later, we noticed that the balance was going down quicker than we thought it should. Turns out that after we had the phones a few days, they changed the rates on us where they add a 10 cents a day charge. Also, they added a 19 cents a day charge for the internet which we didn't ask for but they put on automatically which you start. So I emailed them to remove the internet so that part is fixed. So, when I researched this rate change, I found on a Fat Wallet forum that STI Mobile has started doing some questionable things like changing the rate deal and also changing the rebate deal. They are saying now that to get the rebate you have to use over 100 minutes a month for three months to qualify for the rebate and then you'll get the rebate 4 to 6 weeks after the the 3 months. My heart just dropped. Some of the speculations is that STI mobile will probably be going out of business and that this was a last ditch effort to try to stay in business. So the great deal has turned into a really bad deal. Oh well, it probably still meets or beats what we were paying for on Virgin Mobile so I probably shouldn't complain too much, but we were trying to save money anywhere we could and it just didn't work out as we'd hoped. Anyway, we like the new phones. They are color flip phones and seems to have much more pixels, contrast, and better sound than the old b/w virgin mobile phones. I gave my old virgin mobile phone to my daughter Bethany because it still had a few bucks work of minutes left on it. She felt like she was in heaven. She was showing off her phone to all her friends and text messaging everyone and making quick calls to a few of her friends. It was fun seeing her so excited if only briefly. :-/

Rental movies I've watched recently:

Serenity. I'd give it 3 out of 5. It had a decent plot and was a space sci-fi. No real swirling brain moments, but reasonably entertaining. My wife walked out of the living room, she didn't like it. It's definately a guy flick.

Enemy of the State. I'd give it 4 out of 5. It had a plot that kept your mind active. It had some swirling brain stuff to it. Very entertaining. Definately a guy flick.

Forgotten. I'd give it 3 out of 5. It had a weird alien plot but interesting. A few swirling brain moments. I enjoyed it but I'm not sure everyone would.

Movies I skipped through or stopped watching because either they were too boring or stupid: Lady killers, Iron Thunder, a few others I can't rememer.

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