Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm Gonna Let It Shine

On my last day Frank (publisher) had me cover a Worship Summit at the convention. Roland put on the show Sunday morning. When else would you expect a good 'ole fashion revival?

While sitting in the back near the exit trying not to attract attention, I spotted an ad sales guy from my work. I paged through some of the literature on the seats. Riveting. Shortly after, I went and sat by my coworker.

"Are you ready to be saved?" I asked him.

"I actually play in a worship band at my church and the guy playing today is pretty good," he responded.

After swallowing down the taste of foot, I asked him some questions about it.

In no way do I intend this to be a religion bashing post. I go to church. I sing. Going to, by comparison, conservative Catholic masses I wasn't prepared for the Christian rock. Something just seems wrong about it to me. For some reason I perceive the musicians to be insincere. Don't they know rock is the devil's music? Maybe this is their way of putting a positive spin on rock.

If the spirit moves them to make the music I have no issue with that. When I think church music I think of an organ or a guitar group with an elderly lady on piano and some off key singers backing up the vocalist. I don't think of a fog machine, video show, drums and electric guitars.

One of the things I noticed about the music was the repetition in the songs. "For the glory of it all" was a song that included that text at least 30 times.

Below is a conversation via text message with my boss. There is some background info to fill you in on. My mom and I switched phones before I left so I wouldn't incur roaming charges while in Cali. On numerous occasions Frank had "mistakenly" called my mom instead of me. It was growing in to a running gag. I'd ask Frank how my mom was doing when I'd see him. He'd inform me that Aunt Sally had taken a fall, etc.
10:05 a.m.
Me to Frank: "i think i'm going to be saved at this roland worship thing."

10:54 a.m.
Frank to me: "Amen your mom and i were hoping for that."

11:24 a.m.
Me to Frank: "guess who i saw. Jesus. Got a picture."
One of the things I really enjoy about my job is the ability to joke around, as exhibited above, with my coworkers.

There was a younger woman who kept looking in my general direction as I stood in the back. Perhaps she sensed that I was out of place in the room. Throughout the con-service a few people threw their hands in the air (like they just didn't care) and kind of waved them around, cupped to the sky. I never learned that move in CCD. There was some clapping that went on. Not wanting to cause dissension I meekly clapped along and sheepishly sang along to the Karaoke lyrics on the big screen.

As I started contemplating leaving, the girl mentioned above, got out of her seat and stood next to me.

"Uh-oh," I thought. "She's going to try and convert me."

I had prepared the line I used when the Jehovah's witnesses came to our house. "It's OK. I believe." Luckily I didn't need to use it.

Like the organ meeting I went to earlier in the week, I started getting sucked into their vortex of praise. I thankfully had a meeting with a woman at Roland at 11:30 about their products, so I snapped some pictures and hastily walked down the aisle to the cool air, synthetic women and rockers.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two-fer: Flying home and Cabbies

Two blogs for the price of one! One time only.

So, I flew home late last night. We rolled out of Anaheim in gas-guzzling style. The company procured a stretch Hummer limo, which wasn't as spacious as you'd think.

We got to LAX, which I'll dub the most inefficient airport in the country, and waited around for our 5:30 flight. I opted to go to Chili's for a feast. While there, I watched a little bit of the Packers/Giants game as I ate my turkey sandwich and drank my "premium" margarita. It was my first margarita and was quite tasty.

Not much to report about the flight, which is ALWAYS good. The sun was setting before we took off so I snapped some pictures from the gate. When we took off we flew west out over the ocean and then pulled a "u-ie" and started bookin' it east. I read some articles out of Newsweek, then listened to some tunes on my iPod.There was no movie on the flight. That always irks me. Luckily, I loaded up my laptop with episodes of Monk and Psych. It is majestic looking out at the world at night.

Here's something that also bothers me on flights: How come I am never seated next to some ravishing, single ladies? I suppose the odds are low, but I usually get stuck with a married woman or a rotund dude with breathing issues or a snarffy cough. Maybe next time...

Once we approached Chi-town the pilot displayed his penchant for scenic routes. This guy was really a fan of the u-turn. We flew over downtown Chicago, then out over Lake Michigan, which was breathtaking.

My bag was one of the last ones out of the bag-spitter-outter. I called the taxi company that took me to the airport. The guy arrived within 10 minutes. But...

So I get in the car after the garcon loaded up my bags, and he starts driving. He merges onto the expressway. I made the mistake of loading up on liquids (margarita, bottle of water, ginger ale) on the plane and not hitting the bathroom before booking. There was some lingering fear from the Larry Craig issue. I like tapping my feet and whistling while in the men's room.

I asked the cabbie to pull off to the oasis. He didn't hear/understand me. I resorted to pointing and doing a "I-have-to-Pee" dance. Universal symbols are the key to effective communication.

Back on the road...he passed the exit to get off of the expressway. Perturbed, I wondered where is this guy taking me? He merged onto a different expressway. I just wanted to get home. Blerg! I punched in my address on his GPS and that resolved the issue.

This seemingly is a constant issue. Cabbies ask me for directions. If they only knew! They all have GPS systems and don't use them. WTF? When I get a taxi I expect the cabbie to do all the driving/thinking.

I eventually got home and closed the book on my California business trip. I still have to post about the Worship Summit my boss had me go to.

Day 5: M-I-C-K-E-Y

I've now settled back into frigid Chicagoland.

I ended up being able to go to Disney on my penultimate day in SoCal. Jenny, who'd also never been to Disney, went with me. I'll say right now that Disneyland is amazing. We snagged twilight tickets to go in the evening after working the convention and walked about 2 miles to the most magical (and crowded) place on earth.

We tried to hit all of the "musts" based on advice from previous visitors. First up was Dumbo, which was enjoyable. Then we hit the Teacups. WEEEEEE! Those were fun. I had to suppress the urge to yammie after whipping around in circles. I'll admit I was doing the drunken sailor dance after exiting the ride. Third up was It's A Small World. Jenny was tentative about this because her boyfriend said when he went on it as a kid it scarred him for life. Psssch. It was the greatest thing on earth. If everyone could start each morning with that ethnocentric, stereotyped depiction of the world there would be peace on earth. That was probably the longest, serpentine line. Disney artfully winds you around so you always think you are close to the ride, when you are really 20 minutes out. I was riding the high of Small World for a while. After that we went to Pirates of the Caribbean which was exciting. Then fireworks.

The fireworks were magnificul. I've seen more fireworks at Fourth of July shows but this one had an accompanying story which ratcheted up the show's value. With fantasy surrounding you, you get caught up in the wonderment of all that is Disney. While there was some level of disdain for the other people there, overall there is a happy vibe. Most people said "excuse me" when they needed to get by you or said "I'm sorry" when they bumped into you and stole your wallet.

Then Star Wars, which was a simulated ride. There was a girl in the ride that was mockingly enthused but it made it fun. Some guy couldn't get his seat belt fastened--slowed down the fervor and rapture.

While there were lines for everything most moved quickly. At most we waited 20 minutes for a ride.

I stopped at one of the many gift shops to get some mementos for my mom and sis. I selected the standard Mickey hat seen below for my mom and had to go to another store to have it embroidered. I told the guy that I'd like it to say "mom," and off he went to the machine. I saw that the computer screen read "Bob," not "mom." At first I thought how much my mom would truly value a hat that said Bob on it. After careful consideration I decided my mom would prefer her name. Perhaps the attendant didn't hear me properly or thought my name was Bob. I don't think I look anything like a Bob. I don't have a construction hat and overalls, nor do I hobble around warning people to spade and neuter their pets.

My favorites at Disney:
  1. Fireworks
  2. Small world
  3. Teacups
  4. Pirates
  5. Dumbo, Star wars
Can't wait to share Disney with my future family. At that point it'll probably be $500 a person.

Dreams do come true. It can happen to you.