You’ll notice that I haven’t written anything really substantive in quite awhile, and that isn’t necessarily for lack of time. I have been making a better effort at helping Micah update his blog, since he needs to be speaking with the rest of his family. I’ve been trying to do some more things with the family, which means learning to schedule my job better. My job presents an interesting situation when it comes to office hours. My days off are Saturdays and Mondays, but since so many of the events land on Saturdays, I have to try to find time earlier in the week to get time off. So its all a part of learning to do the job.
I have also been busy with some philosophical issues when it comes to the ministry.
We’re changing the way we do small groups. We’re moving to a system that doesn’t break them down by age, which is pretty unpopular with the juniors and seniors who have really grown together as a group. We’re moving to smaller, mixed groups, purely focused on discipleship, rather than an entry level system that it had become. My prayer is that this will help kids get to know other students not in their grade and will help them to know how to use their gifts and talents to serve the church as a whole. So you can be praying for that.
That, and today a group is coming from The Master’s College for their Outreach Week. That will climax on Saturday with our Battle of the Bands. This is an event that usually brings in 200+, most of whom wouldn’t normally come to church. This year we’re adding a promenade outside first. This will feature some acoustic acts of kids that don’t have bands, but still want to play. There will be a coffee bar outside, where each ticket that gets you in also gets you a free coffee drink. And in addition, Lord willing, will be an art gallery displaying some of the high school and college student’s artwork. Its all in an effort to get more kids there and give them the ability to show their artistic gifts. But the gallery isn’t going too well. We have some kids bringing stuff, but not much. If its not enough, I’m not going to set it up, and we’ll try again next year.
Along with this is also the loss of an office mate of mine, Paul Hoover. He’s gone to take a position at a church plant. If you’d like to keep in touch with whats going on with him, I linked his new blog to the right. You might even be able to see a couple pics of me and Micah there! To add to new websites, check out our church’s new website!
Last week, the family did a few things together. We went to our first baseball game as a family, and while it wasn’t a Red Sox game, it was still fun. We saw the dodgers play the Rockies, then saw another game later in the week against the Giants (sans Barry Bonds). Leah and I were again marveling at the stark contrasts between games at Dodger Stadium, (which is only 15 minutes from our place, which is nice) and games at Fenway Park. Obviously we’re both a little biased, and there is a difference between a team that has the best record in baseball and one that is wallowing in another disappointing season and have had one big win in about 20 years.
I’ve always thought that so much could be done with Dodger Stadium. In the top levels at least, they still have troughs in the men’s rooms, instead of urinals, but I hear they are sinking millions of dollars to outfit the whole stadium with urinals. But besides that, the stadium is just odd. It seems like a big concrete block with no personality. The sound system is bad, the scoreboard is outdated and not even quaint. The stadium has the same colors as Dolphin Stadium, and looks like it hasn’t had much money put into it since the 1970’s.
When we pulled in, they make you park in a certain place near the entrance, instead of being able to drive around to the gate to the park you are entering (you used to be able to do this). So the gate that we come in is on the complete opposite side than the place where we’re sitting. Dodger Stadium is kind of built on a hill and if you are on the upper deck, you just walk into it, while you can do the same on the opposite side with the field level. So that means that we had to walk around the stadium, and up too many stairs to count. Its a good workout, but annoying when you get up there and see the spots you should be able to park in.
Besides that, the only environment outside are giant sized pictures of players, regardless of their talent level. For example, Brett Tomko is up there, but he got traded for a pile of baseballs to the Padres. Then there are players like Jason Repko, who hasn’t played at all because of injury. It seems like they could do a mix of good players, like Russel Martin, along with Dodgers of the past. There is a lot of history to work with, and they should do more to push the Dodger brand, rather than individuals that are fairly poor ball players.
We walked past an empty game program stand. At Fenway you’d have a guy yelling out to buy the program, saying who is pitching and other things. There is little to nothing going on before the game to encourage fans to come early. Souther California fans are notorious for showing up in the third inning, but they don’t really encourage them to come early. Leah and I got there about twenty minutes early and got to watch 3 ‘first’ pitches. The last being Emeril Lagasse. There was a free gift, but they didn’t even bother handing them out to the first 20,000 fans, but handed them out when you left.
LA County Fair
One thing I miss about not being in New England is the fair season. It was such a huge part of my life growing up, and hasn’t been something I’ve done in awhile. So we went out to the LA County fair, which I hear is the largest county fair in the country. the grounds are six times bigger than Disneyland. The thing I was most excited about was seeing the animals and I even brought my old 4H sweatshirt to represent. But the animals were largely boring. There was no 4H, which makes sense, due to the fact that this isn’t prime farm territory. There was a large pen with goats and sheep that we brought Micah in, and you will be able to see those pics on Micah’s blog soon.
Most of the animals were mutts, crosses between Dorsetts and Hampshires. There was one that I couldn’t tell if it was a goat or a Cheviot. We eventually found the Hampshire sheep, and they were way off by themselves, in a concrete floor pen with metal bars. it was like they were in jail. I missed the 4H-ness of it all. There were no signs on the breeds, wool breeds vs. meat breeds, yarn, or sheep shows. This may sound odd to a lot of people, but there was nothing very personable about it all. Disappointing.
There are some other differences between the LA County fair and fairs back in New England. One is the food. There aren’t any fried dough places, but funnel cakes. We actually bought a Mexican Funnel Cake, which was basically strips the size of churros. Check out the link if you don’t know what those are. They’re good stuff. There weren’t Italian Sausage booths or any chowders, but plenty of burritos, tacos, tortas, and the like. And about 14 Hot Dog on a Stick places. Another interesting addition was their ability to deep fry anything. We dined on deep fried oreos, while they also had Snicker’s bars, Twinkies, and even deep fried Coke. I don’t know how they did that. Here’s a couple pics of the oreos.
Another difference was in the shopping areas. There weren’t really many quaint mom and pop places, but mostly infomercial stuff. We saw insurance booths, miracle mop booths, back rub places, polishing booths, vacations to wine country, wine of the month, and a mattress dealer. They had about five huge buildings filled with these things. We walked through, but nothing to really look at. One thing we did see was a Ken Crane’s tent, which is a dealer that sells TVs and other electronics. They had the 103″ plasma tv, which is the worlds largest plasma TV. It costs a mere $69,990. Impressive TV. I told the man working that if he wanted to donate one to a church youth group, I would gladly take it. He didn’t.
Here’s one last pic to enjoy: