The Life Highway

How to improve your life and other stuff I know nothing about

Road Trip – Cardiff By The Sea, CA

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

Tonight my pretend road trip arrives at Cardiff By The Sea.  Cardiff By The Sea is actually part of the city of Encinitas, but unlike other communities in Encinitas, it has it’s own zip code.  According to Wikipedia, it is one of the most popular surf spots in San Diego County.  The temperature at the moment is 67 degrees.  Not bad for 11:04 p.m.  The temperature expects to be in the mid-70s this week.

The Clueless Prepper – Batteries

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

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Note: to fully enjoy this post,bring  up the song Battery by Metallica and have it playing as you read this.

Okay, that was a little cheesy.  But, it is a good song and one of my all-time favorite albums.  Do whatever you want.  Anyway…

A journey begins with a single step.  I feel like I’m missing something.  Oh yeah, I forgot to include the mileage that the journey is supposed to take – a thousand miles.  Or in my case, 10,000 miles.  You see, my ultimate goal is not just to be prepared for emergencies, but to be able to make my family completely independent and my home completely self-sustaining.  Is that possible?  I don’t know.  Would I have the passion and energy to go to that extreme?  I don’t know.  Will I even care to go to that extreme?  I don’t know, but I do know that if I aim for that goal, then I will likely accomplish a lot more in my emergency preparedness mission than I would have originally.

So, what is my first step?  My first step is to buy batteries.  Why was that my first step?  Because I happened to be in Costco the other day and saw batteries on the shelf.  I saw that they were selling them in large quantities (which is what Costco does), and so I decided to buy them.  Simple as that.

It actually made sense that this was my first prepping step.  What started this whole thing anyway?  A brown out.  What is needed when the power goes out, or in my case mostly out?  Power.

What kind of batteries did I buy?  AA and AAA.  Next time I will pick up C’s and D’s.

Now, I have bought batteries before.  But what happens is that they just go into a drawer in the house and get used up.  Then one day we go to replace the batteries in the remote and after opening drawer after drawer, we find that we have one remaining battery left and that means it’s time to buy more.  But if an emergency suddenly occurs and batteries are needed to power flashflights or other devices, we have none available.

So, the batteries that I purchased are for emergencies only and will go into a special place in the garage.  If we run out of batteries in the house, we will have to go to the store and buy new ones.  The way that I plan to do that is to buy the same amount that I just bought and replace the emergency amount with the package that I just bought. That way the emergency batteries are always fresh.

So, there’s the first step.  We are on our way!

Road Trip – Solana Beach, CA

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

So, my pretend road trip continues.  Each new blog post represents one city on my journey across the country.  Today I arrived in Solana Beach, CA.  It is summer here in Southern California, but the temperature here is a perfect 73 degrees.  I came here once before and that was in the year 1996.  I came here for a weekend retreat with my college church group, Campus Crusade.  One significant event that happened during that weekend was the enjoyment of my very first fish taco.  Well, I really shouldn’t use the word “enjoyment” because that word doesn’t really describe my experience.  I love fish tacos now, but on that spring day in ’96, “fish” and “tacos” did not exactly seem like a match made in heaven. So, anyway, I’m back here again.  Well, sorta.  Remember that I’m not actually here.

The Clueless Prepper – Post 1

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

Today marks the beginning.  Today is Day 1 of a long journey of preparing for the next apocalypse.  Or is it the first apocalypse?  Exactly how many apocalypses have we had?  I think the upcoming one will be the first.  Anyway, over the last several years, I have had a growing sense that I need to prepare for something – the end of the world, an economic collapse, an earthquake, an 8-minute power outage…something really bad.

It all started one day in…I believe it was 2012.  In fact, I think I was sitting in this exact spot.  And it was a Saturday.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I was watching a UCLA football game.  Actually, I believe it was the UCLA-USC game for that year.  Sometime around the beginning of the 4th quarter, the TV went out.  However, there were other appliances that were functioning in the house.  I’m sure I initially attributed it to a circuit breaker issue or something.  I know virtually nothing about electricity or pretty much anything not related to sports, politics, music and my job.  In fact, my daughter just asked me what the word “coincidence” means (as she was reading this post over my shoulder) and I was unable to give her an answer.  I later learned that we were experiencing a “brown out”.  This was evidenced by the fact that a limited amount of light was emanating from the lights.

Shortly, after my UCLA-USC game disappeared off of the television, my wife walks into the house with $200 worth of groceries, much of which was about to go into an increasingly warming refrigerator.  Well, the brown out stretched on and on, the sun sank lower and lower and the mood in the house reflected the light level in the house…darker and darker.  At one point, we decided to temporarily escape our situation and go out to a local restaurant to eat.  We did this, but it wasn’t without it’s share of difficulties as we had to figure out how to disconnect the garage door opener so that we could open the garage to back the car out.  This was about as much as we could handle.  We grumpily pulled away and made our way toward the light.  It wasn’t the light you walk into at the end of your life, no matter how much we were wishing it was, but the part of the city where sight was possible. The dinner helped for awhile, but by the end of the evening, I began filling my car with perishables from the refrigerator to drop off at my parents’ house as well as my friend’s house.

While I was completing Operation Food Rescue, I got the message that our lights were back on.  I could bring the groceries back home and all was well with the world.

However, that 6 to 8 hour descent into darkness and despair made me aware of how dependent we are on modern-day technology and how woefully unprepared we were in the event an actual disaster ever happened.  So, four years later, I am going to start preparing my family for the end of the world…or at least, an annoying brown out.  And I’m inviting you to come along for the ride!

Well, it’s 4:35 p.m.  Suppose I should take a shower……

 

Road Trip – Del Mar, CA

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

20140705_143219Right now, I’m on a road trip.  Not a real road trip, but a pretend one.  For every blog post, there will be a corresponding post about where I am on my pretend trip across the country.  I am doing this as motivation to blog as often as I can  Once my road trip takes me from Southern California to New York, I will have a lot of posts under my belt and who knows what that will mean for my writing career.  As you can see, it’s working very well (*sarcasm*).  When was my last post?  January?  But, I will keep at it.  It’s like pulling the cord to start a lawnmower.  You pull it, but nothing happens.  You pull it again, but nothing happens.  You may end up pulling the thing like 6 or 7 times, but eventually it will start.  That is assuming the lawnmower has gas in it.  Anyway, I spent a very, very long time in La Jolla.  Today, I arrived in Del Mar.  A turtle could have left La Jolla at the time of my last blog post and made it here well before me.  Oh well.  Here I am.  It is sunny and 69 degrees.  It is also Memorial Day.  If all goes well, I won’t be here long.  I intend to do a lot of traveling this summer if you know what I mean.

In reality, I have been to Del Mar two previous times.  The first time was in 1997 at a Campus Crusade retreat.  It was the first (and only) time I have ever given my testimony. The other time was two years ago in 2014.  I rode down to see my brother and my oldest nephew perform with Electra Mustaine at the Fairgrounds.  It was the first of two shows.  The genre of music was a little bit different from the genre of music that Electra’s dad plays.  Her dad is Dave Mustaine, the founder as well as lead singer and guitarist for the band Megadeth.  He was also a founding member of Metallica.  There was no headbanging at this show as they were playing country music.  The highlight of the day for me was meeting the aforementioned heavy metal icon after the show.  Now, that is not to say that there wasn’t any headbanging that day.  Before the show, me and my second oldest nephew made the rounds, seeing and riding as many attractions as possible.  The most memorable one was the super slide that you see in the photo.  At the top, you get a sack to place under you and you then slide down.  I slid down fast and the long area at the bottom that allows you to gradually come to a halt wasn’t long enough and I found myself (and my head) slamming into the padded wall at the bottom.  It was a pain in the neck but I survived.

Anyway, I have some ideas of things to post about, so hopefully the road trip will move along a little quicker.

Things To Be Thankful For #3 – Religious Freedom

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

1463550_10201958970828117_1536570666_nPretend Road Trip Update: My very slow road trip continues.  Today I have reached La Jolla.  La Jolla is 12 miles north of San Diego.  Its about 7 miles long and some of it has some really nice views of the ocean as well as San Diego.  La Jolla is where UCSD (University of California San Diego) is located.  It is also famous for the cross you see in the photo here.  This is the Mt. Soledad Veterans War Memorial.  It is one of the highest points of San Diego.  According to Wikipedia, it is technically part of San Diego.  It has a separate zip code however, and so the addresses are allowed to say “La Jolla”.  It is cloudy right now.  It has been raining all day here in Southern California (that is not pretend).  We were hit by a pretty decent sized storm today that is currently blowing out.

Well, today I was going to talk about how thankful I am for the rain, but since my pretend road trip has taken me to La Jolla and since the photo I’m posting is an actual photo I took in La Jolla and since there is not a cloud to be seen in the photo, it didn’t seem appropriate to talk about rain today.  So, I will save the rain for another day.  El Niño will surely provide me other opportunities to combine a rain post with an actual rainy day.

Since my photo is of a cross, I thought it would be fitting to make this week’s “thankful for” post to be about religious freedom.  This morning I attended church.  I attend church every Sunday.  It’s something I’ve done my whole life.  Not a big deal.  However, it is a very big deal in other parts of the world.  In certain countries, you could be put to death for doing something like that.  Tonight I will be meeting in a restaurant with my discipleship group to discuss…well, religious stuff.  If I wasn’t leading that group tonight, I would have the option of attending a church potluck.  That is something that I doubt I would be able to do in countries like Iran.

In some countries, you have to practice your religion underground – by meeting secretly in houses and making sure you do not let it be known what your true faith is for fear of government persecution and/or death.  Here in the United States, we have no such concerns and are able to practice our faith publicly.  How sad and how difficult it would be for something that is an important part of who you are – your faith – to have to be hidden.

Now, do I feel thankful?  I have to confess that even though I’m writing about this, I still don’t feel the emotion of graditude for it.  I think that is because I have no idea of what it would really be like to not have that freedom.  I am however, deeply appreciative of freedom in general.  I do have a very strong emotional response to that.  And that includes religious freedom.  So I guess that I am just thankful for freedom, period.

The United States is still the freest country on earth and I am overwhelmingly thankful for that.

Things To Be Thankful For #2 – San Diego

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

 

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Well, I have finally reached San Diego on my pretend road trip across the United States.  That is not much of a feat considering that I started at the Mexican border.  But, alas I am here.  Once again, I need to remind my reader(s) that I am not actually on a road trip.  I am basically tagging every post to a city name.  So, every post will be represented by a city along a predetermined route across the United States of America.  So, by the time I have a blog post represented by New York City, I will have posted a ton of articles and who knows what my life will look like then and what those hundreds of blog posts will lead to.

Anyway, it is 60 degrees and cloudy here in San Diego.  It is going to be in the low 60’s for at least the next 10 days.  And I should be in the area during that whole time. Even though my next blog post will be “from” the next city north of here, I will still be within a very, very short distance of San Diego.

Each week, I am (or trying to) post an article on something I am thankful for.  This week I was going to write about how much I am thankful for our recent much-needed rain.  However, rain and San Diego didn’t seem to fit together on the same post.  So, I’ll save the rain for another time.  If the weather forecasters are correct, there will be plenty of it here in Southern California during the next few months.

The subject header seems to imply that I am writing about how much I am thankful for San Diego.  However, there should be quotes around the city name.  By extension, I am referring to other similar places as well – the “San Diegos” of the world.  I live in one of those places myself (at least in terms of climate).

San Diego is pleasant.  The weather here in San Diego is about as perfect as you can get and it is that way year-round.  Where I live, you’ll have about two weeks of unbearable heat in the summer and about two weeks of very cold temperatures in the winter and that is about it.  This kind of consistent weather makes it very easy to establish a routine.  You can pretty much maintain the same lifestyle all year round.  You can participate in the same activities every month of the year.  We are rarely stuck inside.  In about 15 minutes, I plan to go out and ride my bike for awhile.  It is a Sunday afternoon in the middle of January.  I take it for granted that I have this option.  So, I am thankful that God has placed me in a mild Mediterranean climate.  At least in terms of weather, this is as close as we get to heaven on this earth.

Another characteristic of San Diego (and I’m now talking about the real San Diego here) is that it is a fun city.  We need fun places to visit, and I dare say, we need fun places to live.  San Diego has tons of activities and events here –  amusement parks, sports teams, museums, restaurants and other interesting places to visit.  San Diego, like most places in Southern California, allows you the unique opportunity to ski and surf in the same afternoon if you were so inclined.

There also seems to be a community aspect to San Diego.  There are many events throughout the county that bring people together (Rock and Roll Marathon, San Diego Fair, etc.).  It might be due to the somewhat isolated nature of the San Diego area, being separated from Orange County by Camp Pendelton and other geographical barriers.  San Diego is not unique in this regard.  You can find this sort of atmosphere in other areas of the country as well, but it’s very cool that a city that already has climate in its favor has this going for it as well.

In my parents’ neighborhood, there are streets that go crazy with Christmas decorations and there are hundreds of people there every night walking up and down the streets.  My kids get so much joy out of seeing all of the Christmas light displays.  And I was thinking, the people who live in these houses could very easily decide not to decorate and there would be nothing wrong with that.  But, if that were to happen, it would definitely change the tone of our holiday season and it would definitely feel like a big piece of it was missing.  There are many good things that people voluntarily create or do that bless our lives and make it fuller and richer, and we often take those things for granted.  So, when I visit fun places like San Diego, I am reminded of this.  We don’t need amusement parks, museums and other special events to live our lives.  We enjoy these things because people thought up the ideas and chose to act on them.

Anyway, I am going to put on my Old Town Mexican Café t-shirt and go out for a Sunday afternoon winter bike ride.  By the way, I got the t-shirt for free because one of the waitors or busboys at the restaurant accidentally spilled salsa on my white t-shirt while I was eating there.

 

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Happy New Year! Time For Resolutions!!

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

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Road Trip Update:  I am currently in National City, CA on my pretend road trip across the country.  By assigning a city to each blog post, I am motivating myself to blog on a regular basis.  If I “make it across the country and back”, that means I will have a lot of blog posts under my belt and who knows what that will mean in terms of what I am writing about, the number of people reading this blog, fame, fortune, etc.  By the way, the photo above was not taken in National City.  It was taken in Simi Valley, CA on a hike I took with my family on New Year’s Day.  So, I am in “National City” today.  The temperature is 62 degrees and they are preparing for five consecutive days of rain here.  Southern California needs this rain very badly.

When I was a kid, my parents bought my brother and I a trivia game called American Trivia Challenge as a Christmas gift.  It was a board game similar to Trivial Pursuit, but the questions were geared more toward history-related subjects.  There was one thing we noticed, however.  Many of the questions in this game were about a city we had never heard of called National City.  So, by playing this game, we not only learned valuable information about the United States but we also learned that National City was founded by the Kimball Brothers and that it had a long stretch of car dealerships called the Mile of Cars.  I also seem to recall that they had street names after Presidents or something.  Our guess was that the game was created by people who lived in this city.  So, National City has always been a city that I’ve known a little more about than the average American.

Well, this blog post is the first in a series of posts that will cover a series of resolutions that I will be making over the course of the year.  One by one, these resolutions will be designed to help me achieve balance in my life, to manage all the busyness and to introduce structure and discipline to a life that often feels crazy and out of control.

My first resolution is very simple: get my kids to bed on time.  By doing this, I will be able to spend time with my wife at an hour where I am not falling asleep, go to bed earlier, get up earlier, get to work earlier, get off work earlier, get home earlier and spend enough time with my kids so that I don’t keep them awake playing with them because I feel guilty for getting home late and thereby continuing the vicious cycle.  So, my first goal is to basically shift my schedule back an hour.  I believe that one resolution alone will make a huge change in my life.

So, how am I doing this?  Every night, I am assigning myself a score between 0 and 7 based on what time I put them to bed.  For example, our children’s bedtime is 8:30.  On the weekends, we usually let them stay up longer.  So, I have designated their school night bedtime to be 8:30 and their weekend/holiday bedtime to be 9:30.  If I get the kids to bed by 8:30 on a weeknight or by 9:30 on a weekend/holiday/vacation night, I score myself a 7.  If I get the kids to bed after that time, but before 8:45 (9:45 on weekends), I score myself a 6.  If I get them to bed after 8:45/9:45 but before 9:00/10:00, I give myself a 5 and so on.  So, on New Year’s night, I got them to bed at a little after 9:30, but before 9:45.  Therefore, I gave myself a 6.

Now, I am following the 80/20 rule.  I will consider myself to be in fulfillment of the resolution if I am 80% successful for the year to date.  As long as I am at 80% or better, I will add another resolution.  And as long as I am at 80% or better for Resolution #2, then I add #3 and so on.  Because I scored a 6 on Friday night, my Year-To-Date percentage was at 85.7%, therefore qualifying me to start Resolution #2, which I did.  My score for Resolution #2 was also 6 on Saturday, qualifying me to add Resolution #3 today.

But…

Weeknights are where the rubber meets the road.  It is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very hard for me to get my kids to bed on weeknights.  There is a HUGE difference between 8:30 and 9:30 and so I am not going to pretend to have met my getting-the-kids-to-bed resolution until after at least a few successful weeknights.  So, while I am technically going to be adding Resolution #4 tomorrow, I am not going to blog about those resolutions until I have confirmed whether or not my Resolution #1 fulfillment is real or not.

So, stay tuned…

Things To Be Thankful For #1 – Thanksgiving Day

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

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Road Trip Update:  I have just arrived in Chula Vista.  The temperature is currently 48 degrees and we are getting ready for five consecutive days of rain here starting on Monday.  Has El Nino arrived?  We shall see.  Chula Vista is a place that I have been to once before.  And when I leave here for my next stop, I still will only have been in Chula Vista one time.  That is because I am not actually there.  This is a pretend road trip.  By attaching each blog post to a city name, I will have a better visual idea of how far this blog has come and it will motivate me to continue posting.  So, that said, I am in “Chula Vista”.  I was here in reality one other time and that was for a Rush concert.  I attended the concert with my brother.  Great show.  Has there ever been a bad Rush show?  I’m sure if you were to ask one of the band members, they would say yes because a lot of musicians tend to be perfectionists.  But I doubt there are many accounts out there of horrible Rush concerts.  Anyway, one of my memories of this concert is the first song and where I heard it.  One thing that you learn about the band Rush when you attend one of their shows is that they start on time.  And I mean right on time.  The time listed on your ticket is when the show will start.  So, at 8:00 p.m., while we were in line waiting to get in, we hear the opening notes of one of their biggest hits, Tom Sawyer.  Within a matter of seconds, the mood of the people waiting in line changed from happy to highly irritated.  The poor old lady scanning tickets at the front of the line was hearing things like, “Hurry up, lady!” among other things.  We ended up reaching our seats in time to catch at least half the song and then we enjoyed a fantastic concert.  It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen and it was amazing to hear that much sound coming from three musicians.

Anyway, so this blog post is basically kicking off a series of blog posts that will cover something I’m thankful for.  The first thing that I am thankful for is that I live in a country, the United States of America, that deems it important to have a holiday that is specifically devoted to the idea of graditude.  We have set aside a day each year where we are encouraged to give thanks for the blessings that we have been given.  During the holiday season, I was going through a study of the five offerings required by the Israelites in the biblical book of Leviticus.  Actually, only two were required – the Sin and Trespass Offerings.  The other three – the Burnt Offering, the Grain Offering and the Peace Offering – were optional.  The Grain Offering was an offering of thanksgiving for God’s provision.  So, I decided that one way I could follow the spirit of that sacrifice was to meditate on, think about and write about the things in my life that I am thankful for.  And that is one of the things that I intend to do on this blog throughout the year.

By the way, this blog post was started a couple months ago but I just now finished it.  I’m hoping to post a lot more frequently throughout 2016.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving

Crazy Driver, · Categories: Uncategorized

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Road Trip Location: San Diego (this is the part of San Diego in between San Ysidro and Chula Vista).  A little chilly here by San Diego standards.  Only going to get up to 61 today.

Okay, so I decided to stay in San Ysidro for awhile.  My effort to get this blog going continues.  The downside of starting an open-ended blog like The Life Highway is that I do not have a specific subject to write about and without that pre-determined starting point, there is nothing to compel me to sit down and write.  And it’s not that I’m not passionate about anything or am lacking in opinions.  Politics and sports give me plenty of material if I wanted to write about those things.  But a deep analysis of why the Dodgers were eliminated in the first round is not what I had intended for this blog (at least for now).  I also have an opinion about the Syrian refugee crisis, but I do not feel the need to share it here.

However, the other day I was thinking about a Bible verse from Psalm 100:

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.” (NIV)

While I was thinking about this, I reminded myself that I have a lot to be thankful for and then something occurred to me.  If I have a lot to be thankful for and if I were to write about each of those things that I’m thankful for, I would have a ton of blog posts.  And forcing myself to sit down regularly and describe something that I’m thankful for would not only be good for me, but will give me tons of material for this blog.  It’s a win-win.  So, time-permitting, I intend for that to be a regular feature of this blog for awhile.  Graditude will be the gasoline to fuel this road trip!