HolyName – Fall On Your Knees

Christian Metal is finally giving my secular selection a run for its money. I’ll continue to share what I find and peaks my interest here. 🙂

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Cars – 2023 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon (Ruby)

For the past 4 years, I’ve exclusively driven a 2019 Honda Civic Type-R. It was the most ridiculous car I’ve ever owned, and I absolutely adored it. Feel free to read the linked post to see my commentary on that beast of a car. The thing is, my life is changing and my needs are changing. While I’d been looking for an older truck to fix up, the diamonds in the rough were few and far between… Something drivable was clearly in new truck territory, and the fixer uppers required more skill than I have to fix up.

Now when I sold my 2000 Dodge Intrepid R/T, I vowed I would never buy another Dodge. I’ve owned many, and they all seemed to fall apart after being poorly maintained by a teenager/20 something at around 100k miles. This Jeep wasn’t my first choice. It wasn’t even my second or third choice. At the end of the day though, it is the only choice that made perfect sense to me and met every need I had for a new truck. I wanted 4×4 with some decent off-road chops, 4 doors, heated seats and a stereo with some thump to it.

Of course, every truck I’ve owned until now has been a GM. I’ve had an ’89 Chevy Silverado, a 2008 Chevy Silverado, and a 2017 GMC Sierra. To say I was stunned at the prices of new trucks was an understatement. To get a new GMC Sierra with the same options I had in my 2017, the sticker price was easily $20k higher. I couldn’t justify that. I gave Ford a brief glance, but to be honest outside of the Mustang GT – Ford has never really interested me one bit. I don’t care for Nissan, and despite my love for Honda – the Ridgeline wasn’t it.

Even the Hyundai Santa Cruz which I think looks pretty sharp in person is another SUV with its roof lopped off. I wanted a body on frame pickup, and the last possible option I considered was the Toyota Tacoma. They’re reliable (when the frames aren’t rusting into dust), affordable, and I’ve always liked the look of them. The problem was I couldn’t find a single 2024 model on the lot which met my requirements. One key one – I will NEVER own another black car. Loved my Honda, but keeping it clean was a nightmare scenario.

A good friend of mine owns several Jeeps and after several conversations convinced me to give the Gladiator a look. Now this is where I need to clarify one of the main reasons (besides my absolute love of the car) I kept my Honda for near 5 years. I absolutely hate dealerships. Hate is a strong word, I know, but it’s the only one I can use in polite company. I bought my last two cars from Middletown Honda in Middletown, NY. It was the greatest dealership experience I’ve ever had in my life. 95% of the deal was done via email/phone. I walked in and drove out.

So I found a pair of Gladiator’s in my price range. I’ll just copy and paste what I shared on Facebook here…

It’s been a good… 25 years since I walked into a dealership and kicked the dust off my sneakers as I left because the service was so bad. I’ve been considering trading in my Civic for a pickup, I really like my car so whatever I decide on has to be a great match for me.

One dealer in particular had a specific model I wanted, brand new, in my price range… So I went after work to take a look. After walking the massive lot and not finding it, the “head” of selling that brand introduced himself (no handshake) and brought me to the truck sitting in the showroom.

Ok cool, we struck up some small talk and he insulted my trade in. I mentioned a good friend recommended the dealer after buying the same truck just a different model… “That’s the worst model you can get.” Ok. I hand him my keys so they can appraise the trade.

He meanders off and tells me if anyone comes up to me, I should let them know who I’m working with. He comes back eventually, phone still pressed to his ear and starts trying to upsell me on other trucks.

He tries to upsell me on a different trim that runs 20k more than this one, no actual price mentioned. We still haven’t spoken numbers. Then he takes me outside to another similar truck which is over modified and used but the same price as the new one. I’m not buying someone else’s project.

Still haven’t test driven the truck. Still haven’t had any of the features explained to me. Zero effort made to actually sell me the truck. Instead he rambles about all the similar trucks he’s owned. Oh and he’s barely put his phone down once throughout this.

I make it clear I want the truck in the showroom, I want to test drive it, he says it’ll take a few minutes to get it out so I can. He offers a test drive of a completely different trim, two or three different ones… Nope, I want this one. “Should I write SOLD on the windshield now?”. He proceeds to do just that as I tell him I’m only looking right now.

“Oh you’re just looking!” He says in a sarcastic tone. “I’ll go get the keys.” So I sit in the truck, pop the hood, look around it, etc… At this point I’ve been there nearly 45 minutes (maybe 30 in the showroom) and I’m done. He didn’t even try to sell me the truck.

Had he actually tried to sell me the truck, I likely would have put a deposit on it tonight and went home to clean my car out. Instead, I walk into the sales office, he’s still on the phone and tell him I want my keys back. He mentions he’s about to get the truck out, nope, I’ll have my keys now.

So he looks around the desk, can’t find them. Still on the phone. Heads back to his desk, claims to have the trucks keys in his hand and says he can get it right now. Nope, I just want the keys to my Honda, thanks. He finds them still on his desk roughly 30 minutes after I gave them to him.

“Maybe I’ll come back when you’re less busy” I say as I walk off. Guy couldn’t be bothered. Not angry, just annoyed. Oh well. It was a really nice truck though.

So that’s the story there. Absolutely rotten service. I shared my woes on Facebook, and got a few referrals to OTHER Jeep dealers. One in particular, Hayes in Gainesville, GA absolutely hooked me up. I had a brief conversation with a salesman there about the truck I eventually bought. On even the possibility of me buying it, he drove it from Lawrenceville to Gainesville and set up to meet me after work (around 5pm). I took it for a test drive, had some great conversation, discussed scripture and he sold me the truck!

Here’s the thing though, I never make a big purchase like this in one shot. I always sleep on it. I slept on buying the house I’m sitting in now for a weekend. I slept on the Type-R for a week. For this Jeep? A night. When the salesman asked me what I’d do if someone came in and bought it while I took my time, I simply said “Then that means the good Lord doesn’t want me to have this truck.” On the way home I called my Jeep friend, then called my brother who also owned one… After those two conversations, I was settled. I’d be buying it the next day.

I’ll admit, it was a big change going from a low slung sports car that can eat any curve for breakfast to a truck that was never renowned for its cornering ability. That said, it is quite possibly the most comfortable truck I’ve ever driven. It’s tall, roomy, and has more than enough low-end grunt to get me up to speed from a stop quickly. The off-road chops are beyond question, and for what I paid – I pretty much stole the thing. The stereo is absolutely staggering, the wind/road noise is negligible. I adore this truck!

The only mods I’ve made thus far was upgrading the lighting to LED (all my cars since my VW Golf-R had LED lighting, going back to halogen was like driving by candle light), adding a tonneau cover, and once the parts come in – nerf rails so shorter folks can get in easily. The MPG is a little rough the best I’ve gotten so far is 18MPG after installing the tonneau cover and inflating the massive tires to 37PSI (whats written on the door) from the 35PSI they came with. For the longest time I wanted a convertible and a truck. Now I’ve got both.

Time will tell if my concerns about driving another Chrysler product were warranted, but so far I’m quite thrilled with my Ruby and look forward to many miles and coatings of mud. OH! One other thing, the Jeep wave. Apparently it started back in WW2, idk, but I’ve gotten used to raising two fingers as I pass another Wrangler or Gladiator. I’m not sure if it covers ALL Jeep models but so far I’ve only seen it from those two. Either way I get a kick out of it every time. One last thing? The ducks. I’ve got a handful in my center console, and have ducked two Jeeps so far. I need to put some bible verses on them I think, it’s a good opportunity to share the Gospel.

God bless!

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Fun with AI

I know it’s breaking a cardinal rule of AI image generation, I don’t remember most of the prompts used here but where I recall part, I left notes in the image (should show when hovered over). Otherwise… Enjoy!


Image 1 of 38

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Job 27:3-6

 As long as my breath is in me,
And the breath of God in my nostrils,
 My lips will not speak wickedness,
Nor my tongue utter deceit.
 Far be it from me
That I should say you are right;
Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go;
My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live.

Job 27:3-6

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Screams and Sobs

Sitting in church today, the pastor in discussing Romans 8 brought up the groanings and utterances of the Holy Spirit on our behalf when we simply don’t know what to pray. It reminded me of those times in my life where I prayed without words.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:26

Those of us who can remember what a computer sounded like… The sound of a modem negotiating. Beeps and screams that the human ear can not discern or translate. My computer knew what it was saying, and the remote computer knew what it was saying, but I was clueless and just satisfied when the connection completed and my request was completed.

When I sobbed by myself at the failing of my marriage, or when my father passed, or many other times where I sobbed or screamed out loud. God knew my heart, he saw through everything at the surface to the Holy Spirit inside me and granted me peace. He answered my prayers, no words left my mouth but He knew. The Holy Spirit knew, translated those sobs and screams into prayer and spoke it on my behalf to the Father.

If you believe, if you need to pray but don’t know the words, God does. Through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, in your sobs, screams or even your silence, He hears you.

God bless ya.

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Covid, Depression, Exercise, and Faith.

Now I’m not sure if depression is a known side effect of Covid, and I’ve fought it all my life, but DANG. Lets do a recap. I come home early from a men’s retreat with my church, Covid kicks my ass for 3 days straight with congestion, brain fog, fever, chills, the whole kit and caboodle. Day 4, most of the symptoms are gone besides the brain fog and general lethargy.

Day 7, I’m feeling well enough to get out of the house and go to church, yay! Day 8 I try to work out and after 6 minutes find myself a gasping, pathetic mess. Fast forward to the start of week 3. I think I’m good, I feel 99% good, I even get a workout or two in. Enter the funk and general post-infection malaise. Friday of week 3 I wake up at 2am coughing violently.

Heavy congestion has me. It’s back… oh good grief.

Saturday? Gone. WHAT.

Finally week 4 comes along. I still have an occasional cough (first time I got Covid 2 years back I had a month long cough after, this one is better). But my mood is absolute GARBAGE. I noticed I’m drinking a bit more so I put a stopper in that. Wednesday (two days ago) I get home from the office completely dead inside. Yesterday? Felt dead outside too.

Now when this month of fun began and I was distracted by illness, not only did I stop working out but I also stopped reading. That included my bible. Something I’ve noticed over the past few years, the longer I go without getting into the Word (listening to sermons/music doesn’t count) the worse my mood and attitude get. Remove exercise too? I’m a real charmer.

So a few days back I made the time and got back into the Word. I’ve been working through Acts in my own study. I also started working out this past Monday but last night… I neither wanted to read the good book, OR get on my exercise machine. I get to about 8pm, sitting on my couch with a bunch of candy wrappers (no trick-or-treaters this year)…

Then it hits me… the bits of scripture I’ve highlighted this past week.

Acts 3:6 – In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.

Acts 3:16 – And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Acts 4:11-12 – This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Look to Jesus, accept Him, find strength through faith in Him, RISE UP AND WALK.

So I did. My mood today? 5 by 5. I’ve got a long day of work ahead of me, but I have faith it will be a productive one. My eyes need to be on God. My focus needs to be on God. If I keep him in sight then whatever I’m doing will (hopefully) be for my good and His glory. Best I can do is keep trying, keep rising, and keep walking.

God Bless.

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the ick diaries

I haven’t been sick in about 2 years now. The last time I got sick? Covid. I caught really bad colds in December of ’21 and January of ’22 then got to win the ultimate prize in Feb of ’22 just ahead of moving to Georgia. I recalled it being pretty bad but it came and went in about 3 days and left me with a cough for about a month.

So about 2am on Monday morning I woke up to a sore throat and a runny nose. Goodie! Figured it’d be a cold, but as the day progressed it just got worse. Coughing. Stuffed up. Brain fogged. By early evening despite no fever I was violently shivering. I drank plenty of water, turned the heat up to 78F, hid under two large comforters, and prayed for relief.

Claritin-D didn’t help my sinus. Mucinex didn’t help my coughing or congestion. That also reminded me of my vow never to use that crap again after it turned my nose into a randomly firing blood geyser on what would be my last Christmas in NY. I made it to the next morning and popped some Advil. Surprisingly that stopped the shivers but made me sweat a LOT.

My skin hurt, my hair hurt, my joints ached. Then the fever kicked in. I think I topped out at about 101F. Thank goodness for doordash and instacart. My appetite was non-existent but I had to eat something and between the Pho place in town and the organic Chicken Soup from Kroger, that really hit the spot. All that plus two gallons of cranberry juice. I was good.

At night I noticed how everything looked yellow to me. That was a new one. I had to google it, but it’s a thing. Oh, and my sense of smell? Exit stage left.

Wednesday came, and between my cocktail of NyQuil and Advil, the fever broke. I still was not a fan of moving. Everything hurt. Most motions sent everything around me spinning. I was glued to the couch watching Grimm (not a bad show at all, has the paraplegic dude from “A Million Little Things” and Lois from “Superman & Lois” in it).

My brother suggested I try a “Hot Toddy” before bed, never had one, had to look it up. 1.5oz whiskey (Bulleit Rye in this case), .5oz lemon juice, a tablespoon of honey, and up to a cup of hot water. That plus a NyQuil? Slept great for a change. Thursday came along and after getting cleaned up I started to feel myself again. My energy was returning, as was my appetite.

I managed to go outside, feed the birds and get some fresh air. Felt wonderful. I also started to clean the house, washing clothes, dishes, floors, etc… I wanted to disinfect the crap out of this place. The Advil made me sweat like a dog and I’m almost thankful I couldn’t smell the place. Yea maybe TMI but nobody’s paying you to read this.

Thursday wound down with some Tempeh tacos, another Hot Toddy and another NyQuil. Slept even better as I had to try and get some work done. I still don’t feel great today but if I sat on my couch for another 12 hours I was going to lose my mind. I took the garbage out earlier and by the time I reached the house I was gasping.

A couple weeks back I took a 9 mile hike, now I was struggling to walk 50 feet. Lesson learned, take it easy. I’m still hydrating, still eating, still can’t smell a dang thing. There’s a bit of brain fog and some head/chest congestion but I feel like I’m definitely over the hump this go round. Going to keep to myself for another couple days before I get around people again though.

I will say the 2 week long social media detox was wonderful though. I turned the taps back on but I’m not glued to it now. I also decided to not re-activate tiktok. As entertaining as it could be some times, it propagated a lot of toxicity into my life that I simply do not need, especially when I’m recovering from my latest bout with this crap from Wuhan.

Anyhoo… have a good weekend y’all, and God bless ya.

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Social Media Detox – Day 2

Last night I uninstalled Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok from my phone. The one thing I noticed right away is that in lieu of the endless scrolling on my phone I’m focusing on other tasks that need to be completed. I have picked up my phone a dozen times today and out of sheer muscle memory started the app that is where Facebook used to be.

It sort of reminds me of when I first quit vaping many years ago. I think at that point I’d vaped for years and gotten to the point of building my own mods that ran off my work computer’s USB port. This was back before they banned the practice indoors. Anyhow when I decided to quit, I stopped bringing it to work.

Every few minutes I’d get the urge to take a drag, so I would look for my vape mod and physically twitch when I realized it wasn’t there. I endured that for two weeks give or take. The headaches faded in a few days but the physical habit was the hardest part to break. I think that will likely be the case here.

I figure if anyone actually needs to reach out to me, they can. Otherwise the social media world spins on without me. I do have a headache though, but I don’t think it’s caused by lack of dopamine… 🙂

God bless!

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Social Media = Less Social

I came to a realization the other day, and shortly after that decided to deactivate both my Facebook and Instagram. The problem sad to say it is my apparent addiction to social media. The realization hit as I spent about an hour arguing with someone via PM, something which without social media tunnel vision and manipulation, never would have happened.

Social media has as a whole made me far less social. I’m an introvert to begin with, so my fuel tank for socialization is already extremely limited unless I’m currently engaged in activities or conversations I personally find interesting. Instead of burning said fuel via direct person to person interaction, it was done online. By the time I had opportunity in the offline world, my low fuel light was flashing.

I sit and think about it – so many times I had a brief interaction with someone in the real world, and instead of connecting directly I ducked behind that virtual shield of Facebook. I wouldn’t get to know them by asking – I’d look them up on social media and if I found greater interest afterwards – I’d add them as a friend and wait to see if they were addicted like me.

In very few instances this resulted in further engagement, conversations, etc… I’m not even talking about trying to date people here, just human interaction on my terms using the modern (read: idiotic) paradigm of social media. For most though, I just became another number on a pile of “friends” numbering in the hundreds if not thousands – and that is only if they accepted.

If they didn’t accept, I would literally wonder if I read the cues wrong. After all, I saw Facebook as a safer route to engage, I control the taps here, don’t I? Early on it used to grind my gears when a message wasn’t accepted or a friend request was ignored. Now with so much else to look at, I embraced my dopamine fueled apathy and moved on to the next post.

So much of what I see every single day on social media is cultivated first by other real people only showing what they want others to see, and further by mysterious algorithms working behind the scenes to draw our attention where IT sees fit. At the end of the day I’m still just a lonely introvert, sitting at home and rapidly scrolling through an endless feed of nothing.

The entire time, my socialization tank gets emptier, and emptier, and emptier until the point I really don’t care that I’m lonely. I don’t care that I’ve been single for the better part of a decade. I don’t care that when I go out the only conversations I get with real people are the folks serving me food and drink that are forced to interact with me to get paid.

That said though, some of the best conversations and interactions I’ve had over the past few years were with bartenders and wait staff. They are people too after all, so many I see simply running on auto-pilot until their shift is up… Others however, there’s something resembling a friendship built there which can expand beyond the working week. I’ll take it.

In the mean time, my social skills fall away, and instead of seeking contact, conversation, and socialization with real flesh and blood people where a keyboard or touch screen is not involved… I’m left confined to my own mind, as are others, and I wind up arguing with them over a reality that outside social media or our own brains – simply does not or should not exist.

Social media thrives on social manipulation, and I’m !@#$ing done with it.

So for now, I’ve deactivated Facebook and Instagram. Tiktok is next. I’m cutting off the source of my dopamine addiction and forcing myself to put down the phone. I plan to use my limited supply of introvert fuel to interact with people in the real world for a change. I think nicotine may be easier to kick than what I should have walked away from back in the days of MySpace.

God bless.

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Like, share, and say AMEN!

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

Mark 12:41‭-‬44

Maybe I’m out of line here friends, but any time I see a social media post with some declaration about God and a request to like, share, or say “Amen” it stinks to me of pride and reminds me of “The Widows Offering.”

The pharisees would pray the loudest for their own glory.  They would drop their coins into the collection jars from a great height so everyone would know what they did.  In the mean time this lowly, humble widow gave all she could.

Every time I see those posts it disgusts me.  Even more are the images who suggest prayer to anyone other than God or Jesus.  It’s a “look at me! Acknowledge my faith, world!”. It’s a load of crap!

The Lord knows our hearts.  When we like, share, or type “Amen” we serve no master other than the world for the adoration of our peers.  We’re praying loudly in the public square for OUR glory, not HIS.

Maybe I’m out of line here, but maybe I’m not.

Don’t like or share this, just pray.

God bless.

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