Ch-ch-changes, 2013 Edition

The Dumb Phone

As my tweet stated:
Quit my smartphone cold turkey at noon.  Wonder how bad the DTs will be #addicted
One of the supreme joys of ADHD is the vulnerability you have to, well, anything that stimulates your limbic system.  Basically, early in the day (pre meds) and late in the day (when the meds tail off), my brain turns into this mush of neurons that's desperate for stimulation, for something to make the cacaphony of input from visual, auditory, and sensory signals even out and make sense.  However, early and late in the day is the only time I regularly see my family.

Not. Good.

Since I got my Atrix in 2011, I've been on an increasingly slack-jawed path to staring at YouTube videos and obsessing over the current trending topics on Twitter.  General pathology looks something like this:

  • The last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning isn't my wife, it's my phone.  Forgive my bluntness, but that's fucked up.  I got convicted of that "right quick" today in church and the way forward was clear.  
  • My phone is an immediate escape from boredom.  I've been reaching for it any time my current flow "blocks" as we say in Computers.  It's always there, ready for fresh content to feed my neurons.  However, "boredom" is the first gateway to creativity, and I've become a much more banal, reactive person since I've had a smartphone.
  • I'm ignoring my kids.  No, that's not quite right.  I'm neglecting my kids.  I noticed today a specific tic i've acquired: When I sing my girls to sleep I reach for my smartphone to check my twitter feed or pre-load my next Hickock45 video while I sing them a song on autopilot.   Grace's first memory of me is likely to be me with a set of iPhone headphones in my ears while she tries to get my attention.  That's fucked-up, too.
  • The phone is a siren call to other compulsions I have.  I've been kidding myself for too long that I could handle that.  Nope, it's been "handling" me.
The above was sadly predictable.  I'm mad at myself for letting it get that bad, and I don't blame the technology, "the world," or anything else.  It's on me, and it's on me to stop it.

So, today, I got home from a wonderful sermon at church (more on that in a second) and I fulfilled the oath I made during Communion: I pulled my SIM card out of the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro (great little phone, BTW...can't recommend it enough) and set-out to buy a phone that did Calls, Bluetooth, Text, and nothing else.  I shut-off my data plan, too.  

I selected a GoPhone Z431 for the cut-rate price of $30, popped-in my SIM, and here I sit in the stylishly remodeled McDonald's on US60 in Lexington.  I'm sure the shakes will ensue momentarily :)

* * *

The Church

My wife and I decided to break with our former church home after wrestling with it for nearly 2 years.  It was a difficult decision, meaning me giving up a Small Group ministry leadership position, and leaving many friends behind.  But it was time; in reality, it was past time.  We'd ignored God's leading; more specifically, I ignored it, afraid of something new.

We decided to start looking immediately after we took a Concealed Carry Weapons class at a church one Saturday in June.   I've no idea what kicked me out of it, but being in that other building had this latent energy, so we found ourselves right back there the next morning for service.

I wasn't prepared for how awesome it was.

You know how you get invited along to a concert sometimes and you're just not prepared for how much connection you feel to the music, the performers, and even the genre?   That was me in Bedford Acres that morning.  We walked out, I sat down in Whitney's Fusion, turned on the ignition and said to no one in particular, "So that's what church is supposed to be like."  A pastor laying it down, straight from the Gospel, and the Gospel as "GOOD NEWS."  Unapologetic good news, soul food for starving people.   Singing from the heart.  People expressing their adoration for God as they saw fit:  Loud voices, clapping, raised hands, swaying to the music.  Missions, both at home (Jail, Nursing Homes, Single Moms) and abroad (Guatemala, China, etc.)

It rung my bell, pretty hard.  It was like God himself elbowed me like a knowing friend: "See?  SEE?  I told you."

The rest of the summer was due diligence, searching other candidate churches, visits back to BACC--yes, it was still great--and then discussions between Whitney and myself.

In 45 minutes, I'm headed back there to get a preso on the pastor's vision for the future.

* * *

The Firearms

So the whole thing that catalyzed the changes above was a class on Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) that my wife's Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) group held at BACC one Saturday in early June.  Hard to believe it was 2 months ago now, but we sat through 4 hours of (really, really boring) classroom work, and about 2 hours at a bowling alley converted to a shooting range in Paris, Ky.

To accomplish the class, my Dad let me have his Glock 17



To be honest with you, I've never liked handguns.

My dad has a fascination with .38 Caliber revolvers and I kinda hate them:   They're loud, heavy, and hard to hit the broad side of a barn with.   Dad has a little S&W .22LR 6-shot revolver one could drive tacks with, but anything in bigger bores for me felt like the gun equivalent of a 426 Hemi--brutish and hard to control.

Then I shot Dad's Glock.

Okay, so it's a 17, meaning it's a full-size "Service Pistol," chambered in 9mm (There's also a Glock 22 on the same frame chambered in .40 Caliber S&W).  Sweet, sweet trigger.  Magazine capacity for 17 (!) rounds.  That's a whole lot of (relatively) powerful, accurate ammo in a lightweight package.

I could go on and on....I've shot the gun twice since, and I can see why people love Glocks so much.  For one thing, they're mechanical pornography:  Simple....simple to field-strip, clean, and incredibly reliable.  Racking the slide has this satisfying yet light action.

Since then, I've been a bit of a semi-automatic handgun whore.  I've gone to the local gun shop + firing range, and shot things like the Sig Sauer P229,  Glock 19, Glock 26, Berreta 92FS, and various other .38 and .380 guns.

Where I'm at right now:  I'm sold on 9mm.  Plenty of punch, great designs out there (all-metal and polymer).   What gets me now is the great divide between the striker fired pistols and the Double Action/Single Action designs with conventional safeties.

I've been around guns since I was born, and I've known how to safety a levergun since I was 4 or so--honestly, I don't even remember learning it, it was like I was born knowing how.   While I love Glocks and the design, the lack of an integrated safety bothers me considering this will be a weapon I prospectively carry and keep in my home.   I've been around my pal Whitlock at work long enough that the concept of carrying a Glock hot (1 in the chamber and the striker ready to fire) is a bit worrisome.

Enough bloviating.  Current crush objects:

Glock 26 (Austrian, Striker fire, SA)

Beretta PX4 Storm (Italian, DA/SA, hammer fired, polymer base)
Sig Sauer P229 (German, DA/SA, hammer fired)

Haven't bought anything yet, but it's coming.  :)


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