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Me & Jen rockin the sled

Every Christmas the McLean side of the family has a tradition of getting all the brothers & sisters together. Fortunately for us we all live super close, except James, who’s in Virginia – he makes the trip each year. Normally we go to “The Happiest Place on Earth” (Disneyland), but over the past few years we’ve come to the realization that while Disneyland is alot of fun, it might not be quite the happiest place on earth, especially at $75 a pop, unbearably long lines, and crowds of people who don’t believe in daily bathing. (I’m not a Mickey Mouse hater – we’ll go back someday when we hit the lotto!).

So this year we decided to ditch Disneyland and head up to the mountains, Big Bear! Our kids were STOKED to go to the snow – it was Macy’s first real trip to the snow and we got lucky as it DUMPED just before we went up there, like 4 feet. Once we got up there it snowed again, and the next day was absolutely beautiful – perfect for sledding, which we did of course.

We had a blast with our whole family: Mamo Barbara & Papa Bob, Uncle James, Lisi & Beau, Travis & Emmy, Me & Jen, and Miles & Macy. Here’s a little slideshow from the trip – my camera ran out of batteries & I forgot the charger, but we got a few pics…

Periodically we look through Craigslist for random stuff (isn’t that what Craigslist is for?). Anyway, we were looking at rentals to see what’s available in our area – any better deals, etc. We came across this (what appeared to be a) sweet deal [link may or may not work now]. So I quickly sent off an email to michaeljacoby81@yahoo.com. What I got back was very strangely worded:

Attn Applicant,

Thanks for your email and interest in renting my house..I am Michael Jacoby,the owner of the house you are making enquiry of…Actually I resided in the house with my family, my wife and my only daugther before and presently we have moved out due to my transfer from my work now in  Warsaw,Poland. Presently my house is still available for rent for $1000 USD (rent already includes utilities).More so Now, i’m currently in Lagos,Nigeria for an international Christian follower’s crusade.

Pls i want you to note that i spent a lot on my property that i want to give to you for rent,so i will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own, It is not the money that is the main problem  but i want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad  to see it neat when i come for a check up.I also want you to let me have trust in you as i always stand on my word.

This is the address of the House( 45756 Klamath Court, Temecula, CA 92592 )..

It has a dramatic entry foyer with ceramic floor. Extremely spacious rooms throughout with lots of big windows…nice and light! New neutral paint and some newer carpet..Very quiet, low traffic area. New fridge (7/07)…I believe its absolutely a perfect home for you and your family.Utilities include Water,Trash,Sewer,Gas

SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENT APPLICATION FORM BELOW.

RENT APPLICATION FORM.

FIRST NAME:__________?
MIDDLE NAME:__________?
LAST NAME:__________?
PROFESSION:__________?
PHONE:
(CELL)PHONE__________?
(WORK)PHONE__________?
(HOME)PHONE__________?
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________
CITY: _______________
STATE:______________
ZIP CODE: ____________
HOW LONG? ___________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING__________?
IF THIS HOUSE IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU,
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING? ____________?
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________?
IF YOU HAVE A PET,
NAME OF PET: _____________?
KIND OF PETS: _____________?
HABITS
DO YOU SMOKE ______________ ?
DO YOU DRINK ______________?
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT? ____?

Looking forward to hearing from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you…Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the keys to you,please we are giving you all this based on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that we have not seen yet and only putting everything into Gods hands,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this…

The house is available for rent at the moment so you are free to move in as soon as you wish to…A Deposit of $1000 (which happens to be the security deposit) is required before moving in…Feel free to call me for more information and arrangements on how to get the keys and other necessary documents delivered to you…my number is (+234-806-113-3966  OR  011-234-806-113-3966).The house will be available for rent for a period of 4 years so you have a choice of deciding how long you intend staying there…

God Bless,
Michael Jacoby

As you can see, some strange wording, plus they asked for the name of my dog (which I thought was really weird). So I googled “+234-806-113-3966” and found this post, this post, with a strangely familiar responses from the ‘owner’. I also found this site with tons of information on rental scammers.

Like the old saying goes, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t…’

Found this interesting post from my friend Bobby, who has just recently planted a church in the deep south. Some good, poignant advice on church planting. Here’s an excerpt, but you’ll want to read the whole post (the permalink is broken, so you’ll have to look on his blog for the article entitled “You Gotta Love that Sh*t”).

If you don’t want to do ministry that is messy…don’t plant a church.  If you just want to “feed the saints”…don’t plant a church.  If you just want to stop having to take orders from your current pastor…don’t plant a church.  If you just got fired, let go or laid off from a ministry position…don’t plant a church.  If you are still trying to impress seminary professors with your preaching skills…don’t plant a church.  In fact, if you think planting a church is cool…don’t plant a church.  If you think those things, It’s probably going to be best for you to get a job in your state denominational office…where it’s safe, there’s a steady paycheck and you only have to interact with other Christians.

On the other hand if you love the smell of vomit and beer….if you love to hear about people’s addictions…if you love hearing the f-bomb dropped by every member of a family (including kids)…if you love people wearing halter tops and Budweiser t-shirts in the Sunday service…if you love people putting three dollars cash in the offering plate and crossing their arms during worship…if you love getting 3 a.m. marriage counseling calls…then by all means…plant a church.  I’m not talking about you liking that stuff…I’m talking about…you gotta love that sh*t!!!

That’s all I really wanted to say… I’ve spent a few hours over the last couple weeks looking for a new theme. Found a lot of potentials, but no winners. So far my favorite is Grid Focus, but for some reason it’s not working out for me. I’m looking for something real minimalist – something modern, web 2.0ish – not lot’s of colors. Any good links? Any designers with tons of free time?