Thursday, April 26, 2012

NFL Draft - Carolina at 9


Despite Ron Rivera's talk, I don't believe for a minute that they are content with DT. They are talking up all the positions in an attempt to drum up interest in a trade down. If we had only won that coin flip, we could get a sweet deal from someone in love with Tanneyhill because they would have needed to trade with us to jump the Dolphins.

I'm not a fan of taking Melvin Ingram. I watched most of the USC games this year, and there is no denying his talent, but I feel like Carolina is okay at the rush spots with Hardy and Charles Johnson.

My hope is that they take either Michael Brokers or Fletcher Cox. Cox seems to be the better pass rusher, but he's a little undersized for DT. Brockers seems to be more scheme diverse and would be really stout against the run. For all the hype and hoopla about the quarterbacks in our division, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay all love the run the ball. It's even more important to get a run stuffer if Trent Richardson winds up in Tampa. Brockers would be a force to reckon with in the middle and create situations where Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy could really tee off on the quarterback.

So I'm hoping for a trade back and Brockers, or just stay put and take Brockers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunday Seven : Trademarks

Patrick’s Sunday Seven asked us to name seven of trademarks you most often find yourself using generically.

My list is heavily influenced by the fact that I'm a dad with one tween and one almost toddler.

Onesies - Although my son is starting to out grow these, we still dress him in a onesie often. The true genius of the onesie is easy access to the diaper change area of the body.

Crockpot - We are a busy family with school, church, and social commitments. The crockpot saves us many a night of eating out by essentially letting my wife be in two places at once.

Chapstick - One thing you learn when you have kids, or maybe more correctly said, one thing you are reminded of when have kids is their apparent inability to feel cold when the playground calls. I'm shivering my behind off and my daughter is running all over the playground like it's a perfect 75 degrees. Both of us need chapstick after a long play session.

Band-Aids - It's amazing to me how often my kids, especially my up and coming toddler, skin their knees and elbows. We have all sorts of band-aids in our house: water-proof band-aids, character band-aids (I believe our current crop is Scooby-Doo), see-through band-aids, you name it.

Kleenex - My entire family, including myself, suffers from allergies. We should have long ago bought stock in Kleenex or Puffs. I'm sure I've put several of their kids through school by now.

Tupperware - I don't even think most of our tupperware is even tupperware anymore, but I don't know how we would get along without it. Instead of brown bagging, most days I take leftovers from dinner in a tupperware container to work to reheat for lunch.

Q-tips - Another staple of the family with the young children, I really don't know what people did before Q-Tips.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday Six: Diet Time

bathroom-scaleIn this week’s Saturday Six, Patrick is discussing his new diet. Here are six questions he poses.

1. When you were a young child, were you generally too skinny, too heavy or just right?

I tended to fluxuate between just right and too heavy most of my childhood. It wasn’t until I got to high school and start racing 12 speeds that I was consistently in shape.

2. What’s the most weight you’ve lost during any one diet? (Or have you never had to be on one?)

I lost about 20 pounds doing a diet/exercise program at my church. This was either 2011 or 2010. The great thing about the program was that it forced me to set aside time to exercise. I really don’t think my eating habits are my biggest problem. My biggest problem is a sedentary job and time constraints that make exercise difficult. Most nights it is well after 8pm before I could even think about exercise and by that point, motivation is lacking.

3. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the healthiest?

Probably oranges and tangerines. They provide natural sugar and they taste really good.

4. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the least healthiest?

javachipfrappuchinoJava Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks. Not only is it hard on my waist line, its hard on the wallet, too. Tell me you aren’t tempted by that beauty!

5. When did you last have some of each of those two foods?

It’s been a while since I’ve had tangerines or oranges. We don’t tend to buy fruit a whole lot as it can be very expensive and our budget is really stretched right now. We do buy fruit for the kids and especially my toddler has fruit with every meal.

6. You go to a coffee shop to meet a friend for conversation. How likely are you to buy a pastry or some kind of snack to go along with that coffee?

Fairly unlikely. Usually the coffee concoction I order will cover my sweet tooth quite well.

photos: http:\\starbucks.com

photo: http://nintemanfitness.com/2010/11/the-scale-ally-or-enemy-in-the-weight-loss-battle/

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Learning To Love God

This is something I shared with my Community Gathering group last night, and several people asked me to email them what I said, and after a little thought I decided to make it a blog post. 


We were discussing our call as disciples of Christ to love God, each other and ourselves. Jesus called it the greatest commandment, and we were discussing which one of the three is most difficult for us to do.


Most of us thought that loving God was the easiest of the three, but as we continued our discussion we discovered that while the concept of loving God is easy, the concrete practice of it is a little more difficult. Since God isn’t corporeal, we can’t show Him affection by hugging him. We can tell Him we love Him, but sometimes it just sounds so hollow.

What I said on the subject was this.

When this clicked for me was when I heard a teaching on it, and I apologize for not remembering the teacher who showed this to me.

The basic idea is this. God is looking for us to answer three basic questions.

  • Will you pursue me?
  • Will you spend time with me?
  • Am I a priority in your life?

Remarkably, these are the same ways our wives want to be shown love.

We have to understand that God is genderless. He is neither male nor female, yet He is perfectly male and perfectly female. He needed both genders to fully express himself. When it comes to showing God we love Him, we can see the model in our wives. He wants to be cherished, and pursued. He wants you to lavish attention on Him, but most of all, He wants to be not just a priority in your life, but THE priority in your life.

I didn’t share this with my group out of any pretense I get it right, because I get this wrong constantly, both with God and with my wife. It’s so easy once we are five, or seven, or fifteen years into the relationship to slip into maintenance mode and let other passions take over in our hearts.

I am happy that some people thought what I said was helpful, and it is my hope you will find it helpful for you as well.


How would you have answered the question? How do you concretely and in real time show your love for God?


picture: http://teeshawins.blogspot.com/2010/07/i-love-god.html

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blue Like Jazz Review





“It’s a glorious anomaly: a subtle, sophisticated, open-minded, and courageously non-judgmental Christian film even non-believers can enjoy. Hallelujah!” - Onion A.V. Club

Full discloser to start out. I was a ‘backer’ of Blue Like Jazz and joined the Save Blue Like Jazz project. I contributed money to the Kickstarter and helped to make Blue Like Jazz a reality. But more than anything, all that did was make me really nervous going to see it opening weekend. What if I didn't like it?  Would it be something I would be proud to have my name quite literally* attached to?
________________________________________

Blue Like Jazz follows one man on a journey to find meaning and tackles the questions we are often afraid to ask, and refuses to give tidy, easy answers. The last eight minutes say what I've always wanted to say, but never knew how.

When I read a movie review, the question that I’m trying to answer is ‘do I want to see this movie?’ With Blue Like Jazz, that answer depends on you. If you are looking for a  movie that will make you laugh, cry, but most of all, will make you think, see Blue Like Jazz. If you have ever wondered whether or not God exists, or if that question even matters, see Blue Like Jazz.

If you want your movies to have easy answers, if you can’t consider the possibility of flaws in yourself whether you call yourself a Christian or not, don’t see this movie.

Most of all, if you want Christianity locked away in its own little subculture bubble, don’t see this movie.

And if you do decide to see this movie, you can feel good knowing that 10% of the profits from Blue Like Jazz will go to build wells, free slaves and provide  mentors.  (http://www.bluelikejazzthemovie.com/partners)

(* - in the closing credits, everyone who contributed over $100 to the Kickstarter is listed as an Associate Producer, and my name is among those credited.)
________________________________________
Here are some of the reviews from around the web:

Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t See the Blue Like Jazz Movie http://www.executingideas.com/2012/04/four-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-see-the-blue-like-jazz-movie/

"Blue Like Jazz, not like Courageous"
http://thinkchristian.net/blue-like-jazz-not-like-courageous

“It tackles existential struggles that many of us grapple with – and the film industry virtually ignores – while doing so in an entertaining way. “ - San Francisco Chronicle

“This is a rare bird, a sincere movie about Christian faith.” - New York Post

“It steadfastly refuses to demonize.” - Boston Globe

“Witty, provocative and life-affirming.” - Paste Magazine

“Just earnest enough to blend its religious theme with a beer-chugging hero for a surprisingly contemporary look at faith.” - USA Today

“…the film is very visually accomplished, with handsome compositions, labored-over art direction, and constant employment of the titular hue.” - Slant

“…gets the atmosphere of intellectual curiosity mixed with know-it-allness just right…It’s a story that needs to be told” - Washington Post

“Loosely belongs to the same universe as 'Portlandia'… This is a movie with heart” - Seattle Times

“Sincere and literary…” - New York Times

“…a cut above the usual indie-comedy mock shock.” - Village Voice

Want to think, laugh, and see real-life faith? Not even sure God exists or why He matters? Go see #BlueLikeJazz
@alexkaul

“Thought provoking, funny, disturbing & refreshing.”
@PhillipWagnerLA

“...as a person who doesn't believe in God, I LOVED it. Run, don't walk, to your nearest theater.”
@lauradamon

“An excellent, funny, smart movie with an awesome resolution.”
-@epicpastor

“...a call to Christian artists everywhere, it's time to up your game.”
-@WayneBolin

“Totally worth the 6 hour road trip”
-@DanielTaylorOD

“I am so getting a tallbike!”
-@40wells


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blue Like Jazz Opening Night

iphone_wallpapers1Friday is the opening day for Blue Like Jazz the movie. None of the theatres in my home town chose to pick up Blue Like Jazz. None of the theatres in my home state have it this weekend, and although two towns will show it next weekend, they are over 3 hours away. Therefore, I am driving over three hours to a neighboring state to see the movie this weekend.

If you want to see where Blue Like Jazz is playing, you can check the website for theatres in your state.

“Christian spirituality was not a children's story. It wasn't cute or neat. It was mystical and odd and clean, and it was reaching into dirty. There was wonder in it and enchantment.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Why does Blue Like Jazz resonate so deeply with me that I would be willing to drive over 3 hours away just to see it opening weekend?

“Everybody wants to be fancy and new. Nobody wants to be themselves. I mean, maybe people want to be themselves, but they want to be different, with different clothes or shorter hair or less fat. It's a fact. If there was a guy who just liked being himself and didn't want to be anybody else, that guy would be the most different guy in the world and everybody would want to be him.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

My first exposure to Don Miller’s writing was reading Blue Like Jazz - Non Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. Here was someone talking about my faith in a way I had not heard before. He saw a Christian faith that was authentic, messy, and real.

“...I want my spirituality to rid me of hate, not give me reason for it.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Then I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In this work, Miller compares our lives to a screenplay or story. There is some excellent analysis on what makes a good story, but Miller goes deeper with the analogy of stories and lives. Just as no one wants to read a meaningless story, Miller challenges his reader to not live a meaningless life.

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
― Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

When I heard the premise of the movie of Blue Like Jazz, I was immediately hooked because the Don in the movie takes such a similar journey to the one I went on as I went to college. I lost myself, and much like Don in the movie, I found myself, but only after a messy ride.

“Many of our attempts to understand Christian faith have only cheapened it. I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me. The little we do understand, that grain of sand our minds are capable of grasping, those ideas such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on His majesty and otherness forever.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

I’m heading out bright and early to see Blue Like Jazz to vote with my dollars that this is a movie I wanted to see made, and a story that needed to be told.

“I loved the fact that it wasn't my responsibility to change somebody, that it was God's, that my part was just to communicate love and approval.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seven Things About Me

My Mom at Cathy’s Voice tagged me in a meme to write a blog sharing seven things about yourself. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I will step up to the keyboard.

Numero Uno: Since my Mom and my sister both started with their places of birth, I guess it’s natural for me to start there as well. I was born in Santa Barbara, California. Flag_of_CaliforniaBut I didn’t stay in California long. Somewhere between 3 months to a year, I was piled into a baby bathtub and rode in the back of my parents sedan from California all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. So even though I was born on the West Coast, I consider myself a southern gentlemen.

Two for the Road: I have lived in California, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Alabama. I promise I was not a military brat nor a gypsy, but we did seem to get around.

pi-lambda-phi Three’s Company: Not many people in my current circles know this, but during college I was a Frat boy. I joined Pi Lambda Phi during my freshmen year at Auburn. It provided an instant social group for a socially awkward kid several hundred miles from him, but ultimately would prove to be a poor decision.

Four on the Floor: Neither Pi Lamb nor Auburn claims any connection to me, largely because I dropped out of both, however; should I ever become a famous author I’m sure both will proudly list me among their alumni, and start sending me fund raising letters.

300px-Star_Wars_Logo.svg

Number Five is Alive: I am a huge Star Wars fan. My parents took me to see Star Wars in the theatres during the initial release in 1977 and I was hooked. I have seen the movies in all their various forms, and editions more times than I can count. I can quote entire scenes on demand (Original Trilogy only, we will not discuss those other three movies referred to as The Prequels). I wonder if they had any idea how much they were about to warp their little four year old when they took me in that theatre, but I kind of doubt they did.

Six Shooter: Movies and books have played a large role in my life. Atlas Shrugged help start me on my journey away from God, and Star Wars along with Top Gun influenced me into pursuing Aerospace Engineering which led me to Auburn.

Ole Number Seven: I grew up a baseball fan and followed the Philadelphia Phillies, but as baseball became more and more a sport of haves and have nots decided more by the pocketbook than the pitcher’s mound, my interest moved to football. When my home state got a share of the new Carolina Panthers franchise in 1993, I became a passionate follower of the team. My favorite game remains the 2003 Playoff double overtime thriller against the Greatest Show on Turf, the St. Louis Rams. The Panthers went on to lose the Super Bowl that year to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Brady has three rings, you think he could have given up that one to us.

That wasn’t so bad. As for people I’d like to tag for this: Tami, Amber, and Patrick.

pictures from http://en.wikipedia.org and http://www.pilambdaphimi.webs.com/

Monday, April 9, 2012

Author Page

One of the things that has happened as result of Unicorns is that I now have an Author page on Amazon.com.

Here I am, yeah, me!

There is a place to link your blog, twitter, and probably Facebook as well, and that got me thinking. Do I need to change my Twitter and my blog? My Twitter is surprisingly one of the more authentic snapshots of myself. But what I talk about Twitter is all over the place, writing, religion, sports, games. Anything and everything that I’m passionate about shows up there, although, much like my blog, I don’t talk in specifics about my family. I envision someone seeing Unicorns, checking out my author page and seeing my twitter filled with gaming or sports tweets and thinking that I’m either not a very serious writer, or not someone they would be interested in. Neither of those are really the image I want to portray. I could get two twitter handles, but I don’t want the ‘writer’ handle to be nothing but self promotion. I would need both accounts to sound like a living person. This also spills over to the blog. I do have a separate blog for my gaming pursuits, but I still feel like I’m finding my way on this blog.

This may be putting de cart way before de horse. Unicorns is literally the only thing I have up right now, and the chances of people finding me are pretty slim. I think it’s better to concentrate on improving my writing and figure out the blog and Twitter stuff later.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Learning from Authenticity

It was ironic reading over my short Authenticity again. This is the story I contributed to Saucy Chronicles 1: Unicorns. This week I’ve talked to friends and family who have purchased the book. Real people spent real money to read a story I wrote. I think that is all kinds of cool.

The feedback I’ve received has been positive, which is part of what makes my own reading ironic in my mind. I’ve always heard stories about writers who cringe reading stuff they’ve written in the past. I never understood why they would do that. I figured I would always be proud of my work. Now I understand those stories so much better.

When I read over Authenticity I saw lessons that I have now learned right in black and white on the page. I obviously hadn’t learned when I wrote it, even though Authenticity was the best writing I had ever done.
What was really bothering as I read Authenticity again was knowing that if I sat down to write it again today, I would write it better. I’m actually a bit reluctant to push Unicorns too hard, but their are some really well done stories in there. So when I said on Thursday I was promoting more for the others than for me, I meant it.
The good news is that we, as a group, are planning on doing a second anthology. We are just now in the planning stages, but I’m already looking forward to it. I learned so much from Chronicles 1, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn from Chronicles 2.

One day I would like to take all my Saucy short stories, and maybe throw in a couple of others I’ve written that I still have the writes to, and put together my own anthology. That would give me a chance to dust off Authenticity and revise it one last time.

Another lesson I learned was this was watching, from afar, how much Steve had to go through to get the book formatted just for Kindle. Our original hope was to have all eBook formats covered, but that ended up being an even larger amount of work. I need to figure out how to climb that mountain myself soon. The only thing holding me back is that by the time I’m ready to publish something, new tools might be available.

Have you ever epublished something? How did it go?