Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day


It's finally here.  Baseball.  Even though it's currently raining and cold, I am very excited to have baseball back in my life. Aside from spotting your first Robin of the year, baseball has always been the true harbinger of summer's warm afternoons with its girls wearing spaghetti strap tank tops (nicely captured by the WGN cameramen).  

Baseball means having something on the TV that won't insult my intelligence.  Baseball is like reading a book.  It shan't be rushed, nor hurried.  Baseball sorts out the thinkers from the doers.  

Baseball is Citizen Kane, The Godfather, and Il Postino.  

Baseball is love.  

And when you rush love... you get football.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Big Lebowski 2


Lookie! Mercury!

From NASA: On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Open Letter to Roger Ebert

If you're on Twitter I highly recommend following Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago).  His tweets are smart, informative, and rife with interesting links.  Including this one which is an argument (another argument) against his stance that video games are not art.  



Monday, March 28, 2011

Wil Wheaton Made Me Cry

Look, man, this just made me cry.  Stand By Me was a quintessential coming of age movie that had a HUGE impact on my adolescent life. 



(from Neatorama - Wil Wheaton speaks about doing the audio commentary for the 25th anniversary of Stand By Me)

I loved Stand By Me – I even did a movie trivia post about it. It’s hard to believe it came out 25 years ago, but since Wil Wheaton (Gordie) just recorded commentary for a special edition Blu-Ray release, I guess it must be true. He met with director Rob Reiner and co-stars Jerry O’Connell and Corey Feldman to do the commentary, and of course, there was an obvious absence in the room:
There were five chairs set up for us in a semi circle. Our names were on pieces of paper so we knew where to sit. I was between Rob and Corey, and Jerry and Richard sat to Corey’s left. When we all sat down, Rob looked down the row of seats and softly said to me, “it feels like there should be an empty seat here for River.”
People ask me about River all the time. He and I were close during filming, and for about a year or so after filming, but the sad truth is that he got sucked into a lifestyle that I just don’t have room in my life for, and we drifted apart. When he died, I was shocked and horrified, but I wasn’t completely surprised. I didn’t feel a real sense of loss at the time — the River I knew and loved had been gone for a long time at that point — but I felt sad for his family, and angry at the people around him who didn’t do more to help him help himself. Since he died, when I’ve talked about him, I’ve felt like I’m talking about the idea of him, instead of the person I knew, if that makes sense.
But when Rob said that to me, with such sadness in his eyes, it was like I’d been punched in the stomach by eighteen years of suppressed grief. I knew that if I tried to say anything, all I would do was cry, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to stop. I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and nodded. “Yeah,” I whispered.

"Double Miracle"

Went to church yesterday and Pastor Mark revealed some amazing news. NCC is adding a seventh location on Barrack's Row at Eastern Market.  The story of how this came to be is here. I am so happy to be a part of something like NCC. 

Roughly one year ago Lynette and I made the decision to find and join a church.  Our journey led us to NCC and our lives have been beautifully enriched ever since.  Aside from connecting (reconnecting?) with God, we have made several new friends and found more meaning in our daily lives.  It's hard to quantify the upsurge in positive energy I feel around me, but I can confidently say attending NCC every Sunday gives me such a fresh perspective on the world as I head back into my daily routine for the week. 

Before NCC, my memory of church was a glum one: Put on uncomfortable church clothes, sit in an uncomfortable pew, sing uncomfortable hymns, and read uncomfortable lines of text like programmed robots.  All while surrounded by flocks of elderly people.  (No wonder "the church" is dying.)

Then we found NCC... Thank God.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mistakes

ONJ

Have I ever told you about the enormous crush I had (have) on Olivia Newton John?  In my defense, I was in junior high school, probably between the years 1985 and 1987.  Anyway, I heard an Olivia Newton John song this morning at Jack's Deli and I had a strange urge to write her name on my jeans.  Again.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RIP Elizabeth Taylor


Want to know how good of an actor Liz Taylor was?  Watch Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"My New Moleskine Notebook"

from Ten Sexy Ladies

Chum, you and me are going to blow the face off people’s faces. Years from now, creepy old historians will open you with trembling fingers, hardly daring to gaze upon the treasures inside. Your blank canvas—so achingly virginal!—will soon be filled with the seed of my genius in a non-gross way.
Sketches of people across from me on the subway, perfectly capturing their sad, broken lives. Poems about the girl at the bookstore who sold me to you, whose mellifluous words thanks next hinted at the arousal she could barely contain. Short, minimalist stories about writers riding the subway. Thoughts, feelings, impressions. Dreams. Um. Phone numbers. Maybe some 3-D boxes. My signature a lot of times. I could draw the Slayer logo, I’m pretty good at that. Pictures of boobs. Oh! That reminds me, I need that ointment for my nipples and some dishwasher detergent, let me jot that down before I forget. I am such an airhead sometimes, notebook! Oh, notebook. It’s gonna be different this time. I will definitely not only use you when I need to write down Call of Duty cheat codes. Not exclusively, I’m sure. I’m positive.

Ukulele Carlock

Last Christmas I bought Lovely Lynette an inexpensive ukulele.  Last night I picked it up, tuned it, and learned a few chords.  Before the night was over I had a few poorly played songs under my belt. 

The plan: Lullabies for Baby Boy.  Here's the beauty of the ukulele: I think it's the most nonthreatening, least pretentious instrument I have ever picked up.  (It's quite a turn from the violin.)  It's impossible not to smile while playing it.  And it's impossible not to smile while listening to someone play one. 

Seriously, once I figured out the chords to In Between Days by The Cure I was dancing a little jig in my living room.  Next: Boys Don't Cry.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday pushed me down the stairs and then laughed at me.

You think I'm going to get all pissy because even though I had a warm, comfortable seat on the train this morning we all had to get off and stand in the rain?  Or that once a new train came along it took a whole 'nother hour to get to my stop?  Nope.  Nice try, Universe.  I love life and stuff regardless of the rain.  Actually, I kind of love rain. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hair Ghost

There I was sitting in my cubicle pounding away at the keyboard feverishly working fast to get a report written so that I could spend more time today writing blog posts when I felt someone playing with my hair.  I had my headphones on so my lack of awareness was minimal so I quickly spun around in my chair and tried to grab the hand of who ever was messing with me.  But there was no one there. 

After I ruled out the possibility of a bug crawling around on my melon, I realized that in addition to looking like a weirdo swiping at invisible hands, I now fear the 3rd floor of this building to be haunted. 

I'll note any other future strangeness.  Keep in touch.

To Do Tattoo

Inspire Me

As I wait for my body's internal clock to synchronize with the one on my bedside table I can't help but take stock of my weaknesses. I prided myself on my ability to wake up before the shrilly buzzer. I had energy to rise out of bed and go to the gym in the predawn hour. Today, no.

And then I get to work and look at myself in the mirror. Lately, I'm not seeing someone being the best person he could be. I've always had a complex about my weight since being a young fat lad, but this bullshit is ridiculous and has to stop. 

I have the determination and willpower of ten men.  I can do anything I want. Nothing in life is unattainable.  Nothing.

The funk stops here.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ebenezers Anniversary

From the blog of Pastor Mark Batterson:


Five years ago today we opened Ebenezer's Coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. Time flies! We really had no idea what we were doing, but God has blessed us in spite of us! The name Ebenezers means "hitherto the Lord has helped us." This is an Ebenezer day!

Why did we build a coffeehouse instead of a church building? Because Jesus didn't just hang out in the synagogue. He hung out in wells--natural gathering places in ancient culture. Coffeehouses are postmodern wells so we decided to build a well where the church and community could cross paths. Not only is Ebenezers a great coffeehouse. Not only does is provide a performance space for one of our locations. But every penny of profit goes to missions.

The day will come when our coffeehouse becomes a chain. Hopefully it's sooner than later. Why? Because when God blesses something you need to do more of what God is blessing! I think coffeehouse churches will become a growing trend just like movie theater churches. It's a great way of getting into the middle of the marketplace which is where people are. That is where we belong if we take incarnation seriously.

Real Men

I smashed my finger in a door yesterday.  Do you hear me complaining about it?  Actually, I did it in a Starbucks and was unable to scream out in pain for fear of causing a scene.  Instead I played it cool like Rambo sewing up his own injuries. 

Then I opted NOT to use the protective cardboard sleeve that protects our precious hands from our hot beverages.  Why?  Because I'm a man!

Also, I painted my son's room, hung a shelf, and maintained my bulbous gut SIMULTANEOUSLY.  All man. 

It's true that I often fail to wake up when my alarm goes off at 4:30 AM which means I'm not getting to the gym like I want to.  And it's true that I love watching the Capitals play on the TV.  But I've also been known to lift many heavy objects and drive many miles of monotonous terrain with minimal complaints.  And I've also been known to provide my bride with the humor and affection befitting of a righteous, devoted husband. 

I'm a man and it's about time I remind you of it, World.  Criticize my apparent faults all you want, but don't forget who shocks himself while fixing a light switch, or who sticks his hand in the back of the toilet to stop an annoying leak, or who holds you tight in the warmth of the night. This guy.

The culture of keeping men from acting  like men has to stop. This post is in response to a recent McDonald's commercial where a man is afraid to tell his woman that he likes to watch football on Sundays.

Men who can't be honest with their women are not men.

Anyway, today my finger hurts like a mammerjammer!  

Dream Jobs

Jobs I would like to try if I didn't have financial responsibilities:

  • Bus driver
  • Picture framer
  • Doorman
  • House painter (Interior)
  • Resident poet at a university
  • Cook
  • Travel writer

Monday, March 14, 2011

American: The Bill Hicks Story

Bill Hicks was way ahead of his time and most people in this country still wouldn't be able to handle his wisdom.

No Bracket

My affection for sports is very exclusive and subjective.  I love baseball.  Period.  I like football and hockey, but only when the Chicago Bears and Washington Capitals are playing.  Baseball requires a commitment of time and an appreciation of subtleties. Football is Short Attention Span Theater.  And hockey, well, that's just a mesmerizing organized chaos.  With that said, I admire all three.

I do not watch Sportscenter.  I have no idea if the NBA still exists after Michael Jordan.  And I absolutely do not watch college sports.  In fact, I loathe college sports.  Don't get me wrong, I do respect the athleticism of the students, but I cannot get over the fact that while millions of dollars are made for these universities we often forget that these institutions are UNIVERSITIES.  Places of higher learning.  Books and such.  School!  While the football fields for these colleges look amazing and concession stand that sells the beer at the basketball games are probably nicer than my house, many aspects of these colleges go ignored and neglected.

As a person who had to work his ass off to put himself through college I resent the "full rides" these "students" get simply because they can play a sport well.  Again, I know these "students" work very hard in their respective sports, but the priorities made by these "universities" are way out of whack.

So how do I politely tell people that I don't give a shit about their NCAA brackets?  So far today I have had three different people ask me about some college team that did or didn't make the tournament and every time I had to say, "Sorry, I don't follow college sports."  Maybe I'll just make up random fictional team names and see how many confused looks I get.

"Oh yeah, dude, I think Northcentral East Illinois is gonna take it all."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Building a Baby's Room


This is one of the prints we hanging in our future son's room. He will be joined by a frog, robin, fox, raccoon, and cardinal. All wearing people clothes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Get out of my yard!

You kids and your music! 

Honeycomb

The amount of humanity swarming through the nooks and crannies of Ikea yesterday... I found a curtain in spite of the French woman breathing on my neck and the 13 member rural family strolling past like they're waiting for the 3:00 Parade.

In their defense, it was raining and Sunday.   Let's lounge in some fake living rooms and eat one dollar hot dogs. I'm there.

So, if you can fight through the store like a machete wielding trail blazer in the steamy Amazon rain forest you will win... a lamp.  And a shelf.  And some curtains and a rug and some baskets and ...  Jokes aside, we scored some awesome stuff for the baby's room. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Afterglow

I just gorged on fried fish and now I feel like I do after sex.  I don't want to be touched, looked at, or spoken to.  (Give me like seven to twelve minutes...)

I just ate at one of Washington DC's hidden gems, Horace and Dickie's.  It's a hole in the wall take out joint that makes one thing: fried fish.  But this fried fish, holy cow, it's the best I've ever eaten.  If you saw what the inside of this place looks like you wouldn't eat it, and yet the line always goes out the door. 


Here's how it works: Once you get inside be ready to shout your order to the angry looking woman behind the counter. If you're not paying attention be prepared for ridicule. The funny thing there's really only one thing to order: the "fish sandwich." It's a box with a slice of white bread topped off with 2 pounds of deep fried fish. I guess the slice of bread makes it a "sandwich." Once you pay be sure to add money to the tip jar or risk being labeled something you can't say to your mother. Then scurry back to the office and commence the affair. Yes, you will feel guilty afterward. Yes, you will do it again. Some itches must be scratched.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

R.E.A.D.

Danny, a greyhound, has an important job at Oakhill primary school in Tamworth, Staffordshire. He trained for five months to become a “listening” dog. As a representative of the  Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) program he listens to children read. He is a registered therapy dog who helps children improve their literacy skills by listening nonjudgmentally to students. The program has been found to improve the confidence and self esteem of young readers.

LINK

Painting

There are several shades of blue paint samples hanging in our future baby's room.  Our "stuff" has been cleared out and taken to storage.  Twelve years of cohabitation has resulted in an accumulation of many boxes of photos and notebooks and trinkets.  My favorite box was the largest which contained many spiral notebooks full of terrible poetry I wrote in high school and college.  If I ever Make it Big those awful tomes will be worth millions! 

Once the room was completely empty Lynette and I stood in it and shared the same feeling reminiscent of when we first moved in our beautiful, tiny house.  Strangely, it seemed like this room hadn't been touched for a reason.  It was the only room we didn't paint or decorate.  It feels like it was a room waiting. 

I can't wait to fill it with life.