July 30, 2008


ohhhhhhhh man. get hyped.
i can hardly keep my heart in my chest its pounding so hard.
november 08.


July 28, 2008

8 weeks down. 2 weeks to go.

i've been on a serious jars of clay kick for the last few days.
specifically 'if i left the zoo' and 'who we are instead'. they're just way too good and sometimes i forget how great their music is. and really how awesome the guys are too.

this week is pretty much my last week of employment at hillcrest until next may. i guess i'm technically employed until the 11th, but it consists of mostly fall planning, debriefing the summer and going on our end of the summer staff retreat. on said retreat i will be taking part in multiple monopoly matches trying my best to acquire marvin gardens (along with ventnor and atlantic, hopefully).

am i sad? absolutely. but i think i've prepared myself well for my leave this year. in past years i'm always really bummed i have to go back to school (this year too), but i know that going back to manhattan is the next step towards coming back here next summer/fall/winter/spring. i'm really longing to do full-time youth ministry during the school year. it's still foreign to me and i'm excited to dive into that. i'm also really looking forward to long-term, uninterrupted*, full-time ministry. i've only experienced it 3 months at a time and my heart just burns for more. which is probably a good sign. i can't wait.

but i have to. just 8 months and 31 more credit hours to go. then i will have my B.S. in Sociology. just saying that makes me feel more powerful/important/distinguished. i hope you all don't feel that too. you can all be impressed when/if i ever do seminary and get a master's. but for now, know that i haven't really put forth much effort into acquiring my bachelor's degree.

but that's where i'm at now. thankful for the last few months, wanting more and awaiting the moment where i get to dive in for the long haul. but i have two more weeks sorta. so what am i whining about now?


* - grammatically, this is referred to as an 'interrupter'. how ironic.

July 27, 2008

an extraordinary...what?!

ok ok ok. this HAS to be intentional.
i was watching the wizard of oz on tv tonight and this commerical came on. it seemed super lame until the last line. then HELLO.
there is NO WAY this commercial makes it on to the screen without SOMEONE addressing a serious red flag.
specifically the last line.


ps - the pic is in.

July 26, 2008

the woodlands.

the woodlands are closing.

kansas city's dog race track used to be a huge attraction back in the late 80s and early 90s, but their business has been declining drastically and they will have their last day of races on Aug 23, 2008. this isn't the saddest news of my life, but it definitely isn't something that particularly excites me.

a few friends and i have gone to the woodlands on a number of occasions. we have a system of greatness that we like to employ when we make our minuscule bets. we start by all putting $10 in a pot and betting together - therefore, winning and losing together. we make $2 quinella bets over and over. sounds monotonous, but its not. we quickly purchase a $1 booklet with all sorts of information about the dogs racing in the days events: past races, weight, class, gender, etc. we act like there is a rhyme or reason to it all, but it really just boils down to luck i've decided.

in fact, the only substantial amount of money i've ever won out at the woodlands was on a mistake bet made by my buddy, dan. we had perused the dog selections and had decided to pick dogs 3 and 8 to take the top two spots in the race. it was dan's turn to make the walk to the betting booth to make the official wager. he got back, sat down, and the race began. dog 3 looked great, but from start to finish, dog 8 was in dead last. a pitiful performance - we were losers. but for some reason, dan was stressing out and jumping around the whole race.

turns out, dan had messed up the bet and gone with 3-6 by mistake, winning us $103.

we went ape.

that mistake is where my sadness comes from today. the woodlands provided me with extreme excitement that evening, and every time i think of the race track my mind goes directly to that moment. i wasn't thrilled about the money (though it was nice), but any time your morale can go from loser to champion in a single moment it's going to be a moment to remember.

there was also a dog named "Whataburger" that raced regularly. yum.

RIP woodlands. i really wish you didn't have to go. however, i don't blame you for closing your doors when punks like me show up twice a year and win. i feel somewhat guilty actually.

there was an article in the kc star about it that made me feel even guiltier. now that the tracks are closing there are tons of greyhounds who need homes. they're currently being kept in kennels at the racetrack and will have no home in less than a month. so, if you know anyone who wants to adopt a really fast dog, you should give a call out to the woodlands.

but i also feel bad about profiting off a 'sport' where animals are kept as entertainment. it somewhat taints that thilling feeling i just told you about. makes me wish these creatures had a greater purpose than to run around a track for the enjoyment of a bunch of homosapiens hoping for a pay day. it makes dogs seem more like fish or hamsters. or maybe lab rats...if the scientists were making wages on how long it'd take the mouse to find the cheese at the end of the maze.

there's some sort of injustice here i feel like, but i can't place my finger on it perfectly. i feel bad cause i can't have fun there anymore, but i feel bad for having any fun there in the first place, and that makes me feel worse about wishing i could go have one last hoorah before it goes out completely. what i'm saying is, i feel bad for a number of reasons...it's a complicated emotion.


July 21, 2008

Cyrus 08.

the thing that really bums me out about politics and the church is that it seems like some people believe that if the person they're not voting for gets elected that God's plan is crap. as if God isn't able to work through the person you may or may not have wanted in office.

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. [1 Tim 2:1-3 MSG]

pretty self-explanatory really. pray for those in power so that they will rule well. thats what God wants.

so i think - why so much disdain toward elected officials? this country seems to be leaning toward electing Barack Obama for president in 08. as someone who grew up in an upper-middle-class predominately white church in the suburbs of kc, i realize that this decision (if Obama wins) is not necessarily going to be what the majority of the church would've considered the "best" choice*. but that's where we have to catch ourselves - is it our agenda that determine's the best man for the job? is it our opinion that matters?

this morning i listened to a sermon about Cyrus, king of the Persian Empire. a pagan king who did not have God in mind when he took the throne, yet he was God's instrument in liberating the Jews and rebuilding their temple in Israel. the pagan king of Persia was probably not who most expected to deliver the Jews; in fact, he was the only non-Jewish messiah to Israel. but did God use him anyway? you bet he did. [Ezra 1]

imagine if we truly lived by that verse in 1 timothy. what if we gathered together post-election and prayed for our new government leaders? what message would that send? a positive one? it's a thought that could cause a serious rift in a lot of congregations - mine included. its biblical though. it doesn't mean we're endorsing a particular candidate, or choosing party lines; it's simply a statement of faith in our God's ability to govern this nation. heck, while we're at it we ought to be praying for the leaders of nations around the world too. friends and foes. it's an idea i'd like to pursue in the near future (probably around mid- to late-november.)

grumbling post-election is a slap in God's face. it's limiting Him; as if the moment the 'other guy' is sworn into office, God says, "well. we're sure screwed now. way to vote for him guys. i'm stumped now." no way. we shouldn't sit around and bicker about how so-and-so doesn't deserve it or how much he** is going to ruin the country. we shouldn't just sit back and hope he blows it. instead, we pray.

that having been said - this is just way too funny to keep out of this post.


* - i am not, however, claiming to be a part of that majority. in fact, i'll go ahead and say it publicly: the chance of me voting Obama in 08 is extremely high. almost certain.
** - or she, i suppose.

July 18, 2008

the morning after the dark knight.

i've been anticipating this movie for quite some time. i saved the date like it was a dear friend's wedding day. any time i hype myself up to this degree i'm typically very let down. dark knight did not disappoint whatsoever.

heath ledger's performance was captivating. the joker might be the most complex villain ever created: eccentric, giddy, furious, and calculating. silly, yet completely sinister. he's one of those villains that doesn't need a motive to be evil; he just flat out enjoys it. he just loves to inflict pain - physical, but mostly emotional - just out of curiosity and sheer thrill. and any individual can act out such a complex eccentric character deserves an oscar. therefore, employing all cinematic authority i hold, i hereby nominate heath ledger for best actor as well as lindy hemming for best costume design.

batman is probably my favorite superhero. probably because he's not super; he's just a hero. just billionaire bruce wayne spending his cash on electronics and gadgets to save Gotham from insane wackos. this movie hinges greatly on the humanity of batman and his place in society. Gotham is full of imposters and wannabe heroes who think they can be vigilantes like batman. the joker begins killing off those in the public eye until batman unmasks himself and suddenly bruce wayne feels responsible for the escalated crime. should he come out? find a replacement? disappear?

bruce wayne is a hero that is forced to persevere through personal struggle to a much greater degree than clark kent (superman) or peter parker (spiderman). they can do abnormal things that others can't do. batman isn't a superior being to any of the criminals he puts behind bars. he's a man too. at one point alfred tells bruce that he needs to know his limits. limits? superheroes don't have limits, but public servants like batman do. he's forced to endure scrutiny and disgust. he's just a man who lives to save and serve others and the plot of the dark knight focuses on this. it goes deeper into the soul of batman.

the joker doesn't seek to kill the batman. he seeks to elevate bruce wayne's inner conflict. "The Dark Knight creates a place where good and evil — expected to do battle — decide instead to get it on and dance." (Rolling Stone). pretty much hit the nail on the head i think. it's a movie where you don't want evil to lose almost - at least that was the case for me. the more i saw of the joker, the more i wanted him to continue to terrorize Gotham. for 2.5 hours the joker toys with the world, and i wanted more. dare i say i want the joker to win? nah, but he's the greatest villain i've ever witnessed on the big screen.

know what else is terrific about this movie? there isn't a pathetic romance that ruins the film. there is some tension built around rachel dawes and her struggle to pick between bruce wayne and district attorney harvey dent, but the film doesn't focus on the love story, and it doesn't end happily ever after like every other Hollywood flick. the movie centers on what it should: the joker's demented antics.

the plot is twisted and constantly moves in ways you dont expect it to. it isn't just a bunch of mindless explosions and street fights either. the joker is crafty and claims that "Gotham deserves a better criminal." there's the good guys, and there's the bad guys...neither of which are on the joker's side. he is the worst. Gotham's greatest criminals are terrified of the cackling freak and no one seems to be able to figure out how to be a step ahead of him. he is absolutely merciless and has no friends or accomplices. and he's creeeeepy. gosh i want to see it again.

hands down the movie of the summer and easily the greatest superhero movie i've ever seen. please go see it. like now. and don't give me any "i'll wait til monday so i can see it at amc for $5." it's worth every penny no matter what you pay for it.

and call me if you need someone to go with. like i said, i want more.


July 16, 2008

yeah thats funky.

i've been to worlds of fun twice in a week.
even if i rule at taking ride photos - it gets old fast.

the all-star break is a bummer for three reasons:
1. there are no sports going on.
2. the homerun derby is flawed to the point where the guy who hits the second most homers can win.
3. the game is a publicity stunt. publicity stunts should not have home field advantage attached to them.
that having been said - thank God for brett favre and josh hamilton who have saved sports radio this week.

i'll be at town center 20 watching dark knight from 12-2 am on friday morning.
get hyped. i'm banking on it to be the movie of the summer.

albums i've been listening to the last few weeks:
1. speakerboxxx/the love below - outkast
2. elephunk - black eyed peas
i realize i'm about 4 years behind the times on these two.
but somehow i missed them entirely. can't win em all.


July 15, 2008

college team quiz.

Can you name the following NCAA College Team Names?

i got a 66/73.
no cheating.

i missed: depaul, st. johns, providence, rutgers, south florida, vanderbilt and u of mississippi.
the big east gave me some serious problems.


July 09, 2008

the best royals game ever.

let's review the two things i love most about the royals:

1. john buck.
2. relish.

now that we're all on the same page, i'll begin my tale which i have appropriately titled "the best royals game ever."

it was "go the the royals game if you're a hillcrest highschooler" night at "the K". after collecting money from every student and paying for parking we went to purchase fifty-eight $7 tickets. amazing moment number 1: we went to the ticket window and our total was $406. we counted the cash we'd collected...$408. so we gave Kathy a $2 tip for smiling and handing us the large wad of tickets. they look more like chuck e. cheese tickets in bulk like that.

we got to our seats (secion 323 rows K-N) and were delighted to see that the royals were already up 2-0 in the second inning. i hadn't been sitting in my seat for more than 10 minutes and i suddenly received a multitude of text messages. you see, i had chosen to wear my relish hat to the game. it is essentially a giant hot dog with green condimentation* along the top. amazing moment number 2: apparently i had been on FSN KC and former royals' pitcher Paul Splittorff said something to the effect of, "you can always tell when it's college night at the K cause people show up with hotdogs on their head."

the game progressed quickly to the bottom of the 4th inning when amazing moment number three happened: mr. incredible himself dropped a homer over jermaine dye's head in right center to make the game 6-2. john buck goes yard for the second time in two starts. and the crowd goes wild.

this game was already thrilling. at this point i was fully confident that nothing could go wrong. anything and everything was going to go my way tonight. so when the Heinz Hot Dog Derby began - i was extremely confident that Relish would pull it out for me. amazing moment number 4: in come-from-behind fashion, Relish takes win number 17 on the year, and is currently dominating the standings where ketchup and mustard have 13 and 12 wins respectively. they quickly went straight to me celebrating in section 323 after the race. i pointed at the condimentation on my hat to notify the masses of my loyalty. and the $5 i had riding on relish quickly turned into $15. pleasure doing business with you gents.

the game slowly went south, however, my morale was as high as ever. the chicago white sox clawed back into it, and actually took the lead on a balk. as we entered the 9th inning, we were down 1 run, but all eyes went to the Mass-o-tron** to watch the royals' highlights from the night. amazing moment number 5: clip 3. immediately proceeding the plethora of royals hits and put outs to come...there i was. I WAS IN THE HIGHLIGHT REEL. i was laughing and talking with the individuals around me in my Relish hat and white shades. i couldn't believe it. i was one of the game's highlights. what an honor.

anyway. that's a quick synopsis of the most fun i've ever had at the K. hopefully i can add pictures to this post soon. i'm counting on others for that though.
oh. but the royals ended up losing. details.


* - condimentation: the act or process of adding an item to an entree in order to enhance it's original flavor. ex: ketchup, mustard, Relish.
** - i named the new video board tonight. the old one was the Jumbo-tron. this one is clearly more majestic and larger than that one. i like Mass-o-tron.

July 08, 2008

a 6 minute blog cause i have the time.

i've been drinking a lot of gatorade lately.
i had a moment while i was on the way to colorado when i got super tired and worn out.
and then i had some gatorade tiger and suddenly felt like i could control the universe.
so i've been chasing that feeling.

i sat in a church service on sunday afternoon with no agenda apart from myself.
that's something that doesn't happen very often in full time ministry i've discovered.
i'm always taking notes for another discussion or trying to gain knowledge so i can answer questions from certain middle schoolers that may or may not change the world someday.
7th graders who ask things like "if God loves us so much how come he lets some of us go to hell?"
or "do you think Christ's pain and suffering was derived from the sins of mankind or his separation from the Father?"
but it was nice to just sit there and take in a sermon with no agenda. it was peaceful i guess.

yesterday was john buck day.
he turned 28 years old and celebrated by hitting a 3-run shot off the foul pole in the 10th.
eat your heart out jason larue.
i'll be at the K a few times this week.
i've got 5 bucks on Relish in wednesday's HDD.


ps. watch the video below this post. hilarious.

jedi gym.


copped from kanye's blog.

July 02, 2008

July 01, 2008

open letter to starbucks.

dear starbucks,

why must you appear on every street corner in every major city and commercialize the coffee shop industry? it eliminates the atmosphere that the coffee-drinking culture has tried to hard to establish. coffee shops are arenas of community. they are calm, unique and the perfect environment for relaxation and conversation. they are not what you have created them to be. you have turned them into a fast-paced, impersonal corporation. you are about pleasing those who have to pull their Blackberry away from their ear so they can receive their latte at the snap of a finger. there is no community. instead there is a suit and tie and a wall street journal so everyone can read about how well your stupid stock is doing.

how about you tell everyone why your stock is doing so well? who wouldn't want to buy shares of a company who pulls a 60% profit margin? SIXTY percent! one would think a company like yours could afford to slip a little more dinero to your farmers in central and south america, africa and indonesia. and what's even worse, you try and play it off like you're doing the world a service by selling Fair Trade coffee, but what the world doesn't know is that you're only investing about 4% of your total coffee purchases in Fair Trade.

side note: Fair Trade is rather frustrating for me. there is Fair Trade, and there is "fairly traded" coffee. you already know and understand this, you shades, but let me explain my frustration. let's say there are four major coffee farmers in Brazil: Farmers A, B, C and D. let's say Farmer A grows the best coffee in the region, so he gets paid the most money. Farmers B, C and D cannot compete with Farmer A, so they call up Fair Trade, pool their beans, and have FT pay them more money for an inferior product. That is how Fair Trade works, so even though Farmer A might have a significantly better product, they're not getting a payment to match it. "fairly traded" coffee eliminates middle men without a label and directly pays Farmers A, B, C and D the money they deserve for the product they're farming. it's simple economics.

while we're at it, one might wonder why an establishment with such a mighty profit margin can't afford to make better coffee. selecting between "dark" and "charred" is not something i enjoy doing. the "smoky" finish you boast is not something to be proud of - i highly doubt that it is even intentional. why don't you take that extra money and dabble in the best coffee there is to offer while paying the farmers the price you're forking over to the FT label for that average business. heck, why not even pay more? its better coffee right? why not splurge a little? invest some money that will increase the quality of your product instead of building another location across the street from the one that's already there.

however, i'm not sure it's even about the coffee anymore. i would also like to thank you, starbucks, for turning away from your coffee and toward marketing and merchandise. i'm glad that once a week i can visit your "cafe" and receive a free itunes download with my coffee purchase. it brings me great joy to go to your website and see that your brewing equipment and travel mugs are listed ahead of the sections of your site regarding the coffee you "proudly serve" all over. thick sarcasm here.

lastly, a personal account: i braved one of your many kansas city locations so that i could blog a bit before a meeting. i ordered my iced tea and sat down with my laptop only to find out that wifi is only free to starbucks card members who have used their card in the last 30 days. i just flat out don't appreciate that guys. i was a paying customer, but that wasn't good enough. i have to be a starbucks subscriber of sorts. how can you not afford to provide free wifi? thats a joke. because clearly you can. you just choose to make life that much more difficult for those of us who desire a place to relax and enjoy.

just a few thoughts to consider from yours truly. i realize that these words are falling onto hearts of stone, but perhaps the individuals who actually frequent my blog will start to ask some questions for themselves. maybe instead of walking to the nearest corner to hit up the mcdonalds of the future you'll actually seek out a place that both needs and deserves your money more.

down with starbucks. long live the independent cafe.