August 31, 2009

i can't get over the hedges.

karlie and i went to spain. this should not be news to any of you for two reasons:

1. i've mentioned it numerous times in previous posts on this very blog
2. since 96% of my blog frequenters are personal acquaintances of mine...the excluded 4% is comprised of a couple mormons and pat sajak.

however, i haven't gone into much detail about the trip on here and i don't really talk about it much to my friends. its hard to field the comment, "tell me about spain." way too general and all you'll probably get as a response is "it's so cool." or "it's so old."

but if you asked me a more specific question, say, "what was your favorite part about spain?" i would very easily and quickly respond...


there were so many amazing things that i did and saw and ate and experienced, but the one thing that blew me away and really got my heart beating: hedges. more specifically, the hedges that they have in the generalife section at the alhambra.

the alhambra is this 14th century fortress in granada. it was erected while the muslims ruled in spain, and the islamic architecture and itricate detail work is absolutely incredible. and don't get me wrong, the rooms were beautiful and enchanting and i was completely captivated by the entire fortress. well. the entire trip really. the mediterranean sea was pretty tight too.

BUT. within the alhambra were these gardens. and within these gardens were these hedges. and within these hedges were the most mystery and intrigue i've ever felt. it wasn't even a maze! it was just walls and archways and rooms of 20-foot high hedge walls. my two observations were...

"they're like walls...only they're alive!"

"they're like green walls that you never have to paint!"

childish? maybe. but totally honest and straight from moments of pure wonder. karlie was off snapping photos of the gorgeous flowers in another section of the garden, but i just kept getting pulled deeper into the living walls. there was this ornate fountain in front of me lined with flowers and vines and little streams of water going every way - totally magnificent - but i was continually beckoned by the archways in the corner of the 'rooms'. i would walk past one and it was like the gardens were whispering "come in here. you need to know what's beyond my walls."and the garden was right. it must have known that i am a detective at heart and that i wouldn't sleep well if i didn't investigate the entire blueprint of the hedges.

i realized something about myself that afternoon - i am captivated by mystery. i want to know what is in the nooks and crannies. i want to discover what is beyond the next archway. i want to know what secrets lie in each corner. spain is full of mysteriousness - probably just cause it's so old - but i found myself constantly wondering "what's behind that door?"

maybe that's just the adventurer coming out in me. the "explorer inventor" in his element. but i felt at home among those hedges, and here i am a month later using flowery language and giving these living walls a voice. reminds me of the talking trees from the wizard of oz.

anyway. now you know my favorite part about spain: the mysterious hedges within the alhambra. you also probably now know more about the inner workings of my soul - something that i didn't truly realize until just recently. consider yourselves up to date on my own search for self.


August 30, 2009

air jesus.

proof that jesus was a baller:

this was in a cathedral in spain. well, it still is probably. but karlie and i aren't anymore and thats when this picture was taken.


August 26, 2009

save the planet.

i'm leading a discussion throughout october with our middle schoolers called "save the planet". it could also be called "environmentalism from a biblical perspective: what it is and why it's supposed to be important to us as Christ-followers", but if i called it that, then none of them would want to hear my discussion. either way, it definitely has the potential to be a great topic for our middle schoolers to digest.

as youth workers, it is important for us to understand what society says is important and reexamine the image through a biblical lense: what doest the Bible say about this? where is this written? politics and society tells middle schoolers (and us) that environmentalism is important, but not really why it is important. but to be honest, i'm not seeing the importance of it to society either. i understand its importance to us as Christians, but the rest of the world doesn't really have a good reason to take care of it.

but anyway. i've been watching documentaries and reading articles about global warming, genesis, creation, and environmental everything this afternoon. going into this little research session i had the "God made us in his image so we're above the rest of creation, but we're supposed to take care of it and not abuse what is rightfully his" perspective. and i still chiefly hold this perspective, but there were two thoughts that i hadn't really considered yet.

many environmentalists hold the perspective that the world would be better off if humans didn't exist - that way, the world could run its own course and we wouldn't be here to destroy its beauty. but to God, we are a part of creation. sure, we are at the top of the creation pyramid - made in God's image (col 1:15-17), dominion over the earth (gen 2:15), etc. - but the claim that nature would be better off without us is strictly unbiblical.

the second thought isn't as perspective-altering, but a good insight for sure. when we're thinking about being environmentally friendly and going green and all that business, we need to remember that we are doing so as an act of worship to the Creator, not creation. it's important for Chrsitians to understand this distinction. plants and animals are a part of God's creation, but they are not the object of our worship - their (and our) Maker is.

just some insights into what i've been doing today. now it's time for me to go break into my girlfriend's car at rockhurst and leave her flowers in her cupholder.



August 25, 2009

the cooper family: myers-briggs.

i went to my parents' house tonight for dinner and to help anna with her pre-calc. after we'd finished her homework and i'd helped her all i could, we (my mom, dad, anna and i) got into a conversation about the myers-briggs personality test. apparently my family had just taken the test recently or something cause my mom already had all the results listed out except for mine. i already knew mine too, but i retook it when i got home just to confirm.

here are my 5 family members' results:

dad - ESTJ - implementer supervisor - "Because they naturally devise systems, procedures, and schedules, others rely on ESTJ s to take charge and get things done. Others may also find them overpowering at times because ESTJ s are so certain about how things should be. Because they are clear and straightforward in their communication, people seldom have to wonder where they stand."

mom - ISTJ - planner inspector - "ISTJs are sociable when comfortable in the roles they are playing; however, they generally do not share their wealth of rich Sensing observations and memories except with close friends. Others see ISTJ standards and judgments, their desire for structure and schedules, but they may not see their individual, sometimes humorous, private reactions."

holly - ESFJ - facilitator caretaker - "ESFJs are energized by interaction with others and genuinely interested in others' lives and concerns. They feel most comfortable in structured situations and enjoy creating order, structure and schedules. They prefer to do things the traditional and accepted way."

anna - ENFJ - envisoner mentor - "ENFJ s are energetic, enthusiastic, and very aware of others. Their genuine interest can usually draw out and involve even the most reserved person. They listen to and support others, but also have a very definite values and opinions of their own, which they will express clearly. ENFJs are energized by people and are socially adept; however, they also have a strong need for authentic, intimate relationships."

adam - ENTP - explorer inventor - "ENTP s are spontaneous and adaptable. They find schedules and standard operating procedures confining and work around them whenever possible. They are remarkably insightful about the attitudes of others, and their enthusiasm and energy can mobilize people to support their vision."

all 5 different, but i think all 5 are spot on in their descriptions. i think it's really cool how unique my family is separate from each other, but when we all get together we seem to mesh so well. the 5 combinations all seem to interweave somewhat...actually, in order to further illustrate my point, i'm going to create a diagram. for all you visual learners out there.

easily the coolest diagram i've made in the last 48 hours. maybe even 72. just threw it together in paintbrush (the mac version of the paint program for windows...i'll admit, not as good.)

anyway. it's a cool visualization i think. it's neat to see that - with the exception of my mom being the only introvert and my being the only perceiver - we all share all our traits with at least one other person around the circle. 4 of the traits are shared by at least three people. 2 of the traits (extrovert and judging) are shared by everyone buy one person (my mom and me respectively). it's fun to see the differences and similarities. i encourage you all to look into this with your family(s); if only to see what each other is. it's really fun.

i just wish we'd done this as a family years ago, it would have made family vacations so much less of a burden.


August 24, 2009

a blog involving N*E*R*D, michael jackson, hungryboy10, youth ministry books and calculus tutoring.

i've been getting back into N*E*R*D lately. and by "getting back into" i mean that i've been listening to strictly fly or die and in search of... for about 3 weeks now. i've decided that the neptunes (pharrell williams and chad hugo) are the source of my favorite beats - maybe with the exception of mr. kanye west and the king of pop himself.

speaking of MJ: i was at 810 zone with one twittering and one non-twittering homie watching the mexico/usa officiating nightmare, and this chunky, newly-corporate, mid-20's babyface sitting at the table to my right says the following phrase to the other gentleman at his table...

"dude. did you hear michael jackson died?"


have you not been out from the rock you live under/your parents basement in the last 2 months? is this boy really that removed from all sorts of media? has he not gone into a single store and seen the various magazines putting out michael jackson tribute editions at every register aisle? do you even know what the internet is? how does someone miss news like that? my guess is that he was hungryboy10 in the flesh, and that he had failed to notice due to the copious hours of world of warcraft he's been playing.

moving on.

i got two new books last week that i'm really excited about. marko's newest book "middle school ministry: a comprehensive guide to working with early adolescents" and doug fields'* book "your first two years in youth ministry". books with straightforward titles are my favorite i've decided. except for catcher in the rye. that title is in no way straightforward, but it's my favorite book. i should probably say that it holds true for non-fiction at least.

* - okay. i've asked about this before, but how do you make a name that ends in an 's' possessive? mostly i'm curious about the name "JESUS" because thats the one that comes up most often in my lifecourse. jesus'? jesus's? i'm very clueless.

also i'm tutoring my youngest sister in pre-calculus this year. i'm actually excited about it. not only do i get to see my sister, but i get to do math and get paid and do my laundry and eat a meal when i come home to help her out. it starts tomorrow. i'm going to probably have to add a math book to my list of new books too. can't wait.

anyway. thats probably enough things to talk about. otherwise my title will keep getting longer and longer. sweet. late.


ps...i might get twitter? gasp.

August 22, 2009

usain bolt is borderline human.

it's unfortunate that usain bolt was running at the same time tiger woods was choking this past sunday. if these hadn't been aired at the same time i'm sure plenty more people would be talking about how much more amazing usain bolt is than y.e. who?

everyone needs to go here and here to watch him run in the 100m and 200m respectively. the dude is a freak.

after you watch the clip on metacafe, you need to scroll down and observe the following comment about his new world record...


respect the royalty.

this is me sitting at dunn bros at 8:30 on saturday morning, i came to work on hillcrest stuff for tomorrow morning, but as it turns out i feel more confident upon arriving here this morning than i did when i set my alarm last night planning to wake up and get some work done. so i'll blog instead.

my internship is going great - so much better than my past summer internships. i feel like i'm being challenged, i'm growing, i'm not being cutely shepherded along in everything that i do (as was the case in past summers), but i'm being given some terrific freedom and ownership of the things i'm in charge of. i'm also getting repeated confirmation that this is what i'm supposed to do with my life. i feel like i've been ready for this next step for a couple years, and it feels really good to step into a new level of responsibility.

speaking of steps - i was eating some red vines and talking to tim (my boss, friend, and softball teammate) this week about what my future looks like. while i am not a gypsy and cannot transparently foresee the future, i know where my life is headed and can make a couple rather good estimates on different avenues i could take. namely:

1. i could stay at hillcrest for two years and look for a full time covenant youth job a couple years from now, or...
2. i could start putting my resume out there starting in december and plan on ditching kc around may for another covenant youth job.

..."youth" should probably read "middle school".

both of these ideas scare me. i'm leaning towards the first option (mainly because i dont think my heart would be able to handle running away from the city and people i love just yet), but i'm starting to wonder if i should start looking now? the thought of leaving kc is devastating, but is it something God has for me to step into?

good thing these decisions are months away...but now that i've said that i realize that "months" isn't really a very long time away at all. oh goll.

i might have just wet my pants.


also i want everyone to realize that cedar rapids and overland park are 2 of the top 10 places to grow up. i will add that OP is one of the best places to move when you're newlyweds. i have no article to link to supporting this claim, but when you guys move here you'll understand that it is absolute truth. that is all.

August 19, 2009

a golden tee moment.

sometimes dan and i play golden tee at buffalo wild wings. we played yesterday afternoon and this is my second shot on hole 5. it's a par 5. watch and be amazed...

a DOUBLE EAGLE?!? are you even kidding? man i love this game.

best thing about this round of golf: i finished the front nine holes at -9...then i shot a +8 on the back nine. pitiful, but still so great.

and yes, my player name is Wizard McGavin.


August 13, 2009

baseball card fever.

i have baseball card fever.

in the last couple weeks i've acquired the 1982 and 1989 topps complete sets along with the trade updates and debuts from '89. i've also picked up a couple boxes of 2009 topps and upper decks, and a few other packs in hopes of some lucky jackpot acquisitions.

the fellas i've been going card shopping with - mostly tj and motown - are all into the new age cards: jerseys, autographs, spx upper decks, topps allen & ginter, etc. expensive boxes with a much greater payoff if you get lucky.

but i'm different. i'm into the classic sets - the rookie cards and team sets of the hall of famers and championship teams in the 80's and 90's. i'm old school probably, but i'm okay with that. i'm not in it for the money or the flashy collection, i'm in it for the players i love and the teams i respect.

also, from my personal perspective it seems like there's no real "collection" when you open up a pack and there's a stephen strasberg signed jersey rook card staring back at you. it's a sweet thrill and certainly an addition to a collection, but a collection - to me - is a group of cards that all go well together. so i've decided to make some short term goals for my card collection.

Goal #1: the topps rookie cards of the 1982 st. louis cardinals world series champ team.

not a crazy difficult conquest, but not an easy one by any means at all. i'll need to do my research - acquire a full team 1982 checklist roster (plus updates and debuts), determine the rookie year of every athlete on the team (for example, ozzie smith was a rookie in 1979), and then figure out how i am going to acquire each of these individuals.

i'm not sure when/if Goal #2 will surface, but for now i'm going to focus on the task at hand. wish me luck.


ps. this is my 400th post.

my fantasy football team.

i've never played fantasy football before. i always get to about week 3 and think "ah crap, i forgot to talk to some guys and get a league together." but this year, those guys came to me. the graduated seniors from hillcrest asked me to join their league before they ditched next week for college.

the draft was tonight at buffalo wild wings (which, by the way, gives your draft group $100 free food and a draft packet with stickers of all the players' names to stick on a sweet draft board). here is the team i ended up with:

peyton manning - ind
joe flacco - bal
kerry collins - ten

brandon jacobs - nyg
joseph addai - ind
fred taylor - ne
dominic rhodes - buf

larry fitzgerald - ari
steve smith - car
lee evans - buf
santana moss - was
devon hester - chi
hakim nicks - nyg
laverneus coles - cin
robert meachem - no
antwaan randle el - was
jordy nelson - gb

kellen winslow - tb

rob bironas - ten

baltimore ravens
indianapolis colts

better hope kellen winslow stays healthy. but would you look at my tight receiver core? i even added randle el and jordy as my own feel-good picks. i can't wait til this season kicks off.

also you'll notice i have zero members from the AFC West. two reasons: 1. i can't root for the other teams that i hate and 2. my confidence in the chiefs is minimal.

i feel more than confident about my team however. i feel like rolling sixes all over these dudes. no mercy anymore fellas, you're out of high school now. you're in the real world. i'm all business and you best get out of the way.


August 08, 2009

hello U S and A.

so its been 1 month and 1 day since john buck turned 29. its no coincidence that is the date of my last blog post. call me lame, a slacker, uncommitted, whatever. i'll take it all, gladly accept it, and consider this my return to blogging.

in the last 6 weeks i've been to denver, buena vista, knoxville, eureka springs, cedar rapids, madrid nerja and granada...with layovers in paris, atlanta and detroit. also i've spent a bit of time in kansas city, not that anyone would know that. my own roommate hasn't seen me for half an hour in that time frame. in the next 4 months i have relatively no plans to leave my city. so you can also consider this my homecoming.

i've finished reading zero books and have digested zero albums in that span too. relatively pathetic. i've made some serious headway on the devil's cup though. it's a narrative about coffee, or a 'history of the world according to coffee'...where it came from, why it came from and what that means to the world. this guy goes on a pilgrimage following coffee's past - starting in ethiopia and yemen (where coffee originated). its amazing to me. probably wouldn't entice many of you. but for those of you who give a rip about the elaborate cup of dirty caffeinated water you drink each might find it interesting at least. he talks so much about the importance that each cup has to the area and how it was created. makes me sad that american coffee equals burnt corporate starbucks coffee when the rest of the world has such interesting regional cups. oh well.

oh and i almost got stuck with the gypsys in spain. you can read about that adventure here. and you can learn more about gypsys here.

also, if you're ever having a crummy day, or if you have a long drive through the middle of the night, put on some huey lewis and the news, it'll cheer you right up.