November 22, 2010

REVIEW: kanye west - my beautiful dark twisted fantasy.

every review i read is telling me this album is phenomenal. rolling stone gives it the often-talked-about-rarely-seen 5/5 stars. PMA blog gives it a 95/100. consider me confused.

maybe i'm just selfish and want kanye circa 2007. maybe i just throw my guard up when someone (kanye) messes with near-perfection (Graduation). there has to be something off about how i'm approaching this album, because this album certainly doesn't warrant phrases like, "It's kanye's best album" (rolling stone), or "It’s Kanye’s most complex and complete release and one of the most consistently impressive hip hop albums in recent years" (PMA).

so is it me? or is it them? something is just off.

the album is good. i will admit that, but it is certainly not "consistently impressive", nor is it "the best". its better than 808s, and that about it. individual songs can potentially compete with some off kanye's previous 4 albums, but this album ought to be viewed as a complete album rather than a collection of individual tracks. that makes it a bit dicey for me.

don't get me wrong though, there are bright spots: Dark Fantasy is a perfect lead track - the sampling draws you in and you catch your head bobbing to the back beat almost immediately. the aptly titled "Power" makes me feel like i'm about to take over the world in slow motion. it's chanting, clapping Afromerica sample puts off a dynamite underdog uprising vibe. pretty sure it has already been adopted as the team entrance music in 40% of NFL stadiums. "All of the Lights" is truly brilliant. it flows beautifully from "Power" and continues the world-domination feel.

but there are also spots where i think, "who in the world thinks this sounds remotely appealing?" tracks like "Monster" and "So Appalled" make up a dismal heart to the album. if the beginning of the album is beautiful, then this is certainly the dark and twisted portion of the album. "Monster" may give me nightmares, and "So Appalled" may never make it past five in my itunes play count.

this album stands as a whole, and i respect that a great deal. i also respect the fact that kanye pulls samples from rad old school tracks (smokey robinson, cold grits, the mojo men), but he also tosses in artists i've never even heard of on nearly every track. both of these bits, now that i think about it, revert back to his College Dropout and Late Registration days. i was spoiled with MJ and Daft Punk samples on Graduation, but he seems to have found a certain aspect of his roots while transforming them into something new and musically forward...even if i don't really care for where he's progressing at certain times.

maybe the most impressive sample on the album is the use of the original "Soul Makossa" track that is probably better known (at least by me) as a Michael Jackson reference. he throws it down as the backtrack in the Bon Iver collaboration that winds the album down to a close. the shortest track on the album (a whopping 4:17), it leads with an Imogen Heap vocoder feel that builds to an and 808-heavy Soul Makossa beat that i dig quite a bit (though its possible that he wins me over simply with the blending of the sample and the "mamakusa" line in the first verse).

it starts and finishes strong (though i can't help but be bummed out by the track 2 Kid Cudi collab - i tried, but i'm just not a Cudi fan). ultimately, save for a few songs that do anything but get me excited, the album is solid as a whole. though if i had to weigh the songs i love versus the songs i hate, it'd be an even split.

i respect the album (which i certainly did not expect to). the samples i thought were gone are present and are, truthfully, very strong. and i can ALMOST understand how this album passed with flying colors according to so many. depending on the moment - i both love it and hate it, but honestly - despite a handful of tracks i find TERRIBLE - kanye has again proven that he truly is a genius. insane? that too, but he utilizes his insanity relatively well.

ugh. i hate that i just said all that.

overall, the album is good. but not great. certainly not as good as others have claimed it to be. but as kanye says in his 35-minute film "Runaway" - "first thing in this world baby, don't pay attention to anything you see in the news." it's not a 5/5 or a 95.

i give it a 78.


reasons i used to blog more.

reasons i used to blog more:

1. i used to live in manhattan and go to radinas/bluestem every day.
2. i have very little to say to the world wide web that can't be stated in 140 characters.
3. john buck got traded (now twice).
4. i got married and have more important things going on.


October 05, 2010

wedding dance floor playlist.

just so we can all relive the epic saturday evening on the dance floor - here's a screenshot of my itunes:

dj falco absolutely killed it. thanks to everyone who sacrificed their bodies on the dance floor to celebrate the coopers.


September 16, 2010

blogging from my new phone.

so I got a new phone on tuesday. its the EVO 4G and it is changing my life rather rapidly.

you probably have no interest in this fact, the only reason I even have any interest in it is simply to test if this Blogger app I just downloaded actually works.

anyone recommend anything? EVO related or Blogger related or app related? I'm new to all this.


September 11, 2010

word verification balderdash.

typically when i go to comment on a blog, it annoys me a great deal to have to type in the jumbled set of letters. supposedly by typing these letters in i can prove to the interwebz that i am, in fact, a real-life human being and not a robot apparatus. it's truly amazing that this is enough to convince the "www" that the comment is not fake - and it's even more amazing that no one has figured out how to create a computer that can stump word verification.

the most obnoxious scenario is when you can't even read the letters - they're all distorted and overlapping and you're can't be sure if it's a lowercase "L", a capital "i" or the number "1". so you get it wrong, the page refreshes with a big red box saying "you failed to successfully reproduce the letters! go back to 1st grade!" and sometimes you even get to retype your whole comment cause it was lost in the refreshing. what a joy.

however, blogger does an exceptional job with this - their letters are legible, non-worbled, and if you get them wrong it doesn't delete your entire comment in the refreshing process. but my favorite thing about blogger's word verification, is that it creates a jumbling of letters that actually appear to be real words: drego, ligro, idesto, croida - but they're not real words. they just happen to contain some standard proto-indo-european letter clusterings and look like real words.

so what do i do? i play balderdash. i make up the definition of the "word" i see. examples...

drego - noun - an east-asian plant known for its uncharacteristically high levels of vitamin B.

phsta - noun - a deceptive, albeit illegal, maneuver in the game of chess where one is able to dupe their opponent by moving the knight only 2 spaces rather than the correctly moved 3 spaces.

ligro - noun - a baseball term developed in the 1930s as an insult to non-black individuals playing in the negro leagues.

croida - noun - any organism with a brightly colored exterior skeleton (e.g. ladybugs, scallops).

apparently i can only come up with nouns.

now it's your turn! i have turned on "word verification" on my blog. comment, and make up a definition for the displayed word! what a genius idea. maybe i'll even make it a competition and pick a winner!

hizzah! happy balderdashing!


August 25, 2010 i am not worthy.

my first guest blog is up on! what an honor it is to be a part of a conversation on how to navigate youth ministry more successfully. you can read my post below or check it out here along with many other youth worker voices.

i am not worthy of this calling.

i have this thought on a daily basis – sometimes multiple times a day – and it burdens me. i am not worthy of leading anyone anywhere, let alone toward the only perfect being to ever live. there is no reason i should be allowed to be a voice for students. i’ve got junk in my life just like they do – i mean c’mon, i almost swore in that last sentence! i have no business even writing this blog! i don’t even use proper capitalization!

i’m not sure if you’ve ever felt this way. my inkling is that if you’ve been a youth worker for very long, then you have. i constantly feel unworthy. broken. messed up. completely unqualified to be working in “the trenches” of youth ministry. maybe you have too. maybe you haven’t yet. maybe you used to feel it and decided you had to get out of the trenches before it ruined you. maybe you’re toying with that thought right now.

the reality is that none of us are worthy of being His hands and feet. we are not Jesus. we are imperfect people trying our best to model Him in this fallen world we live in, and the moment we think we’re worthy of this calling is the moment we need to reevaluate our heart because somewhere along the way we decided we really were Jesus instead of the cracked and bruised version we truly are.

but here’s the other reality: it’s a calling. there was a moment – maybe 5 or 6 years ago – when i actually thought, “shoot. i could do youth ministry for the rest of my life. i feel God calling me to this!” in retrospect that feels like such a pompous thing to even consider. i actually thought i could be the hands and feet of Jesus on this planet? must’ve been dreaming.

it really is a calling. where were you when you heard God’s soft voice prodding you into life in student ministry? i was in 12th grade in a 15-passenger van on my way back from a middle school event. it wasn’t a monumental evening – probably just a killer scavenger hunt or something – but i heard it. it was God’s voice through one of the adult leaders in our ministry.

“you know, you’ve got the right skills for youth ministry. you ought to look into it more seriously…”

whoa. so it wasn’t my idea after all. it was someone else’s. and it wasn’t really someone else’s either – it was God’s. it was his idea for me from the beginning, and i think it is his plan for you too.

you know what else reminds me that i was made for this? when i get to observe the lives of the students i have watched grow up. sometimes we don’t get to see the fruits of our labor in youth ministry for many years to come. we lead a Bible study, and we think, “i wonder if they even understood that.” or we meet with a student who is going through a tough situation and think, “i feel like my words weren’t the slightest bit helpful.” or someone comes to you grieving and you have nothing to say to them so you think, “i literally just sat there and said nothing.”

but then we hear of those moments years in the future: “remember what you said at Bible study that one day?” or “thanks for helping me out with that one thing.” or “thanks for listening to me vent that one time.” treasure these moments. they are few and far between, but remember them always. they are the fruits of our labor and they remind us that we are following God’s calling. as unworthy and as human as we are – this was God’s plan for us, and these are the fruits of our ministry.

and lastly, remember that God knows the plans he has for you and look forward to what you are yet to accomplish for the Kingdom. after establishing an understanding of why i’m here and what i’ve done, i can regroup and focus on the future. what is my next step in ministry? what does God yet have in store for me? how will he use me next?

for what it’s worth, here is the advice of a broken, imperfect, burnt out and messed up youth worker:

1. understand that you are broken.
2. remember you are called.
3. celebrate where you have been.
4. look forward to where God is taking you on your journey.

those are my daily prayers. actually, not daily. i wish i could tell you i prayed this as often as i feel unworthy, but i can’t. maybe it’s an inverse relationship – the more i pray that prayer, the less i feel unworthy. i think i’ll try it and see what happens.

hopefully this post is an encouragement to you – wherever you are at in your journey in youth ministry. i urge you to not give up. you were made for this. celebrate the past and look forward to what God has in store for you and your ministry.


August 12, 2010


this is genius.


fantasy football roster.

welcome to my 2010 fantasy football opening day roster:

qb - drew brees - new orleans saints
qb - matt schuab - houston texans
qb - vince young - tennessee titans
rb - deangelo williams - carolina panthers
rb - cedric benson - cincinnati bengals
rb - jerome harrison - cleveland browns
wr - desean jackson - philadelphia eagles
wr - johnny knox - chicago bears
wr - dwayne bowe - kansas city chiefs
wr - arrelious benn - tampa bay buccaneers
wr - terrell owens - cincinnati bengals
wr - antwaan randle el - pittsburgh steelers
te - visanthe shiancoe - minnesota vikings
te - jeremy shockey - new orleans saints
d/st - packers
d/st - browns
k - neil rackers - houston texans

quarterback is an obvious strength, but running back leaves a bit to be desired.

picked up the packers defense/special teams early and added the browns defense/special teams (mainly becuase of return man josh cribbs).

my receiving core is decent - led by desean jeackson - i'm putting a lot of hope in t.o. and rookie arrelious benn.

i won our league last year. here's to shooting for a repeat. yikes.


August 03, 2010

episode one: the pancake molds.

episode one with my new star wars pancake molds happened yesterday after church. it went okay - it was exciting, even though execution wasn't perfect. i put too much batter in the molds and they got stuck and wouldn't come out. vader ended up looking more like darth hillbilly with that grill. and yoda ended up with a lobotomy. TK-421 turned out great, but wasn't at his post long cause he ended up in my belly.

episode 2 may be entitled "attack of the chocolate chips". here's to hoping.


August 02, 2010

home office decor.

this room is across the hall from where i sleep every night.

we picked out and painted the orange and karlie and my mom tag teamed for the star wars prints* on my birthday back in march. finally got them up. easily my favorite room in our home.


* - btw, the dude just came out with some new ones from the prequel

July 07, 2010

happy birthday to john buck (the all-star himself).

july 7, 1980, kemmerer, wyoming - greatness was born. and here we are, 30 years later, and greatness is traveling to his first all-star game.

let's be completely honest - none of us saw this coming. even the most devout fans had not considered mr. incredible to be a serious all-star game candidate. even when he was a member of the "we send one player because every team gets to send one player" royals.

who knew that when the royals traded him away to toronto he would receive the 3rd most votes among american league catchers? and sure, he's only getting to play because victor martinez is hurt and the AL needed a replacement. but the reality is that John Buck is traveling to Anaheim this weekend to play in the all-star game. the ALL-STAR GAME. WHAT.

can i add his American League jersey to my wedding registry? or can i start taking up donations so that i can get it? or you could just go buy it for me here? i simply must own it.

back on march 31, i put together a quick blog comparing buck and jason kendall's spring training statistics. for the most part, john was making kendall look like a joke (coincidentally his initials are JK - interesting). kendall was batting .139 to buck's .304. you can read more here.

lets look at their halfway point stats:

buck - .269 avg, .502 slg, 13 hr, 40 rbi.
kendall - .267 avg, .319 slg, 0 hr, 29 rbi.

not even a contest. also, can we look at my season predictions for JB?!

.268 avg, .524 slg, 18 hr, 84 rbi

could he be anymore on pace to NAIL those numbers? i mean literally, do i know my favorite player or what?!

also there are only two catchers on the AL roster. joe mauer and john buck. good company for sure - here's to hoping that john comes in for mauer for some late inning heroics. perhaps a walk-off dinger?! all-star mvp?! ooooooo man - the possibilities! i'll be tuning in for sure.*

enjoy your birthday john. hope your trip to anaheim didn't spoil any vacation plans you had for your birthday weekend. hopefully they added to the festivities.


and ps: wikipedia has it listed that buck throws....switch!? i'm researching this

* - i can say things like this now that i have directv. holler.

July 05, 2010

our engagement photos.

sorry for the lack of blogs lately everyone. it's been a busy busy month.

but here comes a fury of posts. i've got three on my mind right now, and chances are i can get them all written down in the next 45 minutes. here's the first one: our engagement pictures are up! check out a sampling on the parson's blog - they did an amazing job. more pics after the "jump"!

just click the pic.


EDIT: so there's no way i'll finish my next two blogs in time. but coming soon: john buck made the all-star team.

May 27, 2010

video blogs & super jack brothers.

i'm thinking about dabbling in video blogs.

i have a feeling that they're a more effective way of communicating than writing paragraphs, bullet points, etc. they're more interactive and more interesting. and i feel like with my editing experience, they'd be equally as tasking to post.

BUT there are definitely pros and cons to both. for example, i can't embed clever links/asterisks in videos, but i can in text.* but when i get super excited about something - say, the LOST finale - there's no way that text can fully capture the high degree of emotion that i'm feeling in that moment.

so that's on the horizon.

also - this is the best ever (warning, potential spoiler):



* - see?

May 24, 2010

what makes me feel alive?

- general mysteriousness and detective work.
- intentionally digesting a new album.
- a quality ipa.
- LOST references.
- star wars everything.
- bringing on the cats.
- jumping into bodies of water.
- planning life with my future wife.
- spontaneous rhyming.
- sizing up a room and determining how we would fare in Survivor.
- throwing rocks.
- storytelling.
- my two beautiful and genius sisters.
- understanding and actually feeling that i am an integral part of God's story.
- my initials...


May 18, 2010

boba fett/espn.

this is stinkin amazing. someone, somewhere is an absolute genius. and for the first time in my life, i want a bumper sticker.


May 02, 2010

confirmation sunday.

just a little video i put together to welcome our congregation to today's confirmation sunday. props to jay and mark for ruling the world.

and props to ALL the confirmands. i'm proud of you all.


April 27, 2010

a 12-year old speaks: what adults can learn from kids.

don't you ever tell a middle schooler what they can't do.*

for now, let's ignore the fact that this 12-year old is beyond rad and focus on the substance here:

"age has absolutely nothing to do with it."
what have we accomplished? we always ask students what they want to be when they grow up. usually their responses are outlandish - astronaut, baseball player, stuntman, etc. not many of them jump at the idea of being a [fill in boring job description here]. our ability to think outside the box and function outside our comfort zone drastically decreases as we get older. we're suffocated. held back. we start to learn the limitations in life and don't allow ourselves to dream the absurd dreams anymore.

"certain types of irrational decision making is exactly what this world needs."
how many of us still dream? how many of us still aim for Utopian perfection? youth's ability to imagine is able to push the boundaries past the limitations that adults have been conditioned into. kids are capable of things that we are NOT. what if we gave them the chance to prove it?

"the students should teach their teachers...the relationship should be reciprocal."
oh man. how many times did we all think this when we were going through middle school and high school? i for sure thought it in 3/7 of my classes each day. why do we have thoughts like that? because teachers aren't allowing their students to expand. the teacher has all the answers and you better not question their teachings. this shuts down students' ability to grow and develop. what if the students were given the chance to run the show? rather than feeling like the lower one on the totem pole, what if they had ownership of their classes?

at hillcrest we have a high school leadership group that meets on thursday nights - it's a group of students that are committed to transforming our youth ministry from the inside out. after many weeks of encouraging and teaching and vision casting, a new philosophy was set for the thursday meetings: student led discussions. these high schoolers are leading the conversations! all it takes is an opportunity to rise to the occasion and students will give it what they've got. and if the foundation has been laid properly - they'll blow you away every time.

"it is imperative to create opportunites for children so that we can grow up and blow you away." one of my 6th grade students is traveling to Haiti next week. yes, Haiti, that place of major devastation due to that major earthquake from a couple months ago. not sure if you remember it - a lot of us seem to have already moved on...shocker. this student is going to Haiti. originally, when we asked the orphanage if it was okay that we were bringing a 12-year old along, the group was hesitant to give the OK. thank the Lord that they did. this is exactly the type of opportunity that students don't get nearly enough. there is a 100% chance that this student will come home from Haiti with a greater perspective on himself, God, others and the world of which he is apart.

"adults often underestimate kids abilities...and when expectations are low, we will sink to them." fortunately, the opposite is also true - if we allow kids to achieve their potential - they can meet those expectations.

again, it comes back to opportunities - the parents of this 12-year old allowed her to pursue her dream as a young child, and now she's a TED speaker?! this girl learned to READ less than 8 years ago and now she's forming those learned words into sentences that are altering minds and influencing others and spurning late-night blog posts from yours truly! and where does it begin? with an ADULT looking at a child, at a student, at the next generation and encouraging them to dream big and providing a CHANCE for them to succeed.

so for anyone working with young people of any kind - trust them to succeed. if you show them that you believe they can do anything, and you allow them the outlet to grow and meet their potential - they'll do just that.


* - LOST: john locke reference.

April 21, 2010

lin yu chun.

if you haven't checked out this dude yet, you need to. out of nowhere he's totally ruling everything. he was on some Taiwanese Idol type of show. he sings whitney houston. hooooooly sixes:

and then william shatner joins him on "lopez tonight". as much as i love old bill, but the newcomer totally steals the show:


April 07, 2010

April 05, 2010

willie bloomquist/clean-up.

"Kansas City's cleanup hitters "hit" a combined .211/.280/.315 in 2009, with just 13 home runs and 71 RBIs. In other words, just hitting Willie Bloomquist there would have been more effective."

-David Shoenfield, Page 2,

pre-season baseball predictions.

AL East: new york yankees
AL Central: minnesota twins
AL West: seattle mariners
AL Wild Card: boston red sox

NL East: philadelphia phillies
NL Central: st. louis cardinals
NL West: colorado rockies
NL Wild Card: los angeles dodgers

ALWC: twins over red sox
ALDS: yankees over mariners
NLWC: phillies over dodgers
NLDS: cardinals over rockies

ALCS: yankees over twins
NLCS: phillies over cardinals

WS: phillies over yankees


April 01, 2010

currently reading/listening to.

currently reading:

learning evangelism from jesus - jerram barrs
your first two years in youth minitsry - doug fields

currently listening to:

of the blue colour of the sky - ok go
the unauthorized biography of reinhold messner - ben folds five
broken bells - broken bells
all killer no filler - sum 41

just if you're interested. that's all.. oh wait one more thing - i've always thought the dude on the front of reinhold looks like kevin bacon. ok now that's all.

okay fine. april fools on sum 41.


galactic empire state of mind.

chalk that title up for the next "before and after" category on wheel of fortune.

this is genius and hilarious. i just watched this 3 times in a row. i really wish they'd called jay-z and alicia keys to see if they'd do it themselves. talk about epic.


March 31, 2010

kendall vs buck.

i realized today (and twittered) the following today:

"jason kendall: batting .139 with 0 homeruns for KC in spring training. john buck: .304 and 2 homers for toronto. feel the sting."

and here we see the espn player card widgets for the evil jason kendall and the incredible (or should i say, mr. incredible) john buck.

these are last years' stats, but starting on monday, these stats will morph into the 2010 regular season statistics. as you can see (unless you access this page after april 5th, then it will be the new stats), in 2009, buck led in AVG (.247 vs .241), triples (4 vs 2), homers (8 vs 2), and almost matched kendall in doubles (12 vs 19) in well less than HALF the number of at bats (186 vs 452) and games played (59 vs 134), due to splitting time with miguel olivo.

if you project buck's totals to match kendall's 452 at bats, bucks numbers for 2009 are .247 avg, 112 hits, 29 doubles, 10 triples, 19 homers, 88 rbis. not too shabby. i'm still baffled that he split time with anyone at all. anyway, looking forward...

my predictions for 2010:

buck: .268 avg, .524 slg, 18 hr, 84 rbi
kendall: .249 avg, .450 slg, 9 hr, 66 rbi

i will be keeping a close eye on john's production in toronto this season, and i will likely be referencing this post numerous times this season.

go relish.


March 27, 2010

March 26, 2010

kstate moving forward: butler, and...uni?

i'll be honest. the university of northern iowa scares me.

they beat ku, which i'm beginning to realize was no fluke, and they have the type of team that can beat ku - themselves. they've got a big man underneath to lay on people (just like aldrich) and hot shooters (just like collins and others). they may not be the most athletic team in the league, play as fast the most or rebound the best, but when it boils down to what type of team ku couldn't beat - UNI has that physical composition. we saw this last weekend.

and as has been demonstrated 3 times this year by ku, kstate doesn't match up against a physical ogre underneath and sharp shooters on the wing. and that is exactly what UNI has. so if kstate can pull off this run to the final four, beat butler tomorrow night and end up in indianapolis next weekend - i'm really scared of the potential matchup against UNI. if they can beat the jayhawks, they can probably beat anybody. and kstate just doesn't match up well.

that having been said, its not like ohio st is anything less scary. evan turner has the potential to rip a team apart any night (not unlike byu's fredette and xavier's crawford, so the cats have some experience here). and tennessee not only handed ku its first loss earlier this season, but also beat at the time No. 1 kentucky. the only team that doesn't make me flat out nervous is michigan state - but tom izzo is a final four machine and should never be counted out. even without Lucas, they're still an izzo team.

which brings me back to UNI.

if i'm scared of all 4 teams - why wouldn't i want to face UNI? kstate beats the team that ku couldn't to go to the championship game! we lose to kansas 3 times in the regular season, and due to an early ku exit we don't get our 4th shot - could a beating of UNI be the next best thing? possible.

but lets not overlook butler. the bulldogs' win over syracuse was not a fluke. although i'm thankful to be playing butler instead of syracuse - this team is hot hot hot and has its eyes on a trip HOME to indianapolis. they matchup pretty even up and down the board with the exception of rebounding and blocks. curtis kelly has been a monster underneath so far this tournament and (i think) was the real reason for the victory last night against xavier. if kelly and jamar samuels can be a presence underneath and keep butler out of the lane - i think kstate is moving on to the final four. pullen and clemente will do what they do, sutton can shut down their best guard on defense, and colon can lay on some people underneath.

kstate looks good. butler might even look better. but i think kstate has the edge moving forward, and i'm really hoping for a matchup against UNI in the final four.

here's to hoping. bring on the cats.


March 04, 2010

lcd soundsystem, broken bells.

i've been listening to LCD Soundsystem for the last week or so. i hadn't really heard anything of the decade ended. PMA was blogging the best songs of the decade. as the end of december wound down, i kept seeing all the potential #1 candidates slowly dwindle, and before #1 was revealed, i was at a loss for what it might be.

turns out i'd never heard the number one song according to my favorite music blog. in the words of hermione granger..."what. an. idiot."

the top song: "All My Friends" is great. i listened to it like 4 times in a row right then and there - which doesn't sound like many times, but it's a 7:17 track. so 4 times that is a while. 29 minutes and 8 seconds, actually. so i vowed to check them out. and when i received an itunes gift card in the mail from my mother on valentines day, i decided that this was my moment to investigate it.

so far here's what i've gathered: they're awesome, energetic, funky, and very diverse. and their first track on their first LP is called "Daft Punk is Playing at My House". that's step 1 in a recipe for success.

i'm definitely fan overall. not every song hits the jackpot, but with such an eclectic selection of sounds you can't expect every track to be your groove. check em out on theirspace.

also, i just got an email telling me that the Broken Bells album i pre-ordered about 2 months ago was shipped today. broken bells is a new collaboration between danger mouse (producer of the grey album, half of gnarls barkley) and james mercer (singer/songwriter of the shins). check out their first single "The High Road" here. you'll like it. if you don't like it then i'll treat you like ku fans treat others.


March 03, 2010

minimalist star wars posters.

i'm obsessed with these minimalist star wars planet posters.

i will be decorating my new house with these eventually. too bad the size i want are $37.78 a print. but my birthday is next weekend, so if anyone is looking for a good idea...just saying.


March 02, 2010

the time we almost killed dick van dyke.

dick van dyke is lucky to be alive.

maybe he's just not used to vehicles driving around his gated malibu community. maybe he thinks himself invincible cause he can step in time.* perhaps he's hoping for a "bit 'o magic". or maybe he thinks he's lance livestrong.

whatever the reason, the man needs to learn to look both ways before blitzing out of his garage and down the street. because lack of precation almost killed dick van dyke when he was almost struck by our vehicle.

yes. OUR vehicle.

on sunday morning, nate brooke and i had some time to kill before getting to the airport. so we decided to drive north to Malibu and check out this amazing Franciscan monastery that hosts pastoral retreats. this monastery is within this gated neighborhood. so we're weaving through the neighborhood and nate is pointing out different celebrities homes - specifically mel gibson's house - and he mentions that dick van dyke lives in the community too.

he hardly finishes his sentence and suddenly an older gentleman with a white mustache comes flying around a blind corner on a bicycle.

both vehicles screech to a stop. we end up about 5 feet away from impact. our mouths gaping open like a codfish. we make eye contact. he's wearing a silly looking face shield just in case he happens upon the hood of a car with his face mashed against the windshield. he's fortunate to have avoided such a scenario.

in the intensity of the situation, no one could be for sure that we had almost run over DVD himself. we just thought it was some mere human. just some random fella on a bike. maybe it was cause of his silly face shield that we didn't recognize him. who knows. but we drove away and it slowly settled in that we had come within a second of being front page news. we almost plowed over dick van dyke on a bike.

can you imagine?! what if we'd hit him?! what if we'd run him over?! what if he had died?! gosh. what a miserable situation. i'd cry all through Mary Poppins for the rest of my life. i would be hated by millions. heck, i'd hate myself! what a relief.

as he awkwardly maneuvered around our rental car, he could very clearly be seen muttering something under his silly face shield. it was one of those slow-motion-coach's-reaction situations - you know, the ones where you can absolutely read their lips? the ones where little bits of spittle fly out of their mouths after they unleash that voiceless labiodental fricative "F" motion? the situation where everyone goes "ooooo wonder what he just said?"

it was like that. obviously i can't repeat it here. but DVD really let 'er fly. had he not needed both hands to steer around us, i'm sure it would've been accompanied by a very distinctive hand motion.

so lets just be thankful that the situation didn't escalate. i'm not sure we could find a lawyer that could match his. i'm not sure i'd even want to. no matter what he said, no matter whose fault it really was - i'd just nod my head and respond, "whatever you say, dick van dyke."

but i will say this: he's lucky. of course, that is to be expected - a sweep is a lucky as lucky can be.


* - flap like a birdie!

EDIT: man. so weird. dick van dyke looks like my dad. also Guy Smiley.

February 27, 2010

my trip to LA has been interesting.

i had two goals going into this weekend:

1. start and finish rob bell's jesus wants to save christians: a manifesto for a church in exile. i read the first part when it first came out, but put it down and feel i need to start it over. i made it 2/3 of the way through on the plane ride into LAX* - i would've finished it if the view of the grand canyon hadn't been so amazing from my window seat.

2. get to know students as well as develop a better understanding of the los angeles youth culture through conversations with the them here at covenant camp at the alpine retreat center. this goal hasn't gone as well. after waking up in kansas city at 4AM pacific time and going to sleep at 3AM pacific time yesterday - i wasn't the greatest conversationalist. and then we had an issue at the camp - 4 middle schoolers decided to ransack all the cabins during chapel. they stole around $10,000 worth of phones, ipods and cash from leaders and students. that sorta stunted my opportunities to chat.

the theme this weekend here is "that's so messed up." it's about pain and difficulty in life - all about how we live in a fallen world. that this isn't the world God had in mind in creating it, but that through Jesus, he's leading us all toward the way the world someday will be. flipping the world right side up and redeeming the messed up world we currently are a part of.

and what a great example in these dudes who got caught swiping everyone's stuff. they're spending the evening in juvenile detention. we're encouraging the students to be praying for them and to help them in this messed up world that they've gotten tripped up on.

anyway. that's what i've been doing in LA this weekend. also it's snowing like crazy here in the california mountains and it's freezing cold and i want to go back to kansas city. i'll be back here in 2 weeks though. wonder if it'll be equally interesting next time.


* - btw. after watching the season 6 premiere of LOST, entitled "LA X" i couldn't stop thinking about everything lost throughout my flight and landing. at baggage claim i definitely said, "LOOK! that's where kate hijacks claire's taxi at gunpoint!" also, i'm in a blizzard in LA while it's sunny in KC. definitely the work of an ALT TIMELINE.

February 23, 2010


so i finally saw avatar. imax. in all three dimens.....

...oh what's that? excuse me? ohhhh...yes. i'm perfectly aware that it's been out for eight thousand days and that i'm a massive loser for not seeing it until now.* but lets go ahead and save all that unproductive banter for another time and cut to the chase:

avatar just changed my life.

okay not MY life specifically - although mine will be greatly affected - it just basically changed everybody's perspective on how movies are viewed. a quick list of examples:

1. when i watch LOST tomorrow night, i will be thinking, "gee, sure would be cool if i could see the smoke monster roller coaster itself through the jungle in more than boring ole 2D. and the next time they show a clip on an airplane, i'll be thinking, "hey, is it just me, or is the back of the plane a lot smaller than the front of the plane?" it'll seem like that creepy hallway in the gene wilder version of willy wonka right before they go into the totally edible "world of pure imagination."...i'd continue. but hello, spoiler alert.

okay so only one example. but it's a good one.

the animation is the most absurd thing i've ever seen. just ridiculous. and by ridiculous i don't mean like this ridiculous...i mean like vince carter ridiculous. at one point there's a animated character, fighting a human who is in a robotic body suit. and i thought nothing of it because they all looked like they went together. i was blown away over and over again by how insane the cinematography was.

sure, the storyline was a futuristic retelling of pocahontas: a group of people invade another world in search of something valuable and have to wipe out the hippie indigenous people in order to get it. but then one of them gets too close to the indigenous people and joins their side and falls in love. war ensues. etc.

only difference is that, historically, the whites pretty much wiped out the native americans. avatar has a much happier ending...of course, disney managed to end pocahontas on a positive note too. must've forgotten about the whole small pox thing. convenient.

michelle rodriguez is in it. so that's sorta a bummer. you'll never guess what role she plays. oh nevermind, you got it. the super butch female soldier role. shocker.

also chad, who falls down in "that thing you do!" is in it. almost evens out the Tragedy of Ana least it wasn't shannon. ugh.

also, sigourney weaver is in another movie about aliens.

anyway. it's late and i can't be typing about this all night like i did with LG. but here is my review in bullet point fashion:

- animation/cinematography: 12 out of 10
- acting: 5 out of 10
- storyline: 7 out of 10 - second coming of Poco? sure. but it's still a powerful story. political even.

- but the real selling point: this movie is ground-breaking. NEVER has a movie been this...way. it's the first of it's kind and it is unbelievable. EVERYONE has to see this movie, and i am embarrassed that it took me this long to see it. wow.

- also the 3D is simply mesmerizing. i mean, way more mesmerizing than even antiques roadshow.

- conclusion: james cameron is a wizard...maybe they'll let him do the final harry potter movie...


* -of course, i'm also the guy who just saw jurassic park for the first time last year. and still hasn't seen the godfather OR scarface. also this was my first ever IMAX movie. so it probably shouldn't be a shock that it took so long to see this one too. major flop. sigh. a tiger don't change his stripes, i suppose.

February 18, 2010

lady gaga.

"there are two types of people in this world: those who like neil diamond, and those who don't."

-Bill Murray as Bob Wiley, What About Bob?

my reason for kicking off this post with that quote is two fold: first,there are a handful of neil diamond fans (or at least sweet caroline fans) who read my blog whom i am specifically hoping will be attracted to this post now that i've dropped his name. second, it appears the quote can be said for Lady Gaga as well.

however, i'm not sure Bob Wiley's quote can be translated to Lady Gaga in exactly the same way as it is to neil. instead, the quote ought to read more like...

"there are two types of people in this world: those who understand and admit that Lady Gaga is terrific, and those who are too concerned with social implications to put themselves totally out there for public scrutiny."

sure. she's a freak. i mean cmon. she's created this stage name that has become a lifestyle. here life is either an incredible act - like something out of The Prestige - where she has chosen to accept this lifestyle for the success of her career, or she truly has bought into the insanity of her character and truly is as freaky-wacky-nutso as she comes across.

but that's not what i care about. how could i? my favorite artist has the biggest ego of anyone in the music biz and repeatedly embarrasses himself on a national stage. if i really cared about the person BEHIND the music, i would've dumped kanye west years ago. and while we're at it - amy winehouse is likely in my top 5 artists too. as i stated following the VMA's back in september: "i have a history of liking freaks as long as they put out good music."

Lady Gaga can join the club.

i am also someone who falls hard for the catchy tracks. i don't understand when people say stuff like "it's just so catchy" as if it's a bad thing. isn't that what makes it so appealing? i guess i'm under the assumption that catchy makes music better - music is fun. and catchy is fun. however, that doesn't mean i'm just going to run out there and buy the album. there are so many artists who throw out a random catchy track and have nothing to follow it up. (read: ke$ha).

then there are other artists who have a bunch of catchy tracks, but they end up all sounding the same and listeners get very bored, very fast. (read: sean kingston, akon...nickelback would fit here if they had at least one good song. they all sound the same, but they all really suck.)

the thing about Lady G - her tracks are ALL catchy. and they're ALL different. and they're ALL GREAT. i'm not sure i've ever experienced an album that is so catchy from start to finish.

but the Fame Monster is actually two albums shoved into one release: The Fame and The Fame Monster are two discs that stand apart in one deluxe set. The Fame came out first and heralded popular tracks like "Just Dance", "Poker Face", "Paparazzi", and "LoveGame". Then instead of putting out a totally different record - she slapped an 8-track work of genius on the front of The Fame - with tracks like "Bad Romance" and "Telephone" - and released The Fame Monster as a 24-track set.

24 tracks. and they are all terrific.

and if you've developed your perspective on LG from the long list radio singles above, then you really don't have a true perspective on her work. in fact, the ones that haven't hit the radio are the true gems in the set. after a month of dedicated listening, "Teeth", "Paper Gangsta", "Starstruck", and "Disco Heaven" stand out as my 4 favorite tracks - none of which have hit the airwaves yet.

...okay okay, "Bad Romance" is among my favorites too.

...and "Just Dance" definitely gets me bumpin.

...and Beyonce absolutely kills it on "Telephone". wow.

...and "Alejandro", while silly, has an awesome Ace of Base vibe to it.

...and "Boys Boys Boys" rules.

see what i mean? this is what you're dealing with when you pick up this album. it's just stacked with killer tracks - tracks that i've been friendly enough to link over and again so that you can follow to them and understand what i mean.

i could probably write more and more, but there's a great chance that no one has followed me to this point anyway. but i will add this: in my humble opinion, there hasn't been an album with this many hits since justin timberlake released futuresex/lovesounds in Aug 2007. which i had very extensive thoughts about back in the day. back in the 3 weeks i had a myspace blog.*

i realize that i haven't spoken much about style, genius, how she writes her own stuff, how she went to school and was a musical prodigy at the age of 4. but that's for another time. and believe me, i'll have plenty of time. she's younger than i 2 weeks. so if she keeps this up over the next 20+ years?! yikes. we may be dealing with LG's poker face for a long time...jackpot.

i'll have plenty of words on the LG in the future.


* - awkward blogging times. i was in between internet identities...but hey, remember sthanga? i used to have such a crush on break_my_heart_baby.

february is a drag.

historically, february has been a monster blogging month for me. who knows why that really is, but i have a couple theories:

1. february is the worst month of school year, hands down. second semester, second month, itching for spring break but still so far away. perhaps in the past this is the point when i'd get really tired of my education and start focusing on the more exciting aspects of life. typically i would do this while i was IN class in the back of the room(s). that allowed for about 15-18 hours of blogging time every week. i simply don't have that sort of free-time/boredom anymore.

2. february offers an abundance of sports-related blog topics: the superbowl, pitchers and catchers report for spring training, ncaa basketball is in full swing - february is just an exciting month in sports.

3. february marks the beginning of Lent. this is quite possibly the time of the year that the rest of the world becomes the most in-tune with God. Christmas has been watered-down by consumerism and Easter is covered in pastels. it seems like the times that we are most in tune with God is when we are preparing our hearts for the climax of the liturgical season (advent or lent). and lets be honest, people just get more excited about Christmas cause of the whole presents thing. thus, my Jesus cogs begin to churn and wha-la! more blogs.

4. february 12 marked two months without john buck. the good news is that mr. incredible has been granted the power number (14) on the blue jays as well. other good news: toronto will be in town july 19, 20, and 21. you better believe i'll be in the stands rooting for JB. i bet he hits 4 homers in 3 games. no one knows our pitching staff better.

those are just theories. the point is this: february is 64.3% over with (18/28 days) and my blogging has been miserable. i've averaged almost 16 blogs for the month of february over the last 3 years, and suddenly i'm realizing that is tanking to some degree.

however, just so we're straight, my twitter feed and my shared google reader feed are both off the chains. and now with google buzz, you can follow all of this stuff in one location. blogging is going to be obsolete soon. it's way more than 140 characters.

i'm going to try and resurrect this thing by easter. i'm not sure if i should laugh at that last sentence or marvel at the greatness of it.


February 10, 2010

i admit that this is a blog for blogging's sake.

i fell like i get on here all the time to write something, but i don't really have an abundance of things to talk about.*

scratch that. reverse it.

the last couple weeks have been good ones - we left the worst month of the year and entered the second-worst - that's sort of an upgrade. and this month only has 28 days, so that's something to celebrate as well...

probably the most exciting event to unfold over the last few weeks: my wife-to-be and i have been house hunting. my lease is up in may and that glorious tax credit is still available through the end of april - also the housing market is in prime buying condition - so NOW is the time to buy.

and by "now" i mean we may be putting in an offer tomorrow. crossies.

as if buying a car didn't feel enough like an adult maneuver - now i'm actually buying a house? like a house house house.** it's just insane.

something that HASN;T happened in the last few weeks: i still haven't seen freaking avatar. cmon!


* - willy wonka reference - "we have so much time and so little to see!"
** - that thing you do! reference - "not one that we'd play."

January 29, 2010

espn sportsnation poll: kstate/ku.

kansas poll: 30% ku, 70% kstate in 1000+ votes

my prediction: kstate 91, ku 84

watch for us on espn. we'll be among the record college gameday crowd.
bring on the cats.


January 14, 2010

thriving youth ministry in smaller churches.

"the future church will thrive in being small. the mainline, middle, and mainstream are dying and splintering into countless fragments. micro is the new mega. small is big. scripture clearly roots for the underdog. david against goliath. a boy with fish and bread. mustard seeds....being smaller is a huge advantage."