Saturday, December 31, 2005

Special guest star...

Dateline - Houston.

Saturday. New Year's Eve. 11:15 A.M.
I'm watching The West Wing - Season 4, Episode 4 - The Red Mass.
Josh and Amy are having an argument (surprise!) in the coffee room outside the Stackhouse meeting. He gets up from his chair to walk over to her chair, and

is that?- ..... could it be?.... - IS THAT HIS OPEN FLY? Seriously?

I kept waiting for it to become part of the scene, like she was going to patronize him for being all serious, and then zip it up for him or something.

Somebody back me up on this... or set me straight....

Sunday, December 25, 2005


And God Bless us, every one....

It's 2 a.m. on Christmas morning 2005, and I'm still up. In my apartment in Houston all by myself. There won't be any present-opening or family for me until tomorrow night, but I wouldn't exactly call myself lonely on Christmas. I was kind of thinking about Mary and Joseph, and how they must have been feeling on this night 2000 or so years ago. When you think about it - this night probably sucked big-time for them. At church tonight John Jackson told me he talked to his friend who actually lives in Israel, in the Golan Heights, today. They are expecting rain and snow.

A white Christmas. In Israel.
Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "no room for them in the inn".

I read a couple of days ago on Craig's blog, and Myles' blog about how so much of the context of that first Christmas was not joy, and Who-bilation, but instead a rather lot of mourning. It's a great point. Like Myles says:

- Anna is noted as being widow.
- Simeon mentions his impending death in the same breath as his seeing Jesus.
- Mary's heart is promised to be pierced with the metaphorical sword of grief.
- The babies of Bethlehem are all slaughtered at Jesus birth.
- Joseph contemplates divorce before he is even married.

Not to mention the fact that
- Between Caesar and Herod, the Jews in the Galilee region where Jesus grew up were probably under about 80-90% taxation.
- Just to feed their families, many of them had to sell the family land that had been alotted them by God when Joshua brought them into the land, 20-25 generations ago. They had to hire themselves out as day-laborers, and acquire skills that could travel where the work was. We see that Joseph was evidently a carpenter, and when Augustus decided to count, he had to go back to Bethlehem, where his family was from. Why wasn't he living on the family land?
- A strange star was seen in 17 B.C., and witnesses claimed it was the first Caesar, Julius, ascending to the right hand of the father, Zeus. Julius' son, Octavian (aka - Augustus), claimed that if his father was god, he was the son of god, and should be worshiped so. He even went so far as to circulate the phrases "There is no other name by which men can be saved than Caesar Augustus", and "Caesar is Lord" in the population, and if you dared to deny it, he'd kill you.
- Caesar inaugurated a 10-day celebration of his birth called "The Advent of Caesar Augustus".
- Rome also slaughtered thousands of people at a time using an award-winning new invention for torture - crucifixion.
- Herod was probably the richest man who has ever lived. He taxed the Jewish working poor and used their income to build hot tubs on Masada, fresh water swimming pools surrounded by salt water, the worlds largest, most beautiful port city - Caesarea (a world class kiss-ass, that's what he was), statues of Caesar, and roads, stadiums, aqueducts, NOT in Israel. He even single-handedly funded the Olympic games (Coca-who? Master-what?).
- The rich were getting richer, and the poor were getting poorer. The "haves" were having more, and the "have-nots" were having less and less.

Joyful and triumphant this story ain't. There was a deep sense of despair and fatalism among the Jews of the day.

"God, if you're there, and you're so good, and we're your people - is Herod always going to be on the throne? And is Caesar always going to rule? And why do you seem so far off? And why haven't we heard from you in so many years."

But all of a sudden. Out of the blue. After years of silence. The Angel of the Lord appears to a Jr. High girl whose boyfriend is flaky to say the least.

Mary's Magnificat is, according to Thomas Cahill, "The most muscular poem in all of ancient literature". When she finds out a new king is coming on the scene via herself, courtesy of the Spirit of God, she grits her teeth, balls up her fist, and has this to say about Herod, Augustus, taxation, and a God who has seemed far off:
I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened--
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
(The Message)
Cahill says, "No one knows it yet - but the poor, the hungry, and the humiliated have won, and this unknown 14 year old is their unexpected representative."

Tonight in Baton Rouge they lit bonfires on the levee to light the way for Santa Claus. If you think that waiting on Santa Claus has any remote meaning to what Christmas is about, you haven't been told the story correctly.

Now its almost 3 a.m. and I'm wondering what time the shepherds showed up.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


EVERYBODY is linking to this, and I finally decided I better see what it was, and guess what? I caught it. I'm not sure if this is worse than Penguin Baseball... but the stakes are certainly much higher. I already already staged a googlefight between you and me... and because we're friends, I'm not going to mention how it turned out. I'm sure you'll want to googlefight everybody and everything you can think of, though... so have at it.


Deviant Behavior

A little mindless frivolity, courtesy of Cynthia at Deviant Behavior:

Georgia girls are pretty,
Vandy girls are smart,
But it takes an LSU girl
to win a fellow's heart!
Tennessee girls are easy,
Florida girls have flow,
But when you want the best of the best,
LSU is where you go!
Bama girls are wild,
Auburn girls are fun,
But LSU girls are TIGER girls,
they are #1!
Any man who reads this,
he probably already knows.
If he has an LSU girl,
he should never let her go!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Penguin Baseball


Fair warning. If, by some unlucky circumstance, you should happen to click there, I defy you to NOT spend the whole rest of your ENTIRE DAY there. I daresay it cannot be done.
This is an even greater waste of time than the freaky woman falling through the bubbles (but you couldn't resist clicking there either, could you?). You heard it here first. Post your high scores. Mine are 593, 589, 587.

**Edited to add** Don't bother clicking the link to the freaky woman falling through the bubbles. She's not there anymore, and frankly what is there is liable to be quite disturbing to anyone desiring a little lighthearted fun. It is, as they say, NSFW. Although, some of you would probably be hard-pressed not to spend your entire day there.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Seriously - what kind of youth group has a Sadie Hawkins Dance?
And what kind of youth minister wears himself the heck out dancing at it, so that he can hardly get out of bed, much less walk, the next day?
Some messed up stuff going on in H-town.

Damn you Sadie Hawkins!
Damn you and your infernal dancing, reversal of roles, adam's apple and eventual soreness!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dear Diary,

Dear Diary,

Tonight I had coffee with perhaps the most fascinating individual I've ever met. Half Syrian, half American, studying international law at the University of Exeter in the UK. Speaks fluent Arabic. Wants to be a missionary to North Africa and the Middle East. Actually uttered the phrase "masturbating porno freak" in my office this afternoon. Listens to The Smiths and loves A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

I only write this to mark the occasion, in case six months down the road I either hate her or marry her.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"I Am The Church"

Forgive me for being all serious again, but how am I ever going to get linked by all the cool Emergent blogs if I only post iPod memes and song lyrics all the time? LOL. Seriously though, to continue the thought about church that I started a couple of posts ago, I submit for your approval, a super-cool article that was posted at (of all places) today. When they say Relevant, they ain't kiddin'. Check out the restaurant they mention in it. Here's the text, and the link:

I Am The Church
by Trinity Jordan
The very thought of the word “church” makes me want to rollover and go back to bed. For the last five years church just hasn’t felt right. Through my teenage years and into my twenties, church was almost always publicized as my participation on a Sunday morning at a specific building. I am pretty sure that if you ask anyone what church means to them, they would describe the place they go on Sundays—the religious organization that they attend. I don’t know who came up with this idea first, but it seems because all of us view church as a place—somewhere we go on Sunday morning—we have focused our attention on managing the church into an efficient, smiling, friendly, lively, bright, fun, social atmosphere.

But what if church wasn’t what you thought?

What if church was meant to be something entirely different than what it looks like today? Could it be that we have lost the concept of what it means to be the church rather than go to church?

There is a restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City that I have eaten at a couple of times. It looks like any downtown deli, but when you walk in the menu isn’t anywhere to be found. You have to ask what is available that day and you pay what you think the food is worth. The people serving the food don’t even look like they work there, because they don’t. They are literally working to pay for their meal. When you are finished you clean your dishes and put them in a tray for the dishwasher. The ambiance is amazing, it is totally decorated with art that was painted or drawn by the people who eat there and the music playing throughout the place is original music from, yet again, the regulars.

I talked to the owner one day as I was leaving and asked her, “Why do a restaurant like this? It doesn’t seem like good business?” She replied, “This place isn’t about making money, yes, money comes in, but this place is about community and feeding people. Really, this place is not the restaurant; this place is everyone that walks through that door, whether only one person ever comes in or a hundred. I hope that everyone sees this restaurant as theirs.”

I looked around after she said that and realized that everyone in the restaurant, including me, felt like we could personalize the place, because we were completely comfortable with the environment. We felt like we belonged. She was right; this place was more the people than anything else.

If you look at the word “church” in the Bible, it’s interesting that it is never used to describe a building or an organization. The word “church” is always used to refer to a gathering, crowd, group, or an assembly of people who believed in this Messiah Jesus. It was a deep-seated community with a purpose.

I was in Amsterdam, Netherlands last December and as I was riding around the city, I noticed banners and signs with the slogan “I AMsterdam.” My friend Steve, a missionary to Amsterdam, told me this slogan was the new motto of the city, somewhat like the I Love New York tagline. Amsterdam wanted to redefine the image of the city by showing the world that Amsterdam was a diverse melting pot of people, each one of them making Amsterdam unique, interesting and complete. The leaders of Amsterdam wanted to make a point that their city was not limited to political and economic boundaries, but more importantly, Amsterdam is the people who call the city home.

I sometimes wonder if we have confused our identity of being the church with the concept of an organization. The gathering of believers often times has morphed into a well-oiled business machine instead of a living, breathing body. Organization must exist to some degree, but I wonder when the body of Christ is going to wake-up, be alive and on the move rather than organize itself to death? I’m convinced we must gather together but the reality is—even when we are not physically together, we are still the body of Christ. When are we going to see church as what we are doing on Mondays as opposed to where we meet on Sunday mornings? Is it possible that places like Amsterdam and a restaurant in Salt Lake City are doing a better job of being community than many churches?

Can anyone be a part of the church? When I consider that Christ called anyone to join Him, it makes me want to rethink the traditional idea of church from the ground up. In the calling of Christ there is a sense of inclusiveness. You, me, that guy smoking the cigarette at the bus stop, if he wants in; he’s in—we are the church. To often our theology does not match our practice.

There is no doubt that through the centuries, liturgy and ministry practice have adapted to fit modern times. All of our gatherings will look different depending on the culture, but one thing is certain, the church is not a building or an organization. We are the church. You are the church. I am the church.

And anyone is welcome.

So there you have it. Those of you that don't care about this stuff can just walk on by... but if you read, I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

For Krysten

You always knew your iPod was convenient, awesome, and fun... but did you know how intuitive and prophetic it could be? Read on...

Unless otherwise noted, songs are listed [Title], [Artist], [Album].

How many songs: 2600

Sort by song title:
First song: 'Til The Day I Die, Third Day, Wire
Last song: Zzyzx Scarecrow, Stavesacre, Absolutes

Sort by time:
Shortest Song: Pull In Town, Kip Dynamite, Napoleon Dynamite Soundtrack - 3 sec
Longest Song: Providence, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, f# a# oo - 29:02

Sort by album:
First Song: Blackened, Metallica, ...And Justice For All
Last Song: Youth Gone Wild, Skid Row, Youth Gone Wild

Sort by artist:
First Song: California Love, 2Pac/Dr. Dre
Last Song: Bust A Move, Young MC, Non-Stop

Sort by date added:
First Song: Where I Began, Caedmon's Call, 40 Acres
Last Song: Collide, Howie Day, Stop All The World Now (Special Edition)

Top five most-played songs:
(Not wholly accurate because I had to reload my iTunes and iPod a few weeks ago when they set my computer up at the new job.)

1. Baby It's Cold Outside, Leon Redbone/ Zooey Deschanel, Elf Soundtrack
2. You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch, Tennessee Ernie Ford, A Classic Cartoon Christmas
3. Lewis Boogie Blues, Waylon Malloy Payne, Walk The Line Soundtrack
4. I'll Be Home For Christmas, The Beach Boys
5. The Man With All The Toys, The Beach Boys

First song that comes up on shuffle:
Slide Rule, Die Happy, Die Happy

Search, how many songs come up?
sex: 2
death: 10
love: 118
you: 281
me: 609

Shuffle and Ask:

What do you think of me, iTunes?
Must Get Out, Maroon 5, Songs About Jane
(I will offer no commentary whatsoever on this selection. Except to say that I will offer no commentary.)

Will I have a happy life?
Psychedelic Super Jesus, Bride, Snakes In The Playground

What do my friends really think of me?
The Meaning Of It All, Plankeye, Simply Survival
(It should be pointed out that I have absolutely no idea how Plankeye got into my library.)

Do people secretly lust after me?
All Over Me/ Do Not, The Benjamin Gate/John Reuben, Smash-Ups

What should I do with my life?
Words, The Monkees, Missing Links Vol. 2

Why must life be so full of pain?
The Rest Is Up To You, Relient K, The Anatomy Of The Tongue In Cheek

Will I ever have children?
Acquiesce, Stavesacre, Absolutes

Will I die happy?
Dogma, Marilyn Manson, Portrait Of An American Family
(You don't know how I prayed that one of my 17 songs by Die Happy would come up.)

Can you give me some advice?
I Go Blind, Hootie And The Blowfish, Scattered, Smothered, And Covered

What do you think happiness is?
Bookends, Deliverance, Camelot-In-Smithereens

What's my fetish?
Learn To Fly, Foo Fighters, There Is Nothing Left To Lose

Am I a complete freak?
Last Daze, Petra, Beyond Belief

Okay so - remember what I said about this being all, like, intuitive and prophetic? Forget all that. That's crap. I just copied and pasted that anyway.


I walked on grass today...

I walked on grass today.

At lunch, Tommy and Ty decided to go to this little Chinese Cafe right over next door to the church. I had to stay around a couple of minutes and do a thing, but when I was done, I was going to catch up with them. They went in Tommy's truck, but it's not that far, so I decided to walk.

I can't remember the last time I just walked.

I get so busy, and there are so many exciting things to do indoors. DVR, DSL, PS2, Digital Cable. I hardly even spend any time outside anymore. I remember when I was a kid, that my after-school time consisted of catching crawfish in the ditch in front of my house, or riding bikes to nowhere in particular with the other kids, playing baseball with a tennis ball and one base, or playing this game I invented in the front yard, where the object was to trip people and step on their toes. I love that game. Even if you lost - you fell down in the grass.

Today was such a pretty day, sunny and a little overcast and neither hot nor cold. I knew I was going to eat well, so the walk would do me good in advance (even though it's hardly far enough). Why walk when I could have just as easily driven? I guess that's exactly why. It's just as easy to drive. They are the same trouble. Only - walking is more enjoyable. And better for you. And cheaper. So I walked.

But even as I walked in the pretty day, I realized something else. I was walking on the concrete. There was grass over there, but I was following the concrete, even though it was the long way around. At what point did I become conditioned to keep off the grass, and follow the concrete wherever it leads? On the concrete, you have to move out of the way of bikes and cars and strollers. There's very seldom a situation on the grass where you have to do that. So I decided to get off of the concrete.

You probably think I'm making a big deal out of a little short walk through a patch of dead grass in the city- and you'd be right. It really is kind of sad - that that's all it takes to make me feel at one with nature, lol. But it's little, intentionally slow, outdoor, natural things that we were created to know, I think. So it was a great reunion between me and walking and grass. I actually felt closer to God.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning said:
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only those who see take off their shoes.
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.
Ty said:
"That sounds like a blog, to me."

Turns out they were both right.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005


If you haven't visited, then you've been missing out on some truly inspiring stuff. The kind of stuff you want to steal liberally and claim as your own (which I would NEVER do). Just yesterday I came across his post that asks (and answers) the question "What if we could do church any way we wanted?" I thought I'd share it with you, in hopes that you'll put forth your thoughts on it, and also that you'll visit the RLP when you get a chance.

What if we could do church any way we wanted?

First of all, we probably wouldn’t call ourselves a church. That English word is rather tired, I think. It really doesn’t communicate very well, and it’s not a biblical word in any case. We might call ourselves “A Gathering of Friends,” or perhaps, “A Community Living in the Way of Christ.” I don’t know what we would call ourselves; maybe we wouldn’t have a name at all.

I don’t think we would concern ourselves very much with what individuals in the community say about Jesus or even believe about Jesus. It’s not that what we say about Jesus doesn’t matter, but this community would begin with real living. There will be time enough for pretty Jesus words later on.

We would begin with between five and fifteen people who are committed to following in the way of Christ, confessing their weaknesses and turning their lives over to God as they understand him or her. We would make certain commitments to God and to each other:

  • We would meet once or twice a week to worship together. This meeting would be a very high priority in our lives.
  • We would make these friendships intentional ones and make it a point to spend time together.
  • We would agree to pray and study the scriptures together and on our own.
  • We would nurture each other and care for one another, especially if one of us was hurting or in need.
  • We would simplify our lives to the point where we could give 10% of our income to the community. Some who have been on the journey longer might give more.
  • Each of us would find a personal and fulfilling way to serve God by serving the world. Finding your joyful place of service would be a central part of being in this community, for we would agree that Christianity is a way of living more than a set of doctrines.

We would never pay anyone to be a professional Christian. There would be no staff, no paid ministers, no salaries, and no overhead. If there were even ten wage earners among us, our collected offerings might be between twenty and fifty thousand dollars. With no salaries, buildings, or other administrative costs, almost all of this money would be used to do good things in the name of Christ.

Maybe once a year we would sit around a kitchen table and say, “What do you want to do for God this year?”

There would be a little money left over to buy coffee or even a guitar if someone wanted to play it during worship. Maybe twice a year we would all go on an extended retreat together. Those with limited funds would never have to worry about being able to afford that sort of thing.

If there were children among us, they would sit on our laps and worship with us. We would not have children’s classes. We wouldn’t need them. We would teach the children ourselves and let them be a part of everything we do.

We would never purchase or rent a place to worship. Homes would suffice. If and when the gathering became too large to meet comfortably in a living room, we would divide into two groups. Perhaps the two living room churches would meet together once a month at a park or in some borrowed space. We wouldn't worry about what will happen someday. These things will work themselves out. I’m of the opinion that there is far too much planning in churches nowadays.

We would never advertise our faith community. Advertising tends to cheapen things, and I think we wouldn't want to start going down that road. We would bring friends with us as we felt led. I’m sure some would find us in very mysterious ways. We would trust that those who are ready to find us would find us. Anyone would be welcome to meet with us in the living room, of course. Some might join the community when they felt ready to embrace our commitments.

If there is preaching, it would be done by everyone. All who feel ready to share would take their turn. You would have weeks or even months to read your passage of scripture prayerfully. Then you would simply share the wisdom you found in the scriptures with your good friends.

The best news of all is that we would lay down the terrible burden of planning and strategizing for the business of church. Large budgets, buildings, and programs require business plans and outreach strategies. But you see, the big picture would not be our concern. The future would be left in the hands of God. We would content ourselves with our simple lives of service and devotion. What happens beyond that would be God’s business and not ours.

It sounds refreshing, does it not? And vaguely familiar. Even if you’ve never been a part of something like that, your heart knows that it would feel like going home.

There's been a lot of talk around my church lately about George Barna's book Revolution that came out recently. Barna predicts (often with accuracy bordering on creepy) that within the next 25 years, the Church (big "C") will move out of churches (little "c") and into houses and living rooms, as described above. The RLP couldn't be more right in describing how his own idea feels to me. My heart knows that it would feel like going home. But there seems to be some resistance to the idea among some of my colleagues on the church staff. I can't tell if it's because they don't like the idea, because it means the destruction of their current career, or if they genuinely believe it's crap. Frankly - I LOVE the idea, and ironically, I'm really the only one on this staff who doesn't have other options, as far as employment goes. I've got no other real skills (some would say I've no skills at THIS job, but I digress), so if things go the way of George Barna, J.T. and the RLP, then I'd be in trouble, and probably be knocking down the door at the University of Phoenix (they do have a door, right? And it's not just a virtual one?). But material success has never been all that important to me (sorry Casey Adams, lol), and if it serves the Kingdom better, and makes better disciples, how can I oppose it? I might be permanently out of a job - but what a way to go!

Sunday, December 4, 2005

My Favorite Comedian:

Pastor John Hagee, of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX.

Seriously - funniest guy I've ever heard. When I flip through the channels, I can't pass him up. I used to watch him in college, and just now I was looking for a football game, and got sucked in.

"Sin fascinates - then it assassinates"
"Sin thrills - and then it kills"
"You don't try Jesus. You try broccoli. You try low-fat ice cream. And it's terrible! It tastes like ground up styrofoam."

Comedy GOLD - i'm tellin' ya.

Oh, and also - God wants to make you rich.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Are you with me?!!?"

Cowboy Mouth did an hour and a half set outside the P-MAC (Pete Maravich Assembly Center) at 10:00 this morning, before the LSU/Arkansas game. I actually got up early, got dressed, and drove myself down to LSU in time to park and walk to the P-MAC for the show. And I don't know if it was the late night, the early morning, or the fact that I miss home so much, but I left there at 11:30 feeling like I'd been hit by a truck - in a good way. Cowboy Mouth did not disappoint. They brought it. If you haven't seen a CM show, I feel kind of sorry for you. They're not the most technical band in the world, nor the most poetic, but what they certainly are is 100% kick-arse rock and roll. I'm convinced that this country would not be so dependent upon foreign oil if we could somehow harness whatever it is that Fred LeBlanc has got, and gives to the crowd at a CM show. He's got this ability to get even casual fans and introverts up off their feet, and screaming at the top of their lungs. Pure energy. It really is a sight to see. It's actually kind of like church. Actually, it's indescribable. Everybody that's ever been has described it the same way - you can't understand unless you've been there - and it's true. The name Cowboy Mouth is from a play by Sam Shepard, that he co-wrote with Patti Smith, but the phrase first appears in a song by Bob Dylan. Today they played covers of The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again, Bruce Channel's Hey, Baby!, the state song of Louisiana - You Are My Sunshine, and Milkshake by Kelis. Come to think of it, they are kind of a cross between The Who, Governor Jimmie Davis, Tony Robbins, and the Tasmanian Devil. If you ever have a chance to check them out, you should - at least once.

After the show, I hooked up with my aunt and uncle, my cousin, and some of his friends because they had my ticket to the game. We tracked down one of my aunt's business partners, who helped get us the tickets, and they twisted our arm until we promised to tailgate with them. I stood there under the walkway of the P-MAC, and lo and behold, who should walk by but Fred LeBlanc, drummer, lead singer, and motivational screamer of Cowboy Mouth. I told him they had played a great show earlier, and shook his hand. Really nice guy. Then he stopped to tailgate with us for a while. It's difficult to be starstruck around somebody who's so normal, and is big and fat and has a plate full of barbecued chicken fingers and hot sausage in front of them. Oh - and a freakin' Diet Coke. Please, Fred. Please. Eventually, all three other members of the band had come by, and I had fallen completely in love with their new bass player chick. She's hot, dude. And she's in a band. Billy - this is like that time at the thing with the Wonder Woman, you know? Exactly - love at first sight.

Anyway, LSU played - and won, of course. Now we are the SEC West Champions. Next step in our quest for total nationwide league domination: defeat Georgia in the Georgia Dome next weekend. Our Tiger Shaolin is stronger than their Bulldog Shaolin. Flawless victory.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

"So the devil will know who sent you."

Happy Thanksgiving, gang!

As usual, the Thomas family (minus Casey, who spent the holiday with Juan and his family at Disney World) slept in, and rolled up in Picadilly at about 1:30 p.m. for the annual Thanksgiving feast. I had Turkey and "dressing", Mom had pork chops in praline sauce (yes, pralines), and Dad had chopped steak. After overindulging ourselves, we played everybody's favorite Picadilly game, and looked on the check to see whose meal cost the most, and whose cost the least. Then, Casey called from Orlando and we went around the table, each announcing what we were thankful for.

There was some difference of opinion regarding this year's Thanksgiving movie. Since none of us is really a Harry Potter aficionado, and since I had seen Jarhead already, it really only came down to one of two movies. Walk The Line, playing everywhere, and The Legend of Zorro, playing at the crappy oldest theater in town without stadium seating. Dad used his veto on Walk The Line for pretty much no reason at all, so Zorro it was!

I must say - even though this movie was almost universally panned by critics, I found it very entertaining. I absolutely LOVE the Zorro character. Sure, nobody buys the whole "if you just put on a mask, nobody will recognize you" bit, and a person could probably fight a lot better, and more efficiently without doing a bunch of flips and somersaults and stuff, but anybody can do that. I wanna see a dude fight, and be acrobatic, and swing on stuff, and crack wise while he's doing it. It's no big secret that Zorro was much of the inspiration for Batman - a hero in black, an urban legend among the people he helps, available at a moments notice when summoned by a previously agreed upon signal, a flawless fighter, and a tragically flawed individual. In the Batman mythos, Bruce Wayne and his family were actually leaving the theater after having seen "The Mark Of Zorro" when his parents were killed. Coincidence? I think not. My awe of the character must be similar to the same awe that Bob Kane must have felt when he created Batman way back in the day. So - the critics hated this flick. So, maybe it's not as good as its predecessor. So what. I don't need Zorro to win Oscars, I need him to best 10 men at once in a sword fight, jump off of something high and land on his feet, outrun a train on his horse, pound the bad guy into oblivion, carve a "Z" into his chest, and say, "So the devil will know who sent you" before tying him to the front of aforementioned speeding locomotive (loaded with nitroglycerine) as it speeds into something solid. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. This flick delivers. It's a good time. Rent it.

So, on the way out, I'm chatting with mom and dad as we walk along the sidewalk... I turn and walk backwards as I talk to them behind me, and as I turn back around, something stops me dead in my tracks. You know how some people act like they've been rendered speechless because it's funny, or makes a point, or whatever? As far as I can tell - this is what they're pretending to do. I seriously forgot to keep talking and walking when I saw this:

That's right- it's a BATMAN MOTORCYCLE. Is it possible that someone could be more of a fan than me? Is it possible? Or is it just possible that someone who is an equal fan has more money than me. Friends, I think it is the latter. I looked around for the owner of this beauty. Then I asked around for them. When I couldn't find them, I tried to steal it... but I don't have a bike license, nor have I ever actually ridden a motorcycle, so I figured it wouldn't do me any good. I'll just have to paint my car, is all.

Anyway - to cap off an already wonderful day, I got a call from Dustin. She is here in B.R., away from her family for Thanksgiving, so I took her to see Walk The Line, which I was secretly dying to see anyway. That's all the excuse I needed to make it a double feature day. LOVED Walk The Line. Loved it. Go see it. And sing out loud, it's okay. Especially if you're in the same theater as Bill.

How was yours?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

iPod Meme

RIPPED! from Jamie's blog... for your reading pleasure - the soon-to-be-famous iPod meme.
Take the top 25 most popular songs on your iPod... type in the first lyric... cross them out as readers guess correctly.

1. I've got another confession to make... I'm your fool.**Jamie**

2. I know it sounds funny but I just can't stand the pain. Girl, I'm leavin' you tomorrow. **Krysten**

3. A man walks down the street - he says, "Why am I soft in the middle, now. Why am I so soft in the middle. The rest of my life is so hard." **Krysten**

4. Boys speak in rhythm, and girls in code (doot do-doot-doo).**Jamie**

5. Am I at the point of no improvement?

6. It's been a long year, since you've been gone.

7. Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am home again. **Krysten**

8. I woke up to the sound of pouring rain. Wind would whisper, and I'd think of you. **Krysten**

9. Everybody loves a rose. Will you be thankful for the thorns?**Krysten**

10. I may not always love you, but long as there are stars above you, you never need to doubt it.**Jamie**

11. Now sit right back as I bust a rhyme, I got the freshest beats, and I'm always on time. I'm the baddest of the best, yeah, I'm the king. Word.

12. You're softer than a cannon blast - but your effects much longer last.**Jamie**

13. Well, my daddy left home when I was three, and he didn't leave much for ma and me, 'cept this old guitar, and an empty bottle of booze.**Danael**

14. Living on the road, my friend, is gonna keep you free and clean. Now you wear your skin like iron, your breath as hard as kerosene.**Tanya**

15. Free to turn away - SAY GOODBYE!**Shane**

16. Her name is Noel, I had a dream about her.**Shane**

17. The grass looked greener on the other side, and so I tried - to snatch myself from your hand. **Krysten**

18. I'm in love - never been so sure of anything.**Jamie**

19. I wanna trip inside your head, and spend the day there.

20. In the howling wind... comes the stinging rain.

21. It was a clear, black night - a clear white moon.

22. Shorty get down, good lord, baby got it workin' all over town.

23. They took the whole Cherokee nation - put us on this reservation.**Danael**

24. Just a castaway, an island lost at sea-O... another lonely day, there's noone here but me-O.**Krysten**

25. New boy in the neighborhood, lives downstairs and it's understood - he's there just to take good care of me - like he's one of the family.**Jamie**

Do your worst!

678 Square Feet

The cable guy just left. Now all is right with the world. I've got my superfast internet. I've got my digital cable with way too many channels. I've got the DVR *SIGH*. A guy from the church gave me his son's old PS2 and some games. I rented NCAA 2005, and am right in the middle of a dynasty season in which LSU is 6-0, and ranked number 2 in the nation (so far). I am this close to staying in Houston for the Thanksgiving holiday and just laying in front of the TV. Seriously - I'm trying to imagine something more fun than this.

I can't.

I wondered if I would be miserable in a tiny little apartment all by myself. I thought I might be lonely, or that I wouldn't have enough room. Well, 678 square feet is plenty of room for me. Of the 5 nights I've spent here, I've had company for 3 of them - and there was plenty of room for them, too. Also, there are distinct advantages to living all by myself. I can wear or not wear whatever the heck I want. If somebody eats all of something, I know exACtly who it was. When somebody forgets to flush - same thing. I can stay up as late as I want, and if I fall asleep with the TV on? Nobody cares. Heck, nobody even KNOWS. Somehow, the darn thing always ends up turned off in the morning. And no, it's not a sleep timer - it's the elves, or something. I've got a sweet new coffee table and matching end tables, 3 new lamps, a fake plant for the little nook above my bar, and a cool-looking brand new phone that's not turned on yet.

I just got up to drink a little bit of milk. Straight out of the jug! That's just how I roll. I can do that now. When you come to my house, and want some milk - you better ask first. Just in case. Anyway - when I did, I noticed something. Obviously all milk has an expiration date, and it's not a hard and fast rule, just a guideline blahblahblahblahblah.... whatever. Drinking milk past its expiration date is not a chance I am willing to take. Even if it's just the next day. Heck, even if it's the same day - I'll actually stop to think about it. My milk has an expiration date of November 28. People are always like - "What? You think that on November 27th it's good, but at the stroke of midnight, it sours and curdles immediately?" People think they are sooo funny. No, I do not think that's what happens. I think it's more like 8:21 PM, and here's why -


I wouldn't mess with you about something so serious. My milk not only has an expiration date, it has an expiration time. I wish I had a picture. Mock on, you scoffers! What comment have you naysayers on THAT!?

So yeah. I hadn't really planned out this post or anything, so there's no real beginning, middle or end. So...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Let's Get It On

Your Seduction Style: Sweet Talker

Your seduction technique can be summed up with "charm"
You know that if you have the chance to talk to someone...
Well, you won't be talking for long! ;-)

You're great at telling potential lovers what they want to hear.
Partially, because you're a great reflective listener and good at complementing.
The other part of your formula? Focusing your conversation completely on the other person.

Your "sweet talking" ways have taken you far in romance - and in life.
You can finess your way through any difficult situation, with a smile on your face.
Speeding tickets, job interviews... bring it on! You truly live a *charmed life*

Krysten and Jamie - for the love of all things good and holy!! Cease and desist!!

"I must blake you..."


is a Giant Ant that eats Metal, has Black-and-White Stripes, an Extra Head and a Long Neck, and picks up Cars and Throws Them.

Strength: 4 Agility: 4 Intelligence: 10

To see if your Giant Battle Monster can
defeat J.T., enter your name and choose an attack:

fights J.T. using

Wednesday, November 9, 2005


Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Silver Engineer
Your Superpower is Piracy
Your Weakness is The Moon
Your Weapon is Your Gas Sling
Your Mode of Transportation is Kite

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Greasy Astrologer.

Where You Lived: Saudi Arabia.

How You Died: Hung for treason.

Your 1920's Name is:

Garvin Ardell

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!

Thursday, November 3, 2005

H-Town: Day 2 - Houston by the numbers

Woke up: 8:20 a.m.
Arrived at work: 9:05 a.m.
(SEE. He can do it.)
Cost of BBQ Lunch (it is Texas, after all): $9.24
Cost of a new AC power cord for Dell Inspiron 9300: $80.00
(I left the real one on my couch in Baton Rouge.)
Exchange period for new AC power cord: 90 days
(Better believe it's going back.)
# of songs lost from iTunes after computer guy set me up on the network: 2,472
(8.2 days, 9.17 GB)
# of songs recovered from iPod, extracted to external hard drive, and manually dragged and dropped back into iTunes: 2,468
(Don't ask me what the other 4 were, or where they went.)
# of students and/or parents and/or coworkers names I actually remember: 5?
(Are we talking real names?)
Date I was supposed to be able to move into my apartment: November 10, 2005
Date that Lisa, the apartment lady, called and told me I could move in, instead: November 5, 2005
Date that I can realistically move in, financially speaking: November 15, 2005
Left work: 5:15 p.m.
Total work hours today: 8 hours 10 minutes
(But who's counting?)
Gas at Copperfield Exxon #60399: 10.464 gallons at $2.389/gallon = $25.00.
(I swear the pump stopped itself right there. I took it as a good omen. Okay - I took it as inspiration to write this post.)
Dinner at Boston Market: $11.12
(Exact change. A ten, a one, two nickels, two pennies.)
Smallville: 7 p.m. CST on Channel 36
Survivor: 7 p.m. CST on Channel 12
CSI: 8 p.m. CST on Channel 12
# of times the freakin' DirectTV lost signal tonight: 4
Average length of lost signal: 5 minutes
Is it currently on the fritz for good? Yes.
Percentage of Sunday morning's High School Sunday School lesson complete: 0%
Days until Sunday: 3
Days until return to Baton Rouge: 3

This was really fun. We should do it again sometime. OH - AND....

A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash (Mitchell Shoumaker)


Monday, October 31, 2005

Ode to B.R. - Upon My "About-to-be-leaving"

I know it sounds funny, but I just can't stand the pain.
Girl I'm leavin' you tomorrow.
Seems to me, girl, you know I've done all I can.
See I begged, stole, and I borrowed.

That's why I'm easy.
Easy like Sunday mornin', yeah.
I'm easy.
Easy like Sunday mornin'.

Why in the world would anybody put chains on me?
I paid my dues to make it.
Everybody wants me to be what they want me to be.
I'm not happy when I try to fake it.

I wanna be high, so high.
I wanna be free to know the things I do are right.
I wanna be free.... just me....

That's why I'm easy.
Easy like Sunday mornin', yeah.
I'm easy.
Easy like Sunday mornin'.
- Easy - The Commodores

Also, if anybody's wondering - this is the song that reminds me of Brett Babin, for some reason.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Soothes the savage breast

So, last night, I saw Elizabethtown with Mitchell and Dustin. Not that they're in it... but they went to see it with me. Anyways - Cameron Crowe never disappoints. Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Elizabethtown. The hits just keep on coming. Well, these kids didn't know anything about Cameron Crowe flicks. But anybody want to guess the first thing they remarked about when the movie was over? Of course - the soundtrack. One character in the movie even sends another on a road trip across the country, complete with a down-to-the-minute mixed cd soundtrack. We started talking after the movie about how music makes all the difference, and I even mentioned those cool re-cuts of old movies that keep popping up on the web these days (check these out when you get a chance - they're short).

It's a funny thing that this came up. Because as I drove home from H-Town the other day, I heard a song on the radio, and had a little bit of a moment. It was a song that reminded me of a someone, and a sometime that I missed. For me, that song will always be a link to that time, and especially that person. Some of us really can trace the pattern of our lives through music. I realized that there are some songs that will always remind me of some of you. So as I drove - I started to make a list, first a mental one, and then a written one, that I've decided to include here. This might be construed as pandering - whoring for comments. I don't care. I think I've proven time and time again that I have no problem with that. What I want to know is this: do you agree? Do you even remember the significance of this song, and what the heck it has to do with you? Do you have a better idea for "our song"? If you haven't made the list yet- give it time... this is an ongoing project, or submit your suggestion. So here goes... in no particular order:

I Love The Way You Love Me by John Michael Montgomery (Gayden Jones)
Celebration by Die Happy (April Melancon)
Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton (Andrea Naul)
Goodbye by Hootie and the Blowfish (Ginny Ebarb)
Freshmen by Verve Pipe (Christie White)
Long December by Counting Crows (Abby Conner)
Fields Of Gold by Sting (Casey Adams)
Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon (Jennifer Garner)(Yes, I dated a chick named Jennifer Garner.)
Goin' Down by the Monkees (Erin Johnson)
Theodicy On Trial by Tourniquet (Tara Mullin)
God Only Knows by The Beach Boys (Jamie Hawkins)
Arms Of A Woman by Amos Lee (Shelly Munkberg)
Follow Me by Unkle Kracker (Stormy Allen)
Tiny Dancer by Elton John (Emily Babin)
Angel by Sarah McLachlan (Jessica Thacker)
Sweet Surrender by Sarah McLachlan (Robin Watson)
Foreign Language by Anberlin (Dustin Collette)
Arms Of Orion by Prince (Krysten Forde)

Rape Me by Nirvana/ Here I Sit In Prison by Cowboy Mouth (Chris Ables)(Whoa. Creepy.)
Satellite by Dave Matthews Band (Rozino Smith)
Mama Said Knock You Out by L.L. Cool J (Darren Jobe)
Blame It On The Rain by Milli Vanilli (Brannon White)
Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison (Mark Johnson)
Paradigm by All Together Seperate (Mitchell Shoumaker)
Farewell To Human Cries by Seventh Angel (Jeff Francis)
Hands In The Air by the Waiting (Shane Mullin)
Groovy Kind Of Love by Phil Collins (Danael Broussard)
The Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson (Bill Chandler)
Ark Of Suffering by Tourniquet (Patrick Mehaffey)
Home Sweet Heaven by Angelica (Sean Borders)
Best I Ever Had by Vertical Horizon (Nathan Dewberry)
Bullet The Blue Sky by U2 (Josh Cohagen)
Lodi by Credence Clearwater Revival,
She's Every Woman by Garth Brooks, and
House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals (Bill, Chris, and Jessica @ the Hungri Maverick)

This is fun! To be updated periodically....


Believe it! The Duke boys are reunited on next week's episode of Smallville. Thursday night at 7 p.m. CST on the dubba-dubba-dubba-dubba-dubya-bee (WB).

I seriously hope that THIS guy...

... does not try to make an appearance at Tiger Stadium tomorrow night for the LSU/North Texas game. That's ALL we need. As if the new coach doesn't have enough problems playing out from under his shadow, and getting booed by his own fans - there are plenty of folks who are still willing to unleash boos on this dude for leaving in the first place. It's a lose-lose situation. Stay away, Nick. Stay far, far away until Sunday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Lord, who sinned.....

Robert Terrell has U2 tickets for the show in Houston this Friday night. Not only that - he has passes for INSIDE THE CIRCLE. Not only that - he has passes to get in during the setup.

Robert and I used to be friends. Before now.

Remember that time when Jesus and the disciples encountered the man who had been blind from birth, and the disciples asked him who had sinned, the man or his parents, to have him born that way?

After reading his post, I found myself asking a similar question.
"Lord, who sinned? Me, or my parents, that Robert gets my U2 tickets and passes?"
"Lord, what good has Robert ever done that he gets those tickets instead of me?"
Then God was like, "Don't you read his blog, yo?" And he started to go on and on and on about stuff Robert had done, and I finally just had to quit listening, and start praying for him to get really, really violently sick.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Boy Wonder has fragile contents which may break!



Nicely packed, Bagboy!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Baby mama drama

Okay, so I know I've used this picture before, but I thought that it was more appropriate for this post than it's ever been. LISTEN TO THIS:

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I signed up for the Cox cable bundle pack that includes cable, high speed internet, and telephone service. When we finally got it up and running, it was the first time this house had had a telephone since before I lived here. Naturally we were assigned a phone number for our place. Now, since I never wanted to get a phone in the first place (I have done just fine using just my cell phone for the past 4 years - plus I HATE talking on the phone) - I didn't care much about giving out the new number, so I didn't. But my sister gave it to our parents, her boyfriend, and the church, because she got tired of everybody using up all her cell phone minutes, or using them for business. All that to say - we have a phone, but hardly anybody has the number.

A shortly after getting the phone, we hooked up my old answering machine from college. No sooner had we done so, than I started to get messages from Faye. The ONLY person who has ever left a message on our machine, to this day, is Faye. Faye would call and say she really needed to talk to me, and that it was really, really important. Later she would say that she was getting married in December, and needed to talk to me as soon as possible. But she would always call when I wasn't here. She would promise to call back later on, or the next day at 9 p.m., and I would always plan to be home (my curiosity being peaked), but she never called back when she said she would.

The thing is - I have NO IDEA who Faye is. I've never even met anybody named Faye. And I have no idea how she got my number. What could she want? I formulated this theory that she had called the church to see about getting married there, but that they had told her no, because we only allow church members. Persistent and desperate as she was, I theorized that she had looked on our website, grabbed my name as somebody sympathetic-looking, and perhaps similar in age, called back pretending to know me, and perhaps they gave her my number. I thought she wanted to plea for help in landing our church as the location for her wedding.

I could not have been more wrong.

Last night, with my sister out of town for a week, and noone to witness it - I got one last message on my answering machine from Faye. She said that she had been trying to get in touch with me, but didn't understand why I wouldn't talk to her. She didn't want to leave her phone number, but wanted to let me know that we have a 9 month-old daughter together, and thought I would want to know, and maybe meet her. She emphasized that she didn't want us to get back together, or anything, and that she was getting married in December. She promised to try calling again later on, but after that - and I quote - "forget you!" Much to my dismay - she never did call.


Just to clarify - Billie Jean is not my lover. She's just a girl who says that I am the one. But the kid is not my son. Seriously, though - I have never met Faye, and I certainly don't have a daughter or son of any age with anybody. But now.... see... now I'm invested in this relationship. I feel bad for Faye because she obviously thinks she has the right man, and he has been ignoring her, for whatever reason. I feel bad for "Jason", whoever he is, because evidently he still doesn't know about his daughter. And I feel bad for me, because really - what's the next step? If she doesn't get closure on this thing before her wedding, is she going to call information with my phone number, and get an address? Maybe show up at my door with my "daughter" and get the shock of both of our lives? Okay, actually - I don't feel sorry for me. Because if that happened I would laugh so amazingly, unbelievably, ridiculously hard for so very very long. You know... after... she left... of course. Now I'm actually sort of wishing that would happen. Because that would make the greatest story ever - and a great follow up blog to this post.

So Faye - wherever you are - don't let it get you down. You've apparently got a great man now, who loves you and my daughter, and is going to make an honest girl out of you in just a few short weeks. You've got so much more to worry about than getting closure with your baby' daddy. Flowers to arrange, tuxes to rent, shoes to dye. Don't miss out on your opportunity to be the very best Bridezilla you can be, just because some man stuck you with a bun in the oven 18 months ago. Cheers!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Voltron, Defender of the Universe

Matt Himes and Richard Ho
Wizard Magazine #169
November 2005

After conquering the imaginations of an entire generation, the Voltron Force heads for some uncharted territory: Hollywood.
Originally launched in 1984, "Voltron: Defender of the Universe" is currently being developed as a big-budget, live-action film by New Line Cinema's Ford Oelman and Mark Costa. The duo snapped up the rights for the cult-favorite animated series from World Events and pitched the concept to producer Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan) and musician/producer Pharrell Williams, who will compose the score and produce the soundtrack.
For Oelman and Costa, the journey from TV to silver screen will truly be a labor of love. "We've always been part of the animation generation," said Oelman. "We grew up on shows like Transformers, Thundercats and G.I. Joe, and there's a strong sense of nostalgia for these shows as we get older. As fans, we wondered why there wasn't a Voltron film in development - so we decided to do something about it."
The original series followed the spacefaring adventures of five pilots who journey to the planet Arus to command the robotic lions that make up the fighting machine known as Voltron- all in an effort to save the universe from the dreaded Drule Empire.


The producers also plan to do Voltron justice when it comes to the visual effects, which Oelman confirms will be a combination of CGI and physical techniques. "We anticipate using some CGI for the science-fiction elements, but for the most part we want to bring a larger-than-life, realistic Voltron to the big screen", said Oelman. "It's important to utilize every possible technology when making a movie of this scope to ensure the creation of a believable world. For larger mecha battles it can be a good idea to use scale models. I think WETA [Workshop] was amazingly successful The Lord of the Rings, using CGI and scaling techniques as well as intricate makeup and costumes."
The popularity of the various animated series has already proven that Voltron has staying power - and the producers hope that longevity will carry over into the world of movies. "The fact that it's still airing in some territories 21 years after its conception is a testament to its durability," said Oelman. "The film franchise should have the same kind of resonance. We intend to make the first film a success so that we get to do it again and again."

OH. FREAKING. YES. You better believe I am all over this action. Now that Batman Begins is behind us, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is almost upon us, I was badly in need of something I could obsess about. Thank you, crazy-weird Japanese dudes, for creating Voltron. Thank you.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Golden Age J.T.

Earlier today, when I was in the shower, I was thinking of all the things that will be different about living in Houston. One of the biggest drawbacks will be the water. Over here we have what you would call "soft" water. You know, the kind where after you shower, you're not always sure you were able to wash all the soap off? Well, over in H-town, they have what you call "hard" water. The kind where it's difficult to get a smooth shave, and your skin is never slick, but actually kind of rubbery.

Then I got to thinking - the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, was the first speedster in all of comics. And do you know how he got his speed? As a college student he was investigating the properties of so-called experimental "hard" water, and prolonged exposure to it caused him to develop super-speed. Yeah, I know - doesn't connect quite as well as getting bitten by a radioactive spider, or having your parents killed right before your eyes - but that's the story. Anyways, here's hoping that after years of being used the the "soft" water, prolonged exposure to the "hard" stuff will endow me with powers I never could have imagined. Like the ability to run at several times the speed of sound. Then I could come visit you all on my lunch break, and be back at work in plenty of time. *Fingers crossed!*

Friday, October 14, 2005

Leadership Bartlet Style

Yeah, yeah, so I know this is the second West Wing post already on the new blog, so blah, blah, blah bite me. But as I mentioned in the earlier post (the most wildly successful post comment-wise, of my young blogging career, I might add), since the acquisition of my DVR, I have more West Wing episodes to watch than time to watch them. It doesn't help that this past week, Bravo! featured a marathon of seasons 5 and 6.

So - this afternoon, as I lay on the couch in my pj's (Yes, I said this afternoon, and NO, I did not even see the morning, and you can judge me if you want but I work on Sundays). Where was I? Oh yes...

This afternoon, as I lay on the couch in my pj's, watching Leo's heart attack and Claudia Jean's assumption of the Chief of Staff position - I was reminded of a thought I had a few weeks back when I was in the thick of West Wing watching... before LOST, Smallville, and new West Wing episodes which (did I mention?) have taken a turn for the lame. I had this idea that someone should write a book on leadership, using examples from the West Wing. I mean, somebody wrote this book, this book, and this book. They could call it Leadership Bartlet Style (Jamie - you may eat your candy now). I am enthralled by watching not only the decisions those characters make, but the process they go through in order to make them.

The silliest thing you'll ever hear me admit to on this blog is that I've started to think of our office as a mini-West Wing. Maybe, just maybe (mention this to anybody else and I'll deny it), myself as a Josh Lyman. As stupid as it sounds, it motivates and inspires me, even excites me - to think of our place like that. Now, my boss is hardly anything like Jed Bartlet (Glenallen Walken, perhaps?) but you should have seen us during the Hurricane relief efforts. Stand-up meetings to coordinate, specific tasks to specific people to benefit the greater cause, verbose, lofty, hilarious conversations while walking down the hall at breakneck speed. Okay, maybe not that last one. And don't think this type of thinking wasn't a factor when I considered accepting my new position at Copperfield - they've already got this vibe going on.

And you might get the impression that I think I'm going to write this book - but I'm under no such illusions. Maybe I'll do some research. If by "research" you mean watching countless episodes of my favorite show and writing down cool stuff. Maybe I can get credit on the book jacket that way - but I have the perfect person picked out to write this book.

Shane Mullin.
Dude, I'm about to make your career.

Shane is a bigger WW fan than anybody I know. He has the charisma, and thinks big enough to actually write a book and expect it to sell. He studied business at ETBU - AND is currently enrolled in classes toward a Master of Science degree in...

wait for it....


Are you kidding me? It's like asking me to write a book about Batman, and laundry-piling. It's buttah! Tell me you wouldn't buy this book?

Irony of ironies, just today that kid blogged over on his site that:
"I need to rework my Personal Concept of Leadership and I need to write my Leadership Development Plan. Both of these documents are going to serve me well for a long, long while"

You can all thank me later. Possibly with a back-end deal on the book profits. I'm claiming proprietary rights on this. Steal it, and I'll sue you. In love, of course.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ain't she a beauty?

Big day for me yesterday. I paid off the car. That's right - I am now the proud owner of a tan 1999 Ford Escort Sedan, in mediocre condition. More importantly, I am now the sole owner of something that cost (not something that is worth, mind you) $12,000.00. This means 1 of 2 things. Either I will 1) bask in the luxury of having an extra $200 to spend every month - or 2) take advantage of my imminent pay increase to saddle myself with the even greater burden of buying something new. Place your bets now on which one that will be.

Also, yesterday I told the students in the youth group that I would be leaving at the end of the month. I was semi-nervous, but not as nervous as when I had to tell the preacher. I made a joke thatI have my work cut out for me, because there are lots of successful churches with successful youth ministries in the country, and that somebody has got to be there to run them into the ground, like I did this one. The kids took it well, with no small amount of tears from the girls, but eventually, smiles all around. All of a sudden, everyone seems to have a sense of the value that every day now holds. Funny what it takes to give us a sense of urgency like this. Note to self: remember this feeling in your new job, and in all your relationships from now on.

All in all, it wasn't a bad time. I knew that no matter how the day went, at then end of it there was a big steaming pile of LOST waiting for me on my DVR when I got home. *Sigh* Thank God for LOST. It's a rock for me. Anybody notice Walt's picture on the milk carton during Hurley's dream sequence at the beginning? Attention to detail, and little gifts like that are what make this the best show on TV. Well, now that the West Wing has taken a turn for the LAME.

Today I'm cleaning up my office. Not out - up. Getting it ready to be cleaned out. It's complicated, I know. Something tells me an ounce of prevention of this mess, would be worth a pound of cure for it.

Something tells me that I'd blog more often if I could keep every post to about this length.

**edited to add: Looking for tickets to Saturday's LSU game vs. Florida. Any ideas?

Monday, October 10, 2005

"Leaving home ain't easy.... but may be the only way" - Queen

Finally. I've been holding off posting, until I had something official to say, and now I guess I can let the cat out of the bag.

I'm moving to Houston. It's official. I submitted my resignation to my pastor today, and let him know I'd only be staying through the end of October. This Wednesday I will face the daunting task of having to tell the group of students I've grown to love that I won't be their youth minister anymore. This weekend, I'll tell the church, and next week, they'll publish my letter of resignation in the church newsletter. I'm not sure how people will react. Some will probably be angry. Some will be disappointed. Some will be relieved. I must admit I've never really had close friends at the church aside from some teenagers, and kids who are now in the college group. I wonder if they will decide to go ahead and pretend I've already left. This could be a very lonely three weeks. While I'm excited about the future, everything I do at Jefferson for the next 3 weeks will have a sort of bitter taste to it - all the "lasts".

However, I am hopeful, and optimistic about starting something new. I am throwing in my lot with a church in Houston where my aunt, uncle and cousin go. Copperfield Church is much larger than any church I've been involved with before, and comes about as close as I can imagine to what I would call an "ideal situation". After several visits, to interview, to teach Sunday School, to attend a couple of student events to meet kids, and to get interrogated by parents, the church voted on me yesterday morning. Rumor has it, the results were 189 to 5 in my favor. Those five people have been summarily executed. Seriously though, I am going to be the Sr. High School Minister, on a team with several other top-notch folks, including a Jr. High Minister. Both the Sr. High and Jr. High youth groups have about 150 kids each, so this will be no small task. The magnitude of this responsibility - especially in comparison to my present responsibility - is not lost on me.

The next couple of weeks will involve getting the house in order at Jefferson, packing, and finding an apartment in H-town. I think the part I'm least looking forward to is cleaning out my office. Ugh. Maybe I could just take what's mine and skip town with piles of paper and mail on my desk and a five gallon bucket of plastic flamingos in the middle of the floor. But probably not. Do any of you know anybody in Houston? I don't know a lot of folks, but let me tell you this - I'm getting just enough of a pay increase to spring for a 2 bedroom apartment, and if you can read this I expect you to fill half of it at some point. No, really. I need your company.

Alot of posts in the near future might trend toward the cathartic - me quoting Donald Miller, whining about leaving, starting over, moving on, family, friends are friends forever kind of crap. Just play along. I'm sure I'll be letting you know which LOST character I am, which Napoleon Dynamite character I am, what my emo name is, and which High School stereotype fits me.

Your thoughts?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Red State, Blue State

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(50% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Thanks Robert Terrell.

Monday, September 12, 2005

America's Teams

By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
September 11, 2005

One team, displaced to the road like nearly everyone else back home, faced a championship contender on their turf and scored four times in the fourth quarter, including twice on special teams and once when, on fourth-and-forget-it, a 39-yard prayer was caught for a touchdown to deliver the comeback, the game and the dream.

One team, displaced to the road like nearly everyone else back home, faced a championship contender on their turf and scored twice in the fourth quarter, including a last-second, 47-yard game-winning field goal to deliver the comeback, the game and the dream.

And so now you begin to wonder.

Louisiana State on Saturday night, New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. Two stunning, last-moment victories.

Do you believe in miracles?

"In the back of our minds, we know we have to give them one tiny bit of hope," quarterback Aaron Brooks told reporters after the Saints' 23-20 victory over Carolina, which came not 24 hours after LSU beat Arizona State 35-31.

"We have complete faith in what we are doing because every time we go out there, it is our job to give them hope that every day will be a better day."

And there can be no minimizing the word "tiny" here. A couple of dramatic football victories don't bring back the dead, lower the floodwaters or rebuild neighborhoods.

A couple of dramatic football victories are a couple of dramatic football victories – a little more than nothing in the great, grand post-Katrina scheme of things.

But if you witnessed New York and its Yankees after September 11, if you can appreciate that having anything to cheer, to distract or to warm the heart can mean so much more than tiny, then these were more than just a couple of dramatic football victories.

If you can understand that for some of the 340,000 former residents of Greater New Orleans, huddled across the country in shelters, hotels and someone else's living room, the chance to pump a fist about something great happening to a couple of teams representing their battered hometown and bruised home state is more than just a couple of dramatic football victories.

Which is why everyone's favorite team to reach the Super Bowl should be the New Orleans Saints.

And everyone's favorite team to reach the Rose Bowl ought to be the LSU Tigers.

Because who doesn't want to believe in miracles?

Before the Saints' game at Super Bowl-favorite Carolina, coach Jim Haslett read a letter he received from New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who understands all of this too well.

"He talked about the things he had seen, babies dying," receiver Joe Horn told reporters.

Horror movie stuff Horn went on to say. Every-day stuff in the Big Easy. It brought the tragedy of New Orleans home for a group of players and coaches who have the spent the last two weeks in San Antonio.

For the LSU players, a letter from the front lines wasn't needed. Their game against Arizona State was moved to Tempe because their campus is full of refugees from New Orleans. Sixty-eight Tigers hail from Louisiana, 14 from the city of New Orleans.

This is their tragedy.

"I'm just so proud," LSU coach Les Miles said afterward.

Everyone should be. These two teams won two games under incredible distraction and distress. And both teams spent their postgame interviews talking about how they have it easy, reminding us that football is nothing and repeating that they would trade all the wins in the world for Katrina to never have happened.

"It's not all about us anymore," Saints offensive lineman Wayne Gandy said.

Humble, big-picture athletes? In today's sports world?

The fortunes of these teams could have broken either way. The hurricane could have cost focus, it could have slowed minds, it could have sucked the fight out of people too tired to fight for something so frivolous.

Or it could raise them up – give them a sense of pride and purpose never before experienced. Having something so powerful and real to rally around – not just silly locker room stuff – could give two teams the little edge that creates big seasons.

It was just football. It was just one weekend.

But for two teams with one dream, it was much more than that