7/31/2007

It's Over...

I just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was UH-mazing! I must admit that I did tear up at the end. Such a great story. Such a great book. I can't believe that it's over...

7/30/2007

Josh Simpson...

I've been trying for weeks to Simpsonize myself, but the website's always been too busy. Well, I finally got through today. So, here's what I'd look like as a resident of Springfield. Handsome, aren't I? Wanna Simpsonize yourself? Just click here...

Latest Picture of the Joker From the Dark Knight...

There was a pretty cool viral marketing campaign that took place at the Comic Con for the upcoming sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight. You can read a little about it here. One of the things revealed was this shot of the Joker threatening Rachel Dawes, now played by Maggie Gyllenhaal...

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Advances...

And now for the fourth victory in our tournament to determine the best summer movie of 2007! Harry Potter defeats Spider-man 3 eight votes to two in the first round of the tournament. And thank goodness! Because of the heartache that Spider-man 3 caused me, I think it doesn't deserve to move on. So HP will move on to face the winner of Surf's Up vs. Rush Hour 3 in the Elite 8 of the tournament.

We'll hold off a little on the next vote, which will be Knocked Up vs. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, for a little bit. So far, the only upset has been Evan Almighty over Pirates. It'll be interesting to see where things go from here...

7/29/2007

If I Could Be...

I was tagged by Julie and Ron to answer this. And I am happy to oblige...

·If I could be a famous historical figure I would be Abraham Lincoln. I know, I know. Most challenging time in our country's history and an assassination might make me think twice. But he's considered our nation's greatest commander-in-chief for a reason. His wisdom, grace under fire, conflict management, story telling, and sense of humor allowed him to make a difference in almost everybody that he met. That's what I want to do with my life...

·If I could be a celebrity I would be John Mayer. Think about this for a second. He's an amazing guitar player. He can sing. He's funny. Wait... I practically am John Mayer... Just kidding. I didn't date Jessica Simpson... yet...

·If I could be a famous athlete I would be BRETT FAVRE! I don't care about anything that anybody would say. My answer is Favre. Just to be able to put on the #4 for the Pack... Ooh... I seriously just got a shiver...

·If I could be a famous musician I would be Sting. Ok, let's take away that he's a member of a rock and roll hall of fame band. Let's take away that their sound influenced (and influences) more than a generation of musicians. Let's just strip it down to him. He's an amazing musician and, when he sings, makes it look completely effortless. If I could stand on a stage and sing Fields of Gold, my life would be perfect...

·If I could be a famous Christian Mover and Shaker I would be Henri Nouwen. I'm not sure how much he moved or shook things while he was alive, but I do know that he spent his time loving and caring for people and humbly writing about it in relation to God's beautiful kingdom. He's definitely moved and shaken my world...


I tag Puddles, Marko, and Josh Peters. All of them tremendous thinkers whose answers, I know, will make me feel slightly dumber...

Comic-Con: Day 3...

Day 3 of the con started slow, but ramped up really quick!

We went to a quick draw panel first. Basically three comic artists are up front with cameras on their boards. The host gives them certain subjects and they draw them... fast. It was a sweet way to pass the time until the Heroes panel. Unfortunately, we didn't get in. The line for it wrapped around the entire interior of the convention center. So, we popped into the exhibition hall to say hi to one of my students. After that, we went to hall H where we sat for the rest of the day seeing presentations on lots of movies. But on the way there...

Best Costumes of the Day

·If you don't think Robocop is awesome, then... well... you're probably not a dude who grew up in the eighties...

·Now, I know that none of you saw Grindhouse. I know that I saved my $10 for something better. But how sweet is this? They got a lady with one leg to dress as the lady with a machine gun for a leg! So sweet...

Sixties Batman and present day Batman. FOr the first time ever, sixties Batman is in better shape. Or should I say batter shape...

·I love Captain America...

·No helmet Vader. Complete with burns and robot hand. So sweet...

·This... Is... A HALF NAKED ADULT MAN!!!!

Our Time in Hall H

·We sat through a Focus/Rogue pictures panel. Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon cam out and presented their new movie Balls of Fury. These two guys are responsible for Reno 911 and The State so you know this was definitely the funniest panel of the whole Con. The movie looks like it's going to be sweet.

Celebrity Sightings of the Day

·Reno 911 co-star Cedric Yarbrough even stopped in to heckle them.

·Fat Momma, runner up in the first season of Who Wants to be a Superhero?

·Sergeant Slaughter! If you grew up watching the WWF or with G.I.Joe, then you would have been as unbelievably stoked as I was to see him!

·We were treated to a presentation (and footage) of Prince Caspian, the new Chronicles of Narnia movie. It looks like it's going to be so sweet!

·Next up was an awesome thing on Wall-E, Pixar's next offering. The footage looked sweet, but this may be the toughest Pixar movie to sell to kids. None of the main characters will have any dialogue!

·After Disney/Pixar was the Marvel studios panel. FIrst on their list was The Incredible Hulk. This next movie will be a reboot (think Batman Begins) of the first one. As it turns out, Bruce Banner himself (Edward Norton) wrote the screenplay.

·John Favreau came out to present Iron Man. But first, he welcomed up the cast: Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Robert Downey Jr. They showed the first trailer for the summer 2008 release and the place went nuts! When you see this, you'll totally agree...

So, 3 days down. They're supposed to be showing off Iron Man's suit tomorrow, so we might pop in for a quick look...

7/28/2007

Body Double 14: Jesus is MagINK...

I've been seeing a lot of promos for a new show on TLC called L.A. Ink. The owner and main cast member is a lady by the name of Kat Von D. You can check out some of her ink work here. It's amazing... Anyway, during one of the commercials tonight, I said to Colton, "Dude, she kind of looks like a goth Sarah Silverman."

So, what do you think? Do we have a body double...

7/27/2007

Comic-Con: Day 2...

We got to the Con even earlier today. We went to a Warner Bros. panel on some of there upcoming movies and were greeted by these guys:

They were talking about their new movie, Get Smart. After seeing an extended trailer I can definitely say it looks awesome...

After the guys, Kate Beckinsale showed up.

Her new movie, Whiteout, looks super scary and intense...

Next up was a panel on the upcoming movie adaptation of Watchmen with director Zach Snyder.

I'm stoked on this movie, but the panel was beyond boring. It was as if he didn't think about what he wanted to say before he came out... Here he is showing a Comic-Con only poster for it.

Then, we saw this button lady.

Needless to say, she would not make a good sneaky ninja...

And here are today's celebrity sightings...

Patrick Labyorteaux from J.A.G. and Isaac C. Singleton Jr. from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Anger Management.

We saw previews of a brand new animated Spider-man series, the Iron Man video game, and a remake of a japanese horror movie. It was a shorter day than yesterday (since there wasn't as much going on). But I'm OK with that.

And now, it's off to the Simpsons Movie...

Comic-Con: Day 1...

Well, the first day of the con is over. Here's a quick rundown:

I made this for breakfast. If it looks like it tastes so good that your face might fall off, it's because it is. Julie, you have to try it.

Afterwards, Colton and I headed out for the Con. After waiting in line for an hour and half, we finally got in. We got through registration, briefly ran into some old friends, and journeyed inside. That's when the crazy started...

Celebrity Sighting #1

We saw Lou Ferrigno! He still looks like he could lift a car...

Celebrity Sighting #2

Then, we saw James Hong. He's been in about a million movies. But I remember him best as Cassandra's Dad from Wayne's World 2...

Best Costumes

Spidey and Venom

The Ghostbusters. Who 'ya gonna call...

Also, about one out of every hundred girls was dressed as Princesss Leia in the gold bikini. I even saw a dad carrying his 3 year old daughter dressed as slave girl Leia. Apparently Comic Con provides the needed outlet for female Star Wars fans to dress scantily. Believe me, you don't want to see pictures...

Sweet Props

Actual helmet worn by the original Red Power Ranger...

One of the original Batmobiles from the 60's TV show...

Actual paintings used in Heroes...

Props from the upcoming Iron Man movie...

Other Sweet Happenings

The LOST panel was awesome! Creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse answered a ton of questions and gave away some info on season 4. They also brought out Harold Perrineau, who played Michael on the show, and announced he'll be back as a season regular this season. They also showed footage that they said no one else would ever see...

We went to the world premiere of DC Comics' Superman: Doomsday. I can honestly say that I walked in being super excited and walked out totally hating it. I hated everything from the animation to the voice work to the fact that they bragged about it having a PG-13 rating, but all that really meant was that they had two characters say @$$ and one say Hell. Boo DC! Boo...

We'll be back bright and early tomorrow! So, I'm off to read a little HP&DH and then hit the sack...

7/26/2007

Time for the Con...

Tomorrow starts the world's largest pop culture and comics convention, Comic Con. Editor's note: You know, like you saw on the OC. And, this year, I'm extra stoked because one of my students from my very first Middle School small group in California, Colton, came down to go with me. So, in honor of the start of what is sure to be nerdapalooza 2007, I've decided to compile my list of top 5 favorite comic book heroes. And, for the first time ever, I'm proud to welcome Colton as a guest blogger with his own list. So, without further adieu...

Josh's Top 5 Favorite Comic Book Heroes

5) Gambit/Wolverine I know, I know. I had to put them both in the number 5 spot. I couldn't decide. Both of these guys have some of the coolest mutant powers around. Gambit can charge any object with explosive energy and throw it at you like a grenade. Wolverine can smoke cigars and drink beer and look super sweet. Wait... Oh yeah, he has an indestructible metal skeleton and retractable razor sharp claws. And, both sport the requisite superhero 5 o'clock shadow...

4) Nightcrawler I've always thought that teleportation was one of the coolest powers to have. That, coupled with the fact that he leaves behind a "sulfuric" smell afterwards, makes me think that the pranking potential alone would make the blue skin and three fingers worth it...

3) Colossus This guy has always been my favorite X-man. I've always loved the transformation and I just think he looks cool! And, with her new fridge magnets, I think he and Alice would be great friends...

2) Captain America Cap has always had a special place in my heart. The sentinal of liberty was gunned down this year. But he will forever live on in our hearts. Stephen Colbert (lucky) was given his sheild as a gift...

1) Spider-man/Superman If you didn't know that these 2 would be tied for number 1, then you don't know me very well (or, you've never read my blog). Ever since I was a kid, these two have been on my underroos. Well, up until I stopped wearing underroos. Too bad Sam Raimi broke my heart...


Colton's Top 5 Favorite Comic Book Heroes

5) Daredevil He's blind and he still kicks the crap out of everyone. Plus, he got to make out with Jennifer Gardner: the hottest woman in Hollywood...

4) Storm She has a sweet mohawk, can control the weather, and can fly 300 miles an hour. So, she probably never has to use a hair dryer...

3) Sunfire The best friend a chain smoker could have. Unless there was a mutant who could turn himself into a huge cigarette... But then, he couldn't live in California...

2) Havok One of the most powerful mutants, he's Cyclops' brother. He wears black spandex, so he can blend in, and can make it glow in the dark when he wants, so he gets invited to a lot of college parties...

1) Iceman We're BFF and, when my drink is warm, he always comes through for me. Of course, breaking off a few of one's fingers and plopping them down into my Solo cup does tend to spoil one's birthday party...

7/24/2007

Say It Ain't So...

I've recently (in the past two months) become a huge fan of the show Man vs. Wild and its host, Bear Grylls. In fact, I've become so much of a fan, that my students have begun watching it themselves.

Well, this morning the New York Post, the most reputable of all publications, is reporting that the show isn't completely real. Here's a clip from the article:

On the program, Grylls appears to camp out in quickly-built shelters deep in the wilderness while battling hypothermia and dehydration. But when the cameras stop rolling, Grylls has actually moved to luxurious hotels.

In the last two seasons, he and producers have contrived other scenes to make it appear as if Grylls is more skilled than he really is, a consultant for the show told The Times of London.

All I can say is that I hope it's not true. I love this show and it would break my heart to know that Bear wasn't really what he says he is.

I mean, what if this wasn't really an elephant poo? What if it was piece of chocolate sponge cake...

Spider-man 3 vs. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix...

Our fourth vote for the best summer movie of 2007 is here. This is one that I'm especially interested in because it pits what was my biggest cinematic heartbreak, Spider-man 3, against what is my current obsession, Harry Potter. The rules are as they normally are. Vote for your favorite movie. Voting will be open from today, July 23, through next Monday, July 30. The winner of this vote will go on to face the winner of Surf's Up vs. Rush Hour 3. Let's see who wins...

7/21/2007

Butterflies In the Sky, I Can Go Twice As High...

I love books. Always have. I can still remember climbing into my parents' water bed with my copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, turning the water bed heater up to 99 degrees, and reading for so long. Editor's Note: My mom and dad told me later that I would always forget to turn it back down. They would climb into bed and, it would be so hot, they would have to sleep with no covers. They wouldn't realize until they got up the next morning that the heater was up. Sorry Mom and Dad!

I love talking to people about what they're reading. Not only does it help me learn new things about whatever book we may be discussing, but it helps me learn more about the person I'm talking to.

So I figured it might be cool to put my queue of books up here for you to see for the same reasons. You'll find it in the sidebar to the right just below the music that I'm currently listening to. And, you can even click on the picture to find out more about each book (or CD)!

You might notice that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has moved to the front of the line. I just got my copy this morning and, needless to say, will be reading it non-stop for the next week...

Transformers Advances...

Here's our third victor in the war over the title of "Best Summer Movie of '07". In what I thought would be a close battle (but wasn't), Transformers wins in a landslide victory over Ratatouille by a vote of 10 to 4. That means that it will advance to face the winner of Live Free or Die Hard vs. The Simpsons.

There's also been a slight change in the tournament. It appears as if the release date for Fanboys has been changed to January. So, stepping in to compete in its place is the just released I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It will compete in the first round against Knocked Up.

The next vote will be one I've been looking forward to all summer: Spider-man 3 vs. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Voting starts later on today (Saturday). So, check back in and cast your vote...

The Following Blog Is Rated...


Brian's blog has once again provided me with inspiration. Looks like the new trend in the blogosphere is to get your blog rated (like a movie). Brian's was rated PG-13. I think that this may be because of the violence and disrespectful attitude displayed there. Wait... scratch that. That was an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that Jarred and I watched last night.

Well, as you can see, my blog is rated "G". I like to think it's because it's fun for the whole family. Hopefully, this doesn't ruin my street cred.

Do you want to get your blog rated, or at least see what other people's blogs are rated? Easy. Just go here...

7/19/2007

I'll Take "How Sports Illustrate Spirituality" For 1,000...

We had 4 different youth pastors as we went through the youth group of my home church. Every single one of them was an athlete. Kent played football at Furman. Dave played basketball. Mike played football. And Mark, who I call MY youth pastor, played football at Charleston Southern. So, needless to say, I'm no stranger to sports analogies. Editor's Note: I feel bad for my kids. They didn't get an athletic youth pastor. Instead, they got one who uses illustrations from movies and comic books. Talk about a strike out. Heh-heh. Get it?

Well, I happen to work alongside an amazing youth pastor who also happens to be an athlete. Brian plays and coaches soccer. A couple of days ago, he put up an awesome post about some leadership learnings that he walked away with from a volunteer meeting that he attended for his sons' soccer league.

You should definitely check it out here...

7/18/2007

Express Yourself...

Editor's Note: What follows isn't really a finished or edited collection of my thoughts. So much as it is me vomiting up a ton of stuff that's on my mind. Here's hoping you can wade through it.

While I was in Chicago at the Arts Conference, someone asked me if, since I was a Middle School Pastor, I got anything out of a conference specifically designed for artists. My response was two-fold: 1) I've been an artist my entire life. Because it's who I am, I think I'm able to learn from it no matter what my job is. And 2) I feel like I actually learn more from the Arts Conference than I do from most of the student ministries conferences that I go to. Let me explain. I feel like, when I go to a student conference, everything I hear goes through only one filter: "how does this apply to my ministry?" Whereas, at the Arts Conference, everything I hear first goes through the filter of "how does this apply to my life?" (I.E. my relationships, my spirituality, etc...) After working itself out there, it moves on to "how does this apply to my ministry?" It has a chance to work itself out more.

One thing that's been going through the filters since Chicago is the idea (concept? practice?) of worship.

For some time now, I've been thinking that I'd like to look into approaching worship in our ministry from a new angle. Right now, all we've got going on is a student worship band, but I feel like that's not enough.

Louie Giglio, in his book The Air I Breathe, says that in each of our hearts, there sits a throne. On that throne sits that thing that we love the most. And everyday, in everything that we do, we declare to those around us what that thing is. That's what worship is. It's declaring outwardly what it is that we love the most inwardly.

So, I'm left with this question: are we doing everything we can to teach our students how to worship God?

If worship is all about expressing your love for God, then are we properly equipping students to do that? I mean beyond teaching them how to live for God. Are we helping them to discover their language of worship? A language that might not involve music at all. A language that they could use to creatively express their heart for God to the world.

We have a mom in our group who is an art teacher at a local school. I began talking with her 2 weeks ago about the posibility of beginning an art ministry with our Middle Schoolers. We could potentially have some students in our group who love to paint, draw, or sculpt. Or maybe we have students who don't even know that they love this stuff yet. Maybe we can help them unlock it? I'd love to have some workshops that would help students learn how to express themselves in writing.

What if music ceased to exist? Could our students still creatively express themselves?

We're in the process of reevaluating a lot of things in our ministry. i'll keep you guys updated on what we're doing with this...

7/17/2007

Live Free or Die Hard...

"You just killed a helicopter with a car!"

I've seen four movies in four days. I know, I know... You're thinking that that's a bit much. But it was a necessary part of the summer camp recovery process. Friday night it was Ratatouille (certified 4 Yarmulke™ rating). Saturday night it was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (certified 3.5 Yarmulke™ rating). Sunday Night is was License to Wed (certified 2 Yarmulke™ rating). And tonight it was Live Free or Die Hard. I love the Die Hard Trilogy. And what's more, I'm pretty sure that if you don't like Die Hard (the original), we can't be friends...

Live Free or Die Hard
Running Time:
2 hrs. 10 mins.
Directed By: Len Wiseman
Starring: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

In the fourth installment of the Die Hard Quadrilogy, John McClane faces off against virtual terrorists who are attempting to throw the country into chaos. The plot for the movie is actually based on this article from the May 1997 issue of WIRED magazine.

Going into a movie like this, one tends to have low expectations. I mean, as long as Bruce Willis says the line (you know which one I'm talking about), and a lot of stuff get destroyed, you walk out a satisfied customer. However, I had no idea that it would be so awesome.

What follows is a SPOILER FREE review.


So, what was good?
  • Bruce Willis and Justin Long. Who knew that pairing up John McClane with the Mac guy would work so well? The role of McClane was tailor made for Willis. And of course, he hits it out of the park. But some of the best moments come from his interaction with Long as his sidekick.

  • The Action. Talk about sweet! Helicopters, cars, jets... you name it, it gets blown up! UH-mazing!

  • Timothy Olyphant. What a great bad guy.

  • The ladies. Dear Maggie Q and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, I enjoyed your roles in this movie. So much so, that I would like to invite one of you to come to San Diego and go out for dinner with me. Maggie, you were great in Mission Impossible 3 and, once again, in this movie. You continued to kick massive amounts of butt while looking incredibly hot. There's a 97% chance that you'd be able to kick my tail. (I give myself 3% because I fight dirty.) But, I'm going to have to go with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Something about her voice puts me in a trance... And she's from North Carolina. Southern... alto voice... beautiful eyes... Seriously Mary Elizabeth Winstead, if you read this (which I'm sure you do), leave a comment. I think we'd get along great. Editor's Note: I used her full name everywhere to increase the chances that she'd end up here if she googled herself.

    But...
  • Nothing. Seriously, if you walk into this movie expecting an Oscar level film, then maybe you should stick with coloring books. Actually, a Die Hard coloring book would be pretty sweet...


    And so, to Live Free or Die Hard, I give the honor of being awarded a certified 3.5 Yarmulke™ rating.

    Such a fun movie! If you haven't seen it yet, get a group of friends together and go. You won't be disappointed...
  • 7/16/2007

    The Most Awesome Picture In the History of the World...

    What do you post about when you're still recovering from camp and your brain doesn't work yet? This...

    This is a picture of a hawk swooping down and picking up a fox. When asked, eye witnesses said it was the coolest thing they'd ever seen...