12/31/2007

2007: A Year Surveyed...

For last year's, go here...

1) What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? I auditioned for a TV gameshow, did my first funeral, mourned a stolen iPod, fell off of the stage in the middle of a message, categorized everybody that goes to the gym, did the same for every kid in a small group, finally made it to Joshua Tree, slept in a bed with some bed bugs, met one of my favorite authors, made a short film, announced your best summer movie, and survived the wild fires...

2) Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't even bother making one. But I set plenty of goals and met most of them...

3) Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, and I'm still in awe that some of them really have kids...

4) Did anyone close to you die? My Grandmama...

5) What countries did you visit? None. Other than my own. Same as last year...

6) What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Contentment in my personal and professional lives at the same time...

7) What date(s) from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? September 7th
...

8) What was your biggest achievement of the year? Surviving...

9) Did you suffer illness or injury? I was super sick around halloween and hit my leg doing something dumb...

10) What was the best thing you bought? My jacket...

11) Whose behavior merited celebration? My leaders. They always kick butt...

12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? If you can't say anything nice...

13) Where did most of your money go? Same as last year: Xterra and taxes...

14) What did you get really, really, really excited about? Spiderman 3. And I was completely let down...

15) What song will always remind you of 2007? "Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)" by Fergie. I couldn't escape it...

16) Compared to this time last year, are you: Wiser? Yep. Some of it came at a price too... Healthier? Not really. I think I backslid a little Richer? Nope...

17) What do you wish you'd done more of? Prayed and read...

18) What do you wish you'd done less of? Same as last year: watch TV...

19) How did you spend Christmas? Still in SC with the fam....

20) Did you fall in love in 2007? Naw...

21) How many one-night stands? None...

22) What was your favorite TV program? Man vs Wild...

23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I'm not a hater I just crush a lot...

24) What was the best book you read? Lincoln on Leadership...

25) What was your greatest musical discovery? Once...

26) What did you want and get? A Brett Favre Jersey...

27) What did you want and not get? I can't think of anything...

28) What was your favorite film of this year? Hot Fuzz...

29) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Dinner with friends. And I was 27...

30) Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most? Optimus Prime...

31) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006? Still rocking the T-shirt and Jeans... Forever...

32) What kept you sane? Without any bit of trying to sound super spiritual, I'm going to go with the Lord...

33) Who did you miss? Mainly my friends from the OC...

34) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. Perception is reality. Not always truth. Just reality...

35) What did you gain this year? A few pounds back...

36) What did you lose this year? An iPod...

37) Who was the best new person you met? Donald Miller...

38) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary,
and love for the broken hearts.
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are.

Cry out to Jesus.


Dude, that was so long...

12/28/2007

Trinity of Flavor...

I once wrote a post on a craving I had one night for Count Chocula, and the subsequent hunt for its elusive goodness. Imagine my surprise when I walked into my local Wal Mart supercenter (in SC) to find ALL THREE flavors of General Mills' line of monster themed cereal!

I bought all three this morning, and had Boo Berry and Frankenberry for breakfast. I love this state...

Weird Cell Phone Picture: #8 (Saddle Up Your Horses)...

I moved to California on January 13, 2003. With me, I brought 3 suitcases. But do you know what I didn't bring? My dentist. Editor's Note: He wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment. Because of that, I have a standing appointment for when I fly home during the Christmas holiday every year.

I went in for my yearly checkup yesterday, (all clear!) and noticed something odd. After my Dental Hygienist prepped me for my x-rays (lead apron and all), I looked to my right to see the stool that she had been sitting on.

It was a saddle...

Now, I would never profess to be an expert on proper spinal alignment in relation to posterior comfort, but this puzzles me a bit. Can this actually be comfortable? Or does it merely exist to provide its rider extra fuel for his or her equestrian fantasies?

I don't know. But it's weird...

Top 7 Movies of 2007...

Editor's Note: I know that I said that I would post this yesterday, but I wasn't able to see the last movie on my list until 9:50pm last night. So, I'm writing it this morning...

I've always loved watching movies. I love talking (and writing) about movies almost as much. What follows is my list of the top 7 movies of the year. Now, I know that some of my choices could be controversial. But, in the end, every year in list you see on the internet is subjective by nature. It just so happens that mine is the most awesome. So, without further adieu...


7) Transformers (certified 4 Yarmulke™ rating)- 2007 Part of the Process Best Summer Movie)- There's a chance that having a Michael Bay movie on this list could discredit it. But I don't care. Not only did this movie have great special effects, but it brought me back to being a kid in the 80's. In fact, there were several times when, I would stand in one of the toy aisles at Target, and wonder whether or not it was a good idea to buy some of the toys. (I decided not to.) Here's hoping 2009's G.I. Joe is just as good...


6) Charlie Wilson's War (certified 4 Yarmulke™ rating)- I just saw this movie yesterday and, wow... Saying that Tom Hanks is great in a movie has become as surprising as saying that water is wet. But, he kills as the good time Texas congressman. Philip Seymour Hoffman owns every scene he's in. And Julia Roberts, once again, has that sparkle in her eye. The script by Aaron Sorkin is as sharp as any episode of The West Wing and the last bit of dialogue between Hanks and Hoffman really lays the groundwork for things to come...


5) 3:10 to Yuma (certified 4 Yarmulke™ rating)- There were two great Russell Crowe movies out this year (this and American Gangster), but I chose this one for the list. It fit in great with the wetern movie phase I went through this year. Not only does it contain incredible performances by its two leads (Russell Crowe and Christian Bale), it's got a ton of great cameos. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the movie is Ben Foster, who plays an intimidating and murderous first lieutenant to Russell Crowe...


4) Juno (certified 4 1/2 Yarmulke™ rating)- It's a very popular thing to like Juno right now. But popular or not, it's great. It's like Napoleon Dynamite, but with a plot, heart, good actors, and great writing. So, really, it's not much like Napoleon Dynamite. It's good to see Michael Cera doing well. Even if he is playing the same part over and over. And Ellen Page has a bright future ahead of her. This is a great movie that restores my faith in the quality of a film being determined not by how many CGI effects are in it, but by the strength of its story...


3) Dan in Real Life (certified 4 1/2 Yarmulke™ rating)- I wanted to see this movie on my own, then got a very strong recommendation from Puddles. So, I went, and was surprised at how great it was. Steve Carrell is doing what Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler have only dreamed of: being great at comedy and drama. This is such a sweet movie with great performances by Carrell, Juliet Binoche, and Dane Cook. And the three girls who play Carrell's daughters are perfect! Oh! And the soundtrack is so great! I might get it right now...


2) No Country For Old Men (certified 4 1/2 Yarmulke™ rating)- This movie is blow your face off UH-mazing! All of the hype about Javier Bardem is true! His Anton Chigurh is a bad guy that you'll truely fear. Josh Brolin turns in a great performance to match. And Tommy Lee Jones, playing very subtlety here, is as impressive as always. Also in the western genre, this is a beautifully shot, incredibly acted movie. But, it's also messed up! (Think The Departed.) After the lights came back on, everyone was left saying "What the heck?" But it was so good...


1) Hot Fuzz (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating)- This was definitely my favorite film of the year! It's the perfect combination of action and humour. Simon Pegg is incredible as up tight cop Nicholas Angel. If you're a fan of comedy, action, Shaun of the Dead, or just fun, you should see this movie. Now...

12/26/2007

600...

I got up early today and, while cooking breakfast, decided to spend the day watching movies. So, I left the house with the intention of seeing National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Charlie Wilson's War, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. However, after sitting through two, I had to leave (because my ride had to).

So, here's two quick reviews:

  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets- certified 3 Yarmulke™ rating. Slightly better than average. A lot longer than necessary. But, family friendly and a decent continuation of the first's plot.

  • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story- certified 1 1/2 Yarmulke™ rating. It had its VERY funny parts. But it feels like a ton of internet videos tied together. MAYBE a rental. Maybe...

    I'll be posting my best 7 movies of the year tomorrow. Which means, to meet that deadline, I've got two more movies to see: Charlie Wilson's and No Country for Old Men. As for tonight, I'll be eating leftovers like this...
  • 12/25/2007

    Merry Ludachristmas...

    I hope you've had a wonderful day celebrating the birth of Christ! I ate way too much and have been falling asleep on and off for about two and a half hours now. So... I'm pretty much in heaven.

    Pictured: Heaven


    As my Ludachristmas present to you, I'd like to give you the joy that will surely come from watching the following two clips. Both of which just made me laugh out loud while alone in my room. Editor's Note: This, of course, made my mom come into my room and ask what was so funny. For some reason, she's just not into fart jokes. Go figure...

    Merry Ludachristmas...



    12/24/2007

    I'll Be Home For Christmas...

    It seems like my annual Christmas journey home is always fraught with obstacle. I mean, last year was almost comical. This year, while not as bad, was still pretty interesting...

  • First, I arrived at the San Diego airport at about 6:20am (my flight was leaving at 8:15am). I had planned on leaving my truck at the airport, so I made my way to the long term parking lot. I drove around for about 30 minutes looking for a spot. I was eventually told by an attendant that all spots were occupied and to head to an alternative lot about 2 miles away.

  • I got on my connecting flight to Cincinnati. I had been given the option of pre-selecting my seat, but this feature was immediately discarded in favor of the old "give Josh the shaft and stick him in the middle seat" option.

  • I got off the plane to find a Chick-Fil-A in the airport. As I purchased my sandwich, my heart began to soar. Next, I walked onto the shuttle to the next concourse and tried to adjust my computer bag on my shoulder. This resulted in me dropping my sandwich onto the floor of the shuttle. However, thanks to the 10 second rule (and my extreme hunger and lack of time) I was provided with enough motivation and disregard for my own well being to pick it up and continue eating.

  • Upon my arrival home, I was greeted with many hands to my face (since my family doesn't seem to remember what I look like with a beard). I went over to my aunt's house to hang with the fam and enjoy some delicious southern food.

  • Shrimp and Grits

  • Fried Shrimp

  • There were also some fried oysters and oyster stew (which I don't eat, since it looks like boogers). As one of my aunts ate the oysters, she says she spit out this pearl...

  • I'm not saying I believe her... I'm just saying I might seek out a career in eating oysters...
  • 12/23/2007

    Once...

    As I write this, my clock reads 11:15pm. It's the eve of my last day as the Middle School Pastor at my church.

    To say that today has been surreal would be an understatement. I spent today preparing different elements of tomorrow's weekend service and packing up half of my office. Like I said, surreal...

    Ugh, tomorrow's going to be rough...

    12/21/2007

    Weird Cell Phone Picture: #7 (Polly Want a Cracker)...

    I had a few last minute things to pick up today, so I headed to the mall that's next to my apartment (big mistake). As I turned into the nearest parking space, I noticed the lady in the car beside me had a small dog on her lap. Only, after she got out of her car, I noticed it wasn't a small dog. It was a large bird! Not only was she carrying a large bird on her lap in the car, but she carried it into Best Buy with her! Hey, I guess Christmas is the time to spend with family...

    Clap On...

    I've fulfilled some pretty big dreams this year. Last night, I crossed one more dream off of the list.

    I have wanted The Clapper for as long as I can remember. And last night, after seeing a TV commercial, I knew I had to make it mine. Well, not only did I find one, I found out that they had improved the technology farther than I could have ever imagined! The Clapper Plus has an added remote control! UH-mazing.

    So did it live up to my self-induced hype? Kind of. It pretty much eliminated the three brightness feature on my lamp. It also would cut on or off to the sound of my voice as I was on my cell phone. Perhaps I'll move it from my living room to my bedroom...

    12/20/2007

    iTunes Receipt: Part 6...

    With the new arrival of my little bundle of joy, I've been on the iTunes prowl. When I finished my internship, I burned all of the singles I had purchased onto a series of 4 CDs. Well, this past week, I tried adding them to my library. Unfortunately, the CDDB didn't pick up any of their information. So what's my answer? Pick out my favorites and re-buy them, saving myself the trouble of renaming each track and finding album art for each. Here's 5 choice picks from the 20 songs I bought...

  • If I Had No Loot by Tony! Toni! TonĂ©!

  • When I Look to the Sky (Radio Version) by Train

  • Clarity (Live) by John Mayer

  • If You Could Only See by Tonic

  • Carolina Blues by Blues Traveler
  • Weird Cell Phone Picture: #6 (Joy to the World)...

    A couple of nights ago, on my way to see Juno, I was stunned to see that the Hotel Circle Hilton had used their rooms to spell out a Christmas message to me. This message, a yuletide call to jubilation, was surely meant to impart warm feelings of seasonal celebration. However, its achieved effect was somewhat different. It caused me to get so stoked that I involuntarily changed lanes. Lucky for me, there was no one occupying the lane into which I drifted. Of course, this makes me wonder two things:

    1) What other words has the Hilton spelled out in their windows before?

    2) How much does it stink to be in one of those rooms and be forced to keep your lights on for the whole night?

    Enjoy...

    12/17/2007

    Juno About This Movie...

    I'm on my way out the door to see Juno right now. But, before I leave (and stop at Starbucks) I wanted to post the latest superhero trailer.

    Here's a formula that seems to work: Will Smith + big-budget summer movie = a kajillion dollars in ticket sales.

    So, with that in mind, here's the teaser for the new Will Smith movie, Hancock...

    More The Simpsons Brilliance...

    Perhaps some of you have seen this video on youtube where some dude takes a picture of himself everyday for 3 years. Well, last night on The Simpsons, Homer's life flashed before his eyes and, when it did, it looked like that video. Simply brilliant. You can check it out below...

    Also, the opening chalkboard gag (where Bart is writing on a chalkboard) said The capital of Montana is not "Hannah". Simply great...

    12/13/2007

    What a Glorious Day...

    You may have noticed a conspicuous absence from my Christmas list this year. I say conspicuous because I've mentioned this particular item before as one I strongly covet. That's right. On Tuesday, I got an iPod touch. At our annual staff Christmas lunch, our Senior Pastor surprised Steve, Lauren, and me with the iPods as departing gifts.

    Now, the last time that I got an iPod (which was October of 2004) it consumed my life for at least a month. I was consumed with loading songs onto it. In fact, it even caused me to be late to service one Sunday morning and caused me to run up on a curb and lose a hubcap.

    Has that pattern held true this time around? Yes. Yes, it has...

    My Christmas List: 2007...

    Wow... I'm way late getting this out to the fam this year. But, only 3 days later than last year.

    Once again, I'm not posting this to try and coax any of you who may, or may not, regularly read this to buy me any of the soon-to-be mentioned items. This just seems to be the easiest way to get the list to the fam.

    But if you did want to buy me something...

    My Christmas List: 2007

  • G Shock G8100-1 Watch

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 2 Disc Special Edition

  • Veronica Mars: Season 3

  • That 70's Show: Season 7

  • Freaks and Geeks

  • LOST: Season 3

  • Stardust

  • Man vs. Wild: Season 1

  • A GPS for my Truck

  • The North Face Denali Jacket (Medium, Black)

  • Subscription to Superman comic

  • Annual subscription to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited

  • Cinescopes: What Your Favorite Movies Reveal About You

  • Gift Cards to Barnes & Noble, Borders, Regal Cinemas, Gap, or American Eagle
  • 12/11/2007

    Stop...

    I'm not the biggest fan of Family Guy. I mean, I was on board for the first couple of seasons (until it's premature cancellation by FOX), but it just got old to me. In fact, I'm not sure I had even seen any of the past 3 year's episodes until I got a DVR this summer. All of that to say; on November 25th, Family Guy contained one of the funniest gags I've ever seen on television.

    Anyone born around the end of the 70's/beginning of the 80's has a deep seated fear branded inside their minds. It's a fear that, even today, creeps back up to haunt us anytime FX or SciFi runs a weekend marathon. That's right. I'm talking about the creatures from the Alien quadrilogy. Don't believe me, kiddos? Rent and tremble... rent and tremble...

    And so, after seeing a Family Guy Alien joke a couple of weeks ago, I scoured youtube for a clip of it. Even though it's saved to my DVR (for all of time), I still knew I had to share it with you. I'm proud to report that, just this morning, I found it.

    Without further adieu, I present the funniest thing Family Guy has ever done...

    A Trip to Target: Pros and Cons...

    The following post is meant to be a fair presentation of tonight's trip to Target. It's also brought to you by the letter R and the number 9.

    Tomorrow is our church's annual staff Christmas lunch at the Boathouse. It's something that I look forward to every year, mainly because I love everything about it. Well, almost everything... You see, our wonderful Christmas lunch is infected with the worst of office holiday party traditions: the gift exchange. (Of course, there's a $10 spending limit.) I say it's the worst because there's nothing like opening up a great present only to have the next person steal it from you and trade you one that's not quite as great. Anyway, all of that to say, I remembered that the lunch was tomorrow at about 6:30 tonight. So I went to Target...

    Here's something that I liked about my trip to Target...
    They've upgraded their shopping baskets. Not only did they get rid of the metal handles, but they changed their orientation. No longer will my wrist hurt from having to walk the aisles while holding it in an uncomfortable turned position. Good job, Target. Of course, it also helps that you sell Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes for me to fill your new baskets with...

    Here's something that I hated about my trip to Target...
    Cashiers who comment on my purchases as they ring them up have just been added to my list. Listen, I know that you're probably trained to make small talk with me to produce a feeling of camaraderie between the red shirts and the customers. In fact, sometimes I even like a little chit chat. but what I don't need, is to know that you think the dark chocolate milanos I bought are "yummy". I don't want to come back and tell you if the "ove glove" really works. And I certainly don't care what kind of shampoo you use. You commenting on my purchases does one thing: it helps me decide which line to avoid next time I need to shop...

    12/08/2007

    XXX: State of the Union & Prizes for a Scavenger Hunt...

    Editor's Note: I hope that none of our church's student ministry volunteers read this blog on Saturday nights. Otherwise, I'm about to ruin a surprise. Maybe they're all out at the movies instead of sitting at home, watching a bad sequel to a bad movie like me.

    Tomorrow is our volunteer appreciation Christmas party. The first two Christmas parties that we've done were in a local coffee shop that we rented out. But this year, in an effort to save some dough and accommodate a few more people, we've moved the party to Dave & Buster's.

    I spent Monday evening there putting together a scavenger hunt for our leaders. There's a picture of some of the prizes above. It'll be great to have the whole gang together for some appreciation, celebration, and video game... ation...

    12/07/2007

    Coming to This Blog on December 27, 2007...

    The Search Begins: Part 3...

    Here's parts one and two...

    I've been in some type of ministry role since I was 16 years old. I started getting paid for it when I was 18. I starting getting paid full time for it when I was 22. And I stepped into a ministry leadership role when I was 24.

    During these past 11 years, I've realized that working with people isn't always easy. Editor's Note: Of course, I realize that this is not a fact that is exclusive to the Lord's work. Anyone in ministry can vouch for the fact that, sometimes, those that we serve can be a bit much to take. I think that's why Bill Hybels puts so much emphasis on the importance of chemistry within our ministry teams. If our congregants can, at times, be a source of conflict, discouragement, and stress; why would we want to be a part of a team that does the same?

    This is something that I've only come to realize in the past 5 years. Throughout my ministry history, I've worked at churches were my team was like a family. I've also worked with teams who, I felt, were quite discouraging. Which has led me to the latest item on my list:

    I'm looking for a church where I can find people I love... to work with.

    After experiencing work with both types of teams I've seen that the biggest difference, in me, is that when I work with people who I have some type of community with, I don't view my job as work. During my internship in Orange County, the pastors that I worked under had set values of "doing life" with their team. This produced so many life long relationships that I will treasure from then on... Going to work everyday wasn't about filling out TPS reports or checking things off of a "to do" list. It was about doing what I love with people I love. And that's something that I want, no matter where I end up next...

    12/04/2007

    Weird Cell Phone Picture: #5 (Magic)...

    I had to go to Dave & Buster's last night to prep some stuff for our upcoming Volunteer Christmas party. After finishing what I went to do, I took some time to stroll through the prize store they have there. There were all kinds of weird things to buy (with your tickets, of course); including a finger shaped nose hair trimmer, a variety of video games, and a motorized pink scooter. But, perhaps the strangest item of them all was a Magic Johnson "stat ball".

    Now, sports memorabilia itself isn't so weird. After all, athletes sign things all the time. But, usually they sign things from their own sport. This stat ball was a baseball.

    One of the greatest basketball players of all time signed a baseball...

    Weird...

    12/03/2007

    The Rare Double Rainbow...

    I drove up to Chino on Saturday in the rain. In some kind of southern California anomaly, it had been pouring for two days straight, so the sights weren't much. But, at one point, the rain started to clear and I saw a rainbow. A double rainbow. Sweet...

    I Hate Garbage Trucks...

    Not all Garbage trucks. Just the one that drives by, and stops at, my window twice a morning on Mondays and Saturdays (both my days off). It wakes me up just after it makes me dream that giant robots are coming to get me.

    Editor's Note: Actually, the preceding sentence isn't true. If I did dream that giant robots were coming to get me, I would do my best to stay in my incredibly awesome dreamworld for as long as I could. Why? Because giant robots are awesome.

    So what am I going to do? I think the answer's obvious: Revenge. Here's the plan:

    Step 1:
    Walk outside when truck arrives, get truck number.

    Step 2:
    Use truck number to discover driver's name and home address.

    Step 3:
    Travel to driver's home address early in the morning. Play something really loud and super annoying over my stereo; Something like Chumbawamba's Tub Thumping. That way, he can't experience the awesomeness of giant robot dreams. Instead, he gets hit with the horror of being chased by giant Chumbawambas...