The 12 Days After Christmas

The first day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Leftovers from Christmas dinner

The second day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The third day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The fourth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The fifth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Five rooms to clean
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The sixth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Six trash bags to take out
Five rooms to clean
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The seventh day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Seven shirts - don't fit right
Six trash bags to take out
Five rooms to clean
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The eighth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eight hours back for my employer
Seven shirts - don't fit right
Six trash bags to take out
Five rooms to clean
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The ninth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Nine bills from E-Bay
Eight hours back for my employer
Seven shirts - don't fit right
Six trash bags to take out
Five rooms to clean
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The tenth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Ten Christmas lights to take down
Nine bills from E-Bay
Eight hours back for my employer
Seven shirts - don't fit right
Six rooms need cleaning
Five bags of trash
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The eleventh day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eleven frozen pipes are leaking
Ten Christmas lights to take down
Nine bills from E-Bay
Eight hours work for my employer
Seven shirts - don't fit right
Six trips to return presents
Five bags of trash
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner

The twelfth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve more months till Christmas
Eleven frozen pipes are leaking
Ten decorations to take down
Nine bills from E-Bay
Eight hours work for my employer
Seven shirts - don't fit right
Six trips to exchange presents
Five bags of trash
Four late Christmas cards
Three gift cards to redeem
Two unwrapped gifts
And leftovers from Christmas dinner


The Crisco Kid strikes again!

Christian gave Bekah and me an early Christmas surprise this morning. The ensuing clean up delayed my leaving for work by an hour. For starters, he needed a bath.

One glance in the kitchen provided the first signs of trouble.

I just could not figure it out. What was the white sticky stuff?

Ah, Crisco. That explains it.

I guess it is time to baby proof the kitchen.


Somebody is lying

My wife and I had several complaints about Adelphia. I was hoping that the Time-Warner takeover would be an improvement. Surprisingly, Time-Warner took Adelphia's impossibly bad service and made it worse. The television prices are outrageous, and the channel line-up is mediocre. But the true horrors lie in the customer service. In the first month after we had cable internet installed, there were five major interruptions of service. Extended periods of time with no internet access is torture to a blogger, but detrimental to a student at an on-line college.

My multiple calls into their customer service centers have not improved my opinion. Their pre-recorded messages are near award winning. *"If you are calling about service outage in your area, there is no reason for you to call, we are aware of the problem." and *"Due to the unusually high call volume, your call can not be completed at this time. Please try again later. (click)" The real live customer disservice agents are not much better. They put the resent into representative. *"I can't find you anywhere, you don't exist." *"There is absolutely nothing I can do." *"It's too bad that you have been without service since yesterday afternoon. I'll give you a credit for the inconvenience. (two minutes of dead air later) OK that credit will be two dollars. Have a nice day. (click)" And my personal favorite, *"I have to transfer you. Don't worry, your call will not be disconnected. (click) ....... (dead air) ...... (dial tone)"

As a DirecTV employee in Boise, I had DTV service, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bekah however was not a fan (that whole east coast broadcast time confused her). She's always won the cable versus satellite argument, but now Time-Warner has helped me sway her opinion.

This morning's editions of the Spokesman-Review and CDA Press both reported news of the dispute in between Time-Warner and local FOX affiliate, KAYU. A local blogger put it best... Time-Warner sucks. The dispute is much like a playground brawl. The little kid (KAYU) picks a fight with the school bully (Time-Warner) and then complains when he gets his butt kicked.

Barring Time-Warner's last minute realization "I'm an idiot," FOX programming will be removed from the cable line up in North Idaho at midnight tonight. This is not the first time Time-Warner has found themselves in this type of dispute with a FOX affiliate. A few FOX stations in New York recently battled with Time-Warner.

Even if Time-Warner fixes their rectum-cranium inversion and makes a deal with KAYU, it is too late for us. Bekah ordered DirecTV today. Hooray!

Here is an interesting snippet from Time-Warner's website, funny how deceptive those cable companies can be.
(He started it)
(What would be right is for Time-Warner to pull their head out of the sand)
Notice to Our (not so) Valued Customers
It is possible that local Fox affiliate Kayu will no longer give Time Warner Cable permission to carry its channel after December 14, 2006.

KAYU is asking for Time Warner Cable to pay for its signal (just like they charge Dish Network and DirecTV); a signal they give away for free over the air (as long as you don't mind fuzzy lines and static interference during all of your favorite shows). Time Warner Cable's position is that cable customers should not be penalized for KAYU's insistence on getting paid to stay on our cable system. (Instead cable customers should be punished with our astronomical prices and inept customer service.) Time Warner Cable made good faith counter offers (good faith means you do it our way or else...) to KAYU during these (non) negotiations; however, KAYU has rejected them all. (We haven't given them much)

We are working hard (doing nothing) to keep this channel on your lineup.
In order to ensure you continue to receive KAYU no matter what, Time Warner Cable is providing customers with a free A/B switch*. The equipment will allow you to continue to receive KAYU off-air with a flip of a switch (because everybody loves bunny ears).
Technicians are standing by
call 888-###-#### (You may have to wait a while)
For updates on this situation, go to www.twc-northwest.com.
It's not too late! (JK) Time Warner Cable encourages you to call KAYU directly at (509) 448-2828 (they can probably explain this mess better than we can) or email KAYU at www.fox28spokane.com under the contact section to tell them they should negotiate (provided we participate) in good faith (remember, do it our way or else) with Time Warner Cable in order to keep the channel on your lineup.


My grown up Christmas List: Strings attatched part 4

Prices are as marked at Guitar Center.

Epiphone MM-30E Mandolin
Dean Playmate EABC Cutaway acoustic bass guitar

Dean BW6 Backwoods 6-string banjo

Martin S-O ukulele

My grown up Christmas List: Strings attatched part 3

Prices are as marked at Guitar Center.

Gretch Electromatic lap steel guitar
Dean Boca 12-string guitar
Ibanez AX7221 7-string guitar

My grown up Christmas List: Strings attatched part 2

Prices are as advertised at Guitar Center.
Fender® FR-50 resonator

Ibanez Artcore AFS75T semi-hollow guitar

Schecter Stilletto Custom bass guitar

Dean Rhapsody "8" 8-string bass guitar

Michael KellyDragonfly 5-string fretless acoustic bass guitar

My grown up Christmas List: Strings attatched part 1

Prices are as advertised at Guitar Center.
Ibanez MMM1 Mike Mushok Signature baritone guitar

Taylor 455 Jumbo 12 string acoustic guitar

Warwick Thumb BO fretless guitar

Ovation Adamas 30th Aneversry acoustic guitar

Yamaha Silent Electric bass guitar

Warwick Infinity neck-through 5-string bass guitar


Footprints in the Sand: the rest of the story

Once Jesus finished explaining the meaning of the first two sets of footprints, I inquired about the third set.

"So," I asked, "the dual set of prints are from when we walked side by side?"

"Yes." Jesus answered.

"And the single set of footprints are not my walking with out you, but those are your footprints from the times that you carried me?"

"That is correct." Jesus said.

"Then, what about that third set?" I asked. "The footprints are sideways and partially obscured by deep cuts in the sand. And it looks like that part of the beach has been torn up with sand thrown indiscriminately. What happened there?"

"My dear son," Jesus said, with an amused smile and a hint of laughter in his voice. "That is when I had to drag you, kicking and screaming."


Eye speek English good!

Hooray for poor grammar.

Bekah and I have experienced frustration with our supposed college level communications class. At our school, communication is a fancy word for English, and the class seems as if it was intended for sixth graders (or as an English as a second language class).

This week is the last week of class, so one would think the material we are covering would be a higher difficulty level than previous weeks. Yet, last week we had an assignment on strategies to remember proper usage of commonly misused words like raze/raise or am/pm. Am/pm?! Who over the age of twelve does not know the difference between am and pm? We also had a quiz that asked us which word was the correct word... protectedest or most protected.

I feel like I am in a junior high remedial grammar class. But as time goes by, I see more and more why classes like this exist. Even the professionals need help. The following is copied word for word (I kid you not) from Yahoo sports. It is a description of Toronto Raptors' point guard T.J. Ford.

"Ford's scoring average has risen to 16.2 points per game, but he's still been inconsistent on the offensive end as he tries to get use to his knew surroundings. " (see it here)

Get use??? Knew???

Some one needs to go back to college.


Beware of large numbers of stupid people

Exhibit A: A Walmart in California viewed the crowd waiting for the midnight release of the Playstation 3 as an inconvenience. Some genius of the management kind decided that it would be a good idea to have ALL of the hopeful PS3 owners to wait outside. Pandemonium revolt ensued. In the chaos, clothing racks were toppled, products was dumped and scattered across the floor, police were called, and the store was completely shut down. Poor saps had to wait a little longer to make their longed for purchase. The store did not open until 7:00am.

Exhibit B: A Walmart in Wisconsin had a stock of ten Playstation 3's to sell at midnight. They had 50 people waiting in line. Only a minor problem with a simple solution. Store employees set out ten chairs and made an announcement that the first ten people to site in the chairs could purchase the new PS3. 40 people left empty handed, one of which left with a few less brain cells. In the mad dash to fill a chair, one customer ran head first into a flag pole.

Exhibit C: There are flyers advertising the 'tree of sharing' plastered in every nook and cranny at my work. The flyer in the elevator has a unique handwritten addition, explaining the purpose of the tree of sharing. It reads, "The tree of sharing is to give employees kid toys."... I always wanted kid toys! Do we get to pick for ourselves? If so, I want a Lite Brite.

Exhibit D: At a Walmart (noticing a trend) in Connecticut, a crowd of future PS3 owners were confronted by two gunman. One person was shot for not complying. Sorry, but this one is not as funny as the other two Walmart incidents. In fact, it is just not funny at all.

Exhibit D, A, and B


Winter Blunderland

We are moved. Not unpacked... but moved. The moving experience went much smoother than expected, for that I am grateful.

I was anticipating a sloppier move, weather wise that is. The skies set loose precipitation of the flaky kind midweek, and I immediately started planning out worst case scenarios as wet sticky snow gathered outside my office window. I was not looking forward to driving a U-Haul through slush or snow, back and forth between old and new residences.

But alas, nature proved to more optimistic than I. The roads were drying out by Friday, and Saturday (moving day) brought sunshine. What started out as gloom gradually progressed into sunny skies.

Local weather, unfortunately, bears no resemblance to human rights in North Idaho. In fact they seem to be polar opposites. Thanks to a recent lapse of judgment, one North Idaho judge seems to have opened old wounds of racial bigotry. We may have put on a happy face, but bruises remain.

In contrast to the weather, civil liberties started out pleasant. But it gotten colder and gloomier in the last few weeks. Winter suddenly has a whole new meaning.


Winter Blunderland

We are officially moved. Not unpacked... but moved.

I was nervous for a while this week as the weather decided that precipitation of the flaky kind was a good idea. With snow falling midweek and looking like it would continue through the weekend, I was not looking forward to driving the U-Haul between new and old residences.

But nature proved to be more optimistic than I had been, and the weather gradually improved. It started to dry out on Friday and we had sunshine for most of the moving party on Saturday. After $70 worth of pizza Saturday afternoon, all was looking well.

This change of gloom to sunnier skys bears little resemblance to civil rights issues in North Idaho. Thanks to the recent courtroom absurdities in Boundary County, civil rights here seem to be working in reverse of the weather. What seemed to be sunshine seems to be getting colder and cloudier.


An eye on you

Do you remember that Rockwell song...

"I always feel like, somebody's watchin' me"


Please Help

I am writing an essay for my COM120 class about the effectiveness of controversial advertising and I need some input.

Think about some TV advertisements you have seen, either sexual or violent in nature. Were you offended? Are there commercials that have offended you? Do these commercials inspire you to purchase whatever the ad is hawking? Are there products that you won't buy due to the subject matter of the commercials?

There is one ad campaign that stands out in my mind from Firestone Tires. The commercial features two highly attractive people provocatively dancing in the rain. The man is dressed formally, the woman is wearing a thin, strappy, white dress. (did I mention they were dancing in the rain?) It is not till the end of the commercial that you discover they are advertising tires instead of waterproof lipstick or dancing lessons. What is the point? Does that make you want to buy tires? Not me.

Please take a moment and post a comment for me. I don't usually beg for comments, but I would like a few (several) of you to answer the above questions. Thank you.


entertaining a child

Christian is two in almost every sense of the word: the temper tantrums, the clumsiness, the moments of hilarity that every parent lives for. And he is also all boy: pushing, stealing, falling down and getting back up like nothing happened, and flirting. (I am only half kidding about that last one.)

Some parents find entertaining toddlers of this variety easy. Some friends of ours has a daughter a few months younger than Christian who is obsessed with the movie 'Shrek.' Pop in either Shrek movie and she is glued to the screen. Play the movie over and over, and she ignores you for hours. This TV tactic is common amongst young parents. As much as I do not want Christian to become a TV addict, I must admit I have tried it myself.

Those attempts were of course utter failures. My two year old son has no interest in TV. None. I sometimes don't know what to do with myself. Toddlers are self centered by nature, and they need that time that is devoted to them to be able to function. With out TV our only options are tickle fights (which can only last a few minutes since he can't fight back) and reading. You put twenty kiddy books in front of Christian and he will expect you to read each and everyone to him.

I guess that is a good thing. A passion for literature is something that seems to be dying more with each new generation. Why read a book when you could just watch the movie? I like to read, so it seems fitting that Christian does as well. However, I have completely memorized Dr. Seuss' ABC's, I'm starting to wish they'd make a movie of Are You My Mother, and if I have to read the insipid One Kitten For Kim one more time I will need shock therapy.

Christian loves books. If you read to him, you will have his undivided attention for at least 20 minutes. Bekah bought a board book with pictures hidden under flaps at Costco a couple of weeks ago, and that book has entertained him more than anything else. Best purchase we have ever made for him. He will turn the pages cover to cover and then back again, examining every secret window with the type of wide eyed wonder that only a child could possess. He sat through almost an entire episode of Law & Order the other night with nothing more than that one book to capture his attention; the only time he ever looked away from the book is when he found a picture of a girl pushing a horse out of a barn. He looks up at me and asks, "Pushing?" Once I confirmed that he correctly identified the picture, he went right back to reading.

We have found one other (slightly discouraging) method of entertainment. Christian likes to destroy things; he loves making messes. Yet another personality trait he inherited from me. He doesn't play with his toys, but you'd never know by looking at his room. If we clean his room then shut him inside, we easily have about 45 minutes to an hour to do anything we need to while he pulls every toy out of its place and drops it somewhere on the floor. Once every toy is out and scattered, we repeat the process. Clean the room so he can clutter it again. Or we just read to him some more.


Fruit or Vegetable?

I asked my class to answer this question: Are you a fruit or a vegetable. Here are some of the more interesting responses.

Whether I am a fruit or vegetable depends on several things. 1st thing in the morning I could usually be classified as a vegetable, definitely not a morning person. There are various times when I can be classified as a fruit, especially by my children, because at times being a little insane is what keeps you normal. Even though my hair is dark, some blonde jokes apply, I could say the blond is seeping through and invading my personality. My favorite moments at being a fruit are when I know it will embarrass my children the most, for instance in front of their friends or in public places.

I think I am a fruit, because I am sweet and better looking then a vegetable. Fruit to me seem to more colorful and optimistic, and that is what I am trying to be. More people seem to stick to the fruity side and being a veggie tale sounds kind stale and gloomy. So I feel that I am a fruit, because I am a sweet sensitive and caring person. Or at least I hope someday to be.

I’m a fruit because I am and yeah. Just look at me.

I believe myself to be a fruit. Fruit is sweet and most people like it. I tend to try and be sweet and generally get along with everyone. Yet some fruits have tough textures and depending on weather or not i get along with you will determine if you will be able to get through it.

I would have to put myself in the vegetable category, the reason being that I consider myself in the healthy category, fairly mundane, practical, but full of the necessary things: ... not too sweet, so can't go for fruit. Rarely silly, also can't go for fruit.

I am feeling like a fruit today...let's say a pomegranate............difficult, hard too peel and to discover. Yet soft & ,juicy and easy to enjoy.........in other words........tough on the outside, yet soft at heart.

I am a fruit because I am sweet and devious.
I am also a vegetable because I am hearty and good for you.

I'm a kiwi. I'm wild, tart and yet sweet all in one...(and fuzzy)

I would have to say that I'm a fruit. Kinda sweet but at the same time a little sour.

I have decided that I am both a fruit and a veggie. Because at times I can be sweet and very loving but at other times i am dead to the world.

(And my personal favorite…)

Well I would say that since a tomato is a fruit I am a fruit. I'm round like a tomato at this point.

This confirms what I have suspected for the last five weeks, my class is a bunch of fruits (mostly).


I've got enthusikasm!

Every week I give my students a survey to rate if my teaching and the curriculum is effective. A score of one means I suck and they hate me; five means I am the coolest person ever. I usually rate about four and a half. Not quite the coolest, but at least likable.

Each section of the survey contains a blank section for comments. This section usually garners comments like "we're going too fast" or "we're going to slow" "it's too hot" and "it's too cold." since the comments from one trainee tend to contradict another, I tend not to give the remarks too much attention. I do read them; occasionally one will be highly entertaining... mostly due to spelling errors. But there is always at least one that makes me wonder.

For example, in the section for feed back that focuses on me, one student wrote the following quip: "Instructor shows lots of exitement and enthusikasm."

Exitement? Enthusikasm?! What the crap? I just had to know, what is enthusikam? So, I asked my class to give me the best possible definition.

Here are my two favorite responses:

Enthusikasm: 1. (adj) To be excited, but not really.
2. (noun) Enthusiastic sarcasm.

I'm not sure if I like having either definition apply to me, but the same person elsewhere said I make it interesting... hmmm.

I'm proposing a new word to be added to the next edition of Merriam-Webster, enthusikasm!

Question. Which definition do you like best?


Try back in about eight years

I love it when my wife answers the phone. You never know what she will say. We received a call Friday night, and while I only heard Bekah's half of the conversation, here's how it went:

"... ......... ......."
"I'm sorry, he's not able to come to the phone right now. He's two."


the art of being busy

A few short weeks ago, Bekah and I had a discussion about time. I was interested in getting involved a little more at church, and she though we were all ready doing a lot. Simple difference of opinion. I just didn't feel like we were busy enough. Church on Sunday morning and youth group twice a week on top of working 40+ hours a week seemed like too much free time.

God was listening. Word of advice... be careful what you ask for. He just might give you more than what you asked for.

New schedule. Work is still 40 - 45 hours a week. Church is still on Sunday mornings but the youth worship band practices on Sunday afternoons. Sunday evenings Bekah and I are taking a class called Making Children Mind without Losing Yours. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are still devoted to youth group, my time there is split between helping the band, making sure the media presentations are ready, picking a set list, and hanging out with the kids. Everything that happens on those days are kind of a blur. By the time the week is over, I barely remember them. I am preparing to start working with the worship band for big church on Thursday nights. Bekah and I both started school with in the last couple of weeks and we have homework due almost every night by midnight, including Sundays.

On top of this we have friends that we try to have dinner with at least once a week, and spent time together as a family.

My work week runs Saturday through Friday. The church week runs Sunday through Saturday. And my school week runs Monday through Sunday. I'm up late doing homework and at work before 7am. I have been averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep a night for the past couple of weeks.

I have never felt so alive.



The perfect job

Actual answer from an employment survey

Question: What makes a job an enjoyable place to work?
Answer: Laid back, casual dress code, not so strict, & has games.
Translation: I want a job where I don't have to work.
Suggestion: Go work for minimum wage at a seasonal employer. i.e. Triple Play... or Silverwood.


a few things that scare me about toddlers... Specifically my toddler

1. The average energy output of a two year old is roughly equal to one atomic bomb

2. My son consistently eats more in one sitting than my wife. That's OK for now, but is frightening when looking at future grocery bills.

3. He is getting taller but is not gaining any weight. He still weighs the same as he did prior to the summer months.

4. Do you want to know what the most annoying sound in the world is? Come over to my house while we're trying to put Christian to bed.

5. I was a stubborn child. Bekah was a stubborn child. Christian inherited it from both of us. Here's how the math works: stubborn + stubborn = a force requiring patience of heroic proportions. Mules have nothing on Christian. Thankfully, I'm way bigger than he is.

6. Christian is a bully. I'm not sure how it happened. I never was a bully, so I'm not sure how to relate. If any of you were bullies in your youth, any advice would be appreciated.

7. Christian does not like toys. But he loves electrical wires, cell phones, and remote controls.

8. Feed milk products to lactose intolerant toddlers at your own risk. The end result is not pleasant. Trust me.

9. While thumbing through photos of my fathers childhood, I found a picture of my dad that looked exactly like Christian. Dear son, you're such a cute kid. I am sorry, but you will grow up to look just like me and grampa. Genetics is such a humbling thing.

10. Christian's idea of gently petting the dog is grabbing a leg or ear and pulling as hard as possible. He does this while saying "soft." We're trying to get him to be softer with animals. It might be time for a new tactic. Thankfully, Psuchen takes it like an invalid.

11. Christian's two favorite words are goggy (doggy) and biguck (big truck). Unfortunately the way he says truck sounds like a part of the human anatomy. Makes sense when you know what he's talking about and extremely helpful when he points at a big truck.

12. Bekah and I have managed to teach Christian how to say thuggin'. There really should be rules about who's allowed to procreate.

13. Christian can destroy his room in 1/4th the time that it takes to clean it up.

14. He is a very agreeably child. Ask him anything and he'll agree with you, even if he really doesn't. i.e. Are you hungry? He says "hungee" and nods his head but won't eat. Are you thirsty? "Terty" nods head but won't drink. Are you tired? "Ty-rrrrd" but he won't go to bed. Do you want to cuddle with daddy? "Cudzle" He nods his head but screams the instant I pick him up. This goes on for quite some time until I ask are you a purple elephant? "Elfint," he says while nodding. Finally, are you thuggin'? "THUGGIN'" at this point he grins like a fool and runs off to do whatever it is that toddlers do.

15. Life with a toddler is lived through little breaks between moments of chaos. Strangely, I can't imagine life without it.

16. My alarm clock is made of flesh and blood. He goes off about 6:00am every morning. There is no snooze button.

17. Problem solving is not a problem, especially when it is a problem he's not supposed to solve.

18. Honestly, I think he speaks Yiddish. Maybe Hebrew.

19. Christian acts his age. Unfortunately, he's two.

20. Christian has his own profile set up for Halo. Too bad he doesn't understand the controls.

21. He's a crazy miniature version of me, but I still love him. All I want is the best for him, even when he's acting like a toddler.


Happy 'Talk Like a Pirate Day'

No, really... today is 'Talk Like a Pirate Day.' I'm not making it up.

If you don't believe me, check out this site.

And this site.

Or this one.


What am I missing?

The following was taken from an AP artical "Iraq al-Qaida says pope, West are doomed"

The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum vowing to continue its holy war against the West. The authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified.

The group said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross" saying "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword."

I could be wrong, but if you ask me it seems more and more as if the pope spoke truth.

No, I don't fully understand Islam. And I won't pretend to. But if you are going to protest against someone who describes your religion as violent, reacting with violence might not be the wisest way to do so. If you don't like the pope saying that your religion is spread by the sword and you want to prove him wrong, you probably shouldn't threaten the use of the sword.

Now, don't get me wrong. Not every anti-vatican protest has been violent or threatening in nature. 200 Muslims participated in a sit in organized in Damascus. That is how it should be done. If Islamic protesters wanted to rid themselves of their violent image they should look for more peaceful methods of protest. Continued violence, threats, and hateful messages does nothing but fuel the steotype that most westerners believe as true.


She's kidding, right?

During a conversation about hunting, one guy mentioned that he couldn't bring himself to kill any animal, however he does enjoy trap shooting.

A girl sitting next to him gasped in horror before saying, "That's so cruel. Why would you trap an animal and then shoot it."


Has it really been that long?

One year ago, Bekah and I had just moved in to a new apartment. Between boxes, baby, dog, and trying to get settled we had ignored any significant events across the nation.

Two years ago, I had just moved to the Coeur d’Alene area. Christian had just been born, I was acclimating to a new job, new people, and new surroundings. The rules of life were being rewritten. The first couple of months here were blurry.

Three years ago we lived in Sioux Falls. There was a memorial event that I wanted to go to, but we never made it, yet now… I’m not sure why.

Four years ago Bekah and I were engaged and beginning to plan our wedding. We lived In Boise. I wore a blue oxford shirt over a red t-shirt and white pants to work. I felt as if that day was important and we were all apart of something that would be remembered. I was working at DirecTV, and oddly, it was just another day. We observed a minute of silence at the right time, and the TVs in the center were tuned into anniversary coverage. But customers called in with questions about their bill or services just like they would have on any other day.

Sometime that day, I typed up a short letter that I e-mailed out to everyone I knew. You can find a slightly amended version of that letter on my other blog.

Five years ago, I woke up in a different world. I had woke up (earlier than normal) and settled into my routine of watching whatever looked interesting on TV before getting ready for work. The night before I had fallen asleep watching the most boring thing I could think of, FOX news. I turned on the TV just in time to watch the south tower fall.

I called my best friend Steve, and told him to turn on the TV. But at that obsene hour of the morning he wanted to kill me for waking him up. "Why" he asked. I said "Trust me, just turn it on" and hung up. He called me back about two minutes later.

Normally I'd only watch TV for about a half hour before eating breakfast or taking a shower. But that morning I couldn't draw myself away from the TV. I was working at Old Navy at the time, but I didn't have to be there till noon. I drove out there but thankfully, they had the good sense to close the store for the day. Who in their right mind would want to go shopping during a national tragedy.

But has it really been five years? It seems as if it was a whole lifetime ago. Nothing has really changed in our national culture. No shift in the way we think or act. It's almost as if the real tragedy is not the act of terror, but a lack of change since then. We are still the same bunch of greedy prideful Americans we always have been.


He's two... (finally)

Today is Christian's second birthday. We're throwing a party for him. Last year, he had one friend come over. This year it's two. Gee, I can't wait till he's 12.

For those of you who can't be here, wish him a happy b-day. If you post a comment for him, I'll make sure to read them to him. (Though, I might wait until he brings home his first girlfriend, but I will read it to him.)


random fact

When I was little, if I heard someone use the term "prima donna" I thought they were really saying "pre-Madonna." They say "She's such a prima donna." I think, hmmm, she's older than MTV.


Happy Monday... er, Tuesday!

Three things to help get your week going upon return from the holiday.

First, Christian is learning how to use utensils when eating. This is a good thing because now, he will be able to shovel food into his own mouth. Apparently, I cannot do it fast enough. He is a vary smart kid, he knows where his food belongs. Before, if food fell astray from the spoon I was holding Christian would grab it off his plate and proceed to shove fist and food into his mouth. But this weekend, we wanted to let him use his spoon on his own to eat his mac & cheese with peas. (Don't ask, it's one of Bekah's favorite combinations.) This time instead of treating fallen food as finger food, he would pick the cheesy pasta up, put it back in the bowl, and try again.

I believe the origin of the phrase "getting your foot in the door" had something to do with elevators. The elevators at my place of employment will bump your shoulder if you walk though it while it's closing. The door will nearly chop your hand off if you try to keep it from closing with a trust of your arm. However, if you stick your foot into the path of the closing door, it will magically reopen. Occasionally, as I watch people exit the elevator from the far end of the hall, I want to shout "Go, go gadget-leg" just so I can get my foot through the door. This mad rush to get to the elevator would not be an issue if it wasn't for the fact that our elevator is slower than glacial recession.

And finally. I have nixed the idea of going to Nepal. The trip was postponed, and logistically wasn't a possibility for me. However I will be opting for a different trip a little closer to home that both Bekah and I can do. Tentatively, we'll be going to New Orleans October 26th-30th to assist a church and surrounding community in the ongoing rebuilding process. We will be doing some fund raising to go, and we don't have all of the trip's details yet, but we will shortly. As soon as we have those details, you will all know.

Well, that's all that I have for now. I do have to save some brain functionality for work.


real life conversation

(Three security guards, two in uniform, the other only wearing a hat bearing the company logo. They speak with Minnesota accents, and ALL should have retired years ago.)

Guard #2: So, these are da computers we're watching, eh?

Guard #1: Yup, dat day are.

Guard #3:Oooh, day hava big screen TV!

G#2: Can we watch da TV?

G#1: Sure ya can. Day don't get many channels though.

(Author's note: I feel so secure... thanks guys!)


overstating the obvious


Two guys are playing ping-pong. In a failed attempt to do something shifty one player hooks the ball sharply, nearly getting it trapped under the refrigerator. If he had have been playing baseball, he would have hit it into the dugout off the third base line.

The man with no control of his paddle then states, "Oops, I screwed that one up."

Ah, yes. I can see that.


reality (n) 1:things that are real. 2: the process of buying or selling real estate

Within the last couple of months two close friends have purchase homes. First, mutual friends and where we will most likely be found on Saturday nights. Then one of Bekah's best friends since childhood.

Me... I could care less, but Bekah's starting to get a bit of real estate envy. She seems to think since eveyone else is buying a house, why can't we. Yesterday, in an attemp to amuse herself, she started thumbing through local listing and found the perfect house. (I must admit, it was the type of house we need and in a location that would be great for us)

Problem, it has been on the market for several months and has not sold. Odd, a three bedroom manufactured home in a good comunity less than a decade old at a reasonable price not selling... you'd think there would be something wrong with it. But no. We drove by, it's in great shape. Why hasn't it sold?

Bekah talked to the realtor last night, trying to get some basic information. first question, how much for a down payment? 20%, roughly $14,000. Next, how much would monthly payments be? Payments plus lot rental totaled just over $900. Realistically, if someone had 14 grand and could afford $900 a month, in a city like Coeur d'Alene no one in their right mind would buy a manufactured home. For payments like that (if you have good credit) you can finance a real house.

In other news...

Apparently, my two year old son is a bully. I'm not sure how that happened, considering I was never a bully in any way shape or form.


I blame A.D.D.

I must have been asleep for the last couple months, or at least on autopilot. There have been two not very important yet meaningful milestones in the life of a blogger that I seem to have missed with out notice.

First, my 100th post. Second, my first anniversary as a blogger (6/01/05 -6/01/06) . I was thinking about posting links to some of my favorite posts from the past yearish 100 some odd available. But no, maybe that will be my 200th post. Or I'll wait till next June.

Also a milestone... kind of. I have officially been working on my novel for a year and a half. Progress is slow, and realistically the fault is how busy I am. But I'd like to blame A.D.D. I sat down to work on it for a little while yesterday and completed one paragraph. Talk about accomplishment.

It seems awkward to complain about not writing more. Somehow I've managed to keep this site updated and start a whole new blog. I really should be focusing my complaints on a lack of focus.

But there is much to look forward to. In March Coeur d'Alane is hosting its first ever film festival (see link under silver screen). I am planning on taking some workshops through ICAN and hoping to get more involved with the arts in general around the CdA area.

Society is defined by it's artistic expression and the inland northwest has a lot of fine artists to be proud of. (including a fabulous wildlife photographer from whom we purchased a beautiful picture of mountain goats in Banff.)

And before I get completely off the subject, I salute my attention challenged peers. And now, back to writing... something else.


Moving on

Over the last few weeks Bekah has been encouraging me to begin working torward something, rather than just working.

This is a puzzling concept. I want to do more, but it seems the only thing I'm qualified to do is what I'm doing now. And the only way to change that is to go back to school. Retuning to education at the age of 27 is not any easy decision, especially with the price of colleges nowdays, and even more so when I consider the family I have to support.

If I was to go back to school, then I've got to figure out what I want to be when I grow up (I know, I'm a little too old to be clueless there). This part is frustrating for me because I tend to dream big. The two things that I really want to do are fields that are incredibly difficult to earn a living: writing and/or studio recording. With both options, I would need a "real" job elsewhere. And a little extra education in liturature composition and record production would help.

But, if niether are realistic expectations, Then what? I could study History or Communications (my intended major when I aplied at NNC and angain at USF), but then what? I would still need a job.

Please be praying for me. I've got some heavy decisions to make during the next few weeks and my Eeyore personality isn't helping any.

Thanx for letting me ramble, and I apologize if you dozed off half way through reading. I promise, it won't happen again.


all of the wonderful / horrible aromas

Good news / bad news.

First, the good. My sinus infection is finally starting to clear up.

Bad: With the clearing of the sinus passages comes a heightened sense of smell. All day I have had odor sensory overload. The basement smelled like burnt bagels and steamed milk first thing this morning. The men's room reminded me of some outhouses far removed from civilization. The elevator reeked of... well, like someone relieved themselves, yet a couple hours later the elevator smelled like cheap fish sticks (not much of an improvement). For a while the scent of pasta and marinara permeated the main floor. And the two dozen pizzas that were ordered for the first floor filled the stairwell.

Add to that every dash of perfume, breath mint, deodorant (or lack thereof), and every cigarette as employees returning from smoke breaks.

My head hurts.

real life conversation

Upon return from Canada, my wife made an interesting discovery while unpacking my bags.

Bekah: What are these? (holds up a pair of boxers) Are these yours?
Me: No.
Bekah: Who's are they?
Me: I don't know.
Bekah: How did they get in your bag?
Me: (shugs shoulders)
Bekah: What do you expect me to do with them?
Me: (shrugs shoulders again)
Bekah: That's so gross.
Me: So, throw them away.
Bekah: And waste a perfectly good pair of boxers? I'll just wash them.


What ever happened to personal responsibility?

I have my reasons for asking. I may share them later but for now, I just want your thoughts.



if stupidity was a crime, he'd be guilty of attempted murder

We are back from Canada, but with the triple digit temperatures in the Coeur d'Alene area I kind of wish I was still there.

Of all the things that could have happened or gone wrong when taking 100 high school aged kids out of the country and then throwing them all onto crowded houseboats beached on a lake in the wilderness... It went pretty well.

I had 15 kids on my boat. Six of them were (are) involved with the worship team, one of the big reasons that I was a leader on their boat. Few of them were friends, but they got to know and tolerate each other fairly well.

A lot happened during the week, enough for me to keep you up all night reading. Some I'll save for later, and some will just be verbal anecdotes for those of you who speak to me on occasion. There is one single event that stands out above all others. It is, as a captain from one of the other boats called it, a classic camp story.

Lake Koocanusa is nestled in the Canadian Rockies. While it's southern most tip is in Montana, the majority of the lake, including the beach we camped on, is in British Columbia. The lake is also a reservoir, one that is slowly being drained. That draining was both a good thing and a bad thing. Good: we gained about ten feet of beach over the course of five days. Bad: it created some rip tide like currents.

I gained first hand knowledge of the strength of those currents Tuesday when we took our boat out from the beach and let our kids swim for a while. We had a small group; four guys, one girl, myself and Big John (the other leader on my boat). We got out to the middle of the lake, Big John shut off the engine so the kids could swim and we chilled for a while, listening to an interesting mix of Bob Marley and Jimmy Buffet.

A couple of the boys were jumping off of the top deck, a fun thing that was not allowed while beached (it would be breaking the camp's only rule: don't be an idiot). There was also a water slide attached to the boat, and for some strange reason, I felt that riding the slide would be safer than jumping from the second story deck. Silly me. Shortly after hitting the water I realized hey, these currents are rather strong. If it had just been strong currents, I probably could have overcome it, except for one unfortunate fact. It was a windy day. Worse, the wind and currents were going in opposite directions.

Once in the water, I was about ten feet away from the boat and no matter how hard I tried, that's where I stayed. The current was pulling me south, and the wind was blowing the boat north. Thankfully I wasn't losing ground but I wasn't gaining any either. It was like a treadmill... for swimmers. One of the kids jumped in and tried to help, but then we were both stuck in the current.

Finally, Big John told the three remaining passengers to throw me a rope. One kid (the worship band's techie) threw a rope. The whole rope. The kid is smart when it comes to Power Point presentations and running the sound board, but not to bright when it comes to more important matters like saving some one's life.

Initially, I was excited for the rope, swam over and started tugging on it. Seconds later I discovered that it was not attached to anything. The people on the boat didn't realize the failed rescue attempt until after I yelled "A lot of good this does me!"

Finally the two of us in the water were pulled in with a life ring. And I learned a valuable lesson: never trust the sound tech with your life, he might accidentally try to kill you.

However, he did put in a bit of practice with the life ring the next day, throwing it out to a bunch of girls who didn't like cold water. He then began calling himself David Hasselhoff... despite being shorter, chubbier, significantly younger, and bearing no resemblance of any kind to Mr. Hasselhoff.

P.S., if you click on the link for David Hasselhoff, be prepared, it's kind of frightening.


Oh, Canada

Oh, Canada by Five Iron Frenzy
From the Album Our Newest Album Ever
Lyrics by Reese Roper

Welcome to Canada, it's the Maple Leaf State
Canada, oh Canada it's great!
The people are nice and they speak French too
If you don't like it, man, you sniff glue
The Great White North, their kilts are plaid
Hosers take off, it's not half bad
I want to be where yaks can run free
Where Royal Mounties can arrest me
Let's go to Canada, let's leave today
Canada, oh, Canada, I s'il vous plait
They've got trees, and mooses, and sled dogs
Lots of lumber, and lumberjacks, and logs!
We all think it's kind of a drag
That you have to go there to get milk in a bag
They say "eh?" instead of "what?" or "duh?"
That's the mighty power of Canada
I want to be where lemmings run into the sea
Where the marmosets can attack me
Let's go to Canada, let's leave today
Canada, oh, Canada, I s'il vous plait
Please, please, explain to me
How this all has come to be
We forgot to mention something here
Did we say that William Shatner is a native citizen?
And Slurpees made from venison
That's deer
Let's go to Canada, let's leave today
Canada, oh, Canada, I s'il vous plait

Bekah and I will be in Canada most of next week. Our church is sending up the high school kids up to Lake Koocanusa for what our youth pastor describes as “the mother of all summer camps.” We will both be counselors for the week, should be a lot of fun, but I’m sure we’ll both be exhausted when we return.

The good news… We’re staying on houseboats.
The bad news… The boats sleep 15; each boat has 15 kids (some more) and two adults.

And yes, I know "mooses" is not a real word. Moose is the proper plural form. Don't blame me... I did not write the song.


real life conversation

overheard near elevator...

older lady: So, was it a big gossip thing?

younger lady: No. Linda said that James said that...


speak, child

Christian is picking up on all sorts of new words.

mess, yur welcome, and most importantly.... coffee!


sundown & twilight

Sundown from the boardwalk on Lake Coeur d'Alene

A hazy half moon last night in Hayden

of split personalities

Do you remember when I said I'd like to keep multiple blogs? Well, one of my multiple personalities has broken free and started a whole new blog.

This new blog is more of a spiritual and mental exercise for me. It will focus more on theological and philosophical musings. The first post is about why I believe prosperity theology should not be taught in churches.

If you have no interest in spiritual matters, no worries. I will continue to update this site with my usual take on stupid people and the world around us.



By reading this blog, some might come to believe that I lead an exciting life. If you happen to be one of those people you are sadly mistaken. I am sorry to have misled you.

Just an example of how boring my life REALLY is... I finally have a second page of friends on Myspace. And I find that exciting. I would feel special but half of those friends are bands that I'm a fan of. Not really friends.

In other news. Local police arrested a bona fide nutcase last Tuesday. An officer was attacked by this wacko who was wandering down the road blocking traffic. The whole story is quite entertaining but here are my favorite highlights:
1. After arrest, officers discovered a coin taped to the man's butt cheek. Fruit Loop explained that it was covering a birth mark that also happened to be a direct line to China.
2. His reason for being out in the street? He was the son of Howard Hughes and was looking for cannabis.
3. And why did he attack the arresting officer? It was a family quarrel. He told the court that the officer was his second cousin and had no right to arrest him... even if he was in uniform. (side note, officer and the crazy guy are not related in any way)
4. Also in court, he made mention of involvement in a case in a different state (where he has previous assault of an officer charges) that includes an executive order signed by Ronald Reagan.
5. Besides being off his rocker, he is also quite strong. It took the officer, a passing motorist, and a trucker to subdue the man.
6. His name is Bender. And I thought Bender was the name of the robot in Futurama.
If you want to read the full story it was in Wednesday's edition of the CDA Press with the headline "Judge orders mental exams for suspect." (http://www.cdapress.com) No worries for those of us iving in North Idaho, bail is set at 150 grand. Unless his birth mark can get him in touch with some rich friends in China, I don't think he'll be out any time soon.


close call

I hate it when some one shares an experience that starts with "So, funny story..." When that phrase prefaces what you have to say, the story is rarely funny.

That being said... funny story, I almost died the other day.

Right outside the window of my basement classroom is a large gas generator (flammable gasses, highly explosive). On the other side of a paved fifteen foot loading area is refrigeration and ventilation controls. Both pieces of machinery have large signs that warn ‘no smoking with in fifty feet.’

I have caught agents smoking out there; one was even leaning against the generator while smoking what could have been his very last cigarette.
I said, “Excuse me.”
He cocked his head to the side like a confused dog and asked “What?”
I just pointed to the ‘flammable gasses, no smoking’ sign.
“Oh, crap.” He said, and then started to walk away to the parking lot.

Since my classroom is in the basement, there is a hill side climbing steeply from either side. Holding up the landscaping next to the generators are wood four by fours coated with a tar like oil to keep the wood from rotting (also flammable).

Wednesday, right before lunch, one of my students exclaim, “Um, Nic… there’s a fire outside. Well maybe not a fire but it’s definitely smoking.”

Curious, I walked to the window and sure enough, there was smoke billowing from one of the wood posts fifteen to twenty feet away from the explosive material right outside my window. I dismissed every one for lunch and ran to get some water.

When I got outside a supervisor was standing above the fire spitting on it. (I did not know that saliva could be used for fighting fires, he was unaware it wouldn’t work) Later I asked him if he was really spitting on it. He said that he was and that he was to lazy to go inside to get water. Thanks, I feel safe.

My cup of water almost put it out but not quite, but a second cup did. Inside a hollowed out section of wood laid a lone cigarette. Some smoker almost burnt the place down, or blew it up, depends on how you look at it. Also take note, our company does have one designated smoking area… and the basement parking lot is not it.

The scary part of this story is that I forgot to tell my wife about it. She found out about the ordeal from a mutual friend of ours who also works at the same place I do.


up in the air... then a couple hours later

I have been out of town for most of this week. While I am enjoying my stay in what is likely the nicest hotel room I've ever stayed in, the trip hasn't been as relaxing as I'd hoped for.

Part of the reason for the nonrelaxing trip is the 6am flight out of Spokane International. And the alarm going off at 3am so I could get there on time. My destination, Denver International, is architecturally beautiful, a stunning and efficient feat of engineering.

If you have never flown in or out of DIA, I encourage you to do so. But only if you're with someone who knows their way around, otherwise you might get lost. The whole airport is it's own little metropolis, out in the middle of nowhere. Gas stations, accommodations, dozens of car rental agencies, and a nearly infinite amount of parking spaces. Once inside the airport, you'll find shops and a food court to rival some small town malls, gallery quality art, and crowds that define one of the busiest airports in the nation.

I was excited for the plane ride upon discovery that my airline used XM radio for their in flight entertainment. I did have my MP3 player, but they don't let you listen to it during take off and landings. The batteries were also low and I forgot to pick some up at Walgreens on my way out of town. But, channel selection was limited and the only station worth anything was 20 on 20. It sounds like a good idea, they play the top 20 songs as voted for by listeners and there's about 60 songs to chose from (vote for).

Stickwitu was playing when I started listening and I continued to listen through Sugar, We're going Down, Because of You, and some other less memorable song. I fell asleep sometime during Dance, Dance. One would think that they would update their top 20 songs after each rotation, but no. They play the same 20 songs over and over, and (even worse) in the same order. When I woke up, Stickwitu was playing followed by Sugar, We're Going Down and Because of You.

Note to self... Buy batteries before flying back to Spokane.



A friend and I were talking over the weekend about the strange transition from having a pregnant wife to being a father. Life changes in an instant. It may be a tiny moment in time but it shatters your familiar existence, and before long you have a hyperactive toddler.

Becoming a father is a surreal experience, like when the alarm clock starts buzzing but seems to be a part of the dream in the final seconds of slumber before waking. I think all dads have that moment. For my friend, it was hearing his daughter cry for the first time. My moment was when I got to dress Christian for the first time. And then again when we were finally able to bring him home from the hospital.

That is the essence of life ... little moments. Hearing your baby's uncontrolled laughter for the first time. How innocent words like yes, up, and sit sound naughty coming from the lips of a toddler. Coming home from work and thinking the kid has grown since you left that morning.

To an extent, raising a child still seems surreal. Every now and then I look at Christian and think, Is that kid really mine. Of course he is. Looking into his blue eyes is much like staring at my own reflection.


glutton for punishment

My body has endured two consecutive nights of self inflicted strains and voluntary abuse. I never knew that when I signed on to be a youth leader, that that included massive amounts of exercise.

Tuesday night we took the high school kids hiking up Canfield Mountain. Ten years ago, such an activity would not have been a problem. But then again, ten years ago I was in high school. The other issue is that little hike (about 35 minutes for healthy/in shape people) is the first hiking I had done since 1999 when I moved away from Seattle. Despite being a short hike, it is fairly steep in spots (most of it) and provides spectacular views of Hayden Lake, Hayden, Dalton Gardens, and Coeur d’Alene.

Last night the junior high had a bigger and better scavenger hunt. This a scavenger hunt without a set list of things to find. Instead each group is given a paper clip then goes from house to house asking to trade our item with the home owner for something bigger and better. My group traded our paper clip for a Gerber baby spoon, traded the spoon for a box of plastic forks, and the forks for a heart shaped wreath. By the time we accomplished that, we were out of time. This whole activity required a lot of walking (and failed attempt to restrain one individual who had this compulsive urge to jump/stomp in every puddle we came across). Normally walking would not have been a problem, except for the fact that I HIKED UP A MOUNTAIN the night before.

Oh yeah, if you’ve been paying attention to the weather forecasts for the inland northwest, it has been unseasonably cool with large quantities of rain. While Spokane and Post Falls got dumped on Tuesday, CDA/Hayden received minimal amounts of rainfall. It did start raining Tuesday night, but not till a half hour after all the kids had gotten off of the mountain. It rained nonstop all night and through the day yesterday. We were worried that we’d be doing the scavenger hunt in the rain. But thankfully it did finally stop ... just before the start of youth group.


real life conversation

Said to me in reference to the clothes my son and I were wearing while walking out of Starbucks...

"Dude, you're wearing matching pants!"

This might be a totally acceptable remark if ... Well Christian was wearing shorts and I was wearing carpenter pants. They weren't even the same shade of denim. The only thing they had in common was that they were both made of denim.

That would be like me saying to him and the girl he was with "Dude, you have matching hair cuts!" Only because neither of them were bald.

new horizons

This last week has been absolutely crazy. By crazy, I mean busy and inconceivable just a few short weeks ago.

Bekah has been looking for a job, but considering she hasn't worked anywhere for two years, her resume is not impressive. Needless to say she has not had much luck with her job search. Then she had a revelation - "I have experience in child care. I should start a daycare." And that is exactly what she and a friend of ours is doing. So as we speak (well, I'm typing, you're reading) Bekah and friend are planning and preparing to open up a daycare starting July 1st. She's kind of freaking out nervous about it, but aren't most people when starting a business?

Bekah and I have been working with our church's youth group for a while, and for most of that time I've been trying to avoid working with junior high. Stick with the high school kids, it's only one night a week, I can do that. Apparently God had other plans. So did my youth pastor. I walked into his office Friday evening thinking I was going to help do some planning for an upcoming youth service and walked out co-leader for the youth worship band. I'm not sure how it all happened; right now my memory is still a bit hazy.

The worship band plays both the high school and junior high services. So, I guess that means I'll be working with the junior highers too.

So, in a very short period of time, Bekah has become an entrepreneur and I've become a worship leader. As if our lives weren't crazy enough.


happy panda dance

For the last several weeks, every time I drive up 95 into Hayden I do a little happy panda dance.

Coeur d’Alene is getting a Panda Express. After about a month and a half of construction, Panda Express opened this week. And apparently, I am not the only person excited about this.

We went there for dinner last night, there were a dozen cars waiting in the drive through and the line inside was equally long, we waited in line for about a half hour before getting to order. Worth the wait though.

I'm sure some of you have never heard of Panda Express. Just think of it as Subway with Chinese food instead of sub sandwiches. Really good Americanized Chinese food.

I used to eat at one in Boise a lot. There was one in the same parking lot as the Old Navy I used to work for. It was that, Carl Jr's, Arbys, or junk food from ShopKo. There wasn't a Panda Express in Sioux Falls when we lived there, and until now there wasn't one here. So it's been a couple of years since I've had Panda Express.

Although, they've changed some of their recipes since I last ate there. The orange chicken is a bit spicier than I remember. And they soak their sweet and sour pork in the sweet and sour sauce prior to serving instead of after, no longer giving you the option to serve the sauce on the side.

Oh well, still really good food.



What is better?

Pleasant incompetence
Defiant brilliance

Polite stupidity
Rambunctious intelligence


If I could blog my way.

How do we do it? How do we find time to blog?

This blog is nothing more than what its title suggests. The rants, raves, and random thoughts of a slightly crazy, caffeine addicted, sarcastic little man.

If you read my profile and dig through my links, you can see some of the things that are important to me. Movies, music, books, games...

If I could do things my way, this blog would be very different. And it would not be my only one.

Let me dream for a little before snapping back to reality. If time and energy were not issues I would keep and update multiple blogs.
First one would be devoted to music: new album releases and reviews, concerts, links to various bands and artists, and anything having to do with music.
Second one for movies. Similar format as the first: reviews, look at up coming releases, anything movies. I don't go to the theater as often as I used to, but remember, this is if time/energy weren't issues.
This blog would be broken up into three parts. 1. Random Thoughts: theological, philosophical, political musings, and any other random happenings inside my head. 2. Rants: a simple look at stupidity in the world around us. 3. Raves: my life, what's going on.

But... alas, I have little time, and the little I have is precious. I work 40+ hours a week and when I get home, I need to spend some time with my family. My wife is looking for a job, my 21 month old son is in his terrible two's (despite not yet celebrating a second birthday), and my dog is mentally handicapped. Outside of work and home, I'm a youth leader for my church's youth group, update this blog (the haphazard combination of what I wish I had time to keep separate), working on my first novel, brainstorming ideas for a second one, then there's that creepy/addictive/obsessive MySpace thing. Not to mention our feeble attempts at a social life, Bekah and I do have friends.

How do you do it all? By the time I get through work and get home, all I can do is sleep. Where did all of my spare time go?

I would love to be able to quit my job so that I could write full time, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

Miracles do happen, until then... I can dream.


something else to laugh at

Here's a funny joke I found on this dude's blog:

Jesus saw a crowd chasing down a woman to stone her and approached them. "What's going on here, anyway?" he asked.
"This woman was found committing adultery, and the law says we should stone her!" one of the crowd responded.
"Wait," yelled Jesus. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
Suddenly, a stone was thrown from out of the sky, and knocked the woman on the side of her head.
"Aw, c'mon, Dad..." Jesus cried, "I'm trying to make a point here!"


will forever be laughing

Occasionally, somebody says or does something so completely ridiculous and logic defying that you don't know how to react. One of my fellow trainers had one of those events in her class yesterday.

Disclaimer: the subject of this post is a good guy. He is friendly, easy to get along with, artistic, conversational, and he breeds tarantulas. Please don't get me wrong, this post is not a complaint or a soapbox to preach against American idiocy. I am writing for the value of humor. I have been laughing about this for the past five hours, perhaps you will also find this funny.

The story begins yesterday when Peter Parker (not his real name but a thinly veiled pop culture reference) called in sick. His wife is also a coworker and his trainer asked his wife whether or not Peter Parker would be in. His wife explained that Peter's spider had died over the weekend and he wasn't feeling well enough to come in to work. Yes, I said spider. I wasn't kidding when I said he breeds tarantulas.

That in itself is mildly funny, but the real kicker comes after class when everyone had gone home for the day. His trainer sat down at her desk and checked the daily log created from our sick line to see his reason for not coming in. Apparently, when Peter Parker called the sick line, he requested FMLA to care for a sick child.

First problem, you can't get FMLA until after a year with an employer. Second, a dead spider does not count as a sick child.

Again, I'm not trying to abuse Peter Parker's character, but highlighting the humor in life. I do empathize for him. When Psuchen dies I will be very sad, but I will go to work the next day. I will probably be depressed the next day, but I will go. As much as you may love and care for an animal, when all is said and done, it is just a pet.

FMLA... HA! I so needed something to laugh at today.


from here to the other side of the world AKA what I really want for Christmas

Small update.

This coming December, I have the opportunity to travel to Nepal for two weeks, returning home Christmas Eve. This would be a great chance for me to complete two of my greatest desires: I have always wanted to serve on a foreign missions trip & I've always wanted to go to Nepal.

However, to go there are some daunting obstacles to overcome. The first and most obvious is money. The trip is not a free ride. In fact costs a big chunk of change (roughly $2500). Then there are all of the little things that would need to be taken care of prior to going: obtaining a passport, all of the medical shots, training and preparation. I would also need to get into better shape. The villages there are at high altitudes and the most common mode of transportation are chevrolegs. Well... I need to lose a few pounds anyways, right?

The need there is equally daunting. Most people don't realize that Nepal is one of the poorest countries on earth. Because of their sociological and religious history, most Nepali don't understand the concept of hygiene or sanitation. Nepal is also the only nation with Hindu as their official religion.

Please keep me in your prayers. I am excited for the opportunity to go somewhere as beautiful as Nepal for what could be an amazing experience. Pray that God opens up the doors and enables me to go.

I will be posting further info both here and on MySpace.


dance like you've never danced before

As a wedding DJ, I think I've seen it all. There are a million cheezy dances that no one would ever admit they enjoy unless they are at a wedding reception.

Bunny Hop, Hokey-Pokey, Chicken Dance, Macarena, YMCA, Electric Slide, Cotton-Eyed Joe... All songs that no sane person would listen to in their own home or for personal enjoyment. But no wedding party would be complete with out it.

It is amazing the songs people request at weddings.

If you have a spare 6 minutes, check out this video. It's the "Evolution of Dance." During my time DJing for weddings, I've played everyone of those songs (except "Can't Touch This"). I've also seen most of those dance moves from various wedding guests, but never any like this guy.

"Dance, Dance
We're falling apart to half time
Dance, Dance
And these are the lives you'd love to lead"
Dance Dance by Fall Out Boy

"Let's dance for fear your grace should fall"
Let's Dance by David Bowie

"I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance"
The Dance by Garth Brooks

"The rhythms, the reason, the rhyme
of the danse pulses within everything
And the universe wheels and whirls like
a dervish in perfect seven-step time"
The Danse by Caedmon's Call

"I can't dance, I can't talk
Only thing about me is the way I walk"
I Can't Dance by Genesis


Pop Quiz

What does this first group of people have in common?

Edward Jenner
Dennis Hopper
Trent Reznor
Bill Paxton
Sugar Ray Leonard
Bob Saget
Craig Ferguson
Andrea Corr
Odd Hassel
Cool Papa Bell
Brigit Nilsson
Taj Mahal

How about this second group? What do they have in common?

Benji Madden
Joel Madden
Norah Jones
Bjørn-Arild Berthelsen
Ivan Miljković
The Game
Rob Bourdon
Mena Suvari
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Heath Ledger
Claire Danes
Kate Hudson
Rosario Dawson
Graeme McDowell
Bam Margera
Adam Brody

If you think you know the answers, post a comment. If you have no idea post a comment anyways. I'd love to hear from all three of my loyal readers... oh wait, I have four now.


the name game

My friend Sarah was lamenting in a recent blog post about the strange and torturous ways parents name their children. Bekah and I were very considerate of our children's egos when thinking of what to name our kids. Our first question was "Would this name be twisted and ridiculed by a 5th grader?" We came to the conclusion that 96% of possible baby names could indeed be a source of teasing by mean spirited 5th graders we asked a second question... "How could they make fun of this name or that name? What is the least amount of damage we could do?"

Unfortunately, not all parents are as considerate. For example: Sarah's recent post. Or, this article I found on MSN a few months ago.

The Name Game

Unique baby names are the power accessory of the newly born rich and famous

There's a new pout in Angelina Jolie's household -- and it's not Brad Pitt's. Jolie welcomed an adopted Ethiopian daughter named Zahara Marley Jolie. The name evokes romance, desert sands and reggae and starts with the exotic letter Z. For the well-heeled and the well-known, creating a splashy and inventive baby name is not just a birthright but a tradition. Witness the recent crop of baby names to adorn celebrity offspring: Pirate (Korn frontman Jonathan Davis' son), Moxie Crimefighter (the daughter of Penn and Teller magician Penn Jillette) and Lola (Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards' newborn). They're in good company: Chris Rock, Madonna, Carnie Wilson and Jennie Garth also call their little girls Lola, whether it's on the birth certificate or not (in Madonna's case, Lola is a nickname for Lourdes). Even veteran Live 8 musician-activist Bob Geldof has a full house, flowering with daughters Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Pixie, and their half-sister Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.

So Traditional and Retro, They're Hip Again

If you don't fancy calling your tyke Orlando or Bloom, don't despair. This trend toward sensible names is actually quite popular. Yes, Julia Roberts hit the mother lode with twins Hazel Patricia and Phinnaeas Walter, but she's not alone. Many celebrities have stuck to sensible, even normal names, fit for a regular Joe. Look at what Jon Stewart named his little guy: Nathan. Former teen heartthrob and NYPD star Mark-Paul Gosselaar welcomed a boy, Michael Charles.

Who's Done It: Plenty of people have, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick and their son, James Wilkie, Mary-Louise Parker and Billy Crudup and their son, William Atticus.

The Latest Twist: Use a nickname properly; ideally the shorter and friendlier the better. That's what worked for Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards' daughter, Sam J., and one of news anchor Soledad O'Brien's twins, Charlie.

Blast from the Past: Tom Hanks' son, Chester, and Tracey Ullman's daughter, Mabel. Janet Leigh's daughter is a screamer: Jamie Lee Curtis.

Twin Sets

Julia's picks brings us to our next category: twins.

Who's Done It: Some parents like their twins' names to match -- and some don't. Geena Davis stuck to the letter 'K' for sons, Kian and Kaiis, while actress Peri Gilpin placed a common 'A' in back for daughters, Stella and Ava.

The Latest Twist: If matching monikers don't work for you, you can take a cue from Marcia Gay Harden, who picked the intrepid Hudson for one twin, and the striking Julitta for the other.

Blast from the Past: Jane Pauley and Jane Seymour aren't twins, although they sound like they could be. In 1983, Jane Pauley named her duo Ross and Rachel, while Jane Seymour named hers Johnny and Kris, after friends Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeves.

Keep It Simple

Primitive vowel sounds pack major ooh-la-la and mimic baby's first words. What's the upside? Your future kindergartener will thank you for picking a name that's easy to say, spell and write. In addition to all the Lolas, other bisyllabic babes include Heidi Klum's picture-perfect Leni, Courtney Cox-Arquette's chic Coco and Passion of Christ star Monica Bellucci's tempting Deva.

Who's Done It: Both John Travolta and Ben Stiller elected Ella for the leading ladies in their lives. Celebrity moms Heather Locklear and Reese Witherspoon took the A train with Ava, and Kate Winslet named her daughter Mia.

The Latest Twist: Other letters to consider include 'O' (as in Oona and Oscar) and 'Z' (for Zahra, Chris Rock's second daughter and Zen Scott, Corey Feldman's son).

Blast from the Past: Steven Tyler rocked with daughters, Liv and Mia, and son, Taj.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Names

Rocco, Romeo, Roman. Latin names conquer like no other, especially when your son is named Aurelius (Elle MacPherson's emperor) or Magnus (Will Ferrell's tiny elf).

Who's Done It: Rocco may be Madonna's boy-toy but both Jon Bon Jovi and Victoria Beckham fell in love with Romeo for their sons.

The Latest Twist: Remember, you don't have to be in Rome to do as Cate Blanchett, Debra Messing, and Harvey Keitel have done -- just go ahead and name your son Roman.

Blast from the Past: Dean Martin crooned Dino for his son.

Get Back to Nature

Flowers, trees, and fruits are blossoming on celebrity lips, thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's daughter, Apple Blythe, and Claudia Schiffer's daughter, Clementine. Naked chef Jamie Oliver cooked up Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo for his daughters.

Who's Done It: The big boy of OutKast's Big Boi is Bamboo. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith welcomed Willow, Jude Law and Sadie Frost handpicked Iris, and Forest Whitaker dove deep for Ocean.

The Latest Twist: Animals are finding themselves at the head of pack with Erykah Badu's daughter Puma, and Scary Spice Melanie Brown's Phoenix Chi. Colors are also boldly going where no Crayola has gone before. U2's The Edge has a Blue Angel, and Sylvester Stallone has a daughter named Scarlet.

Blast from the Past: John Mellencamp named his son, Speck Wildhorse. Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon's daughters, Amber Rose, Saffron Sahara, and Tallulah Pine sound tame by comparison.

Translation Not Lost

Foreign names can be a way to add worldly allure to an otherwise average Steve, Joe, or Sophie. Don't care for Ernest? Then how about Ernesto? David and Victoria Beckham named their latest kicker, Cruz, and Mira Sorvino found grace with Mattea Angel. Both Liv Tyler and Sherry Stringfield picked Milo for their sons.

Who's Done It: Kelly Ripa opted for Joaquin for her third child, and Crossing Jordan star Jill Hennessy explored new territory with Marco.

The Latest Twist: You can also borrow words from other languages. Catherine Zeta-Jones chose Carys, from the Welsh word for "love." Rob Thomas feels right at home with firstborn, Maison.

Blast from the Past: Jon Voight's daughter, Angelina Jolie, became a future Tomb Raider.

The Reilly Factor

Last names can come first in the name game, as Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn found with daughters Finley Faith and Avery Grace. Soledad O'Brien's other twin is named Jackson and NYPD Blue's Charlotte Ross found Maxwell arresting.

Who's Done It: Patricia Arquette heralded Harlow Jane and actress Thandie Newton picked the unusual Ripley.

The Latest Twist: Celtic names like Finnigan, Delaney, and Sullivan all sound cool riding in front and work for both sexes. Maybe that's why Holly Marie Combs (Piper from Charmed) also found Finley enchanting for her son.

Blast from the Past: Sean Penn named his son Hopper (after Dennis), and Lisa Marie Presley has daughter, Riley.


There's nothing like a good book, author, or character for finding inspiration. Some parents even turn to the dictionary. Dixie Chick Natalie Maines embraced Beckett Finn, while Brendan Fraser held out for Holden, the beloved hero of Catcher in the Rye.

Who's Done It: Law & Order SVU star Christopher Meloni's Dante, Australian-born actress Rachel Griffiths' Banjo (named after the Down Under poet).

The Latest Twist: Some parents even turn to the dictionary for common words and terms. Erykah Badu picked lucky number, Seven, and former deejay turned actress Shannyn Sossamon tuned into Audio Science. Actor Rob Morrow looks forward to the day after with Tu Morrow.

Blast from the Past: Demi Moore was inspired by British author, Rumer Godden, and the character of Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird, for two of her daughters. Her own name was rumored to come from a beauty magazine.

Occupied by a Name?

Like the form says, state your name and occupation, or borrow somebody else's. Davis and Jillette may have caused waves with Pirate and Moxie Crimefighter but they are not alone. Kate Hudson liked Ryder, Jason Lee flew solo with Pilot Inspektor, and Reese Witherspoon found her calling in Deacon. With names like these, can little Actors, Dancers, Teachers and Drivers be far behind?

Who's Done It: Christie Brinkley searched far and wide for daughter, Sailor, and Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez launched sons, Racer, Rebel, and Rocket.

The Latest Twist: Take a cue from Jason Lee and change a letter so the spelling isn't perfekt.

Blast from the Past: Most people have heard about Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Ahmet Rodan, but did you know Frank Zappa has a daughter named Diva Muffin?

Gucci, Gucci, Goo

Pick an object. Any object. And don't forget to check the label. Popular brands that have found their way onto birth certificates in recent years include Lexus, Canon, and Porsche. Sports fans can root for Espn at little league ballgames.

Who's Done It: Toni Braxton tried on Denim for her first son, Nelly has a daughter, Chanel, and Slash has an heir named Cash.

Blast from the Past: Long before these ordinary words found themselves turned into monikers, there were John Travolta and Kelly Preston's son, Jett, and tennis legend Arthur Ashe's daughter, Camera.

The Latest Twist: Just make sure to have positive associations and memories to go along with whatever word or object you choose.

Here's looking at you, iPod.

And you thought your parents were weird.