Thursday, December 21, 2006

save the cheerleader. save the world.

it's christmas time, in case you missed it, and to celebrate, steven spielberg has released the trailer for the new transformers movie. it's not due out until next summer, but i am already a little jittery in anticipation.
watch the trailer here

even though the movie looks great [in a 12-year-boy-meet-millions-of-hollywood-dollars kind of way], i'm more intrigued by the recent influx of cultural phenoms that focus on saving the world. i realize it's not a new concept - in any way - to project the need of humanity, and the whole world, in order to sell the plot of a book or movie. BUT. i am somewhat amazed that that well never seems to run dry.

my wife and i are mildly obsessed [can mildly modify obsessed?] with the NBC show heroes, which offers a never-ending stream of plot lines about the slavation of mankind, and a cheerleader in texas. whether they've been charged to "save the cheerleader, save the world" or simply figure out why there are people trying to stop the annihilation of humanity, this story constantly builds toward a day of hope in the middle of pure pain.

in the show the black donnellys, the first episode shows a woman asking a simply devastating question about her unrequited love, "what if he dies and he never knew that i loved him?"

it's christmas time. in the midst of all of the world-saving madness that we see in our culture every day, do you think God asks that questions EVERY day?

Friday, December 15, 2006

blackened blue eyes

what an incredible combination of visuals and music. The Charlatans UK have always been a favorite of mine, but this new video has pushed them over the edge for me.

Blackened blue eyes
I don't care too much for your
Circumstances or you
Situation wise

A Charlatan I
Will blossom and die
One day you'll find a real need for love
Or you live with the fear for
The rest of your life
And there won't be a dry eye
In the house tonight

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

in search of bad press

ok, it's time to toss something onto your reading pile.  it's an article from salon magazine written by Lauren Sandler about the Mars Hill church community in Seattle.  it's actually a chapter from her new book "Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement".  she did much of the research for the book while writing a series of articles for Mother Jones magazine, and her take on Mars Hill especially has a far different flavor this time around than her original [positive] portrayal.

the reason i'm putting this article up here is because one of the consistent themes that has been coming to me, and that has been inhabiting my prayers, is a musing on whether we [warehouse in general] have accepted a role in charlotte that is just safe enough to allow us to be moderately "successful" as a church - but without actually creating any radical change.  in Mark Driscoll's [the lead pastor at MH] blog, he almost laments the positive press that MH has received over the ten years since their founding.  he seems to be unpleasantly surprised that they've been able to fly under the radar - in terms of the change they are trying to create, and the radical difference they are attempting to BE in seattle.

it seems to me that he is saying that if we are truly challenging the established landscape of a city that is severely broken at its core, there should be people up in arms about it - rallying to call us crazy.

the funny thing is, i almost completely agree with that thought.  and it makes me wonder whether warehouse is really as radical as we think [or would like], or if we have slipped oh-so-silently into the norm that we want to change.

countercultural [american heritage unabridged]
"the culture and lifestyle of those people (esp. among the young) who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society, or with values or lifestyles in direct opposition to those of the established culture."

one of the simply magical elements of the Gospel is that it is so illogical, countercultural and completely non-intuitive.  the Gospel screams for civil disobedience of the greatest kind.  it begs for us to invite others to meet Christ on His terms and to walk away from the life they lived - but promising that in doing so they don't have to sacrifice a life well-lived.  

a crucial and exciting piece of the attached article revolves around a portion of a conversation the author has after an evening spent at a MH member's house for a small group meeting.  The member [Ted Deitz] has been a part of Mars Hill for quite a while, and served as the author's tour guide for a portion of her time spent learning about MH.  The author has already made clear that she [an atheistic Jewish woman] was not interested in Christianity, and was very happy with her current life. 

according to the author, this is how the evening went: 
A few days later, the men in the group pulled up in front of the house with a pickup truck full of lumber and set about building a new fence on the spot. Now whenever the Dietzes look out their kitchen window, they see a proud and solid reminder of the strength of their community, and the unity of their faith in God. Dietz recounts this story sitting squarely in his big chair in the living room, his eyes set on mine over the rim of his coffee cup. I tell him the truth: I have wonderful friends who I have considered close as family for many years now, and I can't imagine any of them helping me lug the wood, much less building me a fence. He pauses and sets down his coffee cup in a motion that is about to put a definitive end to a delightful evening. "Listen," he says. "We have a really nice rapport. But we believe different things. And let's face it, because of that, you're never going to feel like family to me. So, what I'm saying is, this is as far as it goes." Stung at first, upon reflection I can't blame him. I have nothing like his shared faith to connect me to other people. 

ted deitz really lays it out on the table to her - saying that if she is not willing/able to commit to the life-change that Christ brings, she will never experience the community that is deeply intertwined there.  he doesn't apologize for this, and he makes clear the position. when i read this, I'm reminded of a friend's story yesterday morning about how he was looking forward to spending time with two Jehovah's Witness believers that are making a second visit to his house.  

lauren sadler's article is amazing to me, in that she is so clearly filled with disdain for the amazing way that these people live life together.  her unrepentant judgementalism is a real dose of "bad press" for all the right reasons.

so, read this, and ask yourself. what are we [the post-modern church in general] doing to deserve some bad press?

Friday, September 15, 2006

time to kick the music back up

at the heart of it all for me is a simple desire to be able to communicate reliably with the people that challenge me, love me, hate me, never met me, or never thought about what i might say. now, this may seem to be an incredibly self-centered concept [i mean, i used "me" five times in that sentence] but i am convinced it is not. i feel incredibly convicted that there is a supple and elegant message that needs to be said in a gritty, genuine, peaceful, and painful way for each of our peers to hear.

and if we won't step up to say it, who will?

in proverbs, tc and i have always dwelled around one incredible verse [24:6] that says: "for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers." That simple connection of phrases blows my mind. It's not a new thought, nor is it ground breaking. But it IS simply true. If there is no one speaking into our lives - no one fighting the fight next to us - we will fail, no matter how hard we work, struggle, tear, and grumble. that role of 'advisor' hits home in each of our hearts, but we so often feel fear in not knowing when is ok to act on it. when we are shy about speaking into our friends, we are leaving them hanging on the line - fending for themselves.

anyway, all of this has been just a way for me to say that each of us has a voice, but none sounds alike. i don't have a lot of self-confidence in this area, but i think my voice may be the way i can engage music to tell the tale. even though my actual voice [physically] is departing quickly, i'm amazed by how called i still feel to write, and write well.

so many great artists have used the medium of flying fingers to do this, and here's two that i love.

don't say i never gave you anything.
nickel creek will rock your world
and rhett miller can play, too

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

there's more in my brain that needs to spill

granted, i've had my hands pretty full over the last few months, bit's kind of re-donk-ulous how slack i've been about posting here. maybe i can try to get this kickstarted again. y'know, i could raise the roof, get the party started, and get my groove on all at once.
worth a try?
who knew?

Monday, June 19, 2006

johnny cash is a bad a**

i'm officially changing my stance [not that it was a well-known stance, but it was held true in my heart] on posthumous record releases.

why, you ask, would i ever oppose the release of a record once an artist is gone to the next and beyond? well, call me a cynic, but tupac is just making waaaaay too much money - or, i guess, his record company is - even though he's been dead almost a decade. he's more prolific than u2 [look it up] over the last ten years, and he's been DEAD most of that time.
it seems that every rap star that gets killed "in action" or "before his/her time" has an incredible catalogue of critically acclaimed music waiting to be heard when they die. the questions for me has always been, why WAIT? why didn't we hear it when you were still alive? seems fishy to me.

down from my soap box. corrected.

johnny cash is dead. but he also has a new myspace page. THIS is music that deserves to be heard once you're gone. JC on myspace.

listen. have i ever led you astray?


talia is still gorgeous.
go ahead, challenge me on that.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

the whitby family expansion plan

talia sian whitby is here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

the rebirth of hocoby corner

after nearly a year of consternation involving two of our favorite families, and the last few months of tremendous uncertainty in our house, it looks like the corner where we live we be seeing some big changes very soon!

the simple background is this:
two of the best families we know have been working hard to move into two houses that are next door to each other in our neighborhood. right now, those houses are really a blight on the area - with constant police problems and substandard living conditions.
they agreed to a contract to buy the houses months ago, and have been working to sells theirs prior to closing on the new properties.
in january, TC and I bought a house that shares a backyard with those homes and would complete a triangle of property that share a common backyard. we moved in last february, and have been patiently waiting for the deal to happen, the next door houses to turn, and our feeling of a safe home to increase.

recently, the current owners of the houses next door have been trying to wiggle out of the deal in order to make more money... and this has caused some real wiggling in our guts about the possibility of living in our beautiful little home with a very sketchy neighbor situation for the long haul.

long story short, it looks like the contract will be honored, the sale will go through, and we will soon have treasured neighbors and a great backyard.

all praise and happiness.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

my beautiful wife

tick, tock. tick, tock.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

songs that get stuck in my head

i've got a few songs stuck in my head right now that are really bugging me. in mostly good ways, i guess, but they are still bugging me.

first, there's a tune by sia that won't leave me alone. it's called "breathe me" and it has an incredible combo of haunt, raw power, and lilting play to it that are entrancing. i think the artist is a total kook after reading her blog, but the music is still pretty dang good. "breathe me" is on the six feet under soundtrack, and i only found it through dan [i think] who will be using it this week at 242.

second, there's the whole dang mutemath collection. wow. lauren gave me their two albums and they are fantastic. the second disc [called mutemath, how creative] is like one long composition - it fits together amazingly well and is so strongly written that it seems more operatic than albumic [is albumic a word?]. check out their myspace page for some sample tunes. i think what ireally like about them is their strange resemblence to early police tunes - with a good rock slant instead of pure reggae allegiance.

third, is the stupid little song i sing to tc and the baby each morning to wake them up. the reason it's stuck in my head [besides the fact that lazy mornings are about to be non-existent] is that i wonder if the baby will recognize my voice when it shows up here on the other side? i mean, it hear's tc's voice all day every day - but i only get a few special on-call performances to bring it onto my side here... i guess i'm just reeeeeeeelly anxious and want to know who the tyke will be.

so now, we wait. with songs in our heads.
we wait.
for baby.
anyone got any really good name ideas?

Friday, May 05, 2006

light speed baby

june is soon.
really soon.
really, really soon.

with june comes a baby.
which i'm sure will be bouncingly beautiful, and wonderful, and joyous, and happy, and love-drenched.
it's staggering how much i love this bundle of baby already, and i haven't even met him/her yet.
it's a baby.

having an actual baby - that's like the first step in becoming a dad, isn't it?

june is soon.

chandler bing or lorne michael?

chandler bing is coming back to tv, and i must say, it looks like an incredible project! [i'm not joking...]
here's the deal - it looks like NBC has picked up a drama starring matthew perry that is written by aaron sorkin and tommy schlamme [best name in tv] - the guys who write west wing.
it's a behind the scenes look at a SNL-type show. could be good...but the CAST is what amazes me. look at this list:
matthew perry [friends]/ amanda peet [whole nine yards]/ bradley whitford [west wing] / DL hughley [the hughleys] / evan handler [sex in the city] / timothy busfield [thirtysomething] / steven weber [wings, etc].

looks pretty cool.
wonder if he'll still have the nubbin?

Friday, April 28, 2006

a few more remainders before this blog goes petrified...

almost a month between posts? hmmm, feels like i might actually have a life.

i haven't been writing much as work has gotten a bit hectic [in all good ways] and my life with TC has really begun to build toward the exciting crescendo of welcoming a squirming ball of baldness into our world in june. she and the baby seem to be doing pretty well, aside from the usual fatigue and worn-outted-ness of growing a whole person. the countdown is on, though, and we're getting closer by the day.

our easter season went pretty well at 242. i am so energized every day by the volunteers that bring focus and clarity to the ways we can use creativity to show other who God is. tenebrae/good friday was an amazing experience to be a part of, and i feel blessed to know so many incredible artists. our scripture guide for the night, kristy, was friggin' amazing. no other way to put it. she drew together seven disparate works and helped the 250 people there to tie a line through the story being told.
not that you're really interested, but if you'd like to hear a piece of the night, the sixth word [finished - a song by sw/dh] is up for download.

anyway, here's the fun stuff. i love finding it, and sharing it will all 12 of you.

the death of music
blender magazine is usually worth a good skim. this month, they have their list of the 50 things that have killed music.
kevin federline is number 12.

tom cruise running
there's too much tom-hating going on out there. i know i'm one of the worst, too. soooo, purely for the fun of it, here's a way tom can make your day a little brighter. just beware the constant pained look on his face.

the death of 7th heaven
is there room for real faith on tv? i mean, not just 7th heaven soupy, syrupy, undead christianity - or the book of daniel's painful take on the painfully pained pain-y-ness of faith...
where's the people that just happen to live in faith?

Friday, March 31, 2006

brain stew on evangelism

i was really convicted by bruce's talk on the basic, and most essential role that warehouse plays in charlotte. he made it simple. he boiled it down. he made it clear.
he didn't allow for any backpedaling.

the main thing: connecting people to God through Jesus Christ.
that's it. the main thing.

he didn't allow for any backpedaling.
he simply asked what we're doing about it.
all of us.

and now, we have to answer. we have to come to our senses and ask what we are doing every day - yep, every day - to make the main thing a reality in our lives.

it's a good question, and i think i have a real answer when we talk about what goes on inside our beautiful building on wilkinson, but what about outside? what should i be doing?

right now i'm sitting in drizzly san francisco, working building pretty little designs for a conference of 1000 college students. every day i'm here, i have at least 100 individual interactions with students, their advisors, and the riff raff that comes with them... and while i never back off what i do for a living, i'm not sure i've done anything about the main thing.

time for conviction? time for reality? what time is it?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

five bands you should be listening to

i'm behind the curve on some of these, but this is what's racing through my ipod right now.

1 / the fray. i know, i know, they've made it VH1, so it's a not a secret band or anything, but they're just plain good.
2 / the afters. nathan gave me this one. sort of switchfoot-meets-thom yorke. please don't yell at me for bringing the great and mighty radiohead into this, but the front man actually sounds like Thom.
3 / Matisyahu. I know this guy has been all over the place recently, but i am absolutely entranced by the lyrics he can dance out. the best track on the record is "Old City Beat Box", which involves transitioning from traditional orthodox cantor meditation to a full-on beat box. stunning.
4 / jenny lewis. go to the video link. you'll understand why she's worth a listen. she'd friggin' hilarious.
5 / well, i could only come us with four. deal with it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

there will be original thought here again someday

but for now, here's two more things to slow down your brain:

the history of the world, according to the movies
this is an incredibly ambitious project, even if it is a plain-text website. it basically is trying to build a complete timeline of the history of the world, based only on the content of films. so, the adventures of bill and ted are chronicled as real history. 'nuff said. have fun

july 5th at verizon. i'm there. who else is in?
looks like a great way to spend a summer night. our baby will be about a month old then. is that too so to learn about the wheel in the sky, or open arms? you heard me right.

oh, and this picture rocks.

yes, you're seeing that properly. he crawled INTO the claw game.

Monday, March 27, 2006

remainders. brain spew. i'm lazy.

i guess i'm really bad at keeping up with this whole blog thing. it was like gangbusters out of the box, but now it just never seems to be in the timeline on my daily ride.

anyway, here's a bunch of remainders to keep anyone busy who's still stopping by from time to time. enjoy.

jack black should be king of a small country
he's nearly the funniest man alive. and the 30-minute pilot for Heat Vision and Jack is now online for all to see. Back in '99, good ole JB made a pilot for a TV show where he starred as the smartest man in the whole dang world, and owen wilson was his motorcycle. ben stiller directed.
I hope someone got canned for not making this a regular show. c'mon. you can't tell me that "four kings" or "joey" is better than stiller and JB in tandem!

wanna be on jeopardy?
here's how to do it. quick, time is running out.

planning on being a reality show?
if so, you can go to defamer and get some already-pixelated clothing. don't worry, you can still be all hip and crap.

for a minute there, i was sure this movie would bite
yep, what worse idea could there be than a sequel to "bruce almighty"? what about one that did NOT have jim carrey in it? yep, pretty sure it will bite. but then i learned that steve carell [the office] is starring. check it out.

snakes on a plane
yes, you heard me right. snakes on a plane. all i can ask is, how bad can Sam L. Jackson's career get?

that's enough for now. enjoy your peaches.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

too much stuff, not enough life...

the best problem in the universe is to wake up and realize that there is more life going on than i have time for.
it's the best feeling ever. but it can be a little overwhelming. a little.

TC is feeling great, and the baby is in a constant state of motion. we're less than 90 days from the arrival of the wrinkly one, and i'm about giddy. it's great - i don't feel any undue pressure, but i sure wish i had more done around the house at this point. i'm sure we'll get there, but it will be a fun process!

we kicked off a bit of a new era at 242 this weekend: we moved to two sunday morning services, and it seemed to go pretty well. all told, we had close to 500 people in the arena through the morning, and no major crises arose. we'll see what happens in the next few weeks, but it was amazing to see so many volunteer teams kick it up and move forward with no major pain.

more later...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

two things that are scraping my soul

there is just too much going on to even possibly think of getting it all into the netherspace of this wimpy blog.
however, two aspects of life are really challenging me right now to ask questions, and wonder.

1 / will our beloved little house ever take a place other than as an idol in out lives? we're trying to be as conscious as possible about not letting it live there - in the land of complete preoccupation and idol-type-investment, but i'm losing the battle.
there is good news on the horizon, i believe. but it may be a ways off, and there's plenty of work to do.
the most recent fun has been the introduction of a demolition order [two years old] by the city that essentially condemns our house. we're trying to work well with the inspector and city to remedy the problem - that was never disclosed in the sale process - but we find ourselves getting wrapped up in anger and frustration. it's nothing horrible, and it's not life threatening, but it still is our home that they're messing with, and we'd love to not have the knee-deep hassle waiting for us every day when we get home.
all i need is patience, and a way to provide rest for my beautiful TC.

2 / metafilter and the soul.
i am saddened by the complete lack of awareness in most of our world of the love God has for us. read this post on metafilter [careful: metafilter is ADDICTIVE] and tell me it doesn't make you want to cry.
not one person recommends God. not one person calls on Christ.

by the way, i'm a complete snark when it comes to following fun habits. i was totally unable to do the "picture-a-day" thing for more than a day, and there's a guy out there who has been doing it faithfully for more than four years.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Marked for demo?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A photo a day: day one

Monday, February 13, 2006

one last day of cold?

i'm sitting in my living room right now and the thermostat reads 41 degrees. i'm guessing that's a pretty generous reading, too. the space heaters are pumping, but there simply isn't enough warm to go around.
the bright news on the horizon, though, is that piedmont gas has PROMISED us that the gas would get connected today. of course, i have trouble placing too much weight on that commitment, considering they told us that we would get hooked up last thursday, then friday, then -absolutely, we promise- on saturday.
well, thursday, friday, and saturday all came and went with no gas hookup. all three days had miserable excuses to accompany them, and all the gas company has managed to truly accomplish is to hang up on my wife. sweet TC.

i hate public monopolies. they are heartless. they have no understanding of humanity.

so i sit and wait. while i shiver.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

who needs heat?

wow. we were met with an avalanche of love this past weekend. [yes, i'm stealing a line from a cameron crowe movie, but it's the only way i can describe it.]
we made our big [two-block] move on saturday, and it was a majestic display of how community is really able to work in a way that keeps life moving forward - in spite of all challenges and obstacles.
what challenges, you say?
well, as of last thursday night, we had no power, water, or gas in the house, and none of the utility companies were being particularly forthcoming about when/how we would be getting these aforementioned life necessities. in fact, both the power and gas companies were being downright belligerently mean to us, and were completely unwilling to help us understand what was going on. in addition, it looked like heavy rain was due for saturday morning. we were planning on a flatbed-type moving day, and that would likely not mix well with water falling from the sky.
it looked to us that we would have to postpone the move, incur another month's rent, and well, who knows what else?

and then.

prayer is stronger than the power company.
i know this because, on thursday, the electric folks told us pretty simply not to expect power before next [this] week - if then. no amount of pleading or logical discussion was changing their minds or schedules.
the only thing that changed in the next 24 hours. was. prayer.
kenneth & laura - local warriors extraodinaire - got on the job, and. then. there. was. power.
to our amazed surprise, the power company showed up the next day, ran an entirely new line from the street, completed both on-house stubs, and installed both meters. they got the entire job done in one afternoon, and as of friday at 5, the lights were ON!

so, the move happened. the water is on. the power is on.
the gas is not. and might not be. for a while.
but chilly-in-the-hood is better than no-lights-in-the-hood.

so now we wait. and pray. for heat.

for fun, a blast from the past

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

there used to be a wall...

in the back of this closet.

it's demolition day one, and i'm having a blast.
hopefully, the walls won't fall down around me.

Monday, January 30, 2006

the deed is done

thanks to the prayers of tons of people, the hard work of danny p., the foresight of our man dennis, and the graces of the land of BIG debt, TC and I have offishully bought ourselves a house.
we closed on the beautiful duplex [that i have been obsessing over for the last month] this afternoon, and now the fun really starts. i couldn't be happier about the week to come, but i'm just a little fearful for its impact.
wednesday, thursday and friday, i'll be holed up in the place ripping down a few walls, moving some cabinets, and creating a door or two. it looks like it will be a lot of fun, and i'm really jazzed by some of the fun folks who have agreed to join in on the fun.
while i'm sledging away, TC [my gorgeously pregnant wife] will be trying to pack up our fun little current house for the big two-block move. she loves the process of moving [thank you, Lord!!!] - but it's just not easy! whew!
our maximum fun starts saturday. at the bright, ripe hour of 8am, we'll be kicking down the doors and moving the farm up the road. if you want to help, let us know [thanks to all those that have already volunteered!] and we'll provide doughnuts and lunch.

welcome to wilmore.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

love monkey

no, i promise i am not propositioning anyone here. i am not advertising my services as a 'love monkey' either. rather, i'm just up on my tippy-toes with joy over the new CBS show 'Love Monkey."
here's a couple of reasons i dig the show:
. tom cavanagh
. it's about the music business
. and it likes stickin' it to the man
. really, really good soundtrack [we're talking killers, badly drawn boy, talking heads, and frankie goes to hollywood.
. gooood tunes
the post the music listing each week, and are even streaming the new artists.

the basic story revolves around a goofy guy who gets fired by the super-media-conglomerate-giant-label and winds up working as the A&R guy for a little indie label. it might now be a scathing social message show, but it has its moments.

the really promising piece is how they are treating musicians in the mix. it looks like we're going to get to see a bunch of new artists develop as "new artists" on the true vinyl label - and they get to feature their music for 12+ million people a week. blurry line, i know, but i'll never argue with good tunes.

try it, it's not that bad. [tuesdays / 10pm / cbs]

Saturday, January 21, 2006

one step closer

well, we're one step closer to the new house.
i know it's only been a 30-day adventure so far, but i am really glad to see a potential end in sight. or a beginning, if you're one of those dang glass-half-full people.
the appraisal came in on friday, and so all the paperwork is done, now we just wait to find out what the closing date will be. the contract says this coming wednesday, but i don't see that happenning. it looks more like friday or monday - or maybe even later. as soon as that little party goes down, it'll be time to knock the crap outta some walls and start moving in the love.
if anyone's game, i'll supply the sledgehammers. someone else needs to bring the skill and shoulders.
no idea when we'll actually move - we're hoping for a feb 4/5 weekend deal. that would be WANDO good.
who's game?

Monday, January 16, 2006

new music recommendation

the lashes
a little bit power. a little bit punk. a little bit pop. a little bit strokes.
download and listen to sometimes the sun. it's guaranteed to put a jump in your step and a smile on your face.
chuck norris will love you for it.

chuck norris facts

#04 : The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.
#11 : There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.

in all seriousness, your eyes will fall out of your head if you do not go to this list RIGHT NOW. do it. i'll wait here for you.
Chuck Norris Facts

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

baseball on mint street

the party's at our place. the parking will be tough, but the locashun is waaay cool.
the march forward continues toward our possession of the new [old] mint street house. as long as no new hurdles arise in the next 15 days, we'll be moving soooooon. TC and i got into the house last night for few minutes to look around, and i'm really impressed with the condition of the place. we've got some work to do - knocking down a wall or two and figuring out where to put the dang appliances [yeah, i know, in the kitchen] - but aside from that, all we have to do is pack our entire house, but the dang appliances, and find a non-rainy day to move, shortly after we sign our lives away to the "man".
anyway... to the point. in case you haven't been watching local cable access coverage of the city council/county commission, there's fun a-brewin' on mint street.
it looks like the white sox will have a new home in uptown. no, i know it's not the real white sox, but it's their AAA little brothers from south cakalaky. the council/commission is "exploring" whether it's worth $5 million of the travel/rental car tax to bring 60+ baseball games [each with 10,000+ fans] uptown each summer. i'd say it's probably a good bet that we'd all benefit from the development of first ward like this, but those wily city folks seem to know how to kill everyone's fun, so we'll see...
the long and short of it is that having baseball in the equation is always good - for america, and for mint street. the new/proposed stadium would be in walking distance to our new little abode, and therefore would be beckoning our new child to have season tix for life.
as my grandfather [pop-pop, my willpower doughnut friend] taught me, honest baseball is the key to life. especially if the phillies are involved.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

the best pen in the world: my crisis

ok, there's no way for me to write about this without coming off as a complete sop [def #4 here] but i guess that's never stopped me before, so...
i like to write. not type. not come up with neat-o ideas. i like to write. ask my beloved TC and she'll tell you that i love to fill out forms, just for the fun of it. i will fill 'em out for no reason - just cause i can, i guess. and i love it. i have notebooks FULL of meaningless drivel - not because it needed to be written, but because i love the specific act of writing.
i've been told that my handwriting is a beautiful marriage of smooth lines and completely illegible chickenscratch. i'm ok with that, because it's sort of like putting my thoughts in a vault - there's little chance someone will be able to read them... but i got to enjoy writing them.
anyway, i digress.
the purpose of this post is simple. to sing the praises of the greatest pen ever created: the pilot varsity .04mm black ink disposable fountain pen.
now, lest you think me a real weird-o, let me explain that there are few implements of writing that allow for such a free expression of true thought as this incredible tool - built of unassuming plastic. the folks over at pilot managed to cram an incredible amount of handheld pleasure into one tiny little package, and i have been deeply in love with it since about 1996.
but here is my problem. [well, just actually one of my many problems, but you know what i mean]
for years, i traveled to college campuses for my job on a weekly basis. i was constantly on little plots of land stuck in the back recesses of nowhere towns of the midwest [see ames, bloomington, rolla, fort collins, etc] where our forefathers had seen fit to plop down pockets of great learning. now, i can tell many stories and reasons of why a college campus is a magical place, but none compares to the main and looming truth of the college bookstore.
these places are filled with mystery, magic, learning, tools, and mystical writing implements of all shape and size. for years, i was able to constantly try on new flavors of pens and pencils - ranging from liquid #2's to dry-ink space pens. and i, most importantly, had a constant source for my beloved varsity pilot fountain pen.
when my travels slowed, i had to find a new source. i felt like the junkie roaming the corners of the playground seeking my next fix - hoping to scrape up one more hit of flowing black goodness from the evil doers preying on little writing children. i was hooked. the monkey was living firmly on my back, burrowed in like a leech under my collar. i had no more supplier. there were no great bookstores here in CLT to satisfy my craving. i had to find a new link to my ink.
then, kinko's saved the day. they started to carry the VPFP. i could now slink in and consume 10 at a time, drinking the goodness.
but alas, the dream is dying. the pleasure is running from my fingertips. it appears the kinko's connection is no more, and no other store in charlotte carries these beauties. the dream is slipping away.
alas, what is a junkie to do?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

i don't envy kickers

penn state won the orange bowl last night. in triple overtime. with an all-american in the xray booth and their leading rusher knocked out in the first series. they did it.
they went 11-1 in 2005/06. number three in the BCS. they played and won one of the most exciting bowl games in years - if you like REAL football. ball control. defense. coaching. grit. thrid-stringers in as starters - called on to win the game.
what a great night, a great game, and a great end to a comeback season for JoePa and the Lions.
bu i don't envy kickers. especially freshman kickers. this kid - yes kid - who is only 19 - was called on to win the game for a huge money-conglomerate known as college football, and to win the game for 100 teammates staring him in the eye. this kid who was still trying to find a prom date last year at this time was walking the sidelines with one of the most storied college football progams in the land sitting on his shoulders, knowcking on his helmet, wispering in his little kicker ear. 'don't miss' and miss he did. twice. both would have won the game, and he missed BOTH. and then had to try AGAIN.
the third he made. the third sent everyone home. the third redeemed him to millions watching and rooting. the third was, well, ugly. but it went through.
and penn state is back.
long live Joe Pa.