Oct 30 2013

Selfish

My wife is so selfish.

She doesn’t take her phone with her when she gets out at 3am to go to the gym. Therefore I can’t text her to bring me donuts. I’m starving. My stomach is about to burst out of my middle like in that sci-fi movie with the aliens in it, the one where the alien bursts out of that guy’s middle (I don’t remember the name of the movie).

Anyway, I’m starving and need donuts.

“Maybe you could eat something else,” you might foolishly say. My old boss Tom Runge didn’t call me “Something Else Dan,” he called me “Donut Dan,” and with good reason: I used to eat three glazed donuts every morning washed down with a whole quart of whole milk. Get it? A. Whole. Quart. Not flipping 2% milk.

Now I’m lactose intolerant. I can’t even drink that hazy water they market as Skim Milk. I have to use Double Ultra Skim on my cereal–I can’t even drink the stuff or I’ll be in a fetal position clutching the aforementioned stomach that now requires donuts.

My dad couldn’t drink milk either. He beat stomach cancer like a boss, but one of the side effects was an inability to drink milk or eat real ice cream. The other side effect was having a tiny stomach–he could only eat like three bites and then he was all, “Whoa, I’m stuffed.”

Back to donuts.

“You could just get in the car and go get some,” a foolish person might say. No, I can’t–my selfish wife took my car. You know, the one I drive to work. Just because it has a heater and she is chronically cold (maybe if she ate more donuts and stopped going to the gym, both of these problems could be solved).

“You could take the Jeep,” another foolish person might say. Where do all these foolish people come from? If you are one of these people, please don’t tell me–I don’t want to know this about you. But no, I can’t take the Jeep–or to phrase it properly, Heather’s Jeep. I need both of my arms attached. Duh. One time I took Heather’s Jeep .25 mile away to McDonald’s while she was at a wedding shower. She was all,

“WHERE IS MY JEEP’S FOURTH WHEEL?”

And I was all,

“Honey, put down the knife. It’s a Jeep–they’re made to drive on only three wheels–they’re tough like that.”

The mud didn’t help either. I tried the ‘It’s A Jeep,’ excuse again, but she wasn’t buying it. And I had the dangdest time getting the mud out of the Jeep–not to mention the stuff on the outside of the Jeep.

Then the third foolish person shows up. Great, now we have enough for a caucus.

“Maybe you could drive the old Chrysler.”

No. That is the stupidest idea ever. I’m not going to drive a car that messy.

The Chrysler is littered with donut wrappers.

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Sep 15 2013

One of my favorite gifts

paperjamboy

This is the front of my Mac at work. The attached clipping is from a Pearls Before Swine comic that was clipped out and given to me by my wife.

This is one of my favorite things that I have received—not because of its intrinsic value—but because of what it represents.

At work I am often known as “the printer whisperer.” I handle a lot of the printer issues—and that’s cool. A lot of techs despise printers, but I really do like working on them.

You tend to talk about what you like, and I talk about working on printers quite a bit. I don’t know how much Heather has heard me talk about setting up or fixing printers—a pretty dry subject for a lot of people.

But this comic represents the fact that Heather at at least some point has actually listened to me talk about what I do, and understood enough to clip out a comic that pretty darned accurately what I d0 (to the extent an alligator in a superhero costume can).

She might not get every little nuance of what I do, but it’s clear that she listens to me,  she understands what I do, and she understands me.

That’s pretty awesome.

 

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Feb 23 2013

church

I recently got to observe a discussion between pastors on the subject of church discipline, and I got to hear a word that everyone knows used in a manner I had never heard it used before. I have a long explanation before I get to the term. As you likely know, a term is a word used in a specific context.

Portions of the New Testament describe church discipline, a process by which the church as a local body deals with someone caught up in serious, unrepentant sin. I say ‘process,’ because that is how it is supposed to work: as a series of steps designed to bring the believer back to right relationship with God and, therefore, fellowship with the church body as well. It is not simply a ‘you sinned, now get out,’ kind of thing.

Yes, I am aware of some churches that have either really gone overboard, either abusing their authority, or doing nothing, continuing to permit rampant sin (see Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, where he addressed an issue where a man was married to his own stepmother—and the church at Corinth was apparently cool with it). But I hope to give an accurate overview of the way the process is supposed to work according to Scripture.

  • The first step is simply you as a mature believer approach the individual in a spirit of humility as a friend/brother. Most of the time, that is all there is to it. The church body as a whole is largely oblivious, because the issue has been addressed on an interpersonal level. Despite the belief of many who despise the church, we really don’t like the idea of dragging people out and shaming them, any more than we would want that done to us—or our parents, children, or friends. I think Someone a long time ago might have taught on this concept, but maybe not….
  • The second step, if the person is unrepentant, is taking a couple of witnesses with you to again confront the person, to again implore the person to abandon their sin, and if they will not, to confirm the truth in order to obviate any ‘he said, she said’ business.
  • The third and final step is to take the issue before the church and expel the member from the local congregation.

The results of not performing this duty are bad for the person and bad for the church: the believer is left to continue wallowing in sin and therefore reap its consequences, and the church justly reaps the charge of hypocrisy, because of known sin within its own body that it refuses to deal with.

In the same way that ‘computer’ may apply equally to either an entire personal computer setup (with monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc), or just the computer part (not the monitor, keyboard, or mouse), ‘church discipline’ may refer to either the entire process or just the third step.

I know there is a question I have raised and not answered: what qualifies as serious sin? Well, that was the topic of the discussion—what merits the third step of church discipline?

I was at a youth worker’s conference, and Heather and I were sitting in a coffee shop with our pastor, his wife, and their (and now our) friends (another pastor and his wife). Besides us three couples, there was this guy that looked kind of like a pudgy, part-American Indian Indiana Jones with glasses, fedora, and leather jacket. My pastor and the other pastor brought up a couple of example cases to see how he would handle them. Indy presented his guidelines on how he would handle them based on the available Scripture. He made it a point to inform that there were other pastors who would disagree with him, that they would think he was not being firm enough, but I thought he was very balanced, firm, fair, and generous.

Finally, to get to the actual term. Indy used the word ‘church’ as a verb, expressed as shorthand for ‘church discipline.’

Pastor: “What would you do in the case of x?”

Indy: “I would do y.”

Pastor: “But don’t you think x is serious?”

Indy: “Yeah, but do you church him for it?”

 

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Jan 21 2013

R.I.P. Jim Richey

I remember the first time I heard of Jim Richey; knowing my weakness for the blues, my friend The Celt told me about him. “Imagine there’s this amazing blues guitarist, and he’s an older middle-aged white guy who lives out here in the sticks and works out at the Hab Center as a janitor.”

I couldn’t imagine it. He introduced me to Jim and the rest of his band, The Mojo Dogs, when I went over to sit in on some of the recording sessions at Galactic Celt Studios. Jim was pretty much ordinary looking like The Celt said–older middle-aged white guy, button up shirt, gray push-broom mustache, baseball cap. But the guy played blues guitar like a freakin’ king.

I ended up going to see him whenever I could—downtown Higginsville in a hall that usually hosted square dancing, a 1970s-furnished motel lounge in Warrensburg that I dragged Heather with me to see them, despite the fact she was getting over foot surgery.

My all time favorite time was when The Celt and I decided to go see him play at the Palace in Concordia. As we were fueling up at BreakTime, the January north wind cut through us, piercing our coats and our souls. We did eventually make it to Concordia, where we sat with our coats on the entire time, as the Palace’s aluminum and glass door closed about as well as it insulated. That was when we coined the term, ‘Jim Richey cold.’

I ended up doing a CD design for Jim and the Dogs. I didn’t care for  the title, but still felt I did a decent job with it:mojocd1-400w

 

I saw Jim a few years ago when we were at the hospital to see my mother-in-law. He told me that he wasn’t able to play any more. Still, I hadn’t realized he was that sick until The Celt posted his death yesterday.

Goodbye, Jim.

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May 20 2012

Music and Memory

Every time I hear Elvis’s I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You it makes me think of Kaleb’s wife.

Hold on–I know I have some ‘splainin’ to do–just give me a second.

Music has a way of embedding memories. Trisha Yearwood and Clint Black, appropriately, used music to point this out, in The Song Remembers When and State of Mind, respectively. Sometimes for me it’s a whole set of memories, if the song was playing for several months during a certain part of my life. Frequently it’s just a single memory–not otherwise significant–it just happened to be when you first heard the song, or it was an event that gave new significance to a piece of music. Sometimes the music marks the event, sometimes the event marks the music.

I was just pulling onto T highway outside of Higginsville when I first heard Alabama’s Song of the South. Every time I hear it I’m suddenly 17 years old in a bright yellow ’79 Ford van. Listening to anything from Blackhawk’s first album or Paul Simon’s Love Songs & Negotiations reminds me of my wife’s and my brief courtship.

The connotations aren’t always so sunny. Every time I hear that really annoying Hall & Oates song (which one, amirite?) I’m reminded of having a giant argument with Heather in our old Mazda in the parking lot at Walmart. Likewise REM, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam bring back memories of working at Worlds of Fun, not having worlds of fun, but making little money, sleeping in my car/in the garage/at a relative’s house/on someone’s couch. Kind of like the aversion therapy in A Clockwork Orange, it’s like pre-programmed misery.

Certainly I had heard the Elvis song a long time ago, but it was at at Kaleb’s wedding that the music embedded itself on me. Mrs. Kaleb walked down the aisle to it, instead of Wagner’s traditional bridal chorus from Lohengrin.

I guess a more accurate thesis statement would have been suffixed with ‘walking down the aisle at her wedding,’ but it doesn’t have the same hook.

Kaleb walked down the aisle to Seal’s Kiss From a Rose, but it didn’t make the same imprint–that song/memory was already reserved.

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May 1 2012

Incompatible women & music

The first cassette tape I ever bought was the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera (I already had a pirated version, but wanted the real thing). Sarah Brightman played Christine, and I loved her voice. Shortly after I bought this I started hanging around with Noodles. She did not think very much of Ms. Brightman’s voice.

And so started a trend that has followed me the rest of my life: whatever female vocalist I like, the women in my life do not like.

I started listening to Emmylou Harris the year before I met my wife. I have repeatedly said that I would listen to her sing the phone book. Heather and I were married 14 years before she revealed to me that she just didn’t care much for Emmylou. At all. We stay married for the children.

And so time passes by. My 14 year old, The Baby, has been a musical child since she was at least 2, and has always sang (we used a song to teach her to spell her name when she was little). She has always loved musicals (even bad ones). She first saw Phantom of the Opera when it hit the big screen back in 2004. The other day we were talking about different musicals, Les Miz, Phantom, etc.

“I love Phantom of the Opera,” she said.

“I just hate Christine’s voice.”

sigh.

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Apr 16 2012

Review: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Nostalgia

You know how you have fond memories of a TV show or movie from when you were young, and when you finally get to see it again as an adult (or in this case, older adult), it isn’t quite how you remembered it? Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s amazing, but some other times, well, not that good. Or awful.

One of the first non-animated movies we got for the girls when they were little was The Goonies; Heather and I both loved that movie. When we sat down to watch it, it was every bit as awesome as we remember (well, maybe not every bit–back then I still held out hope of finding underground passages, booby traps, waterslides, and hidden pirate ships). But there was something neither of us remembered: profanity–and a whole $@#&! lot of it.

Some other memories haven’t fared so well, either. A couple years ago I found Bravestarr on Hulu. If you haven’t seen it, it was a cartoon that was basically a sci-fi western. It was awesome when I was 14. When I watched it recently, the animation and draftsmanship were still amazing, but what else would you expect from Filmation? Everything else, though, was absolutely awful. For so long Heather wanted Greatest American Hero on DVD. We never got it for her, getting her Dukes of Hazzard and MacGyver instead, but she finally found GAH on Netflix. She didn’t even make it through the first episode.

Glory Days

Back on topic. The year was 1991. I was in summer classes at CMSU (now UCM), taking Dr. Sample’s Drawing II (three hours a day, three days a week) and Dr. Leuhrman’s Watercolor I (four hours a day, five days a week). I absolutely loved my watercolor class. It was one of the few classes where I actually tried hard to learn, tried to please my instructor, and begged for honest critiques (unlike pretty much every other art class). I only remember a few people from class: Dr. Leuhrman, the instructor, who always wore whites and pastels, and never got a drop of paint on him; some big guy, whose name I can’t remember, but who had a giant mane of jet black hair, a jawline beard, and was one of the few people in art school that made me insanely jealous of his ability; a girl named Ashley; and a cheery young woman named Elsa, whom I would later name my firstborn after. The big hits that summer were Wind of Change by the Scorpions, and Bryan Adams’s Everything I Do, from the summer blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

I think it was Wilxn , or maybe Wayne, who was with me when I saw the trailer for RHPOT (at the AMC theater inside Bannister Mall…remember Bannister Mall? Back before it went all skeevy and they tore it down?). Wilxn and I went to see it in the theater that summer. It was amazing. I think that was the day we went to the Swap Shop, saw two movies (the other one, I believe, was Mel Gibson’s Hamlet), and probably went just looking around for stuff. We got home late (when didn’t we?), and that was when we realized it really was possible to do too much stuff in one day.

Back to the movie–easily my favorite movie of the whole summer.

Back to the Present

Later I saw it a couple of times on VHS. I know I saw it once with Noodles, whose favorite line was at almost the end of the movie: “Reckanize this?”

A couple weeks ago I picked up a copy of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves on DVD. I have had Michael Kamen’s amazing soundtrack for years, but I hadn’t seen the movie in at least 17 years. Last night while I was working on a case for my new Bible I popped the movie in.

It was terrible.

The movie is so hammy, so goofy, and what I believe to be unintentionally campy it’s hard to believe I enjoyed it as a serious adventure flick. I’m not going to say anything about the movie’s most frequent complaint–Kevin Costner’s accent–because it didn’t bother me then and it didn’t bother me now.

Alan Rickman, who is awesome, chews scenery with the power of a thousand suns. His inflections in so many scenes are so funny, it almost seems like Kevin Reynolds (the director) told him, ‘Hey Alan, can you play the Sheriff of Nottingham kind of like Peter Ustinov played Prince John in Disney’s Robin Hood? That’d be great.’ Rickman’s Sheriff doesn’t just say ‘spoon,’ he says ‘speeooon!’

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, whom I remember being very pretty, um, I did not now think was very pretty (of course, all women are less pretty after being married to Heather).

Morgan Freeman was awesome as Azeem. One of my favorite parts of the movie, both as a young buck and now, was the part where Mortiana the witch busts in and and tries to impale Robin, and then Azeem busts in and throws that gigantic scimitar across the entire screen. I remember it caught Wilxn and me so off-guard I think we literally yelled in the theater. I guess we’re the kind of guys that Shakespeare had to make comedy relief for, for fear we’d jump up and stab an actor. Whatever. Lincoln would back me up on this.

Everyone else was fine, whatever. The movie’s real weakness is the goofy script and hammy directing.

Best part of the entire movie, then and now: the late Michael Kamen’s amazing score (he also did the incredible score for Hudson Hawk). For those of you who don’t think you could pick out anything from the soundtrack aside from Bryan Adams’s Everything I Do, I guarantee you have heard it, usually when you hear  that amazing fanfare accompanying the Magic Kingdom logo at the beginnings of a number of Disney movies.

The DVD Itself

The RHPOT DVD itself, well, is amazingly bad. You actually have to flip the disc over in the middle of the movie. This isn’t like Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, where the movie is so amazingly long that it literally won’t fit on a single disc, but the producers of the DVD realized this and made an elegant transition for you to get some more popcorn, go to the bathroom, come back and pop in the second disc. With Robin Hood, the disc-flip happens mid-scene.

For those of you out there who want to get into DVD production but you think your low IQ or lack of skill might keep you from realizing your dream, there is hope.

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Feb 20 2012

Nothing to be jealous of…

Madman posted recently that he was ‘surprised’ at the amount of activity to the blog right after I posted my first post after a several year hiatus. Really, there isn’t anything to be jealous of. People like variety in their diet. I know when I eat the same thing daily, like salads, there comes a time that I just crave a double cheeseburger or whole chocolate cake. The readers just simple wanted a little variety added to their diet.

Also, he doesn’t realize that I visited the blog from different computers to see what my post looked like. Yep, it was just as cute on every screen. Thanks Hon!

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Feb 18 2012

Site stats and posting frequency

I update the site every three days. Heather makes one post after a two year break. Observe which one gets the most attention:

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Jan 10 2012

Cover the earth

Heather and I both agree that Sherwin Williams Paint has probably one of the creepiest professional logos:


It totally looks like they want to dump blood all over the earth. I don’t think Sissy Spacek would approve.

 

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