Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Surreal Moment of the Day

Standing in the middle of the road near my house was a three-legged dog. He was missing the entire front left leg. As I drove nearer I realized there was another dog lounging around on the street about three feet behind him. As I drove past them the second dog stood up and I could clearly see that he, too, was a three-legged dog. His back right leg was missing. And then they both tripoded off down the sidewalk.

New Devotional

There's a new devotional up over at the gnwstinters site. Check it out if you have the time.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Writing update

I worked on my novel this weekend in my free time and I wrote THIRTY PAGES. I was very pleased with this. If I could do this every weekend it would only take me ten weeks to finish a draft. But that's not going to happen. Oh well.

The last novel I wrote (which is not very good) was a fantasy. This one is a thriller/mystery. It's more fun so far, overall. I told Krista I would actually finish this one. I have nine chapters of a young adult novel written that will probably never see the light of day again, and the first 2-3 chapters of various things. But this one... this one I'm going to finish. In fact, I'm going to beat this thing to pieces with the keyboard until someone pays me for it. Then... I will rule! Muaha ha ahhahahaahaaaa.

Bored

I'm getting tired of the colors on my blog. So if you like the green look give it a fond farewell. It should only take me nine or ten days to figure out what to do to change it.

Forgiving Solomon Long


I just finished reading Forgiving Solomon Long this morning. The author, Chris Well, is one of a growing number of Christian authors trying to make it worth your while to walk into a Christian book store.

I was suprised by the novel, which had bits of characterization, themes and plot points lifted from Shakespeare, while gangsters, cops and others are debating comic books, musicals, and so on. I can honestly say I've never read a book quite like it, certainly not from the Christian book store.

What I found most interesting about the novel was looking at it as an experiment in stretching the boundaries of the Christian fiction genre.
It was well worth the time for this alone. It's nice to see our brothers in the revolution going forth.

I could go on for a while but I know how tired you all get of my blabbing, so this Friday we'll give you a little taste of Chris' writing, and you can judge for yourself. I'll be posting the entire first chapter of his second novel, Deliver Us from Evelyn that day. It's part of a new little something called "First Friday" where on the first Friday of each month we'll get a sneak peek at the first chapter of various people's novels (of course with their permission).

If you would like to post a chapter of Chris' novel on Friday, let me know and I'll get you the info so you can be part of "First Friday" too.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day



For all those who have gone before us by way of the violence or deprivations of war, soldiers and civilians, heroes and victims, citizens and foreigners, ours and theirs, we remember you and the lives you led. We pray for peace and for the return of the One who will bring everlasting peace to our lives, our societies and our world. He did not create us to die, but to live. Come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ahoy Me Hearties

Well, my good buddy Cas sent an e-mail out to all my CCC friends and neighbors telling them about our little secret hang out/revolution, so I need to take a couple minutes to explain what is going on here.

1) This isn't a ministry blog. You won't see all my thoughts and ideas about ministry here. It wouldn't fit anyway. Ha ha ha haaaaa! Just kidding. I talk about this occasionally, but prefer to do that sort of thing over the phone.

2) This isn't a dating blog. We only set people up here. They have to go elsewhere for the actual dates because we get nervous watching people date in the comments sections.

3) Mostly this is a hang out blog. We chat about life, movies, books, God, death, writing, dating, the action genre, how to have an evil laugh, eavesdropping, et cetera.

Anyway, I guess what I am saying is: This blog is not endorsed or financially backed by Campus Crusade for Christ or its subsidiaries. The views expressed are purely those of the meglomaniacal Revolutionist himself; some views expressed may be those of his cronies, henchmen and mortal enemies (yes, that means you Pete and Matt).

Lastly, all are welcome here. Let's all be friends. Leave comments so we can talk to you. I try to leave roughly half the comments so there will be no pressure on you to produce. Um. I have nothing more to say.

Who am I kidding, I always have something more to say. But I will take a break now.

Peter Pan


Krista's Aunt Diane took us and the kids to see Peter Pan (the musical) today at Keller Auditorium. Today was the last day that Cathy Rigby played Peter. She won a Tony for the part back in the 80's.

Captain Hook was, of course, the most fun, though hearing the kids all cheer when Peter flew on stage and clap and yell I BELIEVE IN FAIRIES was fun.

Z was hilarious. She kept saying things like, "Why are they just using a light for tinkerbell?" and "Peter is not flying. He is on a string." And later, "That's not a boy playing Peter Pan!" She has not really learned the term "suspension of disbelief".

A was concerned about the pirates. "Are those real pirates or pretend pirates?" I assured her they were pretend. "Will they stay on the stage or come out in the audience" They'll stay on the stage. After that she relaxed and enjoyed the play.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A complaint about the genre


I had some other complaints after watching MI3 but this is more of an issue with the genre than with this movie. The best action films (Witness) can transcend the genre, but we aren't really looking for that, are we? We just want a shot of adrenaline to the heart.

What bothers me most in a movie like MI3 is the completely inhuman emotional reactions that people have to intense, life-threatening situations. I will post a few examples below.

Example 1: Torturing the emotionally distant bad guy


Our hero, Big Chin, tries to get some information out of Evil Bad Guy, who of course has an english accent.

Chin: Tell me where the atom bomb is hidden or I swear I will drop you into this vat of vicious killer alligators.

Bad Guy: Do as you will, old chap, I shall never reveal the location of the atom bomb. I also have three hydrogen bombs hidden somewhere. Hee hee hee!

Chin (losing it): If you don't tell me there are innocent orphans who will be turned to ash! And my love interest works at the orphanage! Tell me now! NOW!

(He drops the Bad Guy most of the way into the pit. An alligator leaps up and bites BG in the thigh.)

BG: Oh ow ow I am in severe pain!

Chin (Gritting his teeth): Tell me where it is!

BG: Very well old chap. But I must warn you that because of this inconvenience I will hunt down your loved ones and make them suffer. I will find your pet chicken and deep fry it, then feed it to you when you are not expecting it.

Chin: Ha! My pet chicken, Plucky, is much smarter than you are! Now tell me the location.

BG: I have hidden my bombs... at the ORPHANAGE!

Chin: Noooooooooooooo!

(Bad Guy escapes while Chin runs off to the orphanage. Bad Guy is not emotionally disturbed by the alligator nearly severing his leg. He won't ever need counseling or go to a psychiatrist. He won't even be afraid of alligators. He's fine, okay? BACK OFF HIM! He has work to do. Like finding out where Plucky the Chicken lives.)

Example 2: The Girlfriend Overcomes Adversity

Big Chin rushes to the orphanage only to discover that... his girlfriend Young Ingenue has been kidnapped by two Thugs. They have tied her up, gagged her and made fun of her hair and make up.

Chin (whispering from under the chair she has been tied up in): Don't worry, honey. I'm going to save you. You're going to be fine. Do you trust me?

Ingenue: Mmm mmm mmm mm.

Chin: I'll be right back.

The power goes out. Chin beats up one of the bad guys because he has managed to make his own infra-red goggles using some Happy Meal toys left lying around the orphanage. He unties Ingenue and they kiss long and hard.

SUDDENLY A SECOND THUG SHOWS UP AND BOPS CHIN IN THE HEAD!

Ingenue manages to overpower the thug--even though she has been tied up and gagged for hours-- and in the struggle gets the thug's gun and shoots him in the head. Blood spurts everywhere.

Chin (holding the bump on the back of his head): Darling! Your first time ever killing a human being.

Ingenue: It's true.

Chin: How do you feel?

Ingenue: A little weepy. But mostly just proud to be able to defend you... and myself. By killing!

Chin: Do you think you might have nightmares tomorrow when we go on our honeymoon? You know, bad dreams about being tied up and tortured and you know, killing a guy?

Ingenue: I don't think so.

Chin: Good! Because that would be a bummer.

Ingenue: I love you.

Chin: Yes, you sure do.

Ingenue: Let's kiss some more!

Chin: I guess.

Example 3: The Vow for REVENGE


Big Chin and Young Ingenue, exhausted and glad to have finally defused all of the atom and hydrogen bombs (the yellow wire! Cut the yellow wire!) at last stop at a roadside diner for a snack. Evil Bad Guy is still on the loose, though. He is evil!

Chin: I am so glad to have something to eat. Mmm, that chicken smells good! I will take a drumstick.

Ingenue: I will eat a fried snickers bar, because in real life I am allowed to eat only one bite of peas a day.

Chin: This is good chicken! I don't get to eat this stuff very often because it upsets Plucky, my pet chicken. Waitress, where did you get this chicken?

Waitress: Some evil guy came and gave it to us... for free! Can you believe that?

Chin (realization is dawning on him): PLUUUUUUUUUCKYYYYYYYYYYY! Evil Bad Guy, my upraised fist is clenched against you! A single tear is streaming from my eye!

(NOTE: If Harrison Ford is playing Chin, it is okay to replace the upraised fist with a dangerously wielded pointer finger)

Ingenue: I am moved by this open display of Chin's emotions. He is so full of depth.

Chin: This I swear... I will find you Evil Bad Guy... find you and KILL YOU! And I also promise never to allow this horrible moment to keep me from eating chicken in the future!

Example 4: In Which the Bad Guy Is Brutally Murdered and the Happy Ending Comes to Visit


Chin: At last, Evil Bad Guy, I have you trapped! You are, for some reason, precariously balanced on a unicycle on the top of this skyscraper. I, also, am on a unicycle. I cannot use my rocket launcher for fear that the backblow will send me hurtling over the side of this building.

Bad Guy: Ah, but you have forgotten that I have this radio-remote controlled aeroplane which I shall command to come and blow you to pieces!

Chin: Never! Because I must avenge poor Plucky's death!

Bad Guy: Aaaaa ha aha h ha haaaaaa! My aeroplane is racing for your back!

Chin: But I will do... THIS!

(Chin does a triple flip off of his unicycle, catches the seat and uses the wheel to snag onto the roof of the skyscraper. He is hanging over the abyss. The aeroplane soars past him and brushes near Bad Guy... who loses his balance and struggles to stay on his unicycle. BUT HE CAN'T! And he falls off of the building and lands right in the middle of the street 90 stories below.)

Chin (without laughing): Hit the road, Jack.

(A semi runs over Bad Guy)

Chin: And don't you come back no more!

Chin limps to where Young Ingenue is waiting for him. They both have ashes artfully on their faces. Chin's shirt is ripped. They have some small cuts. They kiss, relieved that it is all over.

Ingenue: Chin, I found this duffle bag over here that I think belonged to Evil Bad Guy.

Chin: CAREFUL! IT MIGHT BE A BOMB!

Chin opens the bag. He drops it in suprise. A red chicken flaps out.

Chin: PLUCKY?!

Chin hugs the chicken. Ingenue hugs Chin. The chicken hugs the brother who lives at the orphanage. Everyone turns and smiles at the camera. The little brother grabs the rocket launcher and shoots it into the sky, where the rocket explodes like fireworks!

Everyone: Ha ha ha ha!

Ingenue: You're just like your brother!

Chin (ruffling the boy's hair): He sure is! Let's go get some fried chicken to celebrate!

Boy: Hooray!

Chin: Stop talking! Don't you know I get the last word?

Ingenue: You do?

Chin: Of course! Shhh!

Ingenue: Sorry.

Chin: Be quiet and smile at the camera so they can fade out!

They smile at the camera and it fades out.

THE END

Mission Impossible 3


K and I went to see MI:3 tonight because her parents offered to take the kids for a few hours. Also, parts of the movie were filmed in east asia, so we thought that would be fun.

Anyway, the movie was fine, so long as you don't think about it too much. It had a sort of half-hearted anti-Iraq war message toward the end.

Basically, evil bad guy threatens to sell a weapon to the middle east, Cruise and company have to stop him at any price. Blah blah blah.

There were lots of silly east asia moments (okay, mild spoilers-- as if you care): like when Cruise is told to go to a city of over 20 million people and find the "feng shan apartment complex". That's enough to be "mission impossible" by itself. But then he's supposed to go to apartment 1406... which just wouldn't happen in East Asia because they don't like to have a 14th floor (kind of like us and the 13th floor) because if you say the number 14 the right way it sounds sort of like "want to die" which is not a great selling point.

And I liked how they would be in the city and then suddenly would be filming in a small village an hour away to give the impression that the big western city they were in still looks like a traditional east asian village.

But I will say the real suprise came at the end when Cruise's character electrocutes himself and cannot be revived. Perhaps one of the most moving moments in recent cinematic history.

Overall, a solid action flick. Better than Harrison Ford's latest outing (Firewall) and a million trillion times better than the last Crusie film I saw (War of the Worlds).

Friday, May 26, 2006

Parental Humor 101

As you always expected, there really are little training times for parents on how to make those really good parental jokes. Here's a recent example from our family as we are driving in the car:

Z: I want a pinata at my next birthday party. I never get a pinata.

Me: Why do you want a pinata?

Z: Because they are full of toys and candy.

Me: I see. Well, we will get you a pinata next year but it will be full of broccoli. Ha ha ha!

Yup, the traditional "I'm going to give you broccoli instead of candy" joke. It works every time. Try it!

"A" singing "This Little Light of Mine"

Here's a little video for you. I was going to embed it on my site but I am not smart enough. I am sure that A will figure it out and explain it to me in the next 6 months or so. In the meantime, enjoy our daughter and all of her 3-year-old friends doing their best to sing "This Little Light of Mine."

India

K and I met with the missions pastor of Village, the church in Portland we've started attending. He was telling us about their connection with local churches in the state of Gujurat. He said the biggest thing they need is training for their pastors. Most of them have no formal schooling and many came to Christ because of miraculous events rather than because of a propositional truth presentation from the scriptures. They've even reported seeing people brought back from the dead by the power of God.

Which pretty much clinches it. Monkeys, cobras, tandoori, and now people coming back from the dead. I am taking a trip to India.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Happy Anniversary (35 years)




A very special happy anniversary to two very special couples, Pete and Maggie Mikalatos (my mom and dad) and Janet and Terry Dobbs (Krista's mom and dad).

Krista and I are very grateful that the Lord gave us such great examples of loving, committed marriages for us to desire as single people and to emulate as a married couple. Thanks for everything you have done for us both when we were kids and today. We love you guys and are thankful for you.

Love, Matt and Krista

It must be a Book Day


I just returned home from California, and waiting for me was a package from Chris Well. Chris sent me his two published novels, Forgiving Solomon Long and Deliver Us from Evelyn. In case you've never wandered over to faith*in*fiction, basically there's a little revolution brewing of people trying to revitalize Christian fiction and make walking into a Christian bookstore worth it... even if you're looking for a novel instead of music or "how-to" books. Chris is working on this, too, and his novels are--get ready for it--Christian gangster novels. Crime fiction, in other words. I've just started Forgiving Solomon Long, and I'll let you know how it is when I'm done. So far a hit man walked into a confessional and popped a couple of bullets into a priest's head. That's a good start.

AND, waiting for me in the mail were the next two novels on my "to be read" list:

Europe Central and Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

Mmmmm, Book Day!

Scooped!

I stumbled across The Stolen Child on Amazon.com. This novel is somewhat like the first novel I ever wrote. Not to the point of being creepy or so that I could sue the author. But I think close enough that I can discard that novel forever.

Important differences between our novels:

1) He clearly did more than one and a half drafts.

2) His is more "literary" than mine.

3) His is published.

Saturday

  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • I finished reading "Saturday" this weekend. It's a good read. It's the story of a neurologist in London who has a run-in with a street thug. This sets in motion a series of events that take the main character to the end of his resources to try to protect his family and way of life.

    The really fascinating thing to me is that the author uses the events of this day to explore the arguments and possible conclusions about terrorism and our responses to it. It does it without being preachy, without forcing a conclusion on you, and it also shows the alteration in the western psyche as a result of 911. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    Yesterday

    As we drove down the highway we saw some kids wrestling/fighting and trying to throw each other into traffic.

    So I rolled down my window and in the most authoritative and disapproving way possible I yelled HEY!

    You might ask why I would do that. It's because that's the sort of thing I do, that's why.

    Of course the kids obeyed my implied command, stopped fighting and started walking away with a look of fear and trepidation on their faces. What if that crazy man came back?

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Monkey-Picked Tea

    While scouring the internet for reports of drunken monkeys, I came across this curious product which claims it is the result of trained monkeys: Monkey-Picked Tea.

    I am, however, a little skeptical. This version seems much more likely.

    Okay, I am more than a little skeptical.

    In other news, monkeys get drunk after a hard day at work. Which, perhaps, is why they taunt sun bears until the sun bears eat them.

    Strangely, people also pick tea, get drunk and are eaten by bears. Aww, the little monkeys just want to be like us. So cute!

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    California Dreamin'

    Hey all-- I'm off to CA today to meet with some supporters and try to meet some new supporters. You can be praying for the Lord's provision for us during this time. Thanks!

    A Moment of Silence

    One of my favorite blogs has passed quietly into the night, perhaps never to return. It was a blog of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. It had borned me on its back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! Where be your gibes now? Your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar?

    *Sigh*

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Pants On Fire: A Memoir

    At Powell's tonight I saw several memoirs staring out at me and promising to tell me stories of amazing lives that would illuminate and better my own. And I thought about James Frey's controversially embellished life and all the silly uproar about it and I just wanted to let you know: Every memoir ever written is a big, fat lie.

    But I also wanted to tell you that my forthcoming memoir "Pants On Fire" will be--unlike everyone else's--completely true. I will astound you with the true story of the hanglider crash in California that almost had nothing to do with me, the time that I was nearly conned by a cross-dressing con artist name Birdy Hoaks, about getting punched in the head by a deranged lunatic or something somewhat like that, about falling in love at last, about having two great kids, and of course a few stories about various animals and cars and, um, spaceships. Pirates. A unicorn. Nothing very exciting, I've led a life much like your own. Oh, vampires, don't forget the vampires.

    Anyway. Be watching for it in stores everywhere, someday. It is going to be so amazing I wouldn't be surprised if they sold it at grocery stores and gas stations. Get ready for it!

    Classy Dates that Make You Money

    No, it doesn't involve donating blood!

    Mom and Dad took the kids tonight. Thanks, folks!

    Then K and I gathered up all of our books that we are done reading.

    Then we went to have Lebanese food in Portland. Yum! We started with hummus and then I got lamb with feta and tahini and Krista got something we had never heard of before that involved rice, eggplant, yogurt and lamb. It was good but I have no idea what it was called. And of course some baklava (still waiting to be eaten). Total price for a nice dinner at this restaurant: $41 (including tip). But it was worth it.

    After dinner we went on a hike in Forest Park which is, incidentally, the largest forested city park in the United States. A nice time was had by all.

    After our hike we went to Powell's City of Books, which is the world's largest independently owned book store. At Powell's we unloaded all of our books that we had brought along and were paid $60 (cash). We then used part of that $60 to buy "100 hikes in northwest oregon and southwest oregon" ($16.95). Leaving us with $43.05. Now, subtract the $41 from dinner and that leaves us with $2.05. But then I bought the latest issue of Street Roots from the homeless woman on the way out. Which leaves us with a net profit of $1.05 for the evening!

    Overall, a really fun time with my favorite person.

    Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Eight)

    Dedicated to the cute little punk rock family (Punk Rock Dad, Punk Rock Mom, Punk Rock Sweet Little Three-Year-Old Girl) at the bus stop by Powell's City of Books.

    Punk Rock Dad: Sit, Ubu!

    Punk Rock Daughter: I'm not Ubu.

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Fashionista

    This weekend while Krista was gone, my three-year-old daughter A came in while I was getting dressed for church.

    A: Why are you getting dressed up like that?

    Me: I'm getting ready for church.

    A: It's not very beautiful.

    Me: Why not?

    A: The color is not very beautiful. It's grey.

    Me: No, it's more of a green. Here, I'll open the blinds so you can see. See? It's more of a green.
    Is that better?

    A: Nooo. I think you need to change.

    Me: How about this blue shirt?

    A: That's better.

    So. Have I ever chosen my own clothes? I guess not. Will I ever dress myself again? I guess not. Oh, well. At least I'll look nice.

    Regional Team Retreat

    Right now I'm at the regional team retreat. Which, honestly, is more of a "sleepover." You know, a big co-ed sleepover. Pretty fun, actually. We're staying at The DreamGiver's Inn.

    The best moment of our little getaway so far was Alex Kettles starting a fire with Bob Monaco. They couldn't figure out how to open the flue so they filled the whole beautiful house with smoke. Steve Ellisen came to help, opened the little glass doors and got a face full of smoke. It made me laugh and laugh. Everyone refused to call the lady who runs the place.

    Turned out that the "ornamental knob" on the front could also be called, "the flue."

    So now Matt and Steve are playing chess behind me. Bob is telling me stories, Cas, Kim, Kerri and Paula are hanging out in front of the fire. Krista's off getting a massage. Alex just welcomed Sue home (she drove in from California today).

    And if you haven't figured it out, these are my co-workers and friends and we're having a relaxing evening tonight.

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    Evil Laugh Tutorial

    Several of you have written in asking for some tips on creating Evil Laughs for yourselves. As I spent some time writing up notes for you, I realized that it was just too difficult to do the subject justice with the written word. So, I have included some audio notes for your first lesson. Please listen attentively and then practice profusely:

    this is an audio post - click to play

    Ken Makes Kids Happy


    Being reminded of Free Comic Book Day was quite a coup for our family. Grandma Maggie brought the kids to the nearby comic shop (just down the street from my house) and they each got a few comics. Their hands-down favorite was the Donald Duck issue, even though it had no Carl Barks (except for the cover). It did, however, have a fun Don Rosa story about Huey, Duey and Luey skipping school. We got a good laugh out of that. Z and A both enjoyed sitting and reading Donald Duck stories.

    I had the kids write their names on the covers of their comics so they can tell them apart. Take that, Fanboys! Mooowahahahaaaaaa!

    Then, since the comic book store had a 50% off sale in honor of FCBD, Mom bought me a trade of the first 15 issues of Invincible, which was incredibly generous of her and fortunate for me. I found Invincible to be very enjoyable, just straight-out fun superhero comics.

    So, a special thanks to Ken (for alerting us to free comic book day) and Mom (for making even the not-free ones free-for-me).

    Free comics for everyone!


    Ken writes in to remind us all that it's free comic book day.

    In honor of Seis de Mayo.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask he-who-knows-and-sees-all.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    The flu has flown

    I think I am better now, as is evidenced by my meals today:

    1) Santa Fe Rice and Beans
    2) Chorizo, potato and bean burrito (in honor of Cinco de Mayo)
    3) barbecue sandwhich with corn on the cob
    4) A bowl of ice cream

    I'm not even nauseous!

    Pray for Krista and family

    K went down to L.A. this morning for her Uncle's funeral, which is tomorrow. Please be praying for her and her family as they deal with the grief of this separation.

    Even Better than Google Love

    And, following a link from my monkey reporting, you could come to this site, where instead of getting blind dates you can just go ahead and arrange a marriage. Yes, that's right. And yes, you can put that you're a Christian. Remember, don't marry who you love, love who you marry.

    Drunk Monkeys Attack Villagers



    As always, you can count on BHR for cutting edge, top of the hour, in-depth drunk monkey reporting.

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    I have the flu

    Yes, feel sorry for me.

    I just woke up and there's no one at my house. I am not sure where everyone is, but it doesn't really matter because I have an invisible chain keeping me tied to the restroom.

    I am using the last of my strength to come here and share it with you, my loyal revolutionists.

    I may also be slightly delirious because I have some old song "I guess that's why the call it the blues" stuck in my head but the lyrics are "I guess that's why they call it the flu." I can hear the harmonica bits and little bits of the lyrics: DOWN ON MY HANDS! something something Living like children laughing like lovers ROLLING LIKE THUNDER something something. And I guess that's why they call it the flu...

    Shana has a blog

    For fans of Shana Brennan, she now has her own blog. She's just learning, though. She would love your ideas for a blog title, or instructions on how to get her picture on the profile. Go give her a nice hello.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Tradition!

    My three-year-old daughter, "A", and I have a tradition.

    It goes like this. Every morning we get up early and go downstairs to make breakfast. She chooses between Honey-nut Cheerios and "special cereal" (honey bunches of oats). I ask her if she wants milk in her cereal. She says no, she will eat the cereal with her hands. I give her the bowl and then go sit down somewhere. She waits about 4.3 minutes, making sure I am well settled into reading the newspaper, reading the Bible or surfing the net. Then she comes over and says sweetly, "Milk, please." A variation on this tradition is the one where she asks for milk to start out, and then tells me she doesn't want the milk anymore, usually right after I pour it. That one involves a great deal of crying and me explaining the nature of the universe.

    Gargamel as a child


    Z chalked the sidewalk yesterday and she had blue chalk all over her face.

    Me: You like like a smurf.

    Z: What's a smurf?

    Me: It's a little blue creature that lives in the woods and is three apples high.

    Z (gesturing with her hands): This high?

    Me: Yes.

    Z: That means I could step on them and SMASH them!

    Me: I--uh--yes, you could.

    Z: Are they *made* out of apples?

    Me: No, they're little animals.

    Z: I could definitely squish them then.

    The Garden


    I couldn't concentrate on work at all yesterday because of Krista's uncle. It looks like he will be gone by week's end, so K and her mom are flying down for the funeral on Friday.

    Since I couldn't do much that was useful in the way of work, I decided to do some yard work to calm myself and keep things at peace. I like doing yardwork now that I'm older (hated it passionately as a kid, of course). Yesterday I was working on turning a corner of our yard into a dalia garden, so I was tilling, mixing good soil into the hard clay of our yard.

    I liked it because I remembered that when a kernel of wheat dies and falls to the ground it begins to truly live. I liked it because I can trust that in time we who sow in tears will see tiny saplings of joy for every tear that falls to the earth. I liked it because I thought of the good seed, and how one tiny plant reaches out and multiplies itself, that the combination of good soil and the word of the Lord changes and forms the world.

    And at the end of the day I liked that I could stand back and see my work, that it was measurable and clear and it was good, and it was a work that led to life, and in time there will be flowers because of a few hours' of mild work in perfect sunshine.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Prayer Request

    Hey friends--

    Please be praying for Krista's family. Her Uncle Forrest collapsed about a day ago and is now in a coma. There's no brain activity; he will probably die in the next day or two, so Krista and her Mom are trying to find inexpensive plane tickets down to be with the family this weekend. Her Dad is already down there (it's his brother). So be praying for everyone involved....

    3 Signs You are About to Eat some Good Indian Food

    1. The "restaurant" appears to be a house. You are asked to sit on the second floor porch above the family quarters.

    2. The waitress speaks with an Indian accent.

    3. You can't even understand the English on the menu. I had the "mutton special" which was described as having a "fragrant bala massage". I may not understand the words but I understand the meaning: you are about to have some good Indian food.

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