Wednesday, April 30, 2008
And now, for something completely serious
I considered hiring some high-powered market researchers to look into this matter. But then I thought, why trust some professionals when I could just look into this matter myself.
So I have included a poll. Behold how it looms above the sidebar, like a judge, like the leader of some vast and faceless tribunal.
Now is your opportunity to let your voice be heard, true believer! Click now and click often.
A: Dad, the pink blanket fell off the bookshelf.
Me: I'll put this Tinkerbell blanket up now.
A: Maybe it will look like Captain Hook is coming after me!
Me: I don't think so. It's mostly blue.
Z (chiming in from her bed next to A's and not afraid at all, she just wants to make trouble): Now it will look like blue wolves coming after you.
A: There's no such thing as blue wolves.
Z: Maybe they fell into a can of paint. That would be funny.
(Concerned about how she is goading her sister, in a split second I miscalculate and say) Me: I'm sure that those blue wolves would go after Z first because she is laughing at them.
Z (her eyes widening in terror): But maybe they would understand I was laughing because it really was pretty funny.
Me: *Sigh.* Kids. There are no wolves in your bedroom. No blue wolves, no wolves of any kind.
Z: Now I'm scared, too.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
New Switchfoot Song
This is why there is a video of Prince Caspian clips running in the background. At one point it looks like Aslan is about to chomp Jon's head off, which is a touch disconcerting. But I like the song.
Free Comic Book Day
You just walk in and pick up your free comics. It's a great way to get a couple of free reads. Of course the plan (like any addictive substance) is that you'll get hooked and keep coming back for more.
I put a picture of one of the free comics on the side here in case, for instance, you happened to be looking at BHR one day and your son (who is too young to watch Spider-Man) happened to see pictures of Jesus and Spider-Man together and tried to convince you that meant he should be allowed to watch it. Now you can go get this comic FOR FREE and then hand it over.
NOTE TO PARENTS: If you have young kids, I'd suggest you read the comics before giving them to your kids. I personally always liked it when my dad read my comics. Now if I find a good one I let him read it when I'm done.
ANOTHER NOTE: If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area be sure to head over to Flying Colors Comics (my former workplace) to snag your free comics, and be sure to say hello to all my buddies there.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Captain Huggy Face
At the end of each episode Captain Huggy Face does a dance and my kids stand in front of the television and dance along.
Now it's your turn:
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Spider-Man and Jesus
I even tried to explain the Christ parallels, and again, most people didn't seem to get what I was saying. I wrote a paper about it in one of my seminary classes (about Spider-Man progressing through the "Stations of the Cross" during one portion of the movie), but I think what was more compelling than anything I wrote was the pictures.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Rolling Stone and the Rock of Ages
One of the things I like about Rolling Stone is that they call it like they see it. And they have Peter Travers, the only movie reviewer I consistently agree with.
So when I received the May 1 issue and it said that one of their reporters had gone "undercover" with the Christian right to write an article I cringed. Reporter Matt Taibbi goes undercover at Cornerstone Church in Texas.
It's not an easy article to read, but I'd suggest you read it to the end. Here's the link to "Jesus Made Me Puke and Other Tales from the Evangelical Front Lines."
As painful as this article is, I'm afraid that Taibbi pierces American evangelicalism in several of its ugliest boils with carefully accurate observations. Of course, he's coming into the situation with some prejudices and makes a few unfair statements, and has clearly chosen a church where he could easily find some extreme behavior. But even adjusting for that, there are a lot of things in this article that show precisely why Christians must be cautious to follow Christ and Christ alone, and not to wander off after other things.
A few of the most salient points:
1) Too many speakers emphasize their personal abilities rather than Christ.
2) We have too many programs that are not based on the Bible, but rather on a sort of secularism dressed up in religious clothing. Taibbi specifically talks about how the majority of the church retreat he goes on is about "schlock Biblical Freudianism." I wish I had said that first. I've actually run into the precise bit of schlock Biblical Freudianism that Taibbi does, and seen it used in the same way... as the defining issue in a person's life... "if you deal with this everything will be right." But I just don't remember the apostle Paul blaming his "father wounds" for causing him to persecute the church.
3) The strange picture of "Biblical Manhood" that is currently being pushed in some circles is monstrously repulsive to people on the outside . Taibbi describes them as, "Fiercely pro-military in their politics and prehistorically macho in their attitudes toward women's roles" and yet ready to burst into tears at any given moment.
4) Taibbi makes an interesting observation about how easy it is to build the outward shell of "correct behavior" in Christian community without having any sort of internal transformation. Taibbi was disturbed, in fact, to see how quickly he started to do all the "right things" without thinking about it. It's amazing how easy it is for people without a true relationship with Christ to behave in a way that causes it to appear that they do.
As too often happens, in the end someone was unable to interact with Jesus because of the people who claim to follow him. (I don't doubt, by the way, that many of the people in the story are sincere in their beliefs, or that, as I said earlier, there are parts of the story that are unfair.)
Lastly I just want to say that if you're out there, Mr. Taibbi, I wish you would come hang out at my church, or that you would let me give you a tour of my circle of friends. We have our foibles, certainly, but I think you would enjoy hanging out with us.
Me: Imagine that one day a long time from now you have a baby. Then I would be a Grandpa. What would you name your baby?
A: I wouldn't name her Grandaddy.
Me: Yeah, that's probably not a good name for a little girl. What would be a good name for a little girl?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
One of my Door articles online
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The Husband's Diet When The Wife Is Away
2) Stop at the Mexican restaurant "just to take a phone call."
3) Buy a chimichanga, but assure yourself you will only eat half.
4) Eat it all.
5) Eat the leftover lettuce. Then the fresh salsa.
6) Realize that your breath is now really onion-y.
7) Buy a fresh strawberry milkshake to "cover the onion smell" on your breath.
8) Start to feel nauseous about halfway through the milkshake.
9) Keep drinking it because you don't want to waste it.
10) Decide not to eat dinner because your stomach hurts.
11) Eat it anyway.
12) Try to convince yourself that eating too much junk on the first day is a good strategy to prevent yourself from eating junk the rest of the week.
Monday, April 21, 2008
So Dark I Can Hear You
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The Birthday Unicorn
So, not to be dissuaded, we enlisted various family members to comb the greater Portland area looking for unicorns. Krista made a unicorn cake. I painted an enormous unicorn on two panels of drywall and we put it up in the house. We did manage to find one unicorn balloon.
You can see the unicorn on the left. Krista had to help with drawing the legs. I'm a little shaky on horse anatomy, but apparently that's pretty much all she drew for years and years. This is one advantage of growing up female. On the other hand, if we needed to draw an enormous space battle, I daresay I would have the upper hand. Anyway, A jumped into the fray as well, helping with the painting (especially the flowers) and the unicorn's eyeball.
Vast numbers of giddy first grade girls soon arrived and swarmed about the house giggling and doing Girl Stuff. A great time was had by all, I think.
In the meantime, we have a giant unicorn diptych in the garage.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Happy Birthday, Z!
You are a real joy to us, and have been a continual blessing from God. We're glad to have such a sweet daughter.
I'm sad to see you grow up so fast, but excited to see all the adventures you will have as you get older. Have a great seventh year of life, Z. I look forward to living it together with you.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Z loves horses
Me: Even flying horses?
Me: Running horses?
Me: Sleeping horses?
Me: Dead horses?
(a brief pause)
Z: But I do feel sorry for them.
A loves pigs
A: MMMMMMM! Pig juice!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
John Carter, Warlord of Mars
I've been thinking about digging out the John Carter books. I've actually never read them, just some comics based on the ideas and characters. Apparently Pixar is signed up to do a trilogy based on the Carter books, which sounds cool. Strangely, the internet rumor is that Disney is planning to do this rather than filming all seven of the Narnia movies. Seems a little weird, since the first one, so far as I know, had a decent gross. I guess we'll see how Prince Caspian does. Nothing makes up studio execs' minds like slips of green paper.
Anyway. Civil War vet transported to Mars to fight giant eight-limbed aliens to save the alien princess and take her as his bride? Hey, what's not to like about that?
EDIT: Now that I've read the first book, allow me to say that the eight-limbed creatures are actually six-limbed. This will make a good movie. Except that everyone is naked, which might be hard to pull off. But apparently Martians don't wear clothes. Who knew?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Atheist/Agnostic Bible Study
I had a great time. The atheist students were a lot of fun... really interested in the text (they're looking at the book of John).
Before everyone arrived, those who were there pulled out their Bibles and read until we started. We briefly introduced ourselves and then Shawn (not sure which way he spells his name) reviewed the first three chapters. Then we would read a section out loud and discuss it together. The atheist students gave more attention and respect to the text than many Christian students I've seen in similar types of studies. They really want to know what precisely Jesus means when he says and does different things, and they're very interested in what precisely John is communicating in the way he writes the account.
In addition, I think they have a certain advantage in approaching the text without all the weight of years and years of someone telling them "This is what Jesus means when he says--". They ask questions with an honest desire to understand.
Honestly, it was probably one of the best Bible studies I've been to in the last few years. I'm planning to go back next week. I'm looking forward to getting to know the students better, and learning together from the book of John.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Special Guest Star
Awww, look how sweet The Autumn Film looks. Look at those smiles. They sure are nice. I like them. Even if on the inside they are thinking, "Mikalatos, let us go so we can drive home."
If I were in charge of the band they would never be allowed to smile. I want them to look like a lean, mean junkyard band.
The Autumn Film LIVE IN CONCERT
Here was the guy who played before them. His name is Levi Weaver. Apparently he recently opened for Imogen Heap, and the Autumn Film has actually seen him when they went to an Imogen Heap concert. The Film started geeking out when they saw they would be sharing a stage with Levi. He was great, actually. Solid, heartfelt lyrics and music that I'm not sure I know how to describe other than to say that I liked it a great deal. He played his guitar with a violin bow at times and various other things that have to be seen (and heard) to be understood. So if you get a chance to see him, be sure to swing by.
I took some pictures of the band when they were warming up. I am a lame picture taker. This is where you all are wishing that Krista had gone to the concert with me. Here's Dann smiling at his cymbals.
Reid contemplating his guitar.
Aubrea wrestling her violin.
Tifah laughing at something funny her microphone said.
Juli getting "down" with her bass.
Some fans you might know.
More fans you might know. I didn't get pictures of all the fans (like the Ryghs and my Very Own Parents and various others). This is because I am a lame picture taker.
Further evidence that I am a lame picture taker. This is a picture of Reid jamming on his guitar.
The last band to play was Boom Snake. Unfortunately, Boom Snake got on stage pretty late so it was pretty much five fans, Levi and the Autumn Film. Which in a lot of ways was more fun, maybe. We had a conversation going between the audience and the band, which was fun.
Anyway, Dad and I helped load up the Film's stuff and then wished them farewell and off they went for their 20ish hour drive home (at last). The gang is possibly coming through again this summer. I hope you'll come hang out, I think you'll enjoy them.
House of Rock
Tifah made up a song for A about a girl named A who loved dancing and butterflies. Of course, A was in 7th heaven.
Z and A also decided to make a "kitty band" and pranced around the house singing in a meowing cat voice.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"I Spy" in Hell
My lawn mower inexplicably snarled a defiant farewell and refused to cut grass after a few brief swaths across our yard. New gasoline, grass removal, the recuiting of my father, filter changes, spark plug replacements and repeated pulls on the starter cord were met by the mower's implacable will.
In the end I borrowed Dad's mower.
Then I killed weeds. We'll see in a few days how effective my withering looks and ill-wishes were in destroying those unwanted plants.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Skulls #2. In San Francisco the man who took my order for hot milk at the coffee shop this morning had tattoos of skulls all up and down his arms. Some of the skulls had crab's legs, which made me think of the dead crab I saw in Moss Beach. Some had wings, which made me think that this guy really liked skulls. This skull-covered man was, perhaps, the nicest, most friendly coffee shop order taker guy I have ever seen. Which just goes to show you... no matter what, you're always stuck with those tattoos.
Skulls #3. In the bathroom at San Francisco State, someone had written "Skull Fox" in the grout above the urinal. I thought this was a funny nickname. At least, I had a good laugh about it. I realized that Skull Fox could never prove who he was, and that I could steal his name and write it wherever I wanted and people would think that I was Skull Fox. This would probably make him angry, and he might try to find me and fight me. But I think that Skull Fox is probably not going to be able to take me, because really it's a pretty silly, childish name, and he is clearly lacking maturity since he's still writing on bathroom walls. So I think that even if he is strong, I can quickly outwit him by running across a railroad track just before a train comes. And when the train disappears... I will be gone. And he will call me Skull Fox Ghost.
Concerning Books and Travel
Here's what I took with me to San Francisco:
1) The Bible. Pretty much a given here, folks, but thought I'd mention it. It is, after all, a book.
2) John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades. Basic plot: in the far flung future, humans fight every race of aliens they come across.
3) P.D. James' Death of An Expert Witness. Basic plot: Adam Dalgliesh solves a mystery. James consistently catches the truth of human nature in her mysteries, and she's an excellent writer, as well. I'm looking forward to reading this.
4) D.A. Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation. Carson uses the prayers of Paul to make conclusions about prayer and theology. I thought there were some valuable insights in this book, though I honestly disliked several of the later chapters. I had to read this for our seminary class, so it was homework, really.
5) Evelyn Underhill's Mystics of the Church. I snagged this from Carolyn's house. This book is basically a history course, taking you through the differnt mystic traditions within the Christian church. It's great reading, actually, and the introduction clearly expressed and described some things from my own experience that I felt encouraged to see others have also experienced in the past.
All in all, too many books for such a short trip. Now I have to go unpack them into the monstrous pile of books beside my bed....
Concerning Selfish First Class Passengers
One of the things you'll notice if you ride in first class is that some of the passengers are big jerks. Often this is how they made enough money to ride in first class. Not all first class passengers are this way, of course. But SOMETIMES some mean old man might stand up when it's time to get off the plane and box you in so that you can't move and then put his arm out in front of your wife and block her way so that he can get off the plane before her. Because, you know, being the sixth person off the plane is not good enough for him. And then, as if to prove that he is a complete control-freak idiot he gets off the plane and then stops to tie his shoe and maybe you and your wife pass him.
I know you might find this sort of behavior intimidating, so I've included below a few tips for dealing with those nasty first class customers:
1) If you encounter an aggressive customer in seats 1A or 1B, stare him down, as these are the worst seats and the passenger is actually a "coach" passenger who has been upgraded. If they are in another seat, avoid their gaze at all costs.
2) In both cases, back away slowly; don't run.
3) If you stumble, run and climb a tree. The more aggressive first class passengers are too obese to climb trees.
4) If these tips don't seem to be working, try to stand still until they forget about you.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
As I looked more closely I noticed that the barnacles were actually snails. Or maybe hermit crabs. Scavengers, certainly. I started to wonder if it was alive. I tossed a rock at it and thought that it moved a claw. I wandered around the rocks and collected pebbles and threw them, one at a time, to see what it would do. It didn't move. After a long look for a stick, I hunkered down near the water and grabbed its leg. Nothing. Then I tapped it on the carapace. No movement. It was dead.
I applied my heart to what I saw and learned a lesson from what I observed. In the spiritual life, there are people who appear to be alive, who look healthy and even do some things a healthy Christian would do. But if you watch them carefully there are small signs that give you cause for unease, and when you come close enough to touch them... they are dead.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Meanwhile, the Rock Band called The Autumn Film is staying at our house. You know how rock bands are. Staying at our house while we're gone, too. No doubt they are sliding down the (very short) bannister and are lighting cigarettes in the bathroom and tearing out the grass in our front lawn. But we'll recuperate our losses by selling their pillowcases on ebay when they are famous.
U2 will be staying with us next week.
Unless you can refill them yourself at home. Which is what I do. You are thinking, "Matt, that sounds cheap and unnecessary." To which I can only say, I am also cheap. And possibly unnecessary.
Here are some tips:
1) Despite your initial inclination, DO NOT blow into the little empty tube of toothpaste, thinking it will make it easier to get toothpaste into it. You will be able to "fill" the tube, but the air inside the tube will cause it to violently shoot out, like a volcano. I could explain to you why this happens, but I'm worried that you "don't have the math" to understand. Okay. I don't have the math either. Something about pressure and physics and such. Just trust me on this.
2) Push your tubes together.
3) SQUEEZE. I find that although I am a "flatten from the bottom" toothpaste user, that for this purpose, "Squish in the middle" works better.
4) DON'T try to fill your tube too full (i.e. as full as you would if you bought it new). This is a pointless exercise in frustration.
5) Screw the cap back on.
6) Remember that you can take more than one 3 oz. tube if you are a heavy toothpast user.
Feel free to write for more pointers if this isn't clear enough.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
The Autumn Film is in town
“Like a post-collegiate Fiona Apple jamming with Snow Patrol, Al-Attas and her band serve up a violin-rich, piano-drenched sincerity topped off with a voice that’s wise and heartbroken beyond its years” (The Onion).Here are the showdates and locations:
04/09/2008 09:00pm Seattle, WA The Comet Tavern
GABRIEL MINTZ, THE AUTUMN FILM, VELVET DRIVE, VENUS VERSE
922 E Pike Street
04/12/2008 06:00pm Seattle, WA The High Dive Seattle 206.632.0212
513 N 36th
Seattle, WA 98103
04/13/2008 09:15pm Portland, OR The Tonic Lounge
3300 N E Sandy Blvd.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Spring Has Sprung
So, once I recovered I went online and downloaded the album. I haven't really listened to the whole thing closely yet, so I can't give a good review, but I will say I'm pleased that "Your Love Is Strong" is on the EP. I first heard the song last summer at an acoustic Switchfoot concert. Jon said it was a sequel of sorts to the song "Let Your Love Be Strong" from the "Oh! Gravity" album. I like the instrumentation on the EP version of "Your Love Is Strong" and think it sounds great.
Anyway, I'll include more thoughts and let you know which songs are my favorite on the album when I get a chance. In the meantime, I've included the lyrics to both "Your Love Is Strong" and "Let Your Love Be Strong" below. Enjoy.
"Your Love Is Strong" Lyrics by Jon Foreman
"Let Your Love Be Strong" lyrics by Switchfoot from "Oh! Gravity."
I've found nothing new
I've found nothing pure
Maybe I'm just idealistic
to assume that truth
Could be fact and form
That love could be a verb
Maybe I'm just a little misinformed.
As the dead moon rises, and the freeways sigh
Let the trains watch over the tides and the mist
Spinning circles in our skies tonight
Let the trucks roll in from Los Angeles
Maybe our stars are unanimously tired
Let your love be strong, and I don't care what goes down
Let your love be strong enough to weather through the thunder cloud
Fury and thunder clap like stealing the fire from your eyes
All of my world hanging on your love
Let the wars begin, let my strength wear thin
Let my fingers crack, let my world fall apart
Train the monkeys on my back to fight
Let it start tonight
When my world explodes, when my stars touch the ground
Falling down like broken satellites
Let your love be strong, and I don't care what goes down
Let your love be strong enough to weather through the thunder cloud
Fury and thunder clap like stealing the fire from your eyes
All that I am hanging on, all of my world resting on your love
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Hope for a Broken World
Here's a link to where you can download the talk or listen to it online.
And here's the link to our pastor's current series, which is on First Corinthians. I think you will like it.
Thanks to all of you in the BHR community who showed up to listen in person. I felt loved that you would take some time to come listen to me speak.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The Glue Society's Red Sea
Red Light, Green Light
Green Light: Go.
Red Light: Stop.
Yellow Light: Slow.
Purple Light: Go backwards.
Horse Light: trot like a horse.
Pig Light: Get on all fours and "pig around."
A would like to say, "You have to stay in one place and if you get purple light you have to go all the way to the start."
Feel free to play with your family and friends.