Friday, July 31, 2009

McGruff the Crime Dog says, DON'T DO DRUGS!

We're all moved in back home today... probably put up more pictures, etc. later sometime when we catch our breath. I will say that the new medical lingo referring to this time with a newborn as the "fourth trimester" is either mathematically challenged or purposely doing violence to our language.

Tonight I was getting Krista's pills out and A asked me something.

"Just a minute," I said to A, "I have to get Mom's drugs."

She looked at me intensely and said, "DRUGS?!"

In about three seconds every anti-drug advertisement and cartoon I had ever seen flew through my brain... from an egg representing my brain and on through the musical stylings of McGruff the Crime Dog.

"Uh," I said. "I meant medicine."

A looked at me skeptically. "Then why did you say drugs?"

"Some medicines can also be called drugs," I said.

And then she gave me the most withering look of pure disappointment. As if to say, Dad, I thought I raised you better than that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Angel On A Train

John C. Wright, science fiction writer, former atheist, gentleman and (gasp) Christian has posted a free short story on his blog. You can read it here. It's the story of a man who discovers an incognito angel about to board a train and decides to buy a ticket to the same destination....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baby M comes to stay

Our new baby was scheduled for August 7th, a planned C-section. We thought we had time to prepare. Yesterday we were talking about how we weren't quite ready -- and then Krista's water broke. A scene of film-worthy mayhem insued as I threw whatever I could lay hands

on into the van, half thinking we would get to the hospital and they would say it was some sort of mistake. But, no, within two hours I was giving our little one a bath:

She was born at 11:42 last night, and weighed eight pounds and just over an ounce. She's 19.75 inches long and she's gorgeous.

I got to wear this space suit for the momentous occasion. The doctor used to be a veterinarian and he performed a ridiculously fast surgery. I asked why he tied a cord onto the bar near Krista's head and one of the nurses told me it was because he was used to doing c-sections without any help.

Krista is doing great... much better than I've seen her do in previous deliveries. The staff here have been excellent. Krista hasn't gotten much sleep yet, but hopefully that's coming soon.

We let A come over in the middle of the night last night, and she was thrilled to meet her little sister. Z is at summer camp, so we called her this morning to share the joyous news. SHe was disappointed to miss the birth but said it was amazing to know she had a new little sister.

I'm so thankful to have a healthy new daughter, and that Krista is doing well also. We see Baby M as our miracle child... after two miscarriages our pastor preached on healing, and another one of the pastors prayed for us to be able to have another child... and here she is! Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and your friendship.

We'll be in the hospital at least through Friday... we'll keep you updated!

Wonderful Wednesday: We Will Love Watermelon! It is too cute for you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Imaginary Jesus tagline CHAMPIONS!

Friends, I had a great deal of fun reading your entries into the Imaginary Jesus Tagline Contest. I naively thought there would be one spectacular entry that would trump all others, but I was mistaken. There were many excellent entries and after a lot of vicious indecision, I've come up with a list of my top three favorites, all of whom will receive the prize package... a free, signed copy, mention in the acknowledgments and my gratitude.

Here they are, in the order they were received:

1) "Imaginary Jesus: beyond the flannelboard" from Janet O. I like the Sunday School reference which reminds me of a lot of my childhood experience of Jesus. I have a soft spot in my heart for flannelboards. Also puppets.

2) Sam said... Imaginary Jesus: Hot pursuit of the most popular man who never existed. I think what I like about this one is "the most popular man who never existed." I like the irony of it.

3) I'm guessing we could never use this one, but it made me laugh so hard that I had to give Kyle a shout out and a free book. Kyle Collins said... Imaginary Jesus: De-robing the Messiah. That's so wrong that it is a sort of classic.

So, congratulations Janet, Sam and Kyle. The book comes out in April, so enjoy your long wait. As for the rest of you, lots of excellent entries... I've been talking with the people at Tyndale and I think we're going to have more contests in the months to come. Keep your eyes peeled (eww).

Monday, July 27, 2009


I couldn't resist linking to cheese in space.

The chairman of the endeavor says, "It seemed appropriate... that we should mark the anniversary of the first moo-n landing with a giant leap for cheesekind."

I am a little disappointed that no rockets are involved, so I have included the photo at left.

Photo via midiman.

Imaginary Jesus tagline winners announced tomorrow!

I have the tagline contest whittled down to the final round, and by tomorrow I will announce the winners! There are plenty of good ones to choose from, but I do have my favorites.

Stay tuned....

They used to get more love

There's a great article in the NYT this weekend about the search for a gender-neutral singular pronoun and the rise and fall and rise again of the plural pronoun as a solution to that problem. If you enjoy language, trivia or social and cultural insights, I think you'll find this article interesting.

It was interesting learning to speak a little Chinese, because in the spoken language there is no differentiation made between he/she. Everybody is ta, male or female. Ta went to the market. Learning the gender pronouns in English took some time for our Asian friends, so we would occasionally be treated to sentences like, "My boyfriend is coming to visit this weekend. She is very wonderful."

An interesting sidenote is that while in Chinese there is no differentiation whatsoever in the pronoun used for he, she or it, the written language does have that distinction: 他(he), 她 (she), 它(it), all three pronounced ta.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Robots: "How to Serve Man (the cookbook)"

Yes, the very popular EATR robot has been recently released. It can devour biomass. Rumor is that it can eat human flesh.

But no, says Robot Technology Inc. “We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” stated Harry Schoell, Cyclone’s CEO in a recent press release.

No, I suspect that mission belongs to another robot technology department. Besides, the military would probably not name a flesh eating robot "EATR" they would name it something like "SAM" or "NUMBER 5" or "WALL-e".

At last, something from my childhood movies is becoming reality. I may not have a rocket car or a jet pack, but thank God there will be Robot Vampires. Yay!

I know what you are wondering: Matt, how do you feel about the impending robot revolution?

Answer: Does not compute.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's only rock and roll but I like it

An interesting article in the Oregonian yesterday about Portland-based artists who specialize in rock and roll poster art, including people like Mike King, Guy Burwell and Emek.

I want one of these guys to make a cool rock show type poster for the release of Imaginary Jesus and then I'll ship them out to people and we'll put them up on telephone poles. It will be awesome. Now I just have to steel myself for the inevitable discovery that it costs lots and lots of money to get one of these posters made. Right?

In other cool art news, Sarah from Tyndale (she will be famous by the time my book finally gets published) sent me some cover ideas for Imaginary Jesus. There are five concept covers right now, one of which is my hands down, all around, can't see how other people wouldn't pick it first favorite. Krista would choose that one as number four or five.

Anyway, sometime this week we'll spend some time discussing the cover concepts and hopefully move toward some sort of consensus between me, Sarah From Tyndale, Wes The Agent, Nancy The Publicity Person and Whomever Else gets a say.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The traditional airport post

Here I am at the Denver airport with Krista and the kids, racing them home for a couple of days before returning to CO for our conference on Tuesday. I haven't seen the typical aberrant behavior at the airport that allows me to write entertaining posts so I will just have to make stuff up, I guess.

Z woke up in the middle of the night not feeling well, so we're traveling with a sick kid. I bought my ticket using miles and through some weird fluke of airline pricing I got a first class ticket for the number of points as an economy ticket would have been. I lovingly gave that ticket to my wife, though, because I thought that when an eight and half months pregnant woman is flying she should be treated like royalty. I'll be with the kids in the back, which should be fun.

Okay, off to the races. Have a great day, minions.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Last Chance

Today's the last day to enter the Imaginary Jesus tagline contest! So send your best, wackiest, worst and goofiest ideas in now!

Or else!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Let us now praise awesome dinosaurs!

Strange Horizons is an online, weekly speculative fiction magazine.

All of which is unnecessary prelude to the fact that you must read LET US NOW PRAISE AWESOME DINOSAURS! It is the story of Martian dinosaurs come to earth to do stunt car racing. No, really.

It starts off with a dinosaur trying to buy a handgun....

And, like many good things on this blog, I came across this via boingboing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Pomegranates

Some people say that the "Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate. I buy it. I think Adam and Eve took a bite and blood red juice got all over them and stained their skin.

Grenades are named after them

It's also the inspiration for the best phone ever. I don't know if you can get it in the States yet.

One issue: don't you think it should be spelled "pomagranite"?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Superman vs the cops

Friend of the Revolution Ken sent us this link to a story about Superman using brute force against New York City police officers.

As always, Batman used his superior intelligence to sit nearby, handcuffed to a lawn chair.

Oh, Superman... it has all gone downhill for you since "Superman Lives."
On the bright side, that cop that is putting the cuffs on is going to be famous.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Soda, Pop, or Coke?

Stumbled on a weird and wonderful blog today that puts up strange maps and then comments on them in detail... everything from a Russian thinker's future US map (for after our financial collapse) to a map like the one above... detailing by color where people prefer to call soft drinks "soda" or "pop" or "coke." Click on the map for a closer look, it's well worth it.

Obviously the correct term is soda. But I grew up in California, so maybe that's just my cultural bias showing. Feel free to leave a comment defending your own preference.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Web Site Story

My sister Dawn sent me a note to check out this video, and I thought it was great enough to pass along to all of you. We talked for a while about the uses of technology and this is one of them... to create a video that looks like it's from the 1950's that talks about today's technology in the form of a traditional muscial:

I have a weak spot in my heart for comedy musicals.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Can't stop thinking about Japan

This is rice paddy art. It's made by planting different colors of plants in the rice paddy fields so that it makes a recognizable pattern. Certain areas of Japan are famous for their elaborate ones (like the samurai above, which is on display this year).

I had no idea about this until I read about it in Boingboing yesterday.

Imaginary Jesus tagline contest rules addendum

Sarah Atkinson, one of the acquisitions editors at Tyndale, talked with me yesterday about the Imaginary Jesus tagline contest.

She started by saying, "I have a bone to pick with you." I suddenly realized that I hadn't talked with anyone at Tyndale about my little contest. Uh-oh.

Then she said, "What do I get if I win the contest?"

I said, "The same thing as anyone else." Because she should really read the whole post instead of skimming, that's what I say.

But she pointed out that the likelihood that she would receive a signed copy anyway was pretty high since she's working on the book and I'll be crossing paths with her at various conferences and events in the future. I told her that I wasn't some pushover author that would just cave and give copies to someone just because they were pushy acquisitions editors. But she pointed out that she could probably wear me down eventually.

So I have to add this addendum to the rules: "If the winner of the contest doesn't want the other prizes listed, they may choose to receive instead an original Matt Mikalatos hand-drawn picture of a pony or unicorn. In color."

The End.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rad full scale Gundam

I keep forgetting to post about this rad full scale Gundam model in Japan. My friend Alan sent me this link a while back. Neat!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Imaginary Jesus tag line competition -- tell your friends

The Contest:

We're working on a tag line for Imaginary Jesus (coming to bookstores near you in April 2010). Basically, in this contest I'm asking you to throw out your best ideas for a tag line. I'm looking for something clever and catchy that sort of sums up everything about the book. You can see a basic "back of the book" type description here. Here are some thoughts by someone about tag lines in general. I'm looking for a quick phrase that is humorous and sharpens the reader's expectation beyond what the title implies. A few examples:

Imaginary Jesus: Real as a Unicorn

Imaginary Jesus: The best friend you never knew you had.

Or preferably something better than those.


1) Enter by posting your tag line idea in the comments section of this post. Post as many as you like.

2) I'll need some way to get ahold of you if you win. So anonymous, contact-less entries won't get a prize even if they win. YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT TO LEAVE A COMMENT! And if you want to send me your contact info, post your comment and then write me at matt.mikalatos(at)

3) It has to be original and it has to be yours. So taglines like "In space no one can hear you scream" or "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!" don't count. I guess you can post them just to be funny though, you sick, sick people.

4) Deadline for entries is July 17th, because that's my birthday and because I say so.

5) No whining if it takes a while to announce a winner, because I'm learning that the publishing world spins a little slower than the world outside. Whiners automatically forfeit all rights except for those specifically granted under the Magna Carta of 1215.

6) All entries must be type-written.

7) It's a tag line, not a poetry contest. Keep it short. Haiku length or shorter.

The Prize:

It's a three parter. TO THE WINNER GOES THE SPOILS! ONE, your name in the acknowledgements of the book itself. TWO, a copy of Imaginary Jesus signed by the author (when it comes out of course). THREE, my gratitude. I will even write a thank you note to you.

Of course you also get bragging rights, but that goes without saying.

Now get to work, people.

Legal Stuff:

Okay, I'm not a lawyer but just so you know this contest is illegal wherever such contests are illegal, and is not sponsored by Tyndale, Barna Books, Campus Crusade for Christ or anyone associated with those organizations. Final determination of who wins goes to
moi (moi = Matt Mikalatos) and whomever I might choose to include in said determination. Moi reserves the right not to use a tag line, to use multiple tag lines or to use a tag line not generated by this contest. By leaving a comment and/or tagline here you are giving permission for it to be used in the publication and publicity of all kinds for Imaginary Jesus. Forever. In the whole universe. And other dimensions. Even other dimensions where, perhaps, you are evil instead of the pleasant, reasonable person whom you appear to be here in our dimension. Please remember that in the end this is all for fun. It's not like I'm promising, for instance, to make you the poet laureate of a laureate-less state.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Fireworks Song: Happy 4th of July!

Please enjoy this video from Rhett and Link, celebrating the heroes of American Firework History:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

LIghtning Safety Tips

Today a bunch of us from Xtrack went up into the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area to help the city of Fort Collins with weed control. There's an invasive species of weed and we were just the people to help get to the root of the problem.

Toward the end of the day a storm appeared on the horizon and a low grumble of thunder echoed across the prairie. Pat, our guide, immediately told us to grab out stuff and head for the van. We all made some jokes but he started telling us that lightning could strike from several miles away, and that we should spread out and not run and that several people die from lightning strikes every day. He didn't care for our jokes about lightning.

This suddenly reminded me of when I was in an earthquake in Seattle and people kept saying things like, "SHOULDN'T WE RUN OUTSIDE?" Which, of course, you should not. Then I looked down at the street afterward and people were walking around looking up into the sky. As if the earthquake had somehow come from the sky.

I decided that -- as a service to all the other non-Coloradoans living in Fort Collins this summer -- I would publish the strange and unfamiliar rules of lightning as found at the National Lightning Safety Institute.

Personal Lightning Safety Tips

1. PLAN in advance your evacuation and safety measures. When you first see lightning or hear thunder, activate your emergency plan. Now is the time to go to a building or a vehicle. Lightning often precedes rain, so don't wait for the rain to begin before suspending activities.

2. IF OUTDOORS...Avoid water. Avoid the high ground. Avoid open spaces. Avoid all metal objects including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors, power tools, etc. Unsafe places include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters, or near trees. Where possible, find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van with the windows completely shut. If lightning is striking nearby when you are outside, you should:

A. Crouch down. Put feet together. Place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.

B. Avoid proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people.

3. IF INDOORS... Avoid water. Stay away from doors and windows. Do not use the telephone. Take off head sets. Turn off, unplug, and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools, & TV sets. Lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines, inducing shocks to inside equipment.

4. SUSPEND ACTIVITIES for 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.

5. INJURED PERSONS do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely. Apply First Aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so. Call 911 or send for help immediately.


Teach this safety slogan:

"If you can see it, flee it; if you can hear it, clear it."