Sunday, November 29, 2009

Imaginary Jesus and the ARC

As you can see by the picture on the left, I just received a generous heap of Imaginary Jesus ARCs. Okay, I guess you can't see the heap but you can see a representative sample.

In "the Biz" we try to use jargon and slang to confuse you and make sure you know we are experts.  But I'll let you in on the secret.  An ARC is an Advanced Reading Copy, and it's generally used to send out to reviewers a few months before the book comes out.  A lot of magazines, for instance, have a lead time of several months, and if you want a review of the book to come out sometime near the time of your book, people need to see it ahead of time.  NOTE: No one calls the publishing business "the Biz" except for newby authors trying to impress people on their blogs. 

Anyway, this is a really fun day because for the first time I can hold something that looks suspiciously like a book in my hand and say, "Oh.  That's my book.  My name is on the spine.  My book has a spine!"  Up until this time my book had been completely spineless.  It's true!

This isn't the final product.  The design will be a little different when it comes out in April, the cover copy on the back will change a bit (right now it has my publicist's contact information on the back... I don't think she'll allow that to go on the actual cover).  We've made some changes internally as well, but overall this is pretty close to what the "real" book will look like!  Neat!

As always, you can buy your own copy, and one day it will arrive in YOUR mailbox.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Everything We Ever Needed

Our family spent Thanksgiving together out in Sunriver, Oregon.  We rented a house and everyone packed in, and a great time was had by all.  At one point, Z and I were playing SUPER SMASH BROTHERS! in one of the rooms, and it was starting to get dark.  My mom came in and said, "Do you guys need a light on?"  Without missing a beat, Z said, "No, the light coming from the television is enough."  Ah, television!  It even gives us light!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

You are what you eat

I like to use this "leftover" picture from time to time.  You can't see my feet in this picture, but it is likely that they are made out of white chocolate chip cookies.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

News From My Neighborhood: Weekend Edition

Yard Work in the Northwest.  I hear ridiculous things sometimes, about how people in the Northwest don't use umbrellas, that instead they just stay inside.  Which -- although it makes for excellent travelogue talk for Marco Polo when he returns from the far reaches of the northwest -- is ignorant foolishness.  NWers rarely use umbrellas because the precipitation is comparatively mild and a hood on a sweatshirt or jacket is typically sufficient to keep one warm and dry. And more than once I've caught myself standing in the middle of the rain talking to a friend, neither of us wearing a hood until the rain eventually fogs up his glasses and douses our hair.  For those of us with sufficient hair, anyway.  All that to say, when I set out to do yardwork yesterday I wore a baseball cap and a hooded sweatshirt so I could keep working through the rain.  Because we do go out in the rain. Otherwise we would need to build an impressive city of hamster tunnels.

A Traveling Meat Market. Yesterday, what appeared to be an ice cream truck came by, but instead of ice cream they were selling frozen steaks.  The driver slowed down as he passed me and shouted, "Hey! You look like a man who appreciates a good steak, right?"  I'm not sure what such a man looks like, but I guess like me.  I told him that I like steak fine, but we had plenty.  I'm not sure how much steak we have, but enough that I don't need to buy any from traveling meat salesmen.  He told me that they have "stupid prices" because of something or other.  I assured him that I still did not want a meatsicle. 

Man vs Nature or, the Tarps of Clark County. The big task of yesterday's yardwork had to do with winter-proofing our yard... so things like draining out the sprinkler system,  moving the glass birdbath into the garage so it won't freeze while full of water, and covering up the summer furniture with a tarp.  I spent a long time on the tarps, eventually getting everything all battened down and held in place with bricks.  Only to discover that during last night's wind storm my tarps were blown all over creation.  So, Mother Nature wants to fight me?  Fine.  Get ready, Mother Nature! It's go time.

Squirrel!  We had a squirrel in our backyard yesterday!  Which is the first time since they built our house!  Our trees are finally getting big enough to interest the little clowns.  Pretty exciting.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Free (Good) Christmas Music

I don't know about your family, but in my family Christmas music is allowed to be played starting on Thanksgiving day and going through all the way until about December 31st.  Which means now is the time to start gearing up for Thanksgiving.

Friends of the Revolution, Page CXVI sent out a note a bit ago that there is a free download of a Christmas EP from Oh, Starling... I just downloaded it and I like it a lot.  Take a listen and then buy it, start a fire, put up your Christmas tree and bring me some figgy pudding.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: The Weezer Snuggie

A couple of months ago I learned just how much Montel Williams loves blankets with sleeves.  Today for Wonderful Wednesday we ratchet up the rad by showing you that even Weezer loves them some blankets with sleeves.  It is hip.  It is new.  It is hilarious.

And now, here is a commercial:

Monday, November 16, 2009

The I Love Bunnies Club

My six-year-old came downstairs tonight while I was doing the dishes and asked if I wanted to join the "I Love Bunnies" club.  I told her yes, so she brought me a contract that she had written up.  Here's the text of the document I had to sign:

I Love Bunnies Club

I ________ will be a very loyal person to the I Love Bunnies Club.  To be a member do this... follow the rules.


You don't have to love bunnies.

Follow the directions.

Have fun.

I _____________ will follow the rules.

My daughter says that I have a very nice signature.  And now I am one of the founding members of the I Love Bunnies Club.  She also gave me a little assignment, but I can't tell you about that because that's only for members of the I Love Bunnies Club.


 Having lived in Asia for several years, I became pretty used to seeing hysterically funny signs in English.

But it's not often you see one in the United States with equally impenetrable English.  Note the sign to the left, which was at the hotel that Krista and I stayed in this weekend.

"GUEST UNDER PREGNANCY MUST NOT USE SAUNA"!  I'm not sure what that means, but my best guess is that when Krista is pregnant and tired and wants to rest her baby belly on me, that at this time I MUST NOT use the sauna because I am "under pregnancy."  But that's just a guess.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Teaching my children vulgarities while watching the Princess Bride

Yesterday morning, since the kids had the day off school, I told them that they could pick a movie to watch.  They chose the Princess Bride (which, to my way of thinking, was the correct choice.  And if you think I chose wrong, that's what so funny... while you weren't looking I switched the glasses!).

Anyway, (spoiler alert if you haven't seen this movie or read the book and let me add that you are causing me great sadness please go see this movie) as our master swordsman friend finally encounters Count Rogan in the bowels of the castle and confronts him at last, after all these years, you may recall that he eventually badgers the six-fingered man into promising him anything he wants and more and then he kills the Bad Man while also saying something unkind to him.  Take that!

Krista immediately gave me that look that said, "Your children have just heard some unsavory language and I better not find them upstairs pretending to stab each other with swords and slinging vulgarities at each other." 

So I said: Hey kids, that one word is a bad word.  You shouldn't use it.

A's little eyes lit up.  A: Which word?

Me: So you know when he said, "I want my father back you son-of-a....".  The word after that is a word you don't need to use.

A: Birch?

Me (laughing): Close.

A: Beach?

Me: Never mind.

Poor kid is probably lying in bed wondering, "What is so bad about calling someone a son-of-a-birch?  Do they hate trees or something?"

And that is all I have for you today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Slovenian Acapella Jazz Choir singing Toto's "Africa"

If the title of this post alone isn't enough to tell you why this video falls into the category of Wonderful Wednesday, then I pity you. I truly do.

I remember going to a conference once where they had us make the sounds of a thunderstorm in the audience. Minus the thunder, though, which makes it a little less impressive.  The name of this choir, by the way, if you want to hear some more of their wonderfulness is Perpetuum Jazzile. 

Also. I would like to point out that today's video is via MY MOM. Yup. Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If you live near Port Orchard, WA...

I'm doing a two hour training on evangelism this Saturday morning at Harper Church.  Details are here.

We'll be talking about the biblical basis for and defintion of evangelism as well as various way to talk with people about Christ, including story-telling, disarming people who are hostile to Christ by asking questions, using art to share spiritual truths, short films as discussion starters, and resources for spiritual conversations.

Anyway, if you're in town please come on by and say hello!

Monday, November 09, 2009

BOOK BERZERKER PRESENTS: Win a Free Copy of Don Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Last week I read Don Miller's new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I can tell you honestly that this is the best book that Don Miller has written.  Or, well, the best one that has been published, what do I know, maybe he has another spectacular one hidden away somewhere in a drawer or something.

The basic premise is that Don discovers, while working on a feature film adaptation of his previous memoir, Blue Like Jazz, that he actually lives a pretty boring life.  And as he studies the structure of Story to figure out how to write a better (fictional) life for himself, he starts to apply those same concepts to his real life so that he lives a life that has some meaning, a purpose, and goals.  Overall, I found it inspiring, though I did find myself wishing at certain points that it was a novel so that it would follow story structure even more, and also so that the ending would WRAP IT ALL UP instead of being like, well, real life.

ANYWAY, will tell you that people who bought my book, Imaginary Jesus, have also bought A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  In honor of that dubious achievement on Mr. Miller's behalf, I am giving away a copy of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (hereafter referred to as AMMIATY) this very week.

HOW TO WIN: Leave a comment on this post telling me two things... ONE, what would the plot of a movie based on your life be about (feel free to make things up) and TWO, who would you want to portray you in the film (feel free to choose any actor, living or dead... computer generated actors are all the rage).  I will choose the winner later this week and will announce the CHAMPION next Monday.  Yes, that's right, I am the sole judge, jury and executioner (meaning that I will execute the action of placing the book in the mail).

Legal Mumbo Jumbo: Yeah, if this is illegal where you live then it doesn't apply.  By entering this contest you agree that I am awesome and that you would never sue me or even say mean things about me.  And if you had your way you would like to buy me one of those back scratchers that this one guy sells on the street in Portland.  Or at least you agree that it doesn't apply where you live if it's illegal.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Guest Speaker Gordon MacDonald at Village tonight and tomorrow

Gordon MacDonald, speaker and author of Ordering Your Private World and Who Stole My Church? is speaking tonight and tomorrow at our church, Village.  That's tonight at 5:30 or tomorrow morning at 8:30 and 10:30. 

I'm sure I'll run into some of you there.  But mostly because I know some of my fellow Villagers are probably reading this.  :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Traditional Airport Post: MAYHEM!!!!!

Monday morning we were scheduled to fly out of Portland at 6:30 a.m. This would get us to Spokane by 7:30 for our team leader's conference, giving me a comfortable cushion before I gave a devotional at 9.

Our first sign of trouble, however, came as we entered the line on the "other terminal"... we usually fly United and today we were entering on the other side to fly Alaska. As Krista and I wheeled up with the baby, ready to jump into the rapidly moving line, a TSA guy waved us to the side and told us to join the "family line." We were to discover that this line should be called the "slow line." The few people in front of us took seven times longer than regular people to get through the line. A group of three hadn't brought any identification... none of them. A family of five followed them... a family of five who had never flown on a plane before, apparently. The mother kept stopping the TSA people to say things like, "Am I allowed to take my deodarant on the plane? Does that count as a liquid?" The TSA guy would say, "Deodarant is a solid."

After the slow water torture that was our experience in Family Line, we ran to our gate, because now, of course, we were late. Our gate was in the basement of the airport in the farthest reaches of the B Terminal. When we got there we were told that the flight was not yet boarding because the plane "hadn't landed yet" so I went to change the baby's diaper (if it hadn't been for the delay the poor child would have had to suffer). (SIDENOTE: Who designed the bathroom so that the "koala care baby changing station" is right next to the disposal unit for hypodermic needles? Do they hate babies or something?)

As I walked back to the gate an announcement came over the loudspeaker that our flight was now CANCELLED! Everyone leapt up and scurried to the various representatives to try to get rescheduled. By the time we got to the front of the line we were told that we could get on the 2 o'clock flight, which would have us arriving at 3. Since it was 6:30 in the morning and I was supposed to be giving a devotional at 9 AM, this was not a pleasing situation. Later I heard a guy who had been in line behind us who had been told that he couldn't get on a flight to Spokane until the following day.

After grilling the poor representative on our options, we decided to cancel our Alaska ticket and I jumped online and bought tickets on Southwest at 8 am. We now had just over an hour for me to run down and get our baggage from baggage claim, check in again with Southwest, get through security and board the plane.

And that is what I did. The baggage representative had to call the handlers, though, because they only sent three of our bags out (we are travelling with an infant, don't judge our many bags... it includes car seat and baby bed). Finally all four bags came out. I got them checked back in but then they said that I needed proof of the baby's age. I assured them that my 3 month old was not two years old. I ran for security, and since I had left Krista and the baby behind security I was able to skip the dreaded Family Line. I ran down to the C gate and arrived out of breath, sweating and victorious. I felt like I had won the Amazing Race, except that instead of a million dollars I just got to board an airplane.

And then our friend Steve Ellisen was on the plane and he rented a car, so we didn't have to take the shuttle to our hotel.

And that is the end.

Sunday, November 01, 2009