Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making My Mailbox Happy This Week

In the stream of bills and advertisements, the thing I eagerly anticipate finding in my mailbox is BOOKS.  I love getting books.  They are my love language.  Even if I hate the books.  Even if the books are pasted together sets of bills and advertisements.

I've had four books come to me in the last week or so, and here they are.

From InterVarsity Press:

The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling John Stott's The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling is one I'm really excited about.  I read a couple of chapters already and I'm enjoying it.  Stott's message has to do with what it means to truly follow Jesus, a question that interests me a great deal.  So far I love Stott's answer to the question.

Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 FeetSecond is Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet.  I'm a big fan of Richard Foster, and this book is written by his son... a reflection on growing up the son of a father famous for his spiritual insights.  Nathan and his father had grown apart, but they re-discover one another by deciding to climb the tallest mountain in Colorado together.

And, from my good friend and agent, Wes:

The Biggest BearThe Biggest Bear. A really wonderful kids book about a boy who adopts a bear.  Why did Wes send this to me?  I'm pretty sure it was to spite my acquisitions editor at Tyndale, Sarah.  It's a GREAT book, Sarah.  So good.  Wow.  I bet you wish you had one.

A Silk Road Pilgrimage: Discovering the Church of the EastA Silk Road Pilgrimage: Discovering the Church of the East.  Wes said the authors here are some friends of his.  I haven't had a good look yet, but having lived in a location on the Silk Road, I'm excited to see what they have to say about their journey.

Many thanks to Wes and IVP!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Psychic Octopus Predicts World Cup Results

Yes, it's true.  The psychic octopus, who has the mysterious stage name of "Paul", predicts wold cup results.  At least, World Cup results about the German team.  About 70% of the time.

Rumor is that FIFA is considering hiring him as a referee, to let them know ahead of time when refs will make a bad call about a goal.

Special thanks to Christine Mabry, who used her psychic powers to know that I would want to know about this octopus.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Rules of Flip Floppery

With summer finally warming even the remote nothwestern edges of the Unites States of America, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the summer Rules of Flip Floppery.  Frankly, having grown up in California, I am just now learning these rules, because in California I didn't wear shoes at all.  But here are a few of the many rules of flip floppery:

1) Do not wear your new flip flops on a long, long walk with a friend.  You may think it's a sign of solidarity.  You may think it will be nice in the warm summer sun.  You may discover that you get giant blisters that completely cover any place that the flip flops touched your skin.  You may want to post pictures of said blisters, only to be told by your wife and your friend that this is a disgusting habit and not to be encouraged.

Reef Men's Phantoms Prints Flip Flop,White Picture,11 M US2) If you wear your new flip flops on a long, long walk with a friend, do not post pictures of your blisters on your blog

3) Do not call your flip flops "thongs."  I should think this is self-explanatory.  Would you have read this post if it was titled "The Rules of Thongery?"  I think not.  Also, it is confusing when someone says, "Hey, let's go on a walk" and you say, "Just a minute while I put on my thong."

4) Never slap someone in the face with your flip flops.  I have tried this on several people and they have all replied, as if by instinct, "HEY!  Don't do that."  Apparently this one is self-evident.  I mean, I didn't know it, but I figured it out after five or six tries.

5) If you must slap someone in the face with flip flops, make sure they are evil.  The people being slapped, I mean.  Flip flops themselves are rarely evil.

6) Be sure to check on State laws before wearing flip flops to weddings.  While certain States encourage flip flops at weddings (Hawaii and California), others allow only wedding guests to wear them (Oregon, Washington, Colorado).  In other states, flip flops are discouraged altogether. 

Melissa and Doug Sunny Patch Bella Butterfly Flip-Flops Size: 10 - 117) Believe it or not, there are differences between men's and women's flip flops.  Try to wear the appropriate flip flop for your gender.  The differences can be subtle, but there's nothing more embarrassing than being told that you are wearing women's flip flops (see the picture, left, of my first pair of new flip flops, which have now been returned in exchange for a more manly print).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Forty-Five: GRADE SCHOOL FLASHBACK!)

Dedicated to the two fifth grade boys who were saying goodbye at the end of the last day of their grade school career.  The first boy put his hand tenderly on the shoulder of the second and said:

Boy 1: You know, I'm really going to miss you.

Boy 2 put his hand on Boy 1's shoulder and said gently: I'm not going to miss you at all.

Both boys erupted into riotous laughter.

Boy 2: Just kidding...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Making My Mailbox Happy This Week

Back on Murder Making my mailbox happy this week is Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand.

I like the write up on it at Mark's site: "A house full of bodies... a missing girl... a corrupt investigation.  They thought they could get away with it but they forgot one thing: Roland March is BACK ON MURDER." 

I'm looking forward to reading this one.  Special thanks to Mark and Bethany House for sending that along to me!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Link It Up

Ah, it's that time again, when I share the sausage of the internet: LINKS!

Two special links from yours truly:

1) A Father's Day post on the Tyndale Blog.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember to buy a Father's Day gift for a Dad you know. Bonus: leave a comment and be entered to win a copy of Imaginary Jesus.  It's true. 

2) Over on Chuck Sambuchino's blog with Writer's Digest you can find an article I wrote called 5 Lies Unpublished Writers Tell Themselves (and the Truths That Can Get Them Published).  The basic point of the article is that there are these five lies that unpublished writers tell themselves and there are some truths that can help get them published.  I couldn't figure out how to say that in the title.


3) If you haven't seen it yet you should see that this giant statue of Jesus was struck by lightning.

4) You are running out of time to win the MY IMAGINARY JESUS contest.  You could win a trip to Portland, an iPod, a Kindle and money to a bookstore here in Portland for your trip!  Deadline is July 1st.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Oh, Denver International Airport... I don't know whether to thank you or shame you.

I was disturbed last week when I arrived at the Denver International baggage claim and looked out the window to see a 26 foot tall statue of Anubis, Egyptian god of the dead towering over me.  It was, to say the least, creepy.


Why would any airport desire to have a god of death keeping watch over the airport?  Is the murderous blue stallion with glowing red eyes not enough?

A little research revealed that the reason for inviting the god of death to watch over the airport had to do with a museum exhibit of King Tut coming to town:

I still think it's creepy.

A little more digging revealed that there is an entire population of people who believe that the Denver airport is some sort of conspiracy theory Temple built by the Masons or the Illuminati or some other secret cabal bent on world domination or world destruction or saving the world or something else having to do with the world.

As I started researching more, I started to realize that DIA is, in fact, creating a living theatre version of LOST.  Airplanes.  Mysterious underground electromagnetic forces. Strange Egyptian statues.

If only there was a black smoke monster.  Oh wait.  There was.

DIA.  It is dumb to put a statue of the god of death overlooking your airport.  I know you don't think it has any power or symbolism in the 21st century, but you are wrong. 

Simultaneously, I would like to thank you for bringing LOST to life for me again.  If you could have somehow made all the actors from the show be returning from Hawaii on my plane, that would have been awesome and would have really completed the illusion.  You officially win the Creepiest Airport Reward.

I do have a TSA story from my flight home through DIA.  It involves a seeing eye dog, a full body scan and a very, very long line.  But that is a story for another night.

Good night, internet. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

Oregonian Article

If you haven't seen it already (because I'm sure you have nothing better to do with your weekends than google my name over and over, hoping that something new will come up), here's an article that appeared in yesterday's Oregonian.  It's a fun piece.  You will like it.  You will probably want to print it out and place it on your mirror, so you can read it each morning while you comb your lustrous hair.  Unless you are like me, in which case you can read a few words each morning while you pretend to comb your Bald.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Malaise-O-Meter reports on getting in shape and the progress of Night of the Living Dead Christians

You may recall this post from a month ago, in which I decided to destroy malaise, get in shape, and write my new novel.  It is going slower than I had hoped, but at least it is headed the right direction. If you look at this post from a year ago you will be surprised to discover that it is even slower going than I initially thought, and also that when I am talking about weight loss I am almost certainly going to refer to chopping off or removing some essential piece of my anatomy, the heavier the better.

Since Night of the Living Dead Christians is due to my publisher August 1, I need to actually (ahem) finish writing it.  So I guess it's time to start busting out the progress bars like I did when writing Imaginary Jesus.  So, (drumroll, please), here it is:

21678 / 50000 words. 43% done!

Forty-three percent done!  Now, if someone could kindly give my Acquisitions Editor a smelling salt so that she doesn't faint from the stress, I have to say that I am farther along thatn I thought I was!  And in addition to the actual pages written, I've charted all the chapters out (like a Boy Scout! Or a navigator or something!) and have even written bits and pieces of the ending scenes.  

P.S. I noticed that you didn't actually do a drumroll.  That is disappointing.  What good is a blog if people are not interacting, I ask you? ANSWER: It is mostly good to give me the feeling that I have an audience at all times. And when you don't respond I assume it is because you are having such a great time that you can't form the words.

P.P.S. In case you are one of those morbid people who keeps tuning in to wonder how much weight the Biggest Loser has lost this week (can't you just love us the way we are?), I've lost about 8 pounds since the last time I dared to talk about this subject. From all the jogging.  And sweating because of my unfinished novel.