Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Forty-Nine: This Complicated World We Live In)

Dedicated to the young woman at the Pensacola airport, and to the gentleman who worked there and helped her get to her gate on time.

Young woman: Sir, can you help me find my gate? It's 24 C.

Worker: What? There's no gate 24 at this airport. It doesn't go that high.

Young woman (raising her voice a little): It says 24 C right here on my ticket.

Worker: But that can't be...

Young woman (nearly yelling): Look at my ticket!

The worker takes her ticket and studies it closely.

Worker: 24 C is your seat assignment. You're at gate 12.

Young woman (very quiet): Oh. Thank you.

Here's a link to more Eavesdropping With Matt from months and years past.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday: If you love this, you will feel like a geek. I think you will love it.

You need to write yourself a lovely poem and then take it to text-align: centaur, type it in, and then press the button at the bottom of the page. Off you go. You're welcome.

And, if you don't like that you can go follow the adventures of the cobra that recently escaped from the Bronx zoo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Middle East revolution, as told by the Angry Birds

My friend Darren, always two steps ahead in the internet memes, showed me this quite hilarious video today, starring the Angry Birds.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Imaginary Jesus mini-play for your church

A woman named Jaye Barnes wrote me recently, wondering if it would be okay if she used the Communion chapter of Imaginary Jesus with her youth group. I told her that was fine with me, so long as she told me how it goes. She did things one better by making a little adaptation of that chapter of the book into play form, and sent it to me so I could make it available to whomever might like to use it for a teaching time on Communion, or as a short skit for Easter at church.

Here's the script she came up with. It's downloadable. Enjoy! And thanks, Jaye!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday: Hott Tubz

Out here at Big Break, our MCs are Shelby and Andy (also known as "Bullet"). They are two-thirds of the comedy trio "Something On the Wing" (a Shatner reference? I'll need to look into that). The third is Boggsy (the infamous "John" in this video). Because people come from all over the United States for spring break in Panama City, Shelby and Andy wanted to make sure everyone understood that hot tubs are good, but that there also serious, unbreakable rules to be followed. So they came up with this little video, which I think you will enjoy. P.S. If you were at the Northwest or Red River winter conference this year, watch for a special appearance by one of your speakers in this video.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fun With Captions

Hey guys! I just had a great idea!

"Ahhhh! He's blinding us with his gigantic bald!"

"It's time for the most rare of eclipses... the kind caused by an enormous human head."

"Professor Xavier, my codename will be Forehead Flame!"

"And that's why I always wear a miner's light on my head."
"Gah. I hate it when faeries fly around my face when I'm speaking."

"Spontaneous combustion... it always starts at the top and works its way down."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Big Break on the news

This last week, one of the local news channels carried this story about our students out here at Big Break 11 in Panama City Beach.

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Tour (Day 1): THE RESURRECTION by Mike Duran

I love it when people I know get professionally published, even when I don't know them all that well. Mike Duran and I have exchanged notes a couple of times over email the last couple of years, mostly because we both did a little work (okay, I did a little, he did a lot) with a little magazine called Coach's Midnight Diner. I follow him on twitter. I lurk around at his blog from time to time.

And I'm thrilled to say that Mike's first novel, The Resurrection is available at bookstores everywhere now! Here's the description of the book:

When Ruby Case, an unassuming crippled woman, inexplicably raises a boy from the dead, she creates uproar in the quiet coastal town of Stonetree. Some brand her a witch, others a miracle worker. Yet Reverend Ian Clark could care less. Dogged by demons and immersed in self-pity, Clark is being unwittingly drawn into a secret religious order--one that threatens his very life. But he's about to get a wake-up call.

Together, Ruby and Reverend Clark are thrust into a search for answers... and a collision with unspeakable darkness. For behind the quaint tourist shops and artist colonies lies a history of deceit. And a presence more malignant than anything they can imagine. Yet a battle is brewing, the resurrection is the first volley, and the unlikely duo are the only ones who can save them. But can they overcome their own brokenness in time to stop the evil, or will they be its next victim?

This week the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour is talking about Mike's book, so if you follow the links below this week you'll find reviews, interviews and so on all week. I think you'll find it enjoyable. If you don't want to click through all the links, Becky
usually keeps track of who has posted and on what topics.

Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Red Bissell
Book Reviews By Molly
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Wanda Costinak
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Janey DeMeo
Cynthia Dyer
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McNear
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why the movie Limitless deserves cold and unfeeling rejection from you and everyone you know

I went to see Limitless last night, a movie based on Alan Gynn's novel, The Dark Fields. How did I like the movie? Hmmm. Well, if this movie were a person, I would have punched it in the face, made a citizen's arrest and thrown it in jail.

The story is about Eddie Morra, a washed out leech want-to-be author who is living off his girlfriend. Eddie runs across an old acquaintance who offers to help him overcome his writer's block using a new drug that will "unlock his brain's potential." Meaning that Eddie will soon be using 100% of his brain instead of 20%. There are going to be ***SPOILERS*** below. Because you should never see this movie.

Now, let's just stop here. If you had a sudden infusion of brain power that made you five times smarter and gave you, as Eddie claims, a "four digit IQ" what would you do? Go on, pick a couple things. Write a book, maybe (Eddie does that). Solve world hunger? Cure cancer?

Eddie the Super Genius borrows a hundred grand from a violent Russian mobster. Because he's not making money fast enough on the stock market, where he is "quintupling" his investment every day. He's already up to 7 grand. But instead of waiting TWO DAYS to get to over 100 grand he borrows the money. FROM A VIOLENT RUSSIAN MOBSTER. Yes, that's right. Eddie is the dumbest smart person in the world. And then when he immediately quintuples his 100 grand he doesn't go pay the mob off. Because he wants to have a violent run in later.

Now that Eddie has a vicious gangster after him, he uses his enormous brain power to seduce some women, get rich, and make some party friends. Oh, and get his girlfriend back. And keep his other women on the side. And maybe kill one of those girls he meets at a party (he's experiencing some weird memory loss stuff by this point, a side effect of his genius. He's not sure if he killed her ). He does other smart stuff, too, like keep his entire stash of irreplaceable Smart Drugs hidden in one place. In a conch shell on his girlfriend's coffee table. And encouraging his girlfriend to try the drug, knowing that it causes sickness and death if you stop taking it, and he's running out of pills.

At this point, you start to suspect that maybe, just maybe, the filmmakers know what they are doing. You start to think, "Aha, what we have here is an unreliable narrator who is extolling the virtues of his drug because he's a junkie. The drug doesn't make him smart or invincible. It makes him feel smart and invincible. And eventually, like any junkie, he's going to hit bottom. And that will only be right and just and what happens in the real world."

Or, you know, he could easily overcome anything that comes after him, turn his rock bottom moment (which was absolutely disgusting) into a victory, and destroy all his opponents (who are mostly after him because he is the world's dumbest smart guy and he brought it on himself) by TAKING MORE DRUGS THAN THEM. Yeah. That's what happens.

The movie ends with the junkie claiming he's off the drugs. But you sort of doubt it. Oh, and he's on the road to the White House, because he's just that smart.


I suspect, by the way, that the original ending of the movie might have been bleak punishment for Eddie. Which is what should have happened, and I'm sure that's how the book ends. Thanks, Hollywood, for giving us a "happy" ending instead, where the moral of the movie is, "DO DRUGS! Do them at higher dosages and for longer periods of time and by more insane methods of ingestion than the people around you, and you will be a hero."

Which leads to the ultimate conclusion, which is that the best thing about this movie was the company I saw it with. I had fun, guys, thanks for inviting me. 

Sigh. Here's the trailer.Oh yeah. Robert deNiro does a cameo-ish appearance as Warren Buffet. To show how smart our hero is, that he can outsmart Bobby deNiro.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Imaginary Jesus the #1 selling science fiction book on the Amazon Kindle store (for a brief, shining moment)

Owly Images Last week, Imaginary Jesus hit the top spot for the Kindle science fiction list. Barring the question of whether that's the best singular category for IJ, allow me to say YAAAAHOOOOOOO!

It was pretty fun to see it hit that slot, and @jadoogan sent me this screen shot of the Kindle store's front page that day, where you can see that IJ is featured along with such notable books as Room and The Holy Bible. Responses from those who noticed were generally quite favorable, with at least one person breaking out into spontaneous dancing.

Now I have my sights on the bestselling Romance book. You're going down, Romance Book Whose Title I Can't Quite Make Out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big Break at Panama City Beach, Florida

The theme of the conference is "Get Salty" from Matthew... we are the light of the world and salt of the earth.

Krista, the kids and I are at Big Break this week (and last week, and next week). As you've no doubt noticed, it has impacted my blogging habits.

Guess what I'm saying right now. Go on, guess.
Big Break is a week long missions trip held by Campus Crusade for Christ every year. It runs for three weeks so different schools can attend while they're on break. Here's an article about it.

I'm the Bible teacher for the week, which is a lot of fun... four evenings a week I get to lead the students in a time of studying the Bible and reflecting on the message of Christ. I've been talking with them about why we do evangelism, the "beatitudes" as gospel presentation, the centrality of God's love to understanding the good news about Jesus, and the great commission. We're having a lot of fun, too! I am glad to say that the crowd this week apparently knows all the lyrics to Spongebob Squarepants.

Students getting ready to hit the beach!
In addition to the teaching times, I'm still doing my day job, and Krista is working on school work. Plus the kids are with us (we pulled them out of school for the trip... so they're doing a half hour of homework a day, and that's about it). So it's been a busy time, but we're enjoying it.

About a THOUSAND college students are attending Big Break each week. And there are many, many more than that out on the beaches. I've never seen anything like it. Anyway, there's a little update from us!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday: Predator, The Musical

Warning: there's some rough language in this musical. But let's be honest, if you were trapped in the jungle while an alien hunter picked off you and your friends, you would probably use some strong language.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

You're going to laugh

This video is of Krista's cousin's baby boy. It's making the rounds, having been featured on CNN and Fox News and Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel live. Crazy. I watched the video and I have to admit the little guy gave me a really good laugh.

I'm still at my conference, which I'm sure will be gret fun. I've got a big stack of paper for ripping if there's a dull moment (which I'm sure there won't be).

Have a great day and remember to enjoy the little things in life, like babies and ripping up paper.