Friday, March 30, 2012

This totally happened to me tonight

'Free Souls Embrace Creative Commons' photo (c) 2006, D. Sharon Pruitt - license: dropped Z off for her first middle school overnight retreat. My parent's church is taking their 5th graders to the "Word Tour" in Portland tonight.

When I dropped Z off at the church, we went into the wrong building at first. The correct building was across the parking lot, so as we walked I slipped my hand over hers. We walk like this all the time... on the way to school, shopping at the grocery store, wherever.

She saw some of the other kids across the parking lot, then slipped her hand out of mine to push her hair back over her ear, then moved her bag from her left hand into her right so that I couldn't hold her hand anymore. That's the first time she's ever let go of my hand because of other kids being around.


It made me a little sad that she's growing up. On the other hand, I was both thankful and surprised that she had been so subtle and kind about it.

How about you? Got any stories about your kids growing up and how that changed things for you? Or about growing up yourself?

At Disney World: The Enchanted Tiki Room

In the Enchanted Tiki Room, where the birds they sing, and the flowers croon, my nine-year-old daughter A reveals some thoughts about her experience in the same room five years prior. It's sad to see the kids growing up!

A (disappointed/disgusted): They used to use real birds for this.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

At Disney World: Space Mountain!

At Space Mountain, the roller coaster which is also a space adventure. Krista is about to get on the rocket sleds with Z, our ten-almost-eleven-year old.

Z: I don't feel ready for this.

Krista: You've already been on the ride several times. Aren't you ready for it?

Z: Mom. Is anyone ever ready for a space adventure?

Signs from God

Why can't Jesus send a friend request via Facebook like everyone else? And do I have to click on the sign or what?

I love church signs. I really do. They entertain me. I hope the tradition continues for a long time to come!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday: Super Best Friends Forever!

There's a new cartoon out, showing the adventures of Wonder Girl, Batgirl and Supergirl. It's really cute and funny. I'm guessing my daughters will love it. Okay, I might love it, too.

CSFF blog tour: NIght of the Living Dead Christian(s) Day Three: book proposal and "deleted scenes" (first chapters)

I thought today, in honor of all the writer's who aspire to be published, I'd share a couple of tidbits from the early days of Night of the Living Dead Christian (originally titled in the plural, "Christians"). First, I'll share a little bit from the book proposal, and then, at the bottom of the post, there's a link to the original opening section of the book, which will probably be most instructive if you've read the published version and can see how different they turned out!

Determined not to bore you with the entire proposal that my agent sent to Tyndale when we sold the book, I've included a small bit below. We already had relationship with Tyndale and a first book, so they actually bought the book before it was finished even though it is fiction (this is not typical, and all you new writers out there are not allowed to use this as an excuse to never finish your work in progress... I FORBID IT! AND I MUST BE OBEYED!). 

Anyway, here's the part of the proposal where I shared why I thought the book-buying public needed Night of the Living Dead Christian:

The cover article of this month’s Christianity Today says, “Evangelicals desperately
need moral and spiritual renewal – on that everyone agrees. But what do we do about
it?” Christians, on the whole, simply do not know how to become more like Jesus. We
are trapped in sin cycles, selfish, lazy, prideful or simply ignorant. And sometimes even
the best intentioned young believers can’t find anyone to give them a clear answer to the
simple question, “Can I become more like Jesus?” 
Night of the Living Dead Christians addresses this question in an entertaining and
thought provoking way. We claim to experience Christ’s resurrection power, but we
act like zombies – experiencing a resurrection that is 90 percent shambling death and 10
percent life. Werewolves can’t control their base desires. Vampires satiate themselves
at the expense of others. And through it all followers of Christ are longing to stop being
monsters and become truly human, but we can’t seem to figure out how. Many believers
are restlessly searching for a revelation of how Christ changes lives. 
While many people in their twenties and thirties desire deeper theological understanding,
they want it presented in an entertaining way. They aren’t going to pick up a book by
Dallas Willard to get insight into this question, regardless of his compelling answers. It’s
similar to the people who watch The Colbert Report. Colbert’s audience wants the news,
but they want it presented in an entertaining, humorous way. Likewise, many people
desire a conversation about God but they don’t want a textbook lecture. They want a
presentation that remembers that there is life, humor and satisfaction in seeking Him.
We ended up using bits and pieces of the second paragraph in different places along the way when describing the book in sales meetings and even in the book's description in some places.

Speaking of things that were cannibalized to make the new, monstrous Night of the Living Dead Christian, I thought some of you writerly types might be interested to read the ORIGINAL beginning chapters of NLDC, back when there was a group of marauding junior highers, the "Halloween Angel" and a pair of glasses that let you see monsters. Also, way more Lutheran jokes. All of these things were eventually removed, and I thought you might enjoy comparing the published book with the early direction the book took.

Here's the link to an early draft of NLDC's opening chapters.

Feel free to leave comments or questions about these things, and I'd be glad to interact with you about them in the comment section!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CSFF blog tour, day 2: Night of the Living Dead Christian Monster Guide, Radio interviews and Fan Art

Monster Guide. One of fun extras in the back of Night of the Living Dead Christian is the Layman's Self-Diagnosis Guide to Common Monstrosities in which you can discover if you are a monster, and if so, which monster best describes you. You can read it online here. It has made for some great conversations with people.

Radio, radio, radio. That particular Guide was posted when Chris Fabry interviewed me on his radio show. You can hear that interview (waaaaaaay back on Halloween) here. I know you are picturing the author, giant headphones on, talking in a small room that looks somewhat like Dr. Frasier Crane's workplace. This illusion will be shattered by the moment in this interview when my sobbing daughter bursts into the bedroom where I am calling into the show on my phone. This was an embarrassing moment. As I recall I said something like, "Two-year-old daughter! Can't you see that your father is trying to appear professional right now?" Not really. But I thought it.

Fan art! Another fun moment was my first piece of fan art to be sent in, by Josh Alves. Here it is:

Josh and I have exchanged some notes with some ideas of things we might like to do together in the future. Pretty great.

CSFFers, feel free to use these in your blog posts if you like. And remember, I'm giving one of you a free, signed copy of NLDC and a limited edition poster! Get to work and have fun!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour for Night of the Living Dead Christian

Hey friends...

Bullet the Vampire Dog
For the next three days, my friends at Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy are doing a blog tour about my second novel, Night of the Living Dead Christian. Today, tomorrow and Wednesday, all the sites below will be sharing between one and three posts about the book, their thoughts related to it, and, if I know them, interesting thoughts spurred by the book but not having much to do with it.

It's an always enjoyable round up of thoughts, reflections, insights and violent arguments (okay, not that many violent arguments). There's always an award given out to the best blogger of the tour, and to sweeten the pot this month I'm giving the winner of the blog tour a free, signed copy of the book as well as a limited edition NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD poster (the image of which does not match the book cover, is beautiful, and that the publisher has asked me not to share publicly).

I'll be dropping into the tour as much as possible in the days to come, and you should feel free to stop in, lurk, comment, share your own thoughts, or even do your own posts about the book.

Here are the participating blogs/bloggers (if you'd like to only see blogs which have already posted about NLDC for the day, Rebecca LuElla Miller usually goes through and marks which blogs have posted as it happens):

UPDATE: I've fixed the broken link problem, mostly by ripping them off from Rebecca Luella Miller. She had also put checkmarks by those who had already posted for the tour. The names below are also links.

Gillian Adams
 Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart 
 Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
 Keanan Brand
 Beckie Burnham
 Morgan L. Busse
Theresa Dunlap
Amber French
Tori Greene
 Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
 Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Becky Jesse
 Jason Joyner
 Carol Keen
 Shannon McDermott
 Joan Nienhuis
 John W. Otte
Crista Richey
 Sarah Sawyer
 Chawna Schroeder
 Rachel Starr Thomson
 Steve Trower
 Fred Warren
 Shane Werlinger
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book signing in Orlando Sunday, March 25th from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Hey Floridians and those visiting Florida to see the Mouse or Harry Potter or alligators or manatees:

You also can see me!

This Sunday I will be signing books to celebrate the grand opening of the newly refurbished Cafe on the Rock at First Baptist Orlando.

Come hang out, go to church, buy some books, have some coffee. Maybe you will see an alligator. It's going to be fun. See you there.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You never know what a kid will remember

Z: Dad, do you remember when we were little, you used to rub our backs before we went to sleep and tell us that when we woke up in the morning, we would have wings?

Me: Ha. No, I don't really remember that.

A: I used to have dreams that I could fly.

Z: Me, too. Every night you did that, I dreamt that I had wings and I could fly.

You're going to fly soon enough, little ones. In the meantime, stay close to me and your mom.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday: Put A Bird On It!

Last night in my talk here at Big Break, I mentioned Portland and our "local" version of Saturday Night Live, Portlandia. Specifically, this sketch, which is by far their greatest and has become a sort of unofficial tagline for the city of Portland (whose official tagline is "Keep Portland Weird"). I was shocked, shocked I say, to discover that only a few people in the audience knew what I was talking about. And so, as a public service to them (and because it does my heart good as an old man to be explaining pop culture to college students), I've provided the video below for your viewing enjoyment:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Photo take in the late 1800s, before the sphinx
had been completely excavated.
Today is the vernal equinox, the first day of Spring! Yay! From here on in, our days will get longer and summer is on the way. Of course, I'm in Florida right now and it's meant to be 83 degrees today. BUT, the important thing to note is that in my home near Portland, Oregon, hammock weather is on the way!

You know what's cool? The Great Sphinx of Giza faces due east, which means on the vernal equinox, it's pointing directly at the rising sun. And that's not all... just reading the wikipedia entry about the sphinx is really fascinating. I learned several things I didn't know. Because I'm not an Egyptologist.

In any case, winter is over, my friends! Unless you live in the southern hemisphere, in which case, apologies.

Also, fyi, Easter is always on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. This year, that means April 8th. Unless you're a member of an Orthodox church, in which case, Easter is determined by the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox, but it's done using the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar, meaning that Orthodox Easter is on April 15th this year.

And it's all based around TODAY. So... happy vernal equinox!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Darth Vader, wearing a kilt and playing a bagpipe while riding a unicycle

This was originally considered for the final scene in Revenge of the Sith, but it was considered too frightening for children.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yet another Batman popping up overseas

You might remember last week, I wrote about the new Batman in Sao Paulo.

Now one has appeared in Slovakia. A homeless man who has adapted an abandoned warehouse into a home/Batcave, now helps the people of his small town by cleaning up litter, helping the elderly and making sure bouncers don't beat up tourists.

Be sure to check out this photoblog of his adventures.

I can't help but think that at some point, some petty criminal is going to decide to go after the Batman. I'm certain the Batman will prevail.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday: Monty Python meets the cast of the original Star Trek

Apparently this was uploaded to the internet in 2006. I just noticed it. O Vast and Tumultuous Internet! What other secrets dost thou hide from me?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Gospel "translations" are all up at the Trans*formed blog

A few weeks ago, the Western Seminary blog started running a series of guest posts from me in which I re-wrote some familiar stories to try to bring them into a more immediate context for us. At long last, all four of those posts (plus the introductory post) are up and available to you.

Here they are:


Part One: The Teacher shares about a trip to the zoo

Part Two: The old woman who almost loses it

Part Three: Frank chases his dreams in Hollywood

Part Four: The lost son

I hope you enjoy them! Feel free to leave any comments you have over at the Trans*formed blog!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Darth Vader at Home

This made me laugh. Rough translation below.

Vader: Hello sergeant, what's the problem?

 Sergeant: Good afternoon, sir, is this your son?

 Vader: Luke....

 Luke: No! you aren't my father!

 Vader: Luke, use the force and search out your feelings. In your heart you know that it is true.

 Luke: Oh well.

 Vader: You are grounded, young man! What did he do this time?

 Female Cop: Do you know the Deathstar? The big one?

 Vader: Why? What's up with it?

 Sergeant: Well, let's put it this way... I hope you have good insurance! Have a nice one.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Big Break Week 2 starts today!

Big Break is gearing up again. I think this week may be a bigger one as far as number of students on the beach. My neighbors already dropped by to see if I wanted to come over, hang out, and drink. I think they were surprised to discover that I am an old man. They apologized for "disturbing" me. I told them it was no problem and we had a quick conversation. Anyway, they drank quietly, and I sat here in my apartment doing old man things, like complaining to myself about how expensive the world has become and how much it cost to get a gallon of gasoline when I was a child.

Anyway, there's a big difference on the beach between the Cru students and the students who have come here to party (no surprise there). I was impressed this last week with the respect, care and patience our students showed on the beach... not forcing spiritual conversations, but inviting people into them and showing real concern and interest in the lives of others.

It was amazing how many conversations our students had... nearly 4,000 spiritual conversations, with a little over 1,600 of those going into what we would call a "full" gospel presentation. 124 people said they wanted to become followers of Jesus as a result. Overall, it was an amazing week, and we had a lot of fun, too. I'm looking forward to this week to see what will happen! AND my wife and kids come tomorrow, which will be great!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You don't have to wait for "The Dark Knight Rises" to see Batman in action... just head down to São Paolo

The police in São Paulo (specifically, Taubaté) have recruited a fifty year old man and former soldier who likes to dress as Batman to help them combat murder and drug trafficking in one of their more violent neighborhoods.

I think I speak for all of us when I say, "This can only end well."

Here's the article in Portuguese.

Aaaand, a loose translation from "Google Translate" after the jump:

Friday, March 09, 2012

Important Spider-Man trivia to keep you safe from rabid Spider-Man Grammar Police

What with the new Spider-Man movie coming out, there are a lot of people talking about our friendly neighborhood Webhead. Since I care about YOU, the potentially brand-new-to-Spider-Man reader here at BHR, I thought it would be important to point out this little bit of punctuation-related trivia about Spider-Man's name: his name is Spider-hyphen-Man. Spider-Man. Not Spiderman. And if you get it wrong, geeks across the internet will make fun of you. Comics geeks and grammar geeks and (gasp of horror) Comics-Grammar-Geeks. The sort of people who like to write blog posts that say, "I found a mistake on the Internet."

 I know, I know, this probably shakes your world to the core and has you wondering, "What about Bat-Man or Super-Man? How deep does this particular grammar hole go?" Allow Geekdom to help you with this lovely piece of art from Cathy Leamy:

Why is this important now? Because this July Hollywood is re-setting the Spider-Man franchise with a new movie, starting out at the beginning with young Peter Parker in high school and his (original) girlfriend Gwen Stacy back in the picture. It actually looks pretty good. Check it out:

Thursday, March 08, 2012

What I did last night

Last night, my friend Tim invited me (along with my other friends, Glen, Ben and Steve) to go out to a Jazz Bar/Restaurant called The Red Bar. I got blackened grouper with cheese grits. It was tasty:

After our meal, we sat in on the night's last set for The Red Bar Band:

It was great... really fun. I sat in that chair you can see up in front of the drum kit and next to the keyboard.

Also, on the way home the boys taught me a new game called "Copy and Paste." Basically, you wait until your friend says something innocuous that in another context could be embarrassing, and then you say COPY. Then, whenever you say "PASTE" he has to say his most-recently-copied phrase, regardless of what's going on at the moment. Hilarity ensues.

All in all, a really fun, enjoyable night out with the boys.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I'm shocked to discover that Disney has a sense of humor (?!)

This is from the christening of some Disney cruise liner, in which Neil Patrick Harris sings a song that pokes fun at the Disney Corporation while using Disney tunes to do it.

The Sword of Six Worlds cover art by M.S. Corley

I've shared occasionally about the fantasy novel I wrote for my kids, called The Sword of Six Worlds. They love this book like crazy and are always asking me when and if it will be published. Of course the answer is always, "Publishing is slow, kids! Hang in there!"

 But I did ask M.S. Corley to make a cover for it, which will make a cool poster for my kids in the meantime!

Friday, March 02, 2012

In which my ten-year-old falls into my clever trap!

Walking to school today with my ten-year-old, Z.

Z: We were supposed to bring our favorite Dr. Seuss book to school today, but I just brought my favorite book.

Me: It's Dr. Seuss's birthday today, I'm sure they wanted you to bring one of his books because of that.

Z: Yes. But I don't like Dr. Seuss books.

Me: You do not like them?

Z: No.

Me: So you say! Try them and you may, I say.

Z: ARRRRGH! Don't quote Green Eggs and Ham to me!"

Me: Mooowhahahahahahaaaaaa!

Popular culture... you have failed me again!

I had no idea that the Easter Island "Heads" also have bodies!

How did I not know this?

I blame you, Spongebob Squarepants.

Via Mental Floss

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Memories of Davy Jones

 For some reason, when I was a kid, the Monkees television show came on after school, right alongside Robotech and G.I.Joe and the Transformers. So, for me, the Monkees was a comedy show for kids, a sort of goofy show about adults acting like kids and, for that reason, being someone you could like and trust and laugh at. It was refreshing to see some adults on television acting in a way that made sense to a kid.

 I had no idea, of course, that there was another group called the Beatles who had anything to do with these guys, and I remember seeing the Beatles for the first time and thinking, "Hey! They're ripping off the Monkees!" Anyway, you probably already heard that Davy Jones of the Monkees died yesterday. An odd thing about celebrities is that a whole crowd of strangers has memories of them. I figured you might have some, too. Here's Davy singing "Daydream Believer."


 I did see the Monkees live once, years later. I was there for the opening act, though... Weird Al Yankovich! But I remember them coming out on stage with their trench coats and guitar cases. Good times. Rest in peace, Mr. Jones.

Why Do Videos Go Viral?

Why do videos go viral? That's the question addressed by Kevin Allocca, professional YouTube video watcher, in this TED talk. It's interesting and fun. You'll enjoy it: