Friday, July 31, 2009

Day Two-Hundred One: Eastland, Texas

Sitting in my hotel in Eastland, Texas, listening to Dr. Horrible while watching the X-Games on ESPN.

(If that had been a Facebook status, both Dave and Tarvis would have "liked" it)

The last two guys to go in the BMX "Best Trick" competition have gotten pretty seriously hurt.

(If that had been a Facebook status, hopefully nobody would have "liked" it)

Located (naturally) in central Texas, Eastland has a population of around 4,000, and an area of 2.8 square miles, making it less than half the size of the small town I grew up in. Apparently it was a petroleum town back in the 1920s. Also, .05% of the population is Pacific Islander. Which is also, amazingly, half the rate of the town I grew up in! This is freaky! Finally, two native Eastlanders have their own Wikipedia pages, compared to--you guessed it--four from Wellington. (Chamber of Commerce? Nope, Wikipedia.) Clearly, however, the town's small size and population have not kept its tiny hotel (thirty rooms, tops) from getting good high-speed Internet, which is more than I can say for some larger places I have stayed in my touring career.

There are still Christmas lights up in the hotel lobby and around the car port. The sign on the front window says "Hunters! Welcome to Eastland!" The pool is 12' by 30', which is smaller than it sounds. However, there's a microwave and fridge in this room and something like 50 channels. All in all, I'm very impressed with the room and mildly amused by the hotel itself.

X-Games update: after the 2 guys got hurt, the next two did pretty basic, risk-free tricks. Go figure.

Tomorrow morning, getting up around seven to head to Lubbock so that hopefully I'll get there between 10 and 11 and catch most of the festival. Which reminds me, I have to double-check the schedule. I'll check in tomorrow to let you know how it goes, but don't expect too many details tomorrow, since it will probably be pretty late when I get in.

Until then, everybody enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day Two-Hundred: Take a deep breath, and I swear everything will be all right...

Let's just drive.

Headed on another trip this weekend, destination Lubbock, TX. Tomorrow I'll leave in the morning and drive about six hours to Eastland, and then on Saturday I'll go from Eastland to Lubbock and back, then home again home again Sunday for some Shaking of spear in the Park.

Dunno if my hotel in Eastland will have Internet; if not, I'll just post three days worth of updates late Sunday night. No use back-posting for just two days. That's ridiculous.


Headed to Lubbock for the Cordell Green New Plays Festival. One of my scripts, The Girl Who Wore Golden Clothes, is one of the six featured plays and is having a public reading. Should be good. Also, can't be a bad thing to meet some Texas theatre folk from outside my little circle here.

Today is a mess of trying to make sure I have everything ready for tomorrow: rental care taken care of, hotel taken care of, everything work I need done before tomorrow taken care of, pay check taken care of, etc. Also, my boss will be out all next week, so if there's anything I need to work out with him I need to remember it and get it taken care of before I go home. Then I can start thinking about things I actually need to take with me ;-)

Also: headed out to the library with the fam tonight. Long, solitary car trip. You know what that books!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Nine: Thinking Stinky

No, this post is not about the kitchen area at Saint Street.

No, "Saint Street" is not the hip hangout spot for middle schoolers at my church.

And no, this is not a gross story.

It's often fun to get reports from Robbie about his school. He usually tells Kim when he did something bad during the day. For example, "No hit friends, Robbie sit in stinky chair." We've determined that the "stinky chair" is where the kids have to sit when they are being punished. At home, it's simply "time out." Robbie knows what time out is, where it is, and what it means, and I usually have him tell me what he did to earn time out before I let him up to play again. So, stinky chair = time out. (I always wondered why they would call it the stinky chair, but I figured that small children generally associate stinky either with bad, i.e. stinky food, or shame, i.e. stinky diaper, so I just sort of went with it)

The other day, Kim went to pick Robbie up from day care and found that he had a bit of a black eye. She asked what had happened, and Robbie said that you don't climb on the house or else you go to the stinky chair. The day care worker explained to Kim that Robbie had climbed on one of those three-foot-high plastic houses and fallen off, and in addition to majorly conking his head, he had to sit for a few minutes alone in the thinking chair.

The thinking chair. You know, where they can sit and think about what they've done wrong.

And suddenly, that one small corner of my world made so much more sense.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Eight: Why does it sound like there's an angry muppet downstairs??? (updated)

I love group prayer time. Someone is having a baby, someone is sick and scared, someone is buying a house, someone is dying, someone is traveling, someone is helping a friend, and everyone is reminded just how eventful life truly is as we go to God together.

Unrelated: Recent events have conspired to greatly amuse/confuse me. I'd say more, but A) it would be incomprehensible to most of you, B) I have yet to see how said events actually end up, and C) I like my job. ;-)

Also: I know the secret identity of The Profile.

Finally: I am almost through the first book on my new mandatory reading list. I both love and hate when you get to that point when you round the corner of the last fifty pages: love it because, if it's a well-written book, you are speeding toward a satisfying conclusion; hate it because you rarely find yourself at a point in time in which you can sit and read these last 100 pages without interruption, which is really how the last 100 pages of a book should be read.

UPDATE: Answer to question posed in post title: Brenda's son is trying out new Mad Hatter voices downstairs in the conference room. Of course!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Seven: However

I find I overuse the word "however" when I write. It's especially funny when I'm writing a play, because it is not unusual that one scene will take me upward of an hour to write if I'm easily distractable that particular day, so I'll lose all sense of rhythm and pacing from one line to the next. Also, I don't generally go back and read but more than a couple of lines from where I left off, since the story's stayed fresh in my mind and that's what I'm most concerned about with a first draft anyway. Nevertheless, it's a bit painful/embarrassing to get to a workshop/reading and hear the word "however" used three times within about ten lines.

I do like "however"; it's a good word. Unfortunately, it's also one of those words that sticks out when you start hearing it more than once in a given conversation.

On with your day, now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Six: "I don't think there are any sharks in space."

But it would be awesome if there were.

I will write that story/movie/cartoon/comic someday.

Anyway, happy Shark Week, everyone.

I realize yesterday's post may have come across as a "poor me!" post, which it is not. It could also have been read as an "I'm bragging because I'm awesome" post, which it is not. (I should have put a winking emoticon at the end, but I deplore the use of emoticons in blogging ;-)

If you know me very well, I'm pretty sure you didn't think either of those things. If you did think either of those things, I apologize.

The rest of this post was getting far too bizarre and has been sacked.

Enjoy your day.
-the WBW staff

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Five: Not on my side

As I sit and contemplate all that I currently do/want to do/am supposed to be doing, I've come to the following conclusion: There is simply not time, my friends.

Not enough time for me to be a good husband and a good father while holding down a full time (plus) job with the Players while bring a good friend, available whenever I'm needed and at least once a week when I'm just wanted. Not enough time to write the two (occasionally three) plays that I really want to write. Not enough time to be a "good" writer and read everything I can get my hands on, nor to reread, revise, and rewrite one book while another is slowly taking form in my down-time, nor to be a loyal and passionate hockey fan following four teams over two leagues, let alone have other hobbies that used to be unheard of for men my age but are now targeting men my age. Not enough time to be a good church member, or to do someone a favor here or there, or to go out of town for a weekend occasionally for a conference or competition in an attempt to make myself better at any of the above. When you put it all together, there is quite realistically not enough time to go around.

Oh well. That's never stopped me before!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Four: The Team Needs You

Thanks to Puck Daddy over at Yahoo!sports, we've got this: it takes hokey viral advertising to a whole new level...and hey kids, that's my team! (Oh, the heights from which we have fallen...)

If you've got a couple of minutes, I recommend it. Silly, harmless fun. Don't worry, you're not signing up for anything. It's'

Okay, go do it now. I want to discuss this somewhat below, and don't want to spoil it for you.

I'll wait.








Okay, done?


You have no idea how many people I almost had Rick Tocchet call today.

I want to know whose idea this was. I want to know who wrote the script. I really, really want to know if the players had to audition to be a part, or if they lost a bet or something. I also want to know since when season ticket holders get to play wing on Steven Stamkos' line. Cuz that's awesome.

And I want to know if we can do it here at the Players.

That's all.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Three: Lest I Forget (part 3)

Here we have the third and final installment of a three-part series that has taken entirely too long to complete. This is my attempt to recall my experiences in the morning I spent at Reliant assisting with the refugees from Hurricane Katrina in September of 2005. Parts 1 and 2 are drifting around in the WBW archives somewhere. As the years have gone by, details are already escaping me, so I wanted to chronicle these experiences...lest I forget.

After spending a couple of hours in a nearly-empty showroom at a scarcely-visited snack table with a group of volunteers who clearly didn't care whether I was there or not, I got up and left and joined a man in his late fifties who was going from table to table and refilling ice chests and drink supplies. I regret that I don't remember this man's name. He was quite friendly and likeable. He had a huge smile fixed upon his face and he was whistling a tune constantly--at least, when he wasn't making friendly chit-chat with me, volunteer workers, or refugees. At one point a small boy from New Orleans followed us around for five or eight minutes, and the man let him help hand out chips, push the massively heavy ice cart, whatever. When the boy's mother finally called him back, the boy gave this man a big hug and trotted back to his mom.

I remember thinking how remarkable this man was and how infectious his joy was, and how much fun he seemed to be having. For an instant, I wondered if a hint of senility that often comes with age may have had a slight hand in it. After all, this man wasn't OLD old, but he was at the point where I've seen age start to play a factor in some adults. It wasn't an unreasonable thought, and it's one I've often heard suggested by the young as they look upon anyone at least twenty years older than they are who seem to be having a good time.

And then a realization hit me, and it probably had the most profound impact on my life of anything that happened that day.

This man, possibly triple my age, had lived far more life than I had. He's seen times of war. He's seen economic recession. He's probably scraped by for every last dollar at some point, experienced the frustration of trying to get that first job and land your feet for the first time. He's been through quarter- and mid-life crises. He's seen the nation swing from the left to the right and back again more than once. He's seen things that I've read about as "contemporary history" and thought, "Wow, that was dumb." And if he's lived in Houston for not even half his lifetime, he's seen storms and what they do to people, houses, families, and communities. And here he is, surrounded by despair and desperation. And he's joyful.

He's seen the worst the world has to offer. And he's joyful.

At his age, he's experienced loss, most likely of at least one parent, definitely of grandparents, who knows about friends, possibly even siblings. And he's joyful.

Not only that, but his joy is contagious. It is so real, alive, and vibrant that even folks who've just lost their homes have to laugh with him.

I mentioned yesterday that I wouldn't really classify myself as an optimist, and that's true. In fact, there was a time when I was incredibly cynical. I'm kind of ashamed of that now, not because I ever thought/felt it, but because I really had no right to. At twenty-three, I knew probably half as much about life as I know now. It's amazing what you learn through marriage and parenthood. It's amazing what you learn when you're married and living on one intern's salary for half a year. It's amazing what you learn when every day of your life for over a month is spent driving from home to work to the hospital and home again at 10 p.m. What you learn when you have to decide what to do with your family during a hurricane. What you learn when your dreams come true. What you learn when you realize it's time to let go of your dreams. When you start paying taxes. When your savings is almost gone. When your boss loves you. When your boss hates you. When you injure your back but have to keep working. When you high school classmate is murdered. When your friends are getting married. When they're getting divorced. When a baby is found in a dryer outside your apartment. When you see a city come together to help another after a natural disaster.

I was a cynic without a good reason. This man probably had tons of reasons to go around moping that the world was going to hell in a handbasket.

And he chose joy. He looked at all that life had given to him and decided that there was enough to be joyful about that he could enjoy his days.

I fight back against my cynical impulses now, because I can. I can give in to one side just as justifiably as I can give in to the other. I look to those I know from the Greatest Generation and realize what they lived through, and I stand amazed at those who will still tell me that life is good and worth living, no matter what happened in the 1930s and 1940s. I want to be that when I get old. And if cynical twenty-somethings think that makes me senile, well I guess the joke's on them.


After while, I went back to volunteer central for a new assignment. They sent me to the place where folks went once they got off the buses to try to find family. We were in another showroom with a huge wall that had posters, papers, yellow notes from husbands, mothers, children trying to find their wives, fathers, grandparents, neighbors. (This is hard to write, by the way) Notes essentially saying, "We are here! Please find us! We're okay!" Huge, handwritten "We miss you, Daddy!" followed by 'we are waiting in the southwest corner of the building. Please come find us!' There were also notes of "If you see a person who fits such-and-such description, send them to this place." This wall was completely covered. Survivors coming through the doorway and searching every single note, aching for hope. My job was to find people as they came in the door. I had to ask "Are you looking for someone?" and if they said yes, send them back to the computer date input folks who would ask for as much information as they had on the person and see if, by chance, that person had already arrived. One man I asked, a thin, dirty-looking fellow who appeared not to have slept for a couple of days, dryly asked, "How could you tell?" I didn't fault him for the snark. Most of the people were just stunned and very polite, following my instructions directly. They were in such a daze, they'd go wherever anybody told them. One man absolutely broke my heart as I approached and asked if he was looking for anyone. He was looking over my shoulder, then looked straight in my face and said, "My mom?" as though hoping I'd say, "Oh yes, I just talked to her! Right this way, please!"

There was a bell that rang whenever a family was reunited. It didn't ring often, though I'm told as they week rolled on it started to become a frequent occurrence. I did get to see several reunited couples walk out the door, and every one of them thanked me as they passed for volunteering. I didn't want to be thanked, honestly. This was four hours or so out of my life. I didn't feel like I was doing anything praiseworthy, really. But I was very glad to be there.


One other thing worth noting, probably the second most influential thing that happened that day, and it was as I left. After awhile, the steady stream of people coming in off the buses was on the decline, and there were more volunteers than were needed. I'd intended to get home around lunch time, anyway, so I took my leave then. I walked back to my car and navigated through the hundreds of buses in the Reliant parking lot.

As I was about to turn onto the street, I caught a glimpse of a man who hadn't changed clothes since the storm hit. He was about to cross the street where there was a K-Mart (or Target or Wal-Mart, you get the idea; most of the refugees were given gift cards to buy some food/clothes, and I know a lot of hotels and apartments opened up vacant doors for awhile). The man was pushing a shopping cart in which two small children sat. His wife was on one arm, and she had a purse with her. And that was it. That was all they had as they walked away from Reliant Park that afternoon.

But I'll never forget the look on the man's face. At that moment, he was the wealthiest man in the world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-Two: One-Sentence Updates!

I spent almost all last night trying to be a good husband.

Amazing Spider-Man #600 is out today.

I think I've finally found something that justifies Twitter's existence.

I'm making some nice progress on a new play that I shouldn't be writing at this time.

This year's Aeros team is going to look a lot like two years ago's Aeros team.

9 looks like it could be an awesome flick.

Hannah gets home today!

Travis Zajac re-signed with the Devils.

I think the Lightning are going to surprise some folks next year.

Our 43rd season is much closer than I had originally thought.

Banquet has managed to design a new lasagna tray that is both more aesthetically pleasing than the old model and less capable of carrying a decent amount of lasagna.

Yesterday's post had more comments then I've had on one post in (I think) a full month.

NES and SNES games had some of the best musical themes in video game history. is streaming a Final Fantasy marathon to raise money for autism research.

I'm done blogging now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety-One: Hope is not a cupcake

(Note: the new blog tracking my reading project is at, if you're interested. I really don't imagine it's going to make for terribly exciting reading, though)

Today during Bible study, my boss said something like "Hope can't be bought at a grocery store."

Naturally, my initial thought, whispered to the person next to me, was, "But cupcakes can, and they're kind of the same thing." I was on my second cup of coffee at that point, by the way. I was thinking, hope makes you happy, cupcakes make you happy. Obviously, it was a silly metaphor not intended to be taken seriously. And so, of course, I started to take it seriously. Hope can't be a cupcake, I reasoned, because cupcakes taste great, but rot your teeth and ruin your insides, and they always leave you with a sugar crash when all is said and done.

To some, this would actually be a PERFECT description of the phenomenon known as hope; I, however, am a fairly hopeful person. I've been told that makes me an optimist, and while I disagree with that on a technicality or two, I acknowledge that "optimist" is a much simpler way to categorize my outlook on life while still being mostly true, so we'll go with it for now. The point is, I'm not one of those people who thinks hope rots your teeth and leaves you with a crash.

Well. Depending on what you're hoping for, of course.

Hang on a second, let me find my way back to my original train of thought.... (on my third cup of coffee now, in case you were curious)

Hope not at a grocery store, but cupcakes are, and that's kind of the same thing. No it's not, cupcakes feel good for awhile, then leave you ruined. So then I wanted to find a better metaphor for hope, something that was good and nourishing to your body, that leaves you better than you were before you ate it. And I came up with...broccoli with melted cheese. That was the first thing that popped into my head. I do like broccoli with melted cheese, but for some reason "Hope is broccoli with melted cheese to my soul" just didn't resonate with me.

It may be that hope is not actually like any particular foodstuff. Imagine that. (Perhaps hope is an invisible orange that you hold in your hands?)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ninety: Beauty

I grew up in the Midwest. I was born in the city (Torrance, California), but we moved to Wellington, Kansas when I was six, so while I had memories from California, most of my important formative years were spent on the plains. As we often do when we grow up in a certain geographical area, I began to find great beauty in my surroundings. To this day, I still find myself a bit breathless thinking of the wonderful things God put in the Midwest, glimpses into His creative spirit, fingerprints etched into my mind of His love for aesthetic beauty.

--The bluest sky uninhibited by clouds, stretching for miles in every direction over a flat horizon until it gives the illusion that you are underneath some great azure bowl, and if you could climb high enough you could tough its limits.

--The night sky uninterrupted by city lights. More stars than you ever imagined could exist. You never really understand why they refer to the sky as a sea of stars unless you've seen it miles away from any major city; they seem to swirl against sheer blackness until it almost makes you dizzy to stare any longer.

--The blowing winds. Feeling a tangible force pushing against you as you go for a walk, watching leaves and twigs float and drift through the air or scurry across the pavement as if pursued by something.

--The changing of four distinct seasons--the heat of summer, the cold of winter, the changing of the leaves in autumn and the resurgence of color in the springtime.

--Ready-to-be-harvested fields bowing to the prairie wind as you drive by. The heads of wheat roll like ripples on a lake.

--Sunsets. I've seen mountains, beaches, and deserts, and no place has sunsets like the Midwest.

--Storms. Lightning igniting the sky in dark purple hues for over an hour while thunder lazily rolls through the air, resonating in you house and all the way to your gut, before cracking suddenly and violently, just a reminder of the wild unpredictability that surrounds you.

To me, these things are all beautiful, and while it may sound hokey and over-spiritual, I really do see and feel God in all of them. I'm not going to lie, these are all things that I miss. These are all thoughts that make me think, "home." A lot of time, when I listen to Rich Mullins music, I see these pictures in my mind. (Not a big surprise, as Rich was from Wichita, about half an hour from where I grew up)

Moving from Kansas/Oklahoma to Houston was a big change. There are no horizons here, no sunsets, no winter-spring-summer-fall setup, no discernible storm "season", no gusty windy days, no fields, no stars. While some of these things do technically exist, once you've seen them all your life in a small Kansas town, the Houston variety simply doesn't compare.

Nevertheless, over the past few years, I have found God has been opening my eyes to His presence and His beauty in this hot, crowded, often-dirty metropolis:

--It begins in the diversity of the people. It is evident in our skin tones, but also in the many cultures that have assimilated in this city. Restaurants, festivals, art shows, churches remind me of what a vast and mysterious world we are in. There is great beauty in diversity.

--When I allow myself, I see beauty on the city streets. Every car contains a person, a family, someone going someplace to do something. Lives. Stories. Every person unique, with hopes and dreams and heroes and villains and circumstance fit to their own individual existences. Each one loved as individually and as passionately by God as I and my family are. And there's something awesome in that.

--The wonderful creativity of the human mind exhibited in artistic and architectural works seen all over: on sidewalks, in parks, in front of buildings, on buildings, and even illegally on street signs. A reminder that God is creator, and that He made us with an innate desire to be creative. As an artist, these evidences of human creativity are genuinely inspiring.

--The animals that dwell in the city. Pigeons, lizards, raccoons, and bats aren't exotic, but they're everywhere, vestiges of a natural world that have found a way to live in harmony within this concrete jungle of humanity.

--Winter days. As much as I miss the colder weather of the Midwest, there is something fantastic about wearing a T-shirt and shorts out the door in the middle of January.

--People helping people. I have seen more service-based organizations and more examples of self-sacrifice in Houston than anywhere else I have been. This is because it's such a large place, more of these organizations are bound to exist, but still, the fact remains that there are hundred of organizations dedicated to the homeless, the impoverished, the hungry, the desperate, the lost, the lonely, and the forgotten throughout the city, and it fills me with the hope that we, as a people, are not lost so long as we remember to love our neighbor.

These things, too, are beautiful. They are different, but they are reminders that there is beauty in the city just as there was beauty on the plains, because wherever God is, there is beauty.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Nine: Welcome to our Pool, you'll notice there's a "P" in it. Who brought the toddler??

Wow. Blogger lets you have a really long post subject if you want to have one!

Happy Sunday, everyone! Everybody here has been in a much better mood today after 1) Robbie slept long and hard last night, 2) Kim got to stay home and rest while I took Robbie to church, and 3) I, um...well honestly, I'm just in a better mood because they are. Also, I had two cups of coffee in Sunday school this morning.

Eerie weather fact: every day from yesterday through next Thursday has nearly the exact same forecast: high 92-94, low 76-78, 30% chance of thunderstorms. Further, every day has a difference between the high and low of exactly sixteen degrees. Consistency? Or a rut? You decide.

Or don't. It's really not that important.

Took Robbie out to the pool yesterday for the first time. Just the two of us, and he really loved it. I was a little surprised, because getting water in his face during bath time usually = game over, but he really, really loved the pool. We played for about half an hour before Kim came and made us get out to have a snack, and he would probably have gone right back in if not for the fact that it was time to go to the block party at church (which went very well, thanks to all who prayed. At least 26 decisions for Christ were made, and over 300 people came, among other blessings).

Tomorrow starts the big reading project. And it will be pretty big. I've got somewhere between 40-50 books to read. I love that the Houston Public Library calls a library card a Power Card. It sounds like an item from an old Final Fantasy game. I left an awesome Facebook status based on that idea. Only Tarvis liked it.

Man, what would I do without Tarvis?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Eight: Quickie

Just a short post today to say that you won't be getting a long post today.

It's been a loooong day at my place. Everyone tired, everyone feeling like they're coming down with something or they've got something, everybody waking up a few hours earlier than they should have. Some fun adventures had somewhere within the happenings of the day, but I'm beat.

Not literally.

Anyway, maybe tomorrow we can talk about it. :-)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Seven: I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor...

...and I don't like it very much.

Anybody remember this song from childhood? The kids downstairs have been practicing it for their showcase all week. Fun song. For those who aren't In The Know, the singer of the song is in the process of being eaten by a boa constrictor--a situation the singer finds unfavorable. As their doom is slowly sealed, the singer frets over each body part that disappears into the beast's jaws--tows, knees, thigh, middle, neck, and before he or she can lament the loss of his or her head, the song ends in a gulp.

It's good times.'s LIES! ALL LIES!!!

A boa constrictor would NOT start eating you at the toes! It would start at the head! That is, IF such a snake were actually large enough to eat you! A more accurate singing of the song would go "I'm being swallowed by a MMF MF MMPH MMMMMMFH..." Furthermore, boas hunt by wrapping their bodies around their prey and constricting (hence the name "constrictors", clever, no?) every time their victim breathes out, suffocating them. You'd be dead before the creature began to swallow you. You would not have time to sing a song! Never! A more accurate singing of the song in this case would be, "I'm being suffocated by a boa constrictor...I...ACK! GASP! *cough cough* *Silence*"

What are we teaching these children?

For the record, this was among my favorite childhood songs :-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Six: Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high...

Have I mentioned that I'm constantly starting new projects while in the middle of existing projects?

I already posted this to my facebook, but just so my blog won't be jealous, I'll give you the run-down here: I've decided to start up a new reading project. I posted a request on FB for anybody interested to suggest three books for me to read, and of the three I'll pick two and construct a list of books that, come hell or high water, I will eventually get through. (This idea came just after finishing last night's post, when I realized that I don't usually pick up a book on my own, but will usually read something if someone suggests it to me/hands it to me. Add to that my love of lists and my stubbornness for finishing ambitious projects, and boom goes the dynamite)

I'm not putting a timeline or deadline on this one. I'm just going to start when I can start and keep going until I get done. The suggestions I've already got are really exciting; some are books I've thought about picking up before, others are books I know I probably would not have picked up on my own (pretending they're beside me?).

Here, then, is the plan: tomorrow, I'm going to the library to get my own card. (I know, I know. But I've been mooching off Kim's library card for the past couple of years) I'll also look to see if something on The List is readily available, and I can get started this weekend. I'll finalize The List on Sunday sometime, including the reading order. Next Monday, I'm going to set up a new blog specifically for tracking my progress throughout the (year? two years? who knows?) and collect my thoughts as I finish each book. (Again, more for my benefit than anybody else's, but I'd like to keep a record of this particular journey) I'll update it every Monday as long as I'm able.

As a person who likes to read, but doesn't read very much, but knows he needs to read a lot more, I'm really excited about this. Don't worry, WBW, we're still tight. I'll still be here every day for another half-year. And I won't skimp on Monday content just because I have to write on the other blog. (I'll post a link to it when I get it up and running, in case you're interested) Just wanted to celebrate this new adventure with you. Plus, it gave me something to write about for today ;-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Five: The Book of Lies

You know what I don't think I've done yet? A book review. So here's a book review.

I just finished reading Brad Meltzer's The Book of Lies. Meltzer wrote my favorite graphic novel of all time, DC's Identity Crisis, so hopes were relatively high for this mystery-thriller-pseudo-Biblical story. Here's your basic premise: Your protagonist is a guy named Cal, a former federal agent who now works for a homeless shelter-type place. One night while on the job, he runs across his dad (who accidentally murdered Cal's mom when Cal was eight and has been in jail/out of Cal's life ever since). Cal's dad has a bullet wound. Turns out his dad was making some sort of mysterious delivery that supposedly included a map to an item known as the Book of Lies, which nobody knew for certain what it was, but an organization called The Leadership had been searching for it for centuries. According to legend/myth/whatever, the Book of Lies was something that God gave to Cain after Cain murdered Abel, and the Leadership viewed it as their God-given right to possess whatever secrets the Book contained. Cal wants to know what his father's up to, so he looks for the shipment, a federal agent gets killed, a Leadership assassin with a hell hound of sorts gets involved, and Cal and his dad find an original copy of the first Superman comic book ever published. So as they're being chased across the country by the Leadership gun, the dead agent's partner, and some eerie person known over the phone as The Prophet, Cal's figuring out what the murder of Cain has to do with the creation of Superman, which has something to do with a rare Russian gun that shot his father.

Not much farther-fetched than that da Vinci stuff, anyway.

I don't want to say any more story-wise, because to do so may give away one of the many plot twists that make this a fun read. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did it was pretty quickly and pleasantly paced. However, there were two problems I had with Book of Lies as a whole. First, Meltzer set up a lot of stuff to look pretty significant, and some of it was really neat, but it didn't always hit a payoff. For example, the hell hound I mentioned above: this creature was pretty prominently featured for the first, oh, third of the book. The narrative gave this beast an almost mythic quality that went well with the slightly-supernatural eerie tone the story was taking. After the first altercation with the dog, just kinda went to being a normal dog. And its relationship to its master was relegated to "man obsessed with his dog." Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with man obsessed with his dog. That guy can be a fun character. But it felt like a letdown after such a significant set-up. There were a few other instances like this, and this is probably just a matter of taste, but I generally believe that, when you build something up, you need to give it a payoff worthy of the intrigue you've built in to it. (While we're all celebrating the release of Half-Blood Prince, this principle is part of what made the Harry Potter series so great)

The other issue I had with the book was that it was one of those stories you really can't think too hard about after the fact. Things move along quickly enough while reading it that you'll allow certain things to slide, but as I reflected upon the book later (and I admit, this is a nasty habit I have when it comes to books), some of it stopped making any sense. Why would such-and-such do this? How did this-or-that happen in the first place? Why couldn't they just so-and-so? And, the dreaded Wait...did they ever bother to explain blah-blah-blah? These were all variations of questions I had thinking back upon BoL. I realize saying something is improbable in a story linking Superman to Able and Cain may be a bit hypocritical, but I view far-fetched stories like this the same way I view fantasy, sci-fi, and comic books: you set up the microcosm, the little world in which you'll be playing. You make up the rules, you tell us what is and is not possible and what is and is not likely. Anything that happens in the world you set up is fair long as it still makes sense in the world you've set up. Meltzer's world features a sinister body of men that predated (and later included) the Nazis who have spent the last seventy or so years looking for a comic book so they can find something God gave to Cain. That's your microcosm, I love it, let's go with it. But an improbably story is not an excuse for completely nonsensical things to happen. (Even Alice's adventures in Wonderland made sense within the realm of the Wonderland)

Now this makes it sound like I disliked the book, which is far from the truth. I just feel that my comments like "pleasantly paced" and "a fun read" are pretty self-explanatory, whereas more ambiguous things like "occasionally missed payoff" and "occasional lapses in logic in the Biblical Superman murder mystery" needed some clarifying. Overall, it's a fun read and a good story. There are some real page-turner moments, and the ending, while not terribly original, was fairly inspiring and heartwarming. (To me, anyway. I fully acknowledge all of my biases. I won't go into more detail because that would spoil it, but I understand that one man's "inspiring" may very well be another man's "hokey." And that's as it should be) If Meltzer had wanted, he may have been able to create a more overall-satisfying tale, or at least a slightly tidier one, but the story he crafted is good, and the book is, on the whole, a good deal of fun. A summer blockbuster of novels, if you will.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Four: Squid. Squid. Squid. Squid. Squid.

Halfway through yesterday's post, I passed the halfway point of this 365 project. Go me.

Congrats to the Bergstroms, who finished a very successful 365 photo venture yesterday afternoon. I will miss it.

I will miss them, too. (Was that ominous?)

Here's a story that, while cool, is not quite as cool as its headline makes it sound: Squid story, complete with video. My favorite part about this story? The Humboldt squid can eat people. Eat them. Alive. I love marine life, but I would not step near a Humboldt.

I had a meeting in the boss's office (rhyme time!) after Bible study this morning. It went fairly well, but the boss was sitting on the couch, and a small spider crawled out from behind the couch and gradually worked its way around all the picture frames on her wall throughout the meeting. It took every ounce of willpower I had not to interrupt her and smack the wall right behind her the whole meeting long. Would that have been disrespectful?

Finally: I appreciate your comment that I am the most talented artist you know; however, I've seen you blow so much smoke up so many stacks over the past few years, I'm afraid the compliment just doesn't register. (This does not apply to any of you, but I needed to get it out)

I'm warm. Is anybody else warm? It's warm.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Three: Cowlick

From wikipedia:

"The term 'cow-lick' originates with the domestic bovine's habit of licking its young, which results in a swirling pattern in the hair."

Just in case you were curious. Because I know I was. (I actually suspected this was the case, but clearly I was interested enough to look it up to make sure)

Happy Monday, all!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-Two: Haiku 2

I have not much to
Write (yet again) on this here
Blog; haiku part two!

Mayo on the bun.
I was sure supposed to check.
I am a bad friend.

Sidney won a Cup.
Geno, he won a Cup, too.
Boo-hoo Marian.

Try hard to skateboard.
Running into your mom's van.
YouTube. You're famous.

Creepy Sonic girl.
Chasing you down Westheimer.
I won't sleep tonight.

First, five syllables.
Then, more than five syllables.
Last, five syllables.

Do you like the circus?
I went to one in third grade.
Eh. It was okay.

Rattle. Pop. Shfffft! Sniff.
Mmm. Smells good. Crunch. You eat some.
Pringles make bad poems.

Sometimes you win some, but then
Usually you don't.

Travis wants to help.
"Country fried steak toaster." Hm.
Not really much help.

Two days left of work
Before going to England?
Play Bubble Spinner.

Potted meat. Smallville.
When you get married, these things
Might just disappear.

Who else reads this blog?
Personalized haiku are
Kinda fun to write!

Godzilla! Dance! Dance!
Gamera! Friend of children!
I don't fear Japan...

Get back from Europe.
We need some outgehangen.
Tarvis says, "Mm-hm."

Happy Monday, friends!
Hope your week rocks your face off!
Not literally.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty-One: Weekend Game Time

In my opinion, Hellboy II > Hellboy. So, that that for whatever it's worth.

Game time! Wannabewordslinger is proud to add these additions to Bubble Spinner and Ice Breaker in the WBW arcade!

First, for those of you who love to slay dragons, there's this. Warning: after level 26, it becomes pretty impossible to lose.

Second, hat tip to Tarvis, we've got this gem, which would be my new second-favorite flash game if not for the fact that it's pretty easy and really short. Still, mucho fun. And, features the Naughty Naughty Noddingshire theme music. Gotta love it.

In the immortal words of Tatsu, "Go. Play. Have fun."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighty: Caught Up

All caught up with the back-posting. Thank goodness. Should be done going out-of-town for a week at a time this 365, so hopefully I'm done back-posting for good. What a hassle. If I ever do this again, I may just post all my back-posts in one day whenever I get back from wherever I go. Or I may only travel to places with Internet access.

Or, maybe I'll just suck it up and back-post again.

Wait, I'm talking about doing this again? I still have to do it once. I've always had trouble with not looking ahead to things beyond my immediate control.

Anyway, as a follow-up to last night, here's the link to Quoteless Joe's ten minute goodbye speech.

Have I raved about the show at work yet? I don't think I have. Steel Magnolias at the A. D. Players is a treat. If you like treats, you should go to the show. You may even catch a glimpse of Mighty Tarvis while you're there, and that's always worth the price of admission, right?

Watched the movie Hellboy last night. (Thanks, Hatcher!) While it doesn't make just a whole lot of sense, I think you pretty much know what you're getting into when you watch a movie called "Hellboy" that features a large red guy with one stone fist and a tail. It's a pretty enjoyable flick. It does have a tentacle beast. Several of them, really. Does director Guillermo del Toro have a thing with tentacle beasts? I'm not opposed, of course, I love a good tentacle beast battle as much as the next guy, but if this becomes a motif then I'm a tad concerned for the upcoming Hobbit movies he's helming.

I heard a rumor that he'd been approached about directing The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but ultimately he turned it down/was rejected because he refused the resurrection aspect of the story. Otherwise, he liked it. Well, that's kind of the point to the story, I think. Does anybody know if this rumor is true?

Just watched Kat and Stormy's K-1st summer theatre camp class perform Rainbow Fish. Holy crap, that was cute. Like, majorly cute. Like, fuzzy fuzzy cute cute cute. (That just came on SO LOUDLY when I opened it on my computer. That is NOT a song you need blaring at you at any point in your day) Great job, Kat and Stormy.

I love congratulating and thanking people on my blog. Especially when I know they don't read my blog. Awesome.

Speaking of awesome....nah, I got nothing. I'm done. You can finish the sentence for yourself in the comments, if you'd like.

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Four: Bang

***Originally written on July 4, 2009. This is the last back-posted blog from vacation. Huzzah!*****

Gonna make it short and sweet: Fourth of July at the Roark place rocks.

Big gathering of in-state and out-of-state family, a feast that includes ribs, pork, and any of a number of side dishes, pillow-fighting sisters-in-law, very young children playing with their first sparklers, an unending supply of Dr. Pepper, and the nightcap: sitting on a porch swing with my wife and son after dark as cousins-and-sisters-in-law shoot off fireworks for almost a full hour.

Since I left Wellington for summer stocks, my Independence Days have been somewhat lacking in festivities. At Horsefeathers and Applesauce, we always performed a song or two for Winfield’s city-wide celebration, and one year I stuck around for fireworks afterward. That day was fun. My summers in Ohio always saw me work until after 10:00, after which I could barely see some fireworks over the trees outside the Montessori school we were staying at. We went out to Miller my first summer at Houston, but the last two years (one of which was Robbie’s one-week birthday) saw the family too tired and the circumstances (see: having an infant/toddler) too difficult for us to go anywhere at all.

All that to say, this afternoon/evening has been very nice. Really fun. I know I blogged this last night, but I love my in-law family. They’re a lively bunch who loves to be together and loves to have fun, and those type of people are always a joy to be a part of.

Hope everyone had a fun fourth.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Nine: "I just wanted to be a hockey player."

Super Joe is gone. Like, really gone. I kept holding out hope until this morning that his "career announcement" at today's press conference was going to be "2009-10 will be my last season in the National Hockey League." No such luck.

And I don't blame the man. There is absolutely no reason for him to stick around. After a decade of dominance and a couple of decent years after that, the Avs are finally in the tank, and while they're doing a decent job of righting the ship, it takes time. And Joe's 40. He's not going to be playing by the time things are set right again. He's not a Chris Chelios; Joe Sakic will only play for as long as he can be the type of player he wants/expects to be. Apparently, that time has passed.

If you want to read an awesome farewell tribute/column for Sakic, click here. There were a ton of them all over the Internet today. It wasn't just the Denver area beat writers that felt the need to give Sakic some sort of sendoff. Congratulations and thanks rained in from all across the league. Even Detroit. I don't think Sakic has an enemy in all of hockey.

I watched the press conference today on my laptop between phone calls at work. Just about every speaker started talking about what a consummate professional Joe always was, how he led not by words but by example, how he was clutch, the guy they could always count on when things got tough and the games got big. They praised his class and sportsmanship. They lauded his intellect and his competitive spirit. He was a master of all he did--and he did a lot of things quite well. Halfway through the speech, however, each speaker would start to tear up as they began to share the personal connection they'd made to Sakic; what a great man he is, what a great friend he'd become. They all mentioned that, while he was all business at the rink, there was no doubt, ever, that he was a family-man first. When Joe went home, he went from being Super Joe to Average Joe with a wife and kids, and they always came first.

Another famous Sakic nickname was Quoteless Joe. I've read countless hockey writers who've said Sakic was one of the most boring interviews they'd ever taken. They'd try to get him to brag on himself, and he wouldn't. They'd try to get him to talk trash, and he wouldn't. They'd try to get him to talk about how awesome his team was--and there were some AWESOME teams in those 20 years Sakic played with the Nordique/Avalanche franchise--and he wouldn't do it. That just wasn't his style. He wasn't mean or cold; he'd always talk to the press, he just didn't give those juicy sound-offs or soundbites that beat writers love.

He just went to the rink, kicked serious butt, celebrated with his teammates, and went home afterward.

Two Stanley Cups. Olympic Gold Medal. World Cup of Hockey gold medal. Hart Trophy. Conn Smythe trophy. Art Ross trophy. Lester Pearson trophy. All-Star game MVP. Thirteen All-Star selections. Heck, the guy even won the Lady Byng trophy one year. Eighth all-time in points. Six-hundred twenty-five goals. And, an NHL-record eight overtime winning goals in the playoffs. Always a winner; always a class act. And, for as long as I've been an Avs fan (since the team moved to Denver and the local Fox Sports station started broadcasting all their games in 1995), he's always been there. Not only there, but front and center.

And now he's not.

I'm not going to lie, it was a little emotional to watch Super Joe's final farewell. It absolutely sucks that the last season ended the way it did (back injury early in the year, and then a freak snow blower accident kept him out for the rest of the season). If anyone ever deserved a better way to go out, it was Joe. And I know that next year will be rough, even if Sakic were in the lineup (and he could still play, if he felt his body could take it another year. Man was a fitness BEAST). But I will miss him. It'll be weird watching the Avs play and knowing there's no #19 on the ice anywhere. I don't know who the next team captain will be (it was Joe for 17 years), but that "C" will look awfully strange on a different shoulder for quite awhile.

This kid may never smile again.

Anyway, I'll miss Joe Sakic. The NHL will miss Joe Sakic. Great players retire all the time, it's true, but there's no athlete in any sport whose meant more to his team and his city than Joe Sakic has for Denver and the Avalanche. (As much, sure, but never more)

Thanks, Joe. Congrats on a phenomenal career. Enjoy your family. And...yeah. Just, thanks. Thanks a lot.

Day One-Hundred Seventy: Robbie-isms, vacation-style

**** Blog post from 6/30/09. Today's post will be up later tonight*****

Today, we went with sister-in-law Julie and good friend (and one-time guest blogger) Sherri to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. Outside the aquarium is a large bronze statue of an alligator. “Look, Robbie,” I said, pointing to the statue, “see the alligator?”

Now, Robbie is a huge fan of elevators, but he learned the word “alligator” at a very young age thanks to one of his picture books, so he tends to say “alligator” when he means “elevator.” So when I said, “see the alligator,” Robbie’s eyes grew quite wide, and he replied “Robbie push the button! Robbie push the button!”

The poor child spent the next fifteen minutes trying to find the button for that alligator so he could ride it up a floor.


A couple of days ago, Kim and her sisters took Robbie with them on a shopping trip while I slept in. At Target (I think it was Target), they say a clip from the film Spider-Man 3 on the television. According to reports, Robbie stood and watched the scene where the crane smashes into a building and huge chunks of concrete crash toward the street below as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man slings his way through the debris to try to save Gwen Stacy. (Comics continuity shiver) Robbie watched this scene, and then said, “Spider-Man make a mess!”

A few hours later, Julie wanted Robbie to repeat this phrase, as it was just about the cutest thing she’d ever heard. “Robbie,” she asked sweetly, “what did Spider-Man do?”

Completely out of the blue, as this had not even been the subject of any recent conversation, Robbie stated plainly, “Spider-Man go to church on Sunday.”


On the way back from the Aquarium today, we stopped at Sonic for some soft drinks. I asked what Julie and Kim wanted and then ordered. (We all ordered some variation of Dr. Pepper, for the record. Tarvis would be proud)

About fifteen minutes later while we’re still on the road, after a period of about forty-five seconds or so when nobody’s been talking, Robbie loudly proclaims “Robbie need Dr. Pepper!”

No, we didn’t give him any, but we did laugh pretty hard, so he repeated it several times.

While walking around Kim’s grandmother’s little country house, Robbie noticed that the cats’ food bowl was empty. “Kitties need O’s,” he told me. “Kitties need O’s!” He calls the cat food “O’s” because it looks to him a lot like his Cheerio knock-off cereal that he eats for a snack throughout the day. I told him that we should tell Mema (his name for Kim’s grandmother) that the kitties want O’s next time we see her. At this point, Mema was not at home; she was out shopping for groceries so we would have something for dinner.

When Mema arrived a little over an hour later, no sooner is she in the front door when suddenly, from the other side of the house, a little voice shouts “Kitties want O’s! Kitties want O’s! Kitties want O’s!”

I laughed pretty hard, because I was the only one who had a clue what he was talking about.

Robbie and I walked by two of the cats lounging near one another in the shade. (It’s very, very hot outside, so the cats stay glued to shady spots whenever they can) Robbie points them out and we walk over to watch them. “Kitties!” he observes. “Kitties are hot!” “Kitties are sleeping!” And other such narration. At one point, one of the cats reaches its paw toward the other, and the second cat licks the first one’s paw. “Kitties don’t bite! That’s a no-no!” Robbie scolds, shaking one finger vehemently at the cats, who blink up at him in nonchalant surprise.


And, just in case you were wondering if your child really does pay attention:

Yesterday, Julie and Robbie were playing with a toy phone. Robbie said, “Ring, ring!” and then answered it. Julie asked who was on the other side of the line. “Is it Mommy?” Robbie said that it was. “What does Mommy say?” Julie asked.

“She say, ‘Mommy on the phone! No, no!’”

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Eight: No work for the next fifteen minutes! Yeah!

A conversation with a couple of coworkers yesterday led to this fun little What If: What if every time a person was condescending, you took out a small water bottle and sprayed them in the face, very sternly saying "No!", as unto a cat? How hard would that rock?


My favorite active hockey player is retiring tomorrow afternoon. Who feels a long sentimental sports-related blog coming???


What? You read my blog and you STILL haven't played Bubble Spinner? Dude, that is just wrong!!!


More amusing co-worker chatter: who would YOU like to see as the leading man in a Transformers movie? Popular answers: Harrison Ford. George Clooney (there's a scene where he's playing poker with the Decepticons). Michael J. Fox. Kiera Knightly. Famous Actor Lee Walker. With Sean Connery providing the voice of Optimus Prime, of course.


Speaking of Optimus...just...just...oy. I'm sorry for ya, big guy. Wow. Just wow.

You know what's awesome about this clip? Watch Letterman try to get through it as fast as possible. It's like he lost a bet and had to do this segment. I know that feeling, Dave. It's kinda like when I'd watch the first fourteen minutes of Riddle of the Rainbow before my first entrance.

For some reason, this kinda reminds me of when Deal or No Deal had a whole Star Wars-themed episode. No one sells out like sci-fi!


Speaking of sci-fi: is Warbot in Accounting the most depressing webcomic out there? We link, you decide.


Okay, after that one, we'll end on a happy note. (Hannah, why does this give me an awesomely ripped off idea involving you and a certain acting bug???)


All right, kids, back to work!

Day One-Hundred Sixty-Nine: Sometimes, you just don't have much to say

***Blog post for 6/29/09***

Funny thing about vacation: you start to lose track of what day it is.

Anyway, short post tonight, because I’m in writing-frenzy mode. (Also, since this will be a double-update on—I think—Friday, you shouldn’t feel too slighted)

Left my backpack with everything I’d hoped to read this week at home. Sad day, because I had three things I was planning on reading.

Also, you know what’s trippy? Reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland while writing a cross-over story for Robin Hood and Peter Pan. Feels like I’m living in a fantasy world right now.

Though really, many would say that a week away from my workplace is more like leaving Looking Glass-world for the real world for awhile. (I almost made a Matrix reference here, but because I wasn’t sure I’d get the quote exactly right, I opted not to for fear of ridicule)

Till next time, onward and upward, friends!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Seven: The Un-post

I kinda don't want to write anything today, because I really liked the back-dated post from Robbie's birthday and I hate to push it down.

So today's post is just an encouragement to scroll down and look at the post below it. Happy Tuesday! :-)

Day One-Hundred Sixty-Eight: Birthday Boy

***Originally written 6/28/09****

Two years ago today, my son was born.

For those who didn’t follow the tumultuous situation that led to this remarkable day, Kim was stuck on bed rest in the hospital for five weeks after labor started very prematurely. Then, she was on bed rest for two additional weeks at home before she was finally told to get up out of bed and walk around the house for a couple of days till Robbie was born. When we first went in to the hospital on May 5th, I asked the doctor what best-case scenario was. She said that it would be five weeks of hospital bed rest, and then Kim could rest at home until the baby was born, but she seriously doubted that would be the case. When that was the case, she told us it was a miracle, and that only prayers could have kept that baby developing safely for that long.

Two years ago today, Robbie was born a full pound and a half heavier than the minimum safe weight we’d prayed for. He was born with no premature birth defects whatsoever. As newborns go, he was pretty much perfect.

Two years ago this morning, I was dressing for work when Kim told me she was going to go in to the doctor because she thought contractions might be starting up again. I was perfectly ready to call in to work that day and go with her, but she told me it was probably nothing, that this had already happened once since she got home from the hospital and they’d ended up sending her home, no labor, no baby. I was skeptical, but at her assurance I went to work while she went to Texas Women’s with her mom.

You know how they say a woman just knows when it comes to this sort of thing? Sometimes, they’re wrong ;-)

As I was introducing the kids at our children’s theatre to Ta-Daa, the acting bug, my phone in my pocket started to vibrate. I checked it while Ta-Daa was acting out a wolf just long enough to see that it was my wife calling. She knew not to call me at work unless it was an emergency, so I was pretty sure right away what was up. I hurried through the rest of our pre-show spiel and got backstage to check my voicemail. I called Kim back, and she said that I had best hurry to the hospital, because our baby boy was coming.

“You’re sure?” I asked with just a touch of I-told-you-so, but only playfully so.

Checked out with the SM and hurried to the hospital, making sure to drive as quickly as I could within legal parameters (though I did cut through a couple of parking lots on the corners of red lights). At one point I called and asked if I should get lunch on the way, since it was near lunchtime, and Kim said the nurses had told her mom not to go back to our apartment and get the camera, as she might miss the birth, so I sped along without eating, calling just about everybody I could think of on the way.

The rest of the morning/early afternoon is the sort of thing you go to a mommy-blog to read, so I won’t go into a lot of detail on it here. It was amazing, let’s just say that. And a few hours later, we were parents.

And two years later, we’re still parents. And we’re stuck this way for the rest of our lives ;-) Today has been a joy. We didn’t do anything spectacular, really, and I think they did most of the festive-type stuff while I was napping. (I only surmise this because I woke up and most of the Wall-E brownies were already gone) Robbie got his first bike, some new clothes, some books, a dragon, and a singing card. (Oh, the joy that is the singing card) He doesn’t really grasp why he’s getting presents today, and even though we sing the happy birthday song I don’t think it will be until next year that he figures out what happy birthday really means. (It’ll throw him even more for a loop when we have another birthday with my parents next week and yet another next weekend when Kim’s immediate family comes down)

Today, however, is a day for looking back and remembering. And looking forward, of course. And for finally realizing all of the joy packed into that little phrase that is often tagged onto the end of that most popular of songs: “And many moooooooore!”

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Six: If I Told You, I'd Have To Embarrass You

The most newsworthy thing that happened in my life today, aside from returning to work, involves a fairly complicated part of potty training my son. It's one of those many, many things that is very cute and somewhat awe-inspiring if you have a toddler, but probably way TMI if you don't.

So, I'ma not share it on a public blog. Just say, "Yay, Robbie!" and pretend you're very happy for us all.

(If you are truly interested in the details of potty training, feel free to ask me. Or check out a Mommy Blog ring. Mommies love to blog about it)

(Which reminds me: Congrats to A.J. on preparing for another kid!)

Day One-Hundred Sixty-Six: Here. Safe. And Tired.

Just a quick note tonight to tell you we made it safely to Oklahoma. And that I’m exhausted and need to go to bed.

Hopefully I’ll be able to hook this computer up to Julie’s wireless Internet so I can post this tonight. She says she’s been having trouble with it connecting on other compies, though, so it may not work at all, and by the point you read this the notification of our arrival will be kinda pointless.

Nevertheless, blogging in the moment, I’m just letting you know that we’re here and tired. It feels SO NICE to drive in air conditioning again! It was also an absolutely gorgeous day for a drive: blue sky with white, fluffy clouds, mostly-green grass on both sides of the highway for most of the drive, and only a few major hang-ups, traffic-wise. (Oh, but they were certainly major, don’t misunderstand me) Robbie got a couple of good naps in, which made travel easier. I’d say he was probably only really cranky for about an hour total, which in a 10-hour trip isn’t really that bad.

Tomorrow’s Holly and Sam’s reception. I hope there’s a choreographed Muppet Show dance.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Five: Jiggity-Jig

Home again.

Verrrry tired. Preaching a sermon + family lunch + family goodbyes + 9-hour road trip with toddler = very long day.

Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things tomorrow. I'll start double-back-posting tomorrow till we get caught up.

Cuz, you know, that's never confusing.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Three: Farewell Wellington

So much I want to post about, yet I don't feel motivated to write any of it right now.

Same goes for those couple of writing projects I actually have to take care of, and quickly. Three of 'em that need to be dealt with in a timely manner, and all I can think about is the next book.

Which makes sense. Since, ya know, nobody's picked up the first book, so it's a good use of my time to keep it going.

I'll bet real writers never deal with this ;-)

Headed back to Oklahoma tomorrow for the 4th with Kim's immediate family. I'm so blessed; I love my in-laws. And most of 'em seem to like me. So, much like colors, there are blessings all around. Anyway, you won't hear from me again until we get home Monday. (We get home very late Sunday; I will not post then because I will be too tired and will be moving everything in from the car. I will post Monday) I'll be preaching at FBC Coyle on Sunday morning, so I'll appreciate prayers between now and then.

Also in need of prayers: Friend and loyal commenter Dave is on his way to England on a missions trip with his church. I'm sure he wouldn't mind my soliciting prayers on his behalf.

This has been a really good couple days in Wellington. Far more introspective than any trip home has been up to this point. Maybe I'll share some of this later. Maybe not.

I will say that I've been listening to The Afters' CD Never Going Back to OK over and over and over again this past week, and that somehow that's fueling my desire to write another novel. In fact, one of the songs has informed me of exactly how the next book will end. So there's that for a very minor teaser.

Final note: I really miss burgers, hot dogs, and chicken cooked on the grill. Thank you, this vacation, for treating me with these delicacies from the past.

See you on Monday.

Ya know. I hope.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Two (Maybe): Penguins and Goats and Bears

You know what? I'm still not even halfway through this project. That's

Anyway, today was a trip to the fantastic Sedwick County Zoo. (By the way, sorry for no guest blogging. We'll try to get you something cool and not by me very soon) We went earlier in the day, zoo-ing from 11ish to 1ish. The plan was to get there around 10, so we obviously missed that, but we did pretty well nonetheless.

I have to say that it's nice to be in an environment with variety in its temperatures. It was downright pleasant outside for the first hour of our trip. Robbie loved the zoo for the most part, as there were plenty of places for him to run, buttons to push, steps and ramps to go up and down, and even some slides to go down. Oh, and there were animals that were occasionally interesting. So, after today's zoo visit and Tuesday's Jenks (Oklahoma) Aquarium trip, I'd like to present to you Robbie's Animal Picks of the Week!

* Turtles! Could not pry this kid away from the turtle feeding tank at the aquarium. (Note: the tank did not actually feed the turtles; rather, it was a tank in which patrons could feed turtles. I know, I know, it's a confusing name) We had to take his stuffed bear away from him to make sure he didn't drop it in the water. At one point, he almost leaned far enough over the railing to touch the slimy (yet appealing, of course) creatures. That would have been bad, becuase Kim says turtles have salmonella. And Kim took college classes in diseases, so I trust her.

* Mudskippers. They are kinda funny-looking, but I really think the appeal here was that Robbie thoroughly enjoyed saying "MUDKIPPER!" He kept running back to this one little tank in the big aquarium exhibit to point at these guys and yell "MUDKIPPER!"

* Flamingos. Whether it's the funny name, the bright colors, the unusual shape, or the familiarity with these creatures from his favorite 1-2-3 book, Robbie really got a kick out of the flamingos at the front of the zoo. He kept asking to see them again throughout the day. Good thinking putting them right by the entrance, zoo! That way we could say "We'll see the flamingos again before we leave" and NOT be lying!

* Bamboo! I know it's not an animal, but the first time the kid said the word "bamboo" he cracked himself up. I got video on my phone of him saying "Bamboo" over and over and making himself laugh. At several points in the day, when Robbie was starting to throw a fit, I'd pick him up and whisper "bamboo!" into his face, and then he'd start saying it, and then we were fine. Bamboo. I'd forgotten what an incredible word it really was.

* Grizzly bears. For those who don't know, Robbie has a small yellow bear he carries with him EVERYWHERE. Its name is Bear, and all it ever says is "GRRRRRR!" Bear eats Robbie's snacks, drinks Robbie's apple juice, goes to bed with Robbie, and spends a lot of time in Robbie's mouth. So, taking Robbie to see some REAL bears? Wow. That was cool. One of the few animals Robbie was still talking about around dinner time. "Robbie saw a bear! Robbie saw ANUDDER bear!" He even held his out to GRRR at them at one point, and wanted to go through the glass to touch them. We didn't let him.

* Water. Again, not an animal. But water is great. Waterfalls, puddles, tanks, water fountains. Awesome. Except when you're crouched down to get a close-up shot of some Australian bird in a walk-through exhibit and a sprinkler suddenly explodes to life directly above you. That's just scary.

* Orangutan. Fairly certain Robbie just liked to say this word, cuz he forgot about them pretty quickly.

* Octopus. Another fun word, but this one left enough of an impression that Robbie started seeing octopi in other places than at the aquarium. Example: "Robbie see octopus in the kitchen!"

* And finally, bamboo. Again. Seriously, you have no idea how funny this word is. Have a two-year-old, and you'll find out. Bamboo. Bamboo. Bamboo.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventy-One (I think): Update on updating

Soooo, I have my back-updates on my laptop, but apparently my laptop can't communicate with my dad's Internet, so either A) I won't post them for simplicity's sake, or B) I'll just back-update twice a day after I get back to Houston, like last time. Preference?

I won't write a lot tonight, either. I've been on my Dad's compy a lot today. It's the first day of the NHL free agent period, so there have been lots of TSN refreshing, Twitter checking, and message board surfing. I always found it kinda cruel that this event falls on Canada Day, as in the past it has been the stage for many good players leaving Canadian teams for American cities that can pay more. This year, however, the six teams north of the border have fared pretty well.

Well, almost. Sad day for the Oilers. You want a good "What a dork!" hockey player story? Ask me about Dany Heatley next time you see me.

Speaking of "What a dork!" hockey stories...did Hossa really sign a 12-year deal? More importantly, does this mean the Blackhawks will now lose the next 12 Stanley Cup Finals???

Speaking of Stanley Cup Finals, my dad and I re-watched game seven of the Tampa/Calgary final in 2004. Yes, it's still sweet, five years later. Man I love the Stanley Cup.

Okay, signing off. Going to the zoo with the family in Wichita tomorrow. Morning. Should be fun. OH, and special guest blogging tomorrow! Woot!

Also, started a second novel last night. (A followup to the first, which I need to rewrite still. And I would have, had I not left it in Houston) Unfortunate, given that I have some playwrighting work I need to get done.

Sometimes I feel like I write like a real writer, only without getting paid for it like a real writer does. Need to fix that.

Wait, I mean I love the art. Yup. All about art here. And sending kids to college. But mostly art.

Okay. Signing off for real.