happy birthday to john buck (the all-star himself).

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july 7, 1980, kemmerer, wyoming – greatness was born. and here we are, 30 years later, and greatness is traveling to his first all-star game.

let’s be completely honest – none of us saw this coming. even the most devout fans had not considered mr. incredible to be a serious all-star game candidate. even when he was a member of the “we send one player because every team gets to send one player” royals.

who knew that when the royals traded him away to toronto he would receive the 3rd most votes among american league catchers? and sure, he’s only getting to play because victor martinez is hurt and the AL needed a replacement. but the reality is that John Buck is traveling to Anaheim this weekend to play in the all-star game. the ALL-STAR GAME. WHAT.

can i add his American League jersey to my wedding registry? or can i start taking up donations so that i can get it? or you could just go buy it for me here? i simply must own it.

back on march 31, i put together a quick blog comparing buck and jason kendall’s spring training statistics. for the most part, john was making kendall look like a joke (coincidentally his initials are JK – interesting). kendall was batting .139 to buck’s .304. you can read more here.

lets look at their halfway point stats:

buck .269 avg, .502 slg, 13 hr, 40 rbi.
kendall .267 avg, .319 slg, 0 hr, 29 rbi.

not even a contest. also, can we look at my season predictions for JB?!

.268 avg, .524 slg, 18 hr, 84 rbi

could he be anymore on pace to NAIL those numbers? i mean literally, do i know my favorite player or what?!

also there are only two catchers on the AL roster. joe mauer and john buck. good company for sure – here’s to hoping that john comes in for mauer for some late inning heroics. perhaps a walk-off dinger?! all-star mvp?! ooooooo man – the possibilities! i’ll be tuning in for sure.*

enjoy your birthday john. hope your trip to anaheim didn’t spoil any vacation plans you had for your birthday weekend. hopefully they added to the festivities.

-ap.

and ps: wikipedia has it listed that buck throws….switch!? i’m researching this

* – i can say things like this now that i have directv. holler.

our engagement photos.

>sorry for the lack of blogs lately everyone. it’s been a busy busy month.

but here comes a fury of posts. i’ve got three on my mind right now, and chances are i can get them all written down in the next 45 minutes. here’s the first one: our engagement pictures are up! check out a sampling on the parson’s blog – they did an amazing job. more pics after the “jump”!

just click the pic.

-ap.

EDIT: so there’s no way i’ll finish my next two blogs in time. but coming soon: john buck made the all-star team.

video blogs & super jack brothers.

>i’m thinking about dabbling in video blogs.

i have a feeling that they’re a more effective way of communicating than writing paragraphs, bullet points, etc. they’re more interactive and more interesting. and i feel like with my editing experience, they’d be equally as tasking to post.

BUT there are definitely pros and cons to both. for example, i can’t embed clever links/asterisks in videos, but i can in text.* but when i get super excited about something – say, the LOST finale – there’s no way that text can fully capture the high degree of emotion that i’m feeling in that moment.

so that’s on the horizon.

also – this is the best ever (warning, potential spoiler):

FALCON PUNCH.

-apc.

* – see?

what makes me feel alive?

>- general mysteriousness and detective work.
– intentionally digesting a new album.
– a quality ipa.
LOST references.
star wars everything.
bringing on the cats.
– jumping into bodies of water.
– planning life with my future wife.
– spontaneous rhyming.
– sizing up a room and determining how we would fare in Survivor.
– throwing rocks.
– storytelling.
– my two beautiful and genius sisters.
– understanding and actually feeling that i am an integral part of God’s story.
– my initials…

-apc.

a 12-year old speaks: what adults can learn from kids.

>http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf
don’t you ever tell a middle schooler what they can’t do.*

for now, let’s ignore the fact that this 12-year old is beyond rad and focus on the substance here:

age has absolutely nothing to do with it.
what have we accomplished? we always ask students what they want to be when they grow up. usually their responses are outlandish – astronaut, baseball player, stuntman, etc. not many of them jump at the idea of being a [fill in boring job description here]. our ability to think outside the box and function outside our comfort zone drastically decreases as we get older. we’re suffocated. held back. we start to learn the limitations in life and don’t allow ourselves to dream the absurd dreams anymore.

certain types of irrational decision making is exactly what this world needs.
how many of us still dream? how many of us still aim for Utopian perfection? youth’s ability to imagine is able to push the boundaries past the limitations that adults have been conditioned into. kids are capable of things that we are NOT. what if we gave them the chance to prove it?

the students should teach their teachers…the relationship should be reciprocal.
oh man. how many times did we all think this when we were going through middle school and high school? i for sure thought it in 3/7 of my classes each day. why do we have thoughts like that? because teachers aren’t allowing their students to expand. the teacher has all the answers and you better not question their teachings. this shuts down students’ ability to grow and develop. what if the students were given the chance to run the show? rather than feeling like the lower one on the totem pole, what if they had ownership of their classes?

at hillcrest we have a high school leadership group that meets on thursday nights – it’s a group of students that are committed to transforming our youth ministry from the inside out. after many weeks of encouraging and teaching and vision casting, a new philosophy was set for the thursday meetings: student led discussions. these high schoolers are leading the conversations! all it takes is an opportunity to rise to the occasion and students will give it what they’ve got. and if the foundation has been laid properly – they’ll blow you away every time.

it is imperative to create opportunites for children so that we can grow up and blow you away. one of my 6th grade students is traveling to Haiti next week. yes, Haiti, that place of major devastation due to that major earthquake from a couple months ago. not sure if you remember it – a lot of us seem to have already moved on…shocker. this student is going to Haiti. originally, when we asked the orphanage if it was okay that we were bringing a 12-year old along, the group was hesitant to give the OK. thank the Lord that they did. this is exactly the type of opportunity that students don’t get nearly enough. there is a 100% chance that this student will come home from Haiti with a greater perspective on himself, God, others and the world of which he is apart.

“adults often underestimate kids abilities…and when expectations are low, we will sink to them.” fortunately, the opposite is also true – if we allow kids to achieve their potential – they can meet those expectations.

again, it comes back to opportunities – the parents of this 12-year old allowed her to pursue her dream as a young child, and now she’s a TED speaker?! this girl learned to READ less than 8 years ago and now she’s forming those learned words into sentences that are altering minds and influencing others and spurning late-night blog posts from yours truly! and where does it begin? with an ADULT looking at a child, at a student, at the next generation and encouraging them to dream big and providing a CHANCE for them to succeed.

so for anyone working with young people of any kind – trust them to succeed. if you show them that you believe they can do anything, and you allow them the outlet to grow and meet their potential – they’ll do just that.

-apc.

* – LOST: john locke reference.

pre-season baseball predictions.

>AL East: new york yankees
AL Central: minnesota twins
AL West: seattle mariners
AL Wild Card: boston red sox

NL East: philadelphia phillies
NL Central: st. louis cardinals
NL West: colorado rockies
NL Wild Card: los angeles dodgers

ALWC: twins over red sox
ALDS: yankees over mariners
NLWC: phillies over dodgers
NLDS: cardinals over rockies

ALCS: yankees over twins
NLCS: phillies over cardinals

WS: phillies over yankees

-apc.

currently reading/listening to.

>currently reading:

learning evangelism from jesus – jerram barrs
your first two years in youth minitsry – doug fields

currently listening to:

of the blue colour of the sky – ok go
the unauthorized biography of reinhold messner – ben folds five
broken bells – broken bells
all killer no filler – sum 41

just if you’re interested. that’s all.. oh wait one more thing – i’ve always thought the dude on the front of reinhold looks like kevin bacon. ok now that’s all.

okay fine. april fools on sum 41.

-apc.

kendall vs buck.

>i realized today (and twittered) the following today:

“jason kendall: batting .139 with 0 homeruns for KC in spring training. john buck: .304 and 2 homers for toronto. feel the sting.”

and here we see the espn player card widgets for the evil jason kendall and the incredible (or should i say, mr. incredible) john buck.
http://widgets.clearspring.com/o/472b8f6ebd268dc3/4bb3f48b95f5d818/472b8f6ebd268dc3/892f12aa/-cpid/fbb82e8b23f82114
http://widgets.clearspring.com/o/472b8f6ebd268dc3/4bb3f4bdf6aaf604/472b8f6ebd268dc3/352469f9/-cpid/fbb82e8bd33f6edf
these are last years’ stats, but starting on monday, these stats will morph into the 2010 regular season statistics. as you can see (unless you access this page after april 5th, then it will be the new stats), in 2009, buck led in AVG (.247 vs .241), triples (4 vs 2), homers (8 vs 2), and almost matched kendall in doubles (12 vs 19) in well less than HALF the number of at bats (186 vs 452) and games played (59 vs 134), due to splitting time with miguel olivo.

if you project buck’s totals to match kendall’s 452 at bats, bucks numbers for 2009 are .247 avg, 112 hits, 29 doubles, 10 triples, 19 homers, 88 rbis. not too shabby. i’m still baffled that he split time with anyone at all. anyway, looking forward…

my predictions for 2010:

buck: .268 avg, .524 slg, 18 hr, 84 rbi
kendall: .249 avg, .450 slg, 9 hr, 66 rbi

i will be keeping a close eye on john’s production in toronto this season, and i will likely be referencing this post numerous times this season.

go relish.

-apc.

kstate moving forward: butler, and…uni?

>i’ll be honest. the university of northern iowa scares me.

they beat ku, which i’m beginning to realize was no fluke, and they have the type of team that can beat ku – themselves. they’ve got a big man underneath to lay on people (just like aldrich) and hot shooters (just like collins and others). they may not be the most athletic team in the league, play as fast the most or rebound the best, but when it boils down to what type of team ku couldn’t beat – UNI has that physical composition. we saw this last weekend.

and as has been demonstrated 3 times this year by ku, kstate doesn’t match up against a physical ogre underneath and sharp shooters on the wing. and that is exactly what UNI has. so if kstate can pull off this run to the final four, beat butler tomorrow night and end up in indianapolis next weekend – i’m really scared of the potential matchup against UNI. if they can beat the jayhawks, they can probably beat anybody. and kstate just doesn’t match up well.

that having been said, its not like ohio st is anything less scary. evan turner has the potential to rip a team apart any night (not unlike byu’s fredette and xavier’s crawford, so the cats have some experience here). and tennessee not only handed ku its first loss earlier this season, but also beat at the time No. 1 kentucky. the only team that doesn’t make me flat out nervous is michigan state – but tom izzo is a final four machine and should never be counted out. even without Lucas, they’re still an izzo team.

which brings me back to UNI.

if i’m scared of all 4 teams – why wouldn’t i want to face UNI? kstate beats the team that ku couldn’t to go to the championship game! we lose to kansas 3 times in the regular season, and due to an early ku exit we don’t get our 4th shot – could a beating of UNI be the next best thing? possible.

but lets not overlook butler. the bulldogs’ win over syracuse was not a fluke. although i’m thankful to be playing butler instead of syracuse – this team is hot hot hot and has its eyes on a trip HOME to indianapolis. they matchup pretty even up and down the board with the exception of rebounding and blocks. curtis kelly has been a monster underneath so far this tournament and (i think) was the real reason for the victory last night against xavier. if kelly and jamar samuels can be a presence underneath and keep butler out of the lane – i think kstate is moving on to the final four. pullen and clemente will do what they do, sutton can shut down their best guard on defense, and colon can lay on some people underneath.

kstate looks good. butler might even look better. but i think kstate has the edge moving forward, and i’m really hoping for a matchup against UNI in the final four.

here’s to hoping. bring on the cats.

-apc.

lcd soundsystem, broken bells.

>i’ve been listening to LCD Soundsystem for the last week or so. i hadn’t really heard anything of the decade ended. PMA was blogging the best songs of the decade. as the end of december wound down, i kept seeing all the potential #1 candidates slowly dwindle, and before #1 was revealed, i was at a loss for what it might be.

turns out i’d never heard the number one song according to my favorite music blog. in the words of hermione granger…”what. an. idiot.”

the top song: “All My Friends” is great. i listened to it like 4 times in a row right then and there – which doesn’t sound like many times, but it’s a 7:17 track. so 4 times that is a while. 29 minutes and 8 seconds, actually. so i vowed to check them out. and when i received an itunes gift card in the mail from my mother on valentines day, i decided that this was my moment to investigate it.

so far here’s what i’ve gathered: they’re awesome, energetic, funky, and very diverse. and their first track on their first LP is called “Daft Punk is Playing at My House“. that’s step 1 in a recipe for success.

i’m definitely fan overall. not every song hits the jackpot, but with such an eclectic selection of sounds you can’t expect every track to be your groove. check em out on theirspace.

also, i just got an email telling me that the Broken Bells album i pre-ordered about 2 months ago was shipped today. broken bells is a new collaboration between danger mouse (producer of the grey album, half of gnarls barkley) and james mercer (singer/songwriter of the shins). check out their first single “The High Road” here. you’ll like it. if you don’t like it then i’ll treat you like ku fans treat others.

-apc.

the time we almost killed dick van dyke.

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dick van dyke is lucky to be alive.

maybe he’s just not used to vehicles driving around his gated malibu community. maybe he thinks himself invincible cause he can step in time.* perhaps he’s hoping for a “bit ‘o magic”. or maybe he thinks he’s lance livestrong.

whatever the reason, the man needs to learn to look both ways before blitzing out of his garage and down the street. because lack of precation almost killed dick van dyke when he was almost struck by our vehicle.

yes. OUR vehicle.

on sunday morning, nate brooke and i had some time to kill before getting to the airport. so we decided to drive north to Malibu and check out this amazing Franciscan monastery that hosts pastoral retreats. this monastery is within this gated neighborhood. so we’re weaving through the neighborhood and nate is pointing out different celebrities homes – specifically mel gibson’s house – and he mentions that dick van dyke lives in the community too.

he hardly finishes his sentence and suddenly an older gentleman with a white mustache comes flying around a blind corner on a bicycle.

both vehicles screech to a stop. we end up about 5 feet away from impact. our mouths gaping open like a codfish. we make eye contact. he’s wearing a silly looking face shield just in case he happens upon the hood of a car with his face mashed against the windshield. he’s fortunate to have avoided such a scenario.

in the intensity of the situation, no one could be for sure that we had almost run over DVD himself. we just thought it was some mere human. just some random fella on a bike. maybe it was cause of his silly face shield that we didn’t recognize him. who knows. but we drove away and it slowly settled in that we had come within a second of being front page news. we almost plowed over dick van dyke on a bike.

can you imagine?! what if we’d hit him?! what if we’d run him over?! what if he had died?! gosh. what a miserable situation. i’d cry all through Mary Poppins for the rest of my life. i would be hated by millions. heck, i’d hate myself! what a relief.

as he awkwardly maneuvered around our rental car, he could very clearly be seen muttering something under his silly face shield. it was one of those slow-motion-coach’s-reaction situations – you know, the ones where you can absolutely read their lips? the ones where little bits of spittle fly out of their mouths after they unleash that voiceless labiodental fricative “F” motion? the situation where everyone goes “ooooo wonder what he just said?”

it was like that. obviously i can’t repeat it here. but DVD really let ‘er fly. had he not needed both hands to steer around us, i’m sure it would’ve been accompanied by a very distinctive hand motion.

so lets just be thankful that the situation didn’t escalate. i’m not sure we could find a lawyer that could match his. i’m not sure i’d even want to. no matter what he said, no matter whose fault it really was – i’d just nod my head and respond, “whatever you say, dick van dyke.”

but i will say this: he’s lucky. of course, that is to be expected – a sweep is a lucky as lucky can be.

-apc.

* – flap like a birdie!

EDIT: man. so weird. dick van dyke looks like my dad. also Guy Smiley.

my trip to LA has been interesting.

>
i had two goals going into this weekend:

1. start and finish rob bell’s jesus wants to save christians: a manifesto for a church in exile. i read the first part when it first came out, but put it down and feel i need to start it over. i made it 2/3 of the way through on the plane ride into LAX* – i would’ve finished it if the view of the grand canyon hadn’t been so amazing from my window seat.

2. get to know students as well as develop a better understanding of the los angeles youth culture through conversations with the them here at covenant camp at the alpine retreat center. this goal hasn’t gone as well. after waking up in kansas city at 4AM pacific time and going to sleep at 3AM pacific time yesterday – i wasn’t the greatest conversationalist. and then we had an issue at the camp – 4 middle schoolers decided to ransack all the cabins during chapel. they stole around $10,000 worth of phones, ipods and cash from leaders and students. that sorta stunted my opportunities to chat.

the theme this weekend here is “that’s so messed up.” it’s about pain and difficulty in life – all about how we live in a fallen world. that this isn’t the world God had in mind in creating it, but that through Jesus, he’s leading us all toward the way the world someday will be. flipping the world right side up and redeeming the messed up world we currently are a part of.

and what a great example in these dudes who got caught swiping everyone’s stuff. they’re spending the evening in juvenile detention. we’re encouraging the students to be praying for them and to help them in this messed up world that they’ve gotten tripped up on.

anyway. that’s what i’ve been doing in LA this weekend. also it’s snowing like crazy here in the california mountains and it’s freezing cold and i want to go back to kansas city. i’ll be back here in 2 weeks though. wonder if it’ll be equally interesting next time.

-apc.

* – btw. after watching the season 6 premiere of LOST, entitled “LA X” i couldn’t stop thinking about everything lost throughout my flight and landing. at baggage claim i definitely said, “LOOK! that’s where kate hijacks claire’s taxi at gunpoint!” also, i’m in a blizzard in LA while it’s sunny in KC. definitely the work of an ALT TIMELINE.

AVATAR: 3D IMAX.

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so i finally saw avatar. imax. in all three dimens…..

…oh what’s that? excuse me? ohhhh…yes. i’m perfectly aware that it’s been out for eight thousand days and that i’m a massive loser for not seeing it until now.* but lets go ahead and save all that unproductive banter for another time and cut to the chase:

avatar just changed my life.

okay not MY life specifically – although mine will be greatly affected – it just basically changed everybody’s perspective on how movies are viewed. a quick list of examples:

1. when i watch LOST tomorrow night, i will be thinking, “gee, sure would be cool if i could see the smoke monster roller coaster itself through the jungle in more than boring ole 2D. and the next time they show a clip on an airplane, i’ll be thinking, “hey, is it just me, or is the back of the plane a lot smaller than the front of the plane?” it’ll seem like that creepy hallway in the gene wilder version of willy wonka right before they go into the totally edible “world of pure imagination.”…i’d continue. but hello, spoiler alert.

okay so only one example. but it’s a good one.

the animation is the most absurd thing i’ve ever seen. just ridiculous. and by ridiculous i don’t mean like this ridiculous…i mean like vince carter ridiculous. at one point there’s a animated character, fighting a human who is in a robotic body suit. and i thought nothing of it because they all looked like they went together. i was blown away over and over again by how insane the cinematography was.

sure, the storyline was a futuristic retelling of pocahontas: a group of people invade another world in search of something valuable and have to wipe out the hippie indigenous people in order to get it. but then one of them gets too close to the indigenous people and joins their side and falls in love. war ensues. etc.

only difference is that, historically, the whites pretty much wiped out the native americans. avatar has a much happier ending…of course, disney managed to end pocahontas on a positive note too. must’ve forgotten about the whole small pox thing. convenient.

michelle rodriguez is in it. so that’s sorta a bummer. you’ll never guess what role she plays. oh nevermind, you got it. the super butch female soldier role. shocker.

also chad, who falls down in “that thing you do!” is in it. almost evens out the Tragedy of Ana Lucia…at least it wasn’t shannon. ugh.

also, sigourney weaver is in another movie about aliens.

anyway. it’s late and i can’t be typing about this all night like i did with LG. but here is my review in bullet point fashion:

– animation/cinematography: 12 out of 10
– acting: 5 out of 10
– storyline: 7 out of 10 – second coming of Poco? sure. but it’s still a powerful story. political even.

– but the real selling point: this movie is ground-breaking. NEVER has a movie been this…way. it’s the first of it’s kind and it is unbelievable. EVERYONE has to see this movie, and i am embarrassed that it took me this long to see it. wow.

– also the 3D is simply mesmerizing. i mean, way more mesmerizing than even antiques roadshow.

– conclusion: james cameron is a wizard…maybe they’ll let him do the final harry potter movie…

-apc.

* -of course, i’m also the guy who just saw jurassic park for the first time last year. and still hasn’t seen the godfather OR scarface. also this was my first ever IMAX movie. so it probably shouldn’t be a shock that it took so long to see this one too. major flop. sigh. a tiger don’t change his stripes, i suppose.

lady gaga.

>
“there are two types of people in this world: those who like neil diamond, and those who don’t.”

-Bill Murray as Bob Wiley, What About Bob?

my reason for kicking off this post with that quote is two fold: first,there are a handful of neil diamond fans (or at least sweet caroline fans) who read my blog whom i am specifically hoping will be attracted to this post now that i’ve dropped his name. second, it appears the quote can be said for Lady Gaga as well.

however, i’m not sure Bob Wiley’s quote can be translated to Lady Gaga in exactly the same way as it is to neil. instead, the quote ought to read more like…

“there are two types of people in this world: those who understand and admit that Lady Gaga is terrific, and those who are too concerned with social implications to put themselves totally out there for public scrutiny.”

sure. she’s a freak. i mean cmon. she’s created this stage name that has become a lifestyle. here life is either an incredible act – like something out of The Prestige – where she has chosen to accept this lifestyle for the success of her career, or she truly has bought into the insanity of her character and truly is as freaky-wacky-nutso as she comes across.

but that’s not what i care about. how could i? my favorite artist has the biggest ego of anyone in the music biz and repeatedly embarrasses himself on a national stage. if i really cared about the person BEHIND the music, i would’ve dumped kanye west years ago. and while we’re at it – amy winehouse is likely in my top 5 artists too. as i stated following the VMA’s back in september: “i have a history of liking freaks as long as they put out good music.”

Lady Gaga can join the club.

i am also someone who falls hard for the catchy tracks. i don’t understand when people say stuff like “it’s just so catchy” as if it’s a bad thing. isn’t that what makes it so appealing? i guess i’m under the assumption that catchy makes music better – music is fun. and catchy is fun. however, that doesn’t mean i’m just going to run out there and buy the album. there are so many artists who throw out a random catchy track and have nothing to follow it up. (read: ke$ha).

then there are other artists who have a bunch of catchy tracks, but they end up all sounding the same and listeners get very bored, very fast. (read: sean kingston, akon…nickelback would fit here if they had at least one good song. they all sound the same, but they all really suck.)

the thing about Lady G – her tracks are ALL catchy. and they’re ALL different. and they’re ALL GREAT. i’m not sure i’ve ever experienced an album that is so catchy from start to finish.

but the Fame Monster is actually two albums shoved into one release: The Fame and The Fame Monster are two discs that stand apart in one deluxe set. The Fame came out first and heralded popular tracks like “Just Dance“, “Poker Face“, “Paparazzi“, and “LoveGame“. Then instead of putting out a totally different record – she slapped an 8-track work of genius on the front of The Fame – with tracks like “Bad Romance” and “Telephone” – and released The Fame Monster as a 24-track set.

24 tracks. and they are all terrific.

and if you’ve developed your perspective on LG from the long list radio singles above, then you really don’t have a true perspective on her work. in fact, the ones that haven’t hit the radio are the true gems in the set. after a month of dedicated listening, “Teeth“, “Paper Gangsta“, “Starstruck“, and “Disco Heaven” stand out as my 4 favorite tracks – none of which have hit the airwaves yet.

…okay okay, “Bad Romance” is among my favorites too.

…and “Just Dance” definitely gets me bumpin.

…and Beyonce absolutely kills it on “Telephone“. wow.

…and “Alejandro“, while silly, has an awesome Ace of Base vibe to it.

…and “Boys Boys Boys” rules.

see what i mean? this is what you’re dealing with when you pick up this album. it’s just stacked with killer tracks – tracks that i’ve been friendly enough to link over and again so that you can follow to them and understand what i mean.

i could probably write more and more, but there’s a great chance that no one has followed me to this point anyway. but i will add this: in my humble opinion, there hasn’t been an album with this many hits since justin timberlake released futuresex/lovesounds in Aug 2007. which i had very extensive thoughts about back in the day. back in the 3 weeks i had a myspace blog.*

i realize that i haven’t spoken much about style, genius, how she writes her own stuff, how she went to school and was a musical prodigy at the age of 4. but that’s for another time. and believe me, i’ll have plenty of time. she’s younger than i am…by 2 weeks. so if she keeps this up over the next 20+ years?! yikes. we may be dealing with LG’s poker face for a long time…jackpot.

i’ll have plenty of words on the LG in the future.

-apc.

* – awkward blogging times. i was in between internet identities…but hey, remember sthanga? i used to have such a crush on break_my_heart_baby.

february is a drag.

>historically, february has been a monster blogging month for me. who knows why that really is, but i have a couple theories:

1. february is the worst month of school year, hands down. second semester, second month, itching for spring break but still so far away. perhaps in the past this is the point when i’d get really tired of my education and start focusing on the more exciting aspects of life. typically i would do this while i was IN class in the back of the room(s). that allowed for about 15-18 hours of blogging time every week. i simply don’t have that sort of free-time/boredom anymore.

2. february offers an abundance of sports-related blog topics: the superbowl, pitchers and catchers report for spring training, ncaa basketball is in full swing – february is just an exciting month in sports.

3. february marks the beginning of Lent. this is quite possibly the time of the year that the rest of the world becomes the most in-tune with God. Christmas has been watered-down by consumerism and Easter is covered in pastels. it seems like the times that we are most in tune with God is when we are preparing our hearts for the climax of the liturgical season (advent or lent). and lets be honest, people just get more excited about Christmas cause of the whole presents thing. thus, my Jesus cogs begin to churn and wha-la! more blogs.

4. february 12 marked two months without john buck. the good news is that mr. incredible has been granted the power number (14) on the blue jays as well. other good news: toronto will be in town july 19, 20, and 21. you better believe i’ll be in the stands rooting for JB. i bet he hits 4 homers in 3 games. no one knows our pitching staff better.

those are just theories. the point is this: february is 64.3% over with (18/28 days) and my blogging has been miserable. i’ve averaged almost 16 blogs for the month of february over the last 3 years, and suddenly i’m realizing that adam-paul.blogspot.com is tanking to some degree.

however, just so we’re straight, my twitter feed and my shared google reader feed are both off the chains. and now with google buzz, you can follow all of this stuff in one location. blogging is going to be obsolete soon. it’s way more than 140 characters.

i’m going to try and resurrect this thing by easter. i’m not sure if i should laugh at that last sentence or marvel at the greatness of it.

-apc.

i admit that this is a blog for blogging’s sake.

>i fell like i get on here all the time to write something, but i don’t really have an abundance of things to talk about.*

scratch that. reverse it.

the last couple weeks have been good ones – we left the worst month of the year and entered the second-worst – that’s sort of an upgrade. and this month only has 28 days, so that’s something to celebrate as well…

probably the most exciting event to unfold over the last few weeks: my wife-to-be and i have been house hunting. my lease is up in may and that glorious tax credit is still available through the end of april – also the housing market is in prime buying condition – so NOW is the time to buy.

and by “now” i mean we may be putting in an offer tomorrow. crossies.

as if buying a car didn’t feel enough like an adult maneuver – now i’m actually buying a house? like a house house house.** it’s just insane.

something that HASN;T happened in the last few weeks: i still haven’t seen freaking avatar. cmon!

-apc.

* – willy wonka reference – “we have so much time and so little to see!”
** – that thing you do! reference – “not one that we’d play.”

thriving youth ministry in smaller churches.

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“the future church will thrive in being small. the mainline, middle, and mainstream are dying and splintering into countless fragments. micro is the new mega. small is big. scripture clearly roots for the underdog. david against goliath. a boy with fish and bread. mustard seeds….being smaller is a huge advantage.”

-ap.

goal for 2010: utilize my planner.

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as you can see, i’m holding my 2010 Monthly Planning Guide. it was issued to me from hillcrest (which, btw, has a newly revamped and live website). it was issued to hillcrest from the U.S. Diary Company, which i first read as “U.S. Dairy Company”, and i found it odd that makers of milk and cheese also made planners. but i figured it out.

i’ve never been a true believer in a planner. i understand the point, and i understand that they are useful, but i also understand that i never remember to write in them.

back in middle and high school my mother would purchase me one of those school-issued planners every year, and every yearbook distribution day i would discover it hanging out with the empty Stewart’s Key Lime Soda bottles at the bottom of my locker.

but now that i’m a big kid, i just might need a calendar. and since i don’t have an iPhone (yet), i’m going to take my first strides with this sleek, burgandy, hard-copy monthly planning guide. call it a “resolution” if you want. but it really has nothing to do with New Year’s…other than that it’s a monthly calendar and the first day listed is January 1.

so a goal of mine for 2010 – utilize my planner.

-ap.

bought a new car.

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many of you know i got in my first car wreck a couple weeks ago. i kind of wish i could claim that it was scary and my car flipped and caught on fair, and that i was a hero and saved people from the wreckage before the car exploded or something.* but i was going 15 mph and the woman that hit me was going 5 mph. hit the wheel. bent the axle. totalled.

so i got a fat insurance check for way more than my old car was worth. sixes.

so i upgraded to a ’02 Mazda Protege5. it’s a 5-speed which makes me feel like a man more than anything else in my life. you guys can have your No Shave November. i’m no longer ashamed of my lack of facial hair. real men drive sticks.

-ap.

* – this feeling could probably be transformed into a talk about how Christian kids who grow up in the church often feel lame for not having some awesome “i hit rock bottom” conversion experience.

oh dear. this is just awful news.

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we all knew this day would come at some point, but it appears to suddenly be upon us.

the royals have signed veteren catcher jason kendall to a two-year deal.

this is disastrous news for royals fans. why? well, because JOHN BUCK MAY BE OUT OF A JOB IN KANSAS CITY.

i mean, sure, kendall is legit. he’s got a career .290 batting average and a .369 career OBP. but WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS TO ME?!

General manager Dayton Moore said: “Obviously John Buck’s been a big part of our catching corps the last few years and we’ll have to make that decision, but it’s safe to say Jason Kendall was brought in to be our everyday catcher and he’s expected to catch 120 to 130-plus games.”

what he REALLY means is…

“John Buck’s been the emotional cornerstone of not only our catching corps, but of our entire team over – not only the last few years – but over Big John’s entire five year career. Jason Kendall may end up catchin 120 to 130-plus games, but everyone knows that when JB feels the pressure, he suddenly puts up seriously scary numbers. Obviously.”

it’s a good thing Dayton Moore’s daughter goes Hillcrest and comes to all of our middle school events. perhaps i could send some subtle hints for her to take home to the dinner table. i mean cmon, there is a reason Mr. Incredible has been in blue for the last 5 years! he’s a fan favorite! he sells tickets! he’s the anchor to a Royals team that would undoubtedly spin out of control without him.

it could be a very sad week to be a royals fan. it also could be my last week as a royals fan.

just a heads up for what’s likely to come: there isn’t a #14 on the yankees. jorge posada eat your heart out. JB’s got you in the sights of his crossbow.

-ap.

and fyi: the facebook group is THRIVING.

questions should lead us – dave gibbons.

>“one of the axioms i’ve come to believe about life and ministry is that questions should lead us. questions, not answers. Jesus showed us this time and again.”

“if Jesus doesn’t answer a question with a question, he tells a story.”

dave gibbons
the monkey and the fish: liquid leadership for a third-culture church

-ap.

empire state of mind II – alicia keys (sans jay-z).

>http://cs88.clearspring.com/o/4afd761b4929e793/4b0872c75f535731/4b06eb4987789be4/ba9d32f6

woah.

okayplayer just posted this on their blog and i am speechless. just watch the above video.

all i can say is that alicia’s new album is out on december 15 and i am buying it. or getting it for christmas. but if you’re getting it for me for christmas, you might want to give it to me 10 days early otherwise i’ll have 2 copies cause i’ll already have bought it myself.

i’m listening to that again.

-ap.

REVIEW: battle studies – john mayer

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first of all, i must tell you that i am not 100% comfortable putting a photo of this album artwork on my blog. john looks super GQ and super lame. however, the artwork actually ended up being a blessing – when i first saw the cover a few months before its release i thought, “seriously john? this album is gonna suck.”

but it doesn’t. not at all. and i will yet again claim that low expectations are a much healthier way of living than high expectations. high expectations can only be met or not met*. low expectations can be met or exceeded…and my expecations were exceeded.

* – obviously there are a few outlying exceptions here: kanye’s graduation, my trip to st louis, harry potter and the deathly hallows, etc.

i told my buddy jon yesterday via a text, “this album has a heavier things feel to it.” and i stand by that statement…kind of. the album as a whole gives that vibe, but there are a few tracks – who says, friends lovers or nothing, assassin – that don’t necessarily fit the bill. did john mayer truly reinvent his sound on this album like he has with each of his albums in the past? not really. if anything he took a step backwards from continuum and revisited a sound he’d already dabbled in before.

that having been said – this is a terrific album. really terrific. especially if you can empathize with mayer’s jilted-lover theme (which i cannot). literally every song on this album is about girl problems – the “Battle Studies” he alludes to in the name of this album makes complete sense – he takes a look at the different “battles” the heart faces in dealing with the opposite sex. it’s a “love is war” theme. examples: “half of my heart” deals with the inability to commit, “heartbreak warfare” deals with what it feels like to be dumped, “perfectly lonely” is all about the freedom felt without a significant other, “friends lovers or nothing” is a great picture of the extremely common “more than friends?/lets have a DTR” situation of which i’m duly familiar with.

that last paragraph was so long that my coffee went cold. crap.

however, there are a couple songs that could’ve been omitted and i wouldn’t’ve really missed them. i can hear you arguing, “but adam – that means there would only be 9 songs! that’s not enough for a full album!” my rebuttal: Thriller.

“edge of desire” does nothing for me – i’m just bored/annoyed throughout. and “half of my heart” doesn’t impress me either – but that’s probably because i sit there for the first 2 minutes dreading the impending taylor swift on backup vocals. what a ploy to 1. sell more records 2. reach a slightly different genre 3. perhaps get invited to the country music awards next year. i just wish it wasn’t her. anyone else…okay not anyone – i would also veto nelly furtado, lady gaga, fergie or sheryl crow. anyone else though.

that having been said, “friends lovers or nothing” is my favorite track on the album. it’s on repeat as i type this blog. it is perfect – the first two piano chords hooked me and the rest of the song just continued to reel me in…that’s a fishing analogy.

i love this album, but it’s definitely not his best. in fact, it might be his worst. it’s not as good as continuum. or room for squares even. but it’s still john mayer. so it automatically lands in the “great” category. he’s just a phenomenal musician. period.

i give it a 3/5.

-ap.