Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm an uncle!

Again! Or, really, still...but twice as much now!

Early this morning, Owen Russell Semester, my nephew, was born: 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Everyone's doing great!

Most notable is his name, as for a lot of the pregnancy, we thought his name was going to be Cole Robert Semester. This last-minute change is for the better, especially for me, as I enjoy impersonating Anne Ramsey from "Throw Momma from the Train," who said, famously, "Owen doesn't have a friend!"

It is, indeed, possible, that Owen Russell Semester will continue to go by "Deuce," the nickname he earned as the secondborn.

SO, WELCOME TO THE WORLD, OWEN RUSSELL/DEUCE SEMESTER!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 More Random Things

The latest thing on Facebook is to list 25 random things about yourself and then tag 25 other people and make them do it. I refused to tag more people -- because, come on -- but I made my list. What I *did* do was tag people back if they tagged me, but because I wasn't specifically tagging people, I kind of half-assed my way through the list. Therefore, here is a better list of 25 More Random Things About Me:
  1. I have been to West Africa twice for volunteer/mission work. In 2003, I went to Ghana and volunteered in a town of about 50,000 people called Ho. In 2007, I traveled with a mission team from Operation Classroom / Operation Doctor to Liberia and Sierra Leone. You can read all about that second trip here.
  2. While I was in Africa the first time, I invented a game to entertain me and the other volunteers. I'm now working on developing that game into a marketable product, so if you know anything about publishing and marketing a board game, I'd love to talk to you.
  3. I met Miss America 2009 Katie Stam (way back when she was still Miss Indiana) when she sang at my church last fall.
  4. Generationally, I should like grunge, metal, and/or rap. I like easy listening and showtunes.
  5. I appeared on the television game show, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" in 2005 and won $25,000. I still kick myself for switching the $50,000 question, which I ultimately missed.
  6. I used to think I wanted to be a novelist. I'm not sure about that any more. I think I really just want someone to fly me to cool places where people will clamor for my autograph.
  7. A lot of great things have happened to me since I moved back to Indiana in 2004, but leaving my last job was the single best thing for me in the last five years.
  8. I grew up without pets (unless you count Nathan the newt, who I had as a Boy Scout project), but now I can't imagine life without my new buddy Milo, a minilop rabbit.
  9. I joined Twitter in April 2008 and struggled with what to use as my 140-character bio. I settled on "My deepest wish is that we would all be quiet enough for one day to really hear each other. And my favorite artifical flavor is cherry," and have started using that as my profile/bio for other things, too, because I think those two sentences tell a lot about me.
  10. I have a secret (not any more!) fear that these "25 Random Things" memes are set up to harvest personal information to create an army of Scott clones (which, trust me, the world does NOT need) and/or to figure out potential computer passwords.
  11. In December, I let my facial hair grow out, but the first time I saw my niece Madelynn after having what could finally be called a beard, she scowled and frowned at me. I shaved it off the next day and never looked back.
  12. I won the Mohawk Trails Spelling Bee in fifth grade, defeating Omar Aziz by correctly spelling the word "assassin." Yes, I am a graduate of Mohawk Trails Elementary School and Secret Elite Paramilitary Training Facility.
  13. I ate raccoon once at a church fundraiser. I do not recommend it.
  14. I am a member of MENSA, and I am an Eagle Scout. If you know either of these things about me, it changes your perception of me. If you know both of these things about me, it really changes your perception of me.
  15. I gained a lot from my experience in the Scouts, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I think the Scouts are being shortsighted and ignorant by maintaining a ban on gay and atheist adult leaders, and I'm afraid the next generation of kids (whose parents also disagree with that stance and will, therefore, not allow their kids to be Scouts) will suffer for it. That's why I'm a member of both the National Eagle Scout Association and Scouting for All.
  16. I sold fine art in a Michigan Avenue gallery for a couple years in Chicago. It was the time in my life when I felt the most free. The first painting I sold cost $37,000 -- awesome.
  17. I really like sushi and am going to make sushi for lunch tomorrow when my dad comes over.
  18. I love to sing, and I've often wondered how my life would be different if I had realized earlier in my life how much I love singing.
  19. I became a fan of curling when I worked on a consulting project in St. Catharines, Ontario, in 2003/2004. I suck at curling, but was given the club's "Best American" award on my mid-season departure. In classic Canadian fashion, they were polite enough not to mention I was the club's "only American" at the time.
  20. I think TV news weatherperson is the biggest BS job in the whole world, but I secretly want to be a TV news weatherperson because they are often the ones who get to do the fun ancillary things, like the human-interest stories and the game-show hosting. (I would love to help Chris Wright improve his hosting skills on the Westfield Insurance Brain Game.)
  21. I get frustrated by really smart people who talk a lot but don't take action. This is probably a case of being frustrated by the traits of others that frustrate us most about ourselves.
  22. I typically forget birthdays and am a lousy gift-giver.
  23. I love to laugh, though some people find my genuine belly laugh overwhelming. I like to analyze jokes and figure out why they're funny to me, and I like to "workshop" jokes and make them even funnier.
  24. I have pretty much recovered from my zombie fear. This may be seasonal, though: zombies don't fare well in the cold.
  25. When I get nervous or lonely or need to psych myself up for something, I sing old TV theme songs. "Gimme A Break," "Good Times," and "Mr. Belvedere," specifically.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tony and Cassius discuss Roman numerals.

The cheesiness of the math lesson in this Square One TV flashback notwithstanding, I actually dig the song -- snappy tune and very creative lyrics (1, 2, 3, forever ... seven, eight, nine, tenderly...) and very high-end costumes.


Can't see the video? Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DzfPcSysAg

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Cheeto Bandito

Turns out Cindy Lou Who my niece Madelynn shares with her uncle a hankering for a certain variety of crunchy, cheese-flavored cornmeal snacks, which she discovered and claimed as her own today at Grandma and Grandpa's house. To wit:

Deep in concentration; determining perhaps how to dispose of the evidence.



Deciding to hide in plain sight, using the trickiest subterfuge known to man: her smile.

It really was made for you and me.

If you don't get chills from watching this video from the inauguration concert, then it is my sad duty to inform you that you are dead. (Or, possibly, not American. Which, you know, is cool with me.)

So, you're saying there's a chance...

Regular readers of this blog know that I, at age 23, resigned myself to the facts that my life is not a movie musical and that it is highly unlikely that I will be involved in spontaneous song-and-dance numbers with hundreds of other strangers.

T-Mobile's UK team has led me to believe this is perhaps not necessarily the case. To wit:



From the Thought Gadgets blog:
T-Mobile had a team of dancers gradually take over the Liverpool Street Station in London last Thursday, surprising all spectators. The spot aired on television a day later and is now hanging at No. 2 on the Viral Video Chart with more than 1.5 million views.
Awesome, right?

Can't see the video? Check it out at http://sssemester.blogspot.com/2009/01/so-youre-saying-theres-chance.html

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How does my net work?

This is my Facebook friend wheel. It shows all two-hundred-and-something of my friends and then illustrates how they're connected to each other.



Folks are grouped by acquaintanceships: church, high school, IU, etc. What's interesting to me is how many across-the-circle links there are. I was talking with my friend Lisa M. at lunch the other day about this very phenomenon -- how fascinating it is when we find out that two friends who we didn't think knew each other do, in fact, know each other (which is what those across-the-circle links signify).

What does your friend wheel look like?

Tarsem's The Fall

Earlier this week, I saw a movie that rocked me to my very core. It's called The Fall and it was directed by Tarsem Singh, who now just goes by "Tarsem." The film is, to borrow a word from Roger Ebert, magnificent: visually stunning, with a gripping story, brillantly cast, beautifully acted, and wonderfully scored. It has joined Clue, West Side Story, and Pee Wee's Big Adventure in my Top Four Favorite Movies Ever.

Here's the trailer:


Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaoxB-eLHQ8

I have never been as engrossed in a movie as I was with this one. During its emotional climax, I was so engaged that I was in physical pain, crying in a way that can only be described as weeping + heaving + sobbing; I was weevbing.

I don't want to ruin this film for you by divulging details or by overselling it (too late for that, probably), but I'd really like it if you saw it and then let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Force is strong in this one these two

Here's a couple different re-tellings of the Star Wars story, one who has no idea what she's talking about because she's never seen it, and one who's a three-year-old girl. Can you tell them apart?


Via CollegeHumor.com




Via BuzzFeed via DavidInIndy

Now I'm BarackObamasistible.

Over on Obamicon.Me, courtesy of Paste Magazine (whatever that is), you can make a Shepard Fairey-esque poster of yourself. Using your picture and the technology scientists have worked decades to produce (for useful purposes, such as missile-defense systems, international financial transactions, and telling the world what you had for lunch), you may Obamafy yourself into a stylized red, white, and blue poster like this one.

Or this one:


You can even customize the text at the bottom, as I did.

Because why stick with boring taglines like "Hope," "Progress," or "Change," when all you really want to do is promote yourself?

In the Pipeline

Hi! It's that time of week again, when I explain what's coming up. This way, you'll know what to look forward to, because I know you wait with bated breath for my very next post.

So, in the next couple days, watch for:
  • What I'd look like if I were President-Elect Obama on a poster,
  • At least some of the aforepromised "Theme of the Crime" shortstoryokes (Big Idea #1),
  • A sneak preview of the game I'm developing (Big Idea #2), and
  • Various hilarious videos and whatnot I've collected over the past week.

See, this looks like an actual blog post, and I get to continue to work on other stuff while your voracious blog appetite is sated for another couple hours. It's win-win!

Monday, January 12, 2009

I am the sushi master!

On Friday night, I had my first (unsupervised) adventure with do-it-yourself sushi. My friends Sandi and Jeff got me a Sushi-Making Kit for Christmas, complete with all the stuff it would take to make a yummy sushi meal.

My friend Spike was coming over for dinner, and I had asked him how he felt about sushi. He mentioned that he'd had California Roll before, so I gathered the stuff: imitation crab, cucumber, avocado, etc. Sandi and Jeff had provided sushi rice and seaweed, and that's all it took!

Sushi making is actually pretty easy. All you need to do is cook the rice according to the instructions on the bag, slap some rice on some seaweed, layer in the imitation crab, sliced avocado and cucumber, roll it up on the bamboo mat, and arrange it nicely on a plate. Then add appropriate amounts of soy sauce, Sriracha hot sauce, wasabi, and munch away!

I will be doing this again ... and soon!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Great meal, bring a towel

This afternoon I had a deee-lightful and deee-licious time at The Loft at Traders Point Creamery, a dining establishment located inside an active dairy farm on the scenic northwest side of Indianapolis.

Or perhaps Zionsville. But I think Indianapolis. (Nope, Zionsville.)

Anyway.

A friend of mine works up on the northwest side, so I gathered him from his office, and we headed over to The Loft. He'd been to the Creamery before but had not been there for lunch, and I'd never been there for any purpose, so we were both looking forward to the experience.

The Loft Restaurant and Dairy Bar is a cool structure itself, home to soaring barnlike ceilings and a modern-style dairy bar. The contrast of the wooden beams and the contempo-cool metal bar is striking, yet it somehow works brilliantly. About 12 or 15 tables (seating for, I'd guess, 30 or 40) overlook various active areas of the creamery: the administrative office, the cheese-aging place, etc.

Our server, Katie, was cute. She was knowledgeable and helpful, and she affirmed our choices -- both of us opted for the Stuffed Burger (pictured, right). The burger is a touch on the pricey side at ten bucks, but it's AWESOME. Here's the description from the menu:

Organic grass-fed beef stuffed with spicy fromage, TPC cheese, bacon, and caramelized onion. With lettuce, tomato, red onion, and garlic aioli mayo on a toasted bun.

Of course, since the Dairy Bar is built in, we had no choice but to opt for milkshakes to complement our burgers and sweet potato chips. We had five flavors to select from, based on today's available ice creams. I chose the blackberry milkshake and my friend opted for the coffee milkshake.

After a terrific meal, we headed down to the milking area, where my friend (who, you'll recall, had taken the tour of the Creamery previously) showed me around and explained to me all the things that go into running an artisan dairy.

When we got to the milking room and I was thoroughly blown away by all the things that go into actually milking a cow (Thanks for nothing, Carmel-Clay Schools), we were intrigued by a large, blue, bin-like, bucket thing with pink things hanging off of it. As we got a closer look, we assumed it was some sort of teaching tool, to show people what a cow's teats are like. The teats were evenly spaced out, about 8 or 10 on a bin.

We tried to deduce from just looking at the device how it worked and how it would educate and delight tour-goers of all ages and nationalities, but I had to reach right up and touch it and, honestly, give one a squeeze. Just, you know, to see.

Well! I am here to tell you, friends, that it is inadvisable to just go up and squeeze teats, even if there's no one else around.

Apparently, there was some leftover water in the bin (or in the teat) from the last time the milking room had been toured. It ended up ... wait for it ... wait for it ... wait for it ... squirting right in my face, all over my jacket and shirt. At which point, giggling like 13-year-olds, we decided to beat a hasty retreat.

But it was just beginning to snow, and the twenty-yard walk to my friend's truck all of a sudden seemed like twenty miles. (Being cold and wet is not my bag, baby.) Luckily, it wasn't all that much water, and we hustled back to the truck, activated the seat warmers, and I was good to go in no time.

Therefore:

THE LOFT AT TRADERS POINT CREAMERY
  • Meal: A+ (Stuffed burger, medium well, sweet potato chips)
  • Dessert: A+ (Blackberry milkshake)
  • Self-Guided Tour: B (Ended up wet, albeit as a result of my own hilarious ineptitude)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

An extremely Odd Couple

Remember when Felix moved in with Oscar? Or whatever?

Well, a friend of mine is going through a divorce (which, apparently, is a simple, yet drawn-out legal process in Indiana), and she has moved into the spare room here at the condo. (At least I made it to 2009 before having another extended-stay houseguest.)

Can two adults share a condo...without driving each other crazy?

Stay tuned.

Fire in the soil, meat in mah belly

Last Friday, KT and I went to lunch at Fogo de Chão, a new-ish Brazilian steakhouse in downtown Indy.

Fogo de Chão is translated from the Portuguese literally as "big-ass mountains of meat that a human would have to be a fool to try and consume." Haha, just kidding -- it means "soil fire" and refers to the way the gauchos in -- I don't know, Brazil? Argentina? -- wherever would do their meals: grill the hell out of everything, and then serve it on swords. (Score!)

I'd been wanting to try Fogo since seeing one of its branches in Chicago years ago (and after seeing its ads in many in-flight magazines over the years), but had never made it in. So when KT called me up and suggested it, I was totally there.

Oh. Em. Gee. You guys, this is an amazing dining experience. I am not kidding, it's good! I had been to a Brazilian steakhouse before (see also: here and here), but Fogo de Chão is in a class by itself.

Your meal begins with a trip to the massive salad bar with traditional salad fixin's (and you know how I feel about the word "fixin's," so for me to use it without irony here indicates something very special), but also with artichoke and sundried tomatoes and cured meats and aged cheeses and whatnot. Oh, the whatnot! I even had asparagus -- which, I guess I'm turning into an asparagus connoisseur, because that's three times in the last week!

Anyway, we loved the salad bar, but one doesn't venture to Fogo de Chão simply for the salad. When you're done with your salad course, a severe woman with an attitude problem comes out and badgers you until you submit your dirty plates in exchange for the clean ones she's hawking (this may not take place at every Fogo de Chão location, but it was definitely our experience).

Then! Oh, then comes the good stuff: 15 different kinds of meat, offered to you on a two-foot-long skewer, by a man wearing an authentic gaucho outfit. (Well, the boots and pants seemed authentic. I cannot speak to the shirts and scarves.)

Each diner is armed with a small coaster-sized disc that's green on one side, red on the other. Of course, Green is the international symbol for "I have abandoned my diet and wish to abuse my body with the charred remains of other, less fortunate creatures," and Red is the international symbol of "For the love of all that is holy, save me from shoving more into my foodhole. And I am not kidding."

So what you do is, when you're ready for meat, you flip your coaster to the Green side. Within five seconds, there is an authentic gaucho brandishing top sirloin or bottom sirloin or pork ribs or et cetera for you to partake of. Seconds later, another gaucho brings another type of meat, etc., etc., until finally, under the burden of your plate and your skyrocketing blood pressure, the table starts to buckle. That's when you turn your coaster over to the Red side.

And then when you've made it through that one plate, the severe woman comes back and cajoles you into surrendering your dirties in exchange for her cleans, and the cycle starts all over again. Chow down, rinse, repeat.

I think what sets Fogo de Chão apart from Copacabana (the Brazilian steakhouse Myrna and I visited in Niagara Falls) is threefold:
  1. The quality of the meat was superior. Everything tasted great -- there were no "hits and misses," only hits.
  2. The side dishes provided were fantastic, especially this crispy polenta thing that made KT think of the way her mom made mush and made me think about what snacking is like in Heaven.
  3. The Brazilian cheesebread -- a topic of much debate between KT and me -- is really something: little rolls with a crisp outside and chewy inside with a hint of cheese (which was really the subject of our debate -- whether or not there was cheese inside). Yum!
So, the next time you're in downtown Indy, and you're wondering where you can get an awesome salad, Brazilian cheesebread, and a big-ass mountain of meat, check out Fogo de Chão!

War and hope, images and power

My friend Amy from IU sent me a message this morning on Facebook (Are you and I friends yet? We totally should be.), referring me to No Caption Needed, a blog co-authored by one of her colleagues. Specifically, Amy pointed out today's post, What If God Counts?, which features this heartbreaking image from Gaza:


photo from NoCaptionNeeded.com, credit to Mohammed Abed/AFP-Getty Images

Amy asked for my thoughts and, because I am a total narcissist who thinks both (a) that I am brilliant and (b) that you hang on my every word I wonder what you think of me, I will post them here and invite your input.

Here's what I wrote:

Today's post has caused me to think about the images of war that we've been exposed to, and I think about how, historically, emerging media changed what "War" was, to us at home, in World War II, and then in Vietnam. To me, it seems that, as images of what was REALLY happening "over there" became more accessible, our national consciousness grew, around both the reality of what "our boys" were dealing with and the (in)human component of armed conflict. It was no longer a game of Risk viewed from 30,000 feet; rather, it became (if one was able to step past the ultrapatriotism and jingoism) more about individuals -- real life, and real lives in the balance.

...which makes me think about the images of War that I've seen since, say, 2001. That image of a child's arm sticking out from rubble while the adults stand by, helpless, is unlike any characterization of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict I've seen. Or any war zone, for that matter. I haven't seen one comparable image (picture or video) of the thousands (tens of thousands?) of Iraqi civilians who have died as a result of the war since 2003. Indeed, maybe I haven't been seeking them out aggressively enough, but I've not seen any image like that from Iraq or Afghanistan or Darfur or Congo or any other Conflict Place. I almost wonder if we're (I'm?) back to a pre-1940s idea of what War is and how it affects the people -- the very real, human people, with families and jobs and dreams and sadnesses -- who may or may not even be involved. Have we returned to this notion of War as being something halfway around the world, from which we are far removed, and I'll take my extra-hot nonfat half-caff mochachino now, please? (Or, "...and I've lost my job because the US economy is tanking, and how the hell am I going to make my mortgage payment, let alone send my kid to college, please?")

Maybe today's emerging media and the power of the internet will make a difference. Certainly the image in today's post -- and the picture of the foot of a suicide bomber in the following post, as well -- is not an image one is likely to see in the mainstream media. And I'm not sure whether that speaks to our collective Americanism, or the delicate TV-viewing habits of Joe and Jane Sixpack, or the lazy news-consumption habits of Scott Semester, or the deft and merciless media policies of the Bush Administration...?

The part about God -- a relentlessly counting, bottom-line God -- is, indeed, a challenging one. I think we're able to achieve more, but also excuse away more, when we're acting in (what we think is our) God's name. Hariman's thesis makes me uncomfortable (not necessarily in a bad way!), because if I apply it to myself, it seems to hold me doubly accountable: accountable for my lack of sensitivity to the impact of my own day-to-day behaviors and attitudes, but also accountable as an actor in the Israeli-Palestinian drama -- and others.

At the same time, however, I find great power in the notion -- especially the last sentence: "Again, war is a collective failure, and ultimately the judgment rests on us all." For if we're all responsible and the judgment for the act of war rests on us all, might not the solution to ending war reside with us, as well? If I'm responsible and the judgment for the act of war rests on me, might not the solution to ending war reside with me, too?

Certainly a lot to chew on, and a lot to pray about, in that one post!

Dancing (Fools)

It's impossible to say, really, what was going on when this picture was snapped at my friend Myrna's friends Julia and Brandon's wedding reception.



Was Myrna rockin' the merengue? Was Alison kickin' the Charlie Brown? Was I mid-Cabbage-Patch? Was Emery just laughing at all of us?

(Well, we know for sure on that last one. The answer is Yes. Yes, he was.)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lots going on

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I mean, I guess it's only Tuesday and my last post was Saturday (unless you count the Amazing Disappearing Blog Post on Monday, as the good people at Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project worked on the video code, which is back now, by the way), but still.

Here's what you can look forward to in the coming days:

  • A rundown of my protein-crammed adventure at Fogo de Chao brazilian steakhouse,
  • Some treats of karaokessay or, rather, in this case ShortStory-oke, cleverly bundled together under the title "The Theme of the Crime,"
  • A quick primer on my current lifestyle arrangement and why I am potentially an idiot, and
  • Cost-cutting ways to make the most of your current unemployment situation.

Blog ya soon!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Be Good?

Remember when God was a large elderly woman on a Rascal?

Well, the good people over at Liberty Mutual's short-film-viewing-and-discussion website The Responsibility Project have added some new short films. For viewing and discussion.

Watch the short film below and then share your perspective. My commentary after the vid. [UPDATE: The embed code doesn't seem to be working right, so click here to watch the video and then come back to add your comments. UPDATE UPDATE: It seems to be working now!]



I'm not sure I identify with Joe all that much -- I've never had a rager of a party that both destroyed my home and alienated me from my neighbors, although I do share both his love of cake frosting and tendency to have conversations with the TV. And while I do not share his "girls, parties, and beer" lifestyle, I often struggle with the question, "What have I ever done that's worthwhile (proper grown-up stuff)? What good am I to anyone?"

I have not resorted to Saturday-night "Don't drink and drive" announcements outside any local pubs, but I have tried, with varying results, to be not only a good citizen, but a presence for good in the world. But sometimes it backfires -- when you let someone in front of you in traffic, it pisses off the person behind you; or when you smile politely at someone in line at the check-out, she thinks you're checking her out. Truly, 'tis a double-edged sword, this notion of serving the community. Even when I related the story of the runaway minivan at the gas station, I managed to piss off a resident of that neighborhood.

Luckily -- both for Joe in "Be Good" and, I hope, for me -- God/the Universe/Creator/Great Spirit/Whatever has plans that we cannot foresee. Even when things get totally screwed up, it all works out for the best. Or it will, at least, be just fine. As I get older, I think that's what my four-point notion of religion is: Love God, love each other, do your best, it will be just fine. And whether you view The Responsibility Project's films through a lens of religion or ethics, or you just enjoy a good short film, they're definitely a good addition to the Interwebs.

And on that note, I'm enjoying exploring The Responsibility Project's films. I encourage you to head over and check them out yourself. They're a little long, by (your) ADHD-addled internet standards, but when you find yourself with a few extra minutes, you should check it out.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

It's the idea of the pursuit of an idea, really

If you, like me, enjoy watching Mythbusters (or, at least, you did when you had cable) AND you're a fan of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon AND you're interested in what took place at the recent conference called The Entertainment Gathering, you should check out the video below.

If not, then you may consider my permission not to watch this video as my gift of 17 minutes to you.

BUT!

It comes with a price, which, in accordance with the terms and conditions of this blog which I have just now made up, by reading this sentence you are now contractually obligated to pay. In return for not watching this 17-minute video of Adam Savage from Mythbusters telling the story of how he created his own to-the-millimeter-detail replica of the Maltese Falcon statue from the movie, you must do one of three things:

  1. Step away from the computer for 17 minutes and call someone you haven't talked to in a while and tell them how much you love them. You can take the entire 17 minutes to talk with them, or just spend it not on the computer -- your call.
  2. Take the next 17 minutes to leave a note in the Comments section here, detailing your goals, hopes, and dreams for 2009.
  3. Take a 17-minute nap, and awaken feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever the universe hurls at you next.

Or you could just watch the dang video:



PS - This video came from the blog of Tim Ferriss, the Four-Hour Work Week guy, whom I find insufferably pretentious, but who blogs about some good stuff.

Friday, January 02, 2009

I'm a guest blogger!

Check it out -- I contributed to Kyle Lacy's NeoPraxis*, a blog about how churches (and The Church) are using technology in marketing, community building, and evangelization.

I wrote today's featured article: "Who's Gonna Do It? And What Are They Gonna Do?" which outlines very-entry-level steps for developing a church marketing plan.

I'm honored to have been invited to do the guest post. Now I just need a more professional headshot...
* NeoPraxis, I have learned, means "new practice." Appropriate, right?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008: The Blog In Review

I have been satisfied qualitatively with the ol' blog this year. It's been a year of good stories and funny videos, liveblogs and travelogues. Overall, really, really good.

But here's the thing, I still have not figured out what my Google Analytics numbers mean, in terms of what they signify for me and comparing me to other casual bloggers, but here they are for January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2008:



Here are the numbers:

13,115 Visits
20,465 Pageviews
1.56 Pages/Visit
77.09% Bounce Rate
00:02:45 Avg. Time on Site
29.03% New Visits

3,863 Visitors from 75 Countries/Territories

I mean, 3,800+ visitors making 13,000+ visits sounds good for someone who's really not doing anything to actively promote his blog, right? But who knows.

If you would like to explain what these numbers mean and how I can become fabulously wealthy through them, I would be glad to hear your input.