Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Best. Google search string. Ever!

The little gadget at the bottom of the lefthand column of this blog (not if you're reading it on Facebook) indicates where people are coming from when they visit the blog and, often, how they got here.

This evening, someone Googled the following phrase and ended up here:
"could be a crackhead that got hold to the wrong stuff and it told him to get up in a tree and play a leprechaun"
Of course, they were referring to this famous news story from, of all places, Alabama, which I posted to my blog back in January of 2007:



Super Mario theme, with lyrics? I think?



Courtesy of the Back of the Cereal Box blog, this video reveals the long lost lyrics to the Super Mario Brothers theme song, performed by a Japanese Mariska Hargitay. (I know, I know, she looks nothing like Mariska Hargitay, just like you say Adam Lambert doesn't look like Mindy Cohn.)

All I'm saying is domo arigato, Japanese Mariska Hargitay.

Domo. (Domo.) Domo. (Domo.)

The State of the Scott, September 2009

Inspired by -- but by no means comparing myself to -- Nicholas Felton's 2008 Annual Report, I thought I'd maybe do a progress report of my own. It's not as graphically compelling, but it'll give me a chance to reflect and maybe share something interesting about me that you didn't already know.

PHYSICAL

Age: 36 years, two months, 8 days
Height: 5'9" (but my driver's license says 5'10" for some reason)
Weight: 238 pounds
Body Mass Index: 35.1

Blood Pressure: 124/78
Cholesterol: 190
Resting Heart Rate: 58 bpm, 10 minutes after waking

Most Frequent Exercise Activity: Yoga
Most Recent Exercise Activity: Cycled 12 miles in crazy wind in just under an hour

Ongoing Physical Symptoms: Tight left hamstring (remaining from herniated disc episode in 2002)


MENTAL/EMOTIONAL/RELATIONAL

IQ (as measured by this test): 142

Last Class Attended: Planned Giving at The Fund Raising School, IUPUI
Last Book Read: "Hellblazer/Dangerous Habits" by Garth Ennis
Favorite Book: "The Book of Qualities" by J. Ruth Gendler

Intellectual Pursuits: Poetry, trivia games, witty banter

Podcasts Subscribed To: 5
Podcast Most Frequently Listened To: "Comedy and Everything Else" with Todd Glass, Jimmy Dore, and Stefané Zamarano
Total Time Spent Listening To "Comedy and Everything Else" Podcast: 22 hours, 6 minutes

Song Most Frequently Played In My iTunes: "Ca, C'est l'Amour" by John Barrowman

Total Number of Tweets Since Joining Twitter On 4/27/08: 10,458
Twitter Rank (according to TwitterGrader): 55,507th out of 4,819,710 users
Number of Twitter Followers: 902
Number of People I'm Following On Twitter: 396

Number Of Facebook Friends: 498

Number Of Blog Posts Since 1/1/09: 148 (including this one)

Number Of Dates I Have Been On Since 1/1/09: 3, including 3 wedding dates
Target Number Of Dates For 2009: 0

Number Of Times Since 1/1/09 A Ridiculous Amount Of Money Has Been Proposed As A Gift To The Charity Of My Choosing In Exchange For A Date With Me: 1

Apparent Approximate Market Value Of A Date With Me: $10,000.00

Number Of Times I Actually Went On A Date In Exchange For $10,000.00 To The Charity Of My Choosing: 0

Ongoing Mental/Emotional Symptoms: Occasional loss of focus due to information overload, persistent self-doubt


VOCATIONAL

Number of Jobs Currently Working: 3
Number of Hours Working Each Week: about 28

Favorite Job: Center for Child & Family Therapy, babysitting this guy (tie)

Looking For: A permanent, full-time job that pays $50K+ per year and engages my skills in visionary leadership, persuasive communication, creative problem-solving, teambuilding, and fundraising

Ongoing Vocational Symptoms: Desire to be retired at age 36, financial inability to be retired at age 36


SPIRITUAL

Time in Prayer, Daily Average: 34 minutes
Time in Prayer, Aggregate Since 1/1/09: 154 hours, 21 minutes

Worship Services Attended Since 1/1/09: 57, most of them here

Commandments Observed Since 1/1/09: 8
Commandments Broken Since 1/1/09: 2
Commandment Broken Most Frequently: #3

Ongoing Spiritual Symptoms: Frustration when church gets in the way of my relationship with God


LEADERSHIP

Most Observable Leadership Strength: Enthusiasm, Vision (tie)
Most Observable Leadership Weakness: Naïveté

Nonprofit Boards Currently Serving: 2
Nonprofit Boards To Be Serving By 1/1/10: 1, at most

Leadership Roles At St. Luke's United Methodist Church: 3
Leadership Roles At St. Luke's United Methodist Church By 3/1/10: 1

Ongoing Leadership Symptoms: Overestimation of influence, underestimation of influence


OVERALL RANDOMNESS

Total Miles Driven In My 2007 Nissan Versa: 32,738
Miles Driven Since 1/1/09: 11,382
Gallons Of Gas Used Since 1/1/09: About 397

Number Of Times My "Hoedown Throwdown" Video Has Been Viewed: 255
Number Of Times My "Neti Pot" Video Has Been Viewed: 51
Number Of Times My "Dancing in Qatar" Video Has Been Viewed: 313

Words/Phrases That Have Been Used To Describe Me Lately:
  • Profoundly amazing
  • Nurturing
  • Ingenious
  • Verbose
  • Giving
  • Eater
  • Lion
  • Loyal
  • Laughter
  • Witty
  • Saucy! (exclamation theirs, not mine)
  • Wordsmithy
  • Thoughtful
  • Genuine
  • Sincere
  • Enthusiastic

Ongoing Overall Randomness Symptoms: Ongoing overall randomness

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bubby!

This is my nephew Owen, aka Bubby, as he approaches the ripe old age of 8 months:



I'm not sure there's any family resemblance:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What I'm Working On Right Now

I'm sharing this because you're interested in what I'm doing, and not at all because I'd like to mark for posterity the fact that this is the work of me and a few others, in case someone else at some point decides to write a book about it two years from now. [/sarcasm] 

Anyway.

We're working on a new model for membership at St. Luke's and the image below is from the conversation guide we'll be using over the next few months to facilitate discussion and develop a plan.




If you have any opinions, ideas, or insights about church membership, especially megachurch membership trends or insights for attracting younger individuals and families to very large churches, I'm all ears. Comment away!

Monday, September 14, 2009

So conflicted.

This Cheetos commercial is hilarious to me. ("Hola, Vanessa." "Hey, Rach." "It's Rachel.")


( If you're reading this on Facebook and want to watch the video, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgoDcCQZzIg )

Yet I also find it deeply disturbing. The entire offputting notion of "Papa Chester" in the role of Satan (complete with twitchy tail and pointy, horn-like ears), tempting us to do cheez-dusty Very Bad Things, is just too much for me. Not to mention the whole our-product-leaves-schmutz-on-your-fingers marketing choice. (Reclaim it, I guess...)

And I don't even know what to make of the man sunning himself in front of Papa Chester at the 0:14 mark...although he makes an appearance in another commercial in the Tempted By Chester series, this one starring young ingénue/object of nerd lust (ingénerd?) Felicia Day. I guess the suntanning man is some sort of cheez-puff minion or henchman, perhaps? 

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Things change, I guess.

When I was little -- like, four years old or so -- my family moved from Ohio to Florida. We lived in a suburb of Tampa called Brandon, before moving to Indiana in 1980. Here are the things I remember from my two years in Florida:
  • It was hot and humid. All the time.
  • My brother had a lava lamp in his room. One night when we were having a sleep over, I think with our cousin Karen who was down from Ohio to visit, we were laying in the dark, watching the lava-lampy pattern on the wall when it suddenly started to move more skitterishly and freaktastically. We chose to turn on the overhead light to discover a couple roaches -- like, huge roaches; Jurassic roaches -- had found their way into the house to terrorize us.
  • Our next-door neighbors had one or more English bulldogs who ended up dead in their swimming pool, because apparently English bulldogs can't swim and neighbors who are hicks can't figure out how to barricade off their swimming pool from their non-swimming dogs. (Literally, one of my more vivid memories of my time in Florida is of the little girl next door running from their house to ours, screaming -- and this is a direct, screamy quote -- "My English bulldog's dead! My English bulldog's dead! My English bulldog's dead!")
  • The other-side neighbors lived in a very cool, modern-architecture-looking house. I think they had a Doberman.
  • The across-the-street neighbors were awesome older folks who served almost as in loco grandparentis. I got birthday cards from Mrs. Harding for almost 30 years.
  • One time when playing tag at dusk, I was looking behind me at It and I looked ahead of me just in time to run forehead-first into a tree in our yard. I still remember how it jarred my head -- a genuine "thunk."
  • I went to preschool at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, which is now Bell Shoals Baptist megachurch. At Bell Shoals Preschool, I learned the song that you may have heard me perform previously at Carnegie Hall or elsewhere: 


Sadly, it turns out that the Bell Shoals community doesn't believe that God made everyone special. Only I and people like me are special, apparently. Those who are different from us can go jump in a lake.

The church that taught me that God loves me and that God created me to be a unique and worthy person -- the church that taught me a song about God's love for me, which I have remembered for more than 30 years -- has now decided to change its 10 vending machines from Pepsi products to Coke products, on account of Pepsi's support of marriage equality for same-sex couples

Which, come on:
  1. Even if they're going to be big enough hypocrites to judge whose relationship God will or will not bless (which, churchily, is a BIG "if"), is soda really the battleground you want to take on?
  2. Ten vending machines is not going to make a difference to Pepsi's bottom line, and I do not believe the Community Issues Council, whatever that is, has enough pull to influence others to follow suit.
  3. As rated by the Human Rights Campaign, Coke is as much a supporter of same-sex relationships as Pepsi. Both scored 100 on the HRC's Corporate Equality Index.
In conclusion, I, who am in the privileged majority in every sense, am disappointed in the people who taught me an enduring song about God's love for me, as they now turn their back on "the least of these" who need as much love and support as any other of God's beloved children.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Workshopping the devotional

This evening, I'm in charge of the devotion for the first meeting of the new Stephen Ministry class at St. Luke's. Which means I need to come up with a five-minute story that relates somehow to Stephen Ministry and shares insight into my own personal faith journey.

Or whatever.

So I'm thinking of telling this story and sharing this reflection. If you read this before 5:30pm today, let me know what you think! Otherwise, you may keep your big trap shut, as I will have already done it. (Haha, of course. You may share with me your thoughts at any time, because I'm cool like that.)


A few weeks ago, a young man named Michael Conley gave a kind of capstone organ recital at St. Luke's before heading off to DePauw for college. Michael grew up at St. Luke's and has been pursuing organ studies for several years; his recital included some very difficult classical music and some really cool other stuff.

At the end-of-concert reception, I was walking around, greeting the people I knew and getting to know the interesting-looking ones I didn't know, because that's how I roll after an organ recital.

I happened to bump into Bob Tharp, who was the Head Youth Guy at St. Luke's when I was a youth, 20+ years ago. We chatted for a bit and I mentioned how talented Michael is and what a blessing his music has been to our faith family.

Bob agreed, of course, and then looked me right in the eye and said, without a hint of irony, "Scott, you are as talented as Michael, just in different areas."

In the moment, I think I said something like, "Wow, thanks," and made my way to the next person to meet-and-greet, but Mr. Tharp's words have really stuck with me, especially as I've struggled in the past year or so with job stuff and the self-esteem challenges that come with being unemployed or underemployed for a long time. But I think his words illustrate what the Apostle Paul meant when he said to the Thessalonians, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

We are called to encourage one another and build one another up. And our role as Stephen Ministers is one way to live out that calling. Throughout the next six months of weekly classes, we'll be encouraging one another -- not to be more than we are, but to be ourselves fully, living out our calling to serve God and serve others, using the talents that God has given us and the example Jesus gave us.

Let's pray: Creator and Friend, you have led us here, each of us for a different reason, from a different place, but we journey together in Your service. Open our ears and our hearts to You and to each other, and lead us forward in a community of loving support. In the name of Christ, our brother, we pray. Amen

Freshman Hazing

When you're the newest U.S. Senator, they make you do wacky things, like, such as draw a geographically accurate map of the 50 United States freehand:



Via BestWeekEver.tv

Saturday, September 05, 2009

In the immortal words of Britney Spears...

...Oops, I did it again.

Sorry for going so long without a post. Sarah from Yuma seems to feel that the micro-blog service Twitter is draining my regular-blog mojo. That's probably part of it, but the combination of pet-sitting trauma, no wireless where I'm house-sitting, and general meh-laise have also contributed.

I will be adding more updates soon. In the meantime, here's a game you can waste all manner of time on:

Also, I guess the advertising and music are automatic on the embedding, so that will be the soundtrack for your viewing of my blog until this post rotates off the front page. C'est la vie, I suppose, because I totally love Red Remover and want you to play it, too.

UPDATE: I took off the actual embedding of the game, on account of the music and the advertising got kind of creepy. So you can still play the game by clicking on the image to the left, or you can click here. But it's not embedded in the blog anymore.