On Hiatus.

So, the ole PTOIT will be stagnant until Monday, July 31.

Here's some stuff to keep you busy until then (those of you who "have nothing to do at work when you don't post." You know who you are that said that.)

Sox thoughts: Mark Buerhle had another bad start. I have a theory. I think he and John Garland, who is pitching good again, have traded arms. But since Mark is a leftie and Garland a rightie, Mark got John's bum left arm and Galand has two dominant arms. A science experiemnt gone wrong.

To cheer up Sox fans (and I hope they start winning before PTOIT returns), here's some fun quotes and stories:

"I think each of our guys is capable of winning seven to 10 more games this year. That's 35 to 45 victories. That's 93 to whatever victories. If we win 95 games and don't make the playoffs, we will have to tip our caps to someone. But I think we are going to be OK." --Pitching coach Don Cooper

"A good friend and frequent reader sent me a note this morning pointing out that our current .617 winning percentage (tied for third best in baseball with Boston) is better than our final mark in 2005 (.611). The .617 mark equates to 100 victories over a 162-game season." --On http://whitesoxpride.mlblogs.com/

"I blame it on Riske. Before he got here, I had a good-looking club. Now, everyone looks like a convict." --Ozzie on why his staff and players are getting buzz cuts.

"In my opinion, there are two types of people in the world. If you are lucky enough to wake up each morning, you have a choice. You can wake up, be positive and optimistic, or you can wake up and act like someone (relieved themselves) in your cereal. I make a conscious choice to be an optimist." --Don Cooper again.

"Mark Buehrle and his family arrived late in Pittsburgh for the All-Star Game. When he arrived at the ballpark, the guard asked him for some ID. Mark showed him his player ID card. The guard looked at him skeptically. Ha asked: "Do you have anything else?"

"How about this," Mark answered, showing him his World Series ring.

The guard let him in." -- On http://whitesoxpride.mlblogs.com/

Other stuff:

Gnome Is Where the Heart Is

Pirates vs. Ninjas: Which Side Are You On? (A question that you need to ask yourself TODAY.)

Filled with the Spirit rap and really cranky reaction to it.

The Sith Sense. Hey Anonymous, this is for you. (And it is also really really fun...)



I have an idea for a movie.

It all started when Russ found this album on Amazon.com by Hello Goodbye. It's called, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! Wow, forget raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens--these are some of my favotire things. So my inspritation was two-fold. 1) How cool would it be to just shove all my favorite things into one movie and 2) I'd title it so that it's a very clear anouncement of what is in it (ala Snakes on a Plane).

My movie is a war film with a bunch of cool stuff against the forces of evil. It's called:

Monkeys, Robots, Knights, WWII Paratroopers, Talking Monkeys, Spaceships, Dinosaurs, Zombies, Vampires, Samurai, Snipers, Ninjas, Pirates, Space Pirates, Cowboys, Detectives, 80's Hair Metal Bands, Spies, Space Lizards, Giant Robots and Mr. T vs. The French

The posters may abbreviate it MRPKWWIIPTMSDZVSSNPSCDEHMSSGM vs. The French.

I am already thinking about a series of these movies. There are many evil forces out there. In fact, you could do one sequel where you have several bad guys. That would be called:

Monkeys, Robots, Knights, WWII Paratroopers, Talking Monkeys, Spaceships, Dinosaurs, Zombies, Vampires, Samurai, Snipers, Ninjas, Pirates, Space Pirates, Cowboys, 80's Hair Metal Bands, Detectives, Spies, Space Lizards, Giant Robots and Mr. T vs. The French, Broccoli, Radio Shock Jocks, Ingrown Toe Nails, Bad Grape Juice Stains, Mimies, Gary Coleman, Communists, Vegans, Unibrows, Chaffing, Theatre Majors, Kevin Federline, Body Odor, Lint, Chewing With Your Mouth Open and People Who Cut Your Off in Traffic.

Injury Update: Those who know me know that when I play sports, I spend most of my time on the ground. I just dive for everything. Or I fall down. It's how I roll.

On Tuesday night I went to the church for a meeting. One of the youth group counselors had invited all the YG kids over for a night of fun summer games in the church parking lot (all of our yard got taken by the building additon). On my way out, I jumped into the Water Balloon Toss. On the 4th or 5th throw, my partner threw it a tad short. So I did my thing. I dove for it. As I landed I thought, "Hmm, this is OK to do when playing Frisbee on the grass. But not so hot on CONCRETE."

My right leg got beat up and brusied. But I walked it off. I won't let it get the best of me. No DL needed. I play despite being hurt. There's no Mark Prior action here.


Last I heard, my friend Charissa has not yet met lead singer Matt Theissen of Relient K. And so, our campaign continues. We think these two need to meet and won't stop until the dream is realized.

Today we have more concept photos of what meeting between Charissa and Matt may look like. These are to convince the world that this meeting needs to happen. (And of course create public awareness. Oh, and give me an excuse to play on Photoshop.)

Here is this week's batch:

Photo #1: This photo is of Charissa and Matt picking out a new puppy. Apparently in a high school locker room. Look how supportive he is of her. Even giving her a back massage.

Photo #2: Here, Charrissa kicks back and relaxes with Matt and his friends. She fits in well with them. And she gets along well with them...even that guy who never wears a shirt.

Photo #3: This photo shows us Matt carrying Charissa when he's at the train station with the band. Maybe they missed their train and she's tired. I don't know. But she's obviously very comfortable and snuggily with him. And look how confident and storng she makes him. How can anyone not want these two to meet in real life?


Look, I mention Excite Bike!

Last Febuary, Camerin and I got the opportunity to do a talk at a local church about our dating book. I diligently prepared for it. We met and read through our scripts together. I memorized and memorized. And it went pretty well.

On Sunday evening, we did another singles event. But for this one, I stayed up the entire night before riding my bike through downtown Chicago in the annual L.A.T.E. Ride. I think I learned from this experience that anytime I need to do public speaking, I should stay up the entire night before and cram for it--because I think the talk went better this time.

Oh, and I think I may develop a video game based upon my experience with the L.A.T.E. Ride this year. The idea is to manuever your bike through a crowded pack of bikers while avoding obstacles like skinny snotty blondes who really want to cross the street despite the thousands of bicyclists, full water bottles strewn throughout the street, guys doing kareoke, and vomiting party girls jumping out on either side of the street. It'd be more fun than Excite Bike!


Aftera hiatus, the world's most popular feature having to do with words, google, photos and me is back! Today, I opened up the ole' dictionary to pick the random search words. I plugged them into Google Images and here's what I got:

Today's Search Terms: "Library" and "Safari"

The Results:

Photo #1: Now, this is a Safari Library. When I look at this picture, two thoughts run through my mind. The first is of a lion rampaging through this cozy little set-up and a librarian asking him for a library card. The second thought I have is that all those books have titles like How to Find Women in the Jungle, How to Decorate your Safari Pad to Attract Women, and Lonely in the Jungle?

Photo #2: Why is it that the creepiest puppet of them all is the little girl one? Hmmm, or is it the one in the middle?

Phot0 #3: Ernest Hemingway. This photo is included here for Gene. Gene is my old roommate (as in former roommate, not that he's my current roommate who is very aged). Gene is the only person I know who would dress up at Halloween as Ernest Hemingway. Or cook from a Hemingway cookbook. And I'm serious. He did. Luckily we never got the recipe for lion.

Photo #4: Gorilla! Is there any search that doesn't bring up monkeys?

Photo #5: Ah, the most dangerous safari there is: Hunting the Giant-Headed White Beagle. Lull it asleep with the gentle strumming of your guitar and you can approach close enough to get your photo with it...


Photographic Evidence

The Matt-Charissa Connection Campaign--Day 4:

It is time to launch Phase One of The MC Campaign. What is Phase One? Well, it is to show how much these two kids need to meet. And we intend to show that through photographic evidence.

The idea for Phase One all started when we obtained a photo from Relient K security this week that shows a near-miss between Charissa and Matt T of RK. Here it is:
If you don't see Charissa, that's her in the shadows peeking out behind the giant bushy afro. She has at this point spotted Matt but he is not aware of her. Reportedly, he did turn around but Charissa just mumbled, "Oh, uh...." and wandered away.

But we here at the MC Campaign do not think that this mumbling and wandering off would happen again. We think Matt and Charissa would greatly enjoy each other's company. And so this photo got us thinking, What if we showed in photos what an actual meeting of Matt and Charissa looked like? So, we rendered some photos to show that this would be a good thing. Today, we share the first batch. More will come next week.

Here's the first. It is Matt and Charissa enjoying a sunset.

See how proud Charissa is of him? See how she's pointing as if to say, "Look, Matt"? Them being together even makes the sunset better.

The next one is a little shocking. It is what it would look like if Charissa and Matt were mugged:

The reason for this photo is to show how caring Charissa is. She is so scared for Matt. You can tell she is not worried for her own well-being, but his.

We here at PTOIT hope these photos begin to convince the world that this meeting does need to take place. Thank you.

PTOIT Special Friday Feature: Quotes of the Week

"I am glad to see we have so many Chicagoan Canadian-American Pirates at our show tonight." --Flatfoot 56 after looking out at all the flags in the audience.

"I think you are about as good for our country as Al-Qaida. It would appear, you don't know God personally. You may be a church member, but church membership won't get you any closer to heaven, than where our astronauts are right now. And I would hate to be one of your two sons." --A pastor who reads CTi publications. This is the sort of sweet Christian mail we get to articles. Way to show a light, man.

"Standout track 'Can’t Believe,' with its dream-like note-bending, is what Van Gogh would play if he had a guitar." -- A review for the band Foolish Things. My response: Wha?


The Dang French!

A Real Conversation:

The Ladyfriend (TLF): So what do you want from Portillo's?

Me: Um, a Beef and Cheddar Crouissant. I have drinks at the house, so don't worry about that. And we could share some French Fries.

TLF: Okay, so a Beef and Cheddar Crouissant and French Fries.


Me: Hmmm. That is really French. I didn't realize that.


TLF: Do you want to change it?

Me: Gosh. It is really French. No, I guess it's OK this time.

TLF: Well, Crouissants are the best the French offer.

Me: True.

TLF: And the Beef and Cheddar concept is very English. That probably offsets it.

Me: Ya. And let's call them Freedom Fries.


Daniel Blue Bluefish

So, I have been feeling very down. Just real overwhelmed and even a tad sad at times. Well, today I decided to focus on something good and fun. So I decided that today the good thing in the world is McDonald's Happy Meals. I normally stay away from McDonalds, but when feeling blue, those french fries are a comfort food. And I got the Happy Meal beacuse they have pirate stuff in them. And I like pirates.

I got a little skull that's a magic 8-ball kind of thing. It's cool but I can never tell what the fortune says...

Anyway, my mood picked up as I ate because I was reading the Happy Meal box. It has a little key on it to figure out your pirate name:

Middle Name:
Favorite Color:
Type of fish:

When I figured out my name using the first things to pop into my head, I got Daniel Blue Bluefish. Well, that is just too repetitive and sounds silly. And then I decided on Daniel Blue Baracuda. But when you say it aloud it sounds like you are calling a football play. And Daniel Blue Rainbow Trout is just dorky.

So I have decided on Captain Daniel Blue Hammerhead. That sounds tough. Arrgh.

I also giggled because the box tries to use priates to teach kids good habits. For instance, one panel says, "Q. How did pirates stay active? A. Pirates climbed ropes, went swimming and swabbed the decks to stay active." Hmm, funny that they left out, "pillaged, stabbed people and kicked helpless women and children." Also, I don't think they swabbed the decks to stay active.

Scurvy Pete: "Hey, Bluebeard. You bored?"

Bluebeard: "Ya, I need to get some exercise. I am all mopey. Maybe I will clean. Wanna join me?"

It was more that they did what told or they got a blade in the gullet! That kept them active!

And then the Happy Meal tries to trick children by saying, "Ask your mom if you can swab the kitchen floor!" Don't kids! It's a trap! That's not fun, that's work!


Cornerstone 2006

This is Cornerstone. Near riots pulsating inside 400 degree tents. Sleeping outdoors to the echoes of metalcore growling. And guys in banana costumes.

On late Saturday night I returned home from 4 days at Cornerstone with Youth Group Kid Ethan, The Ladyfriend and my friend Charissa. It was a different year at C-stone for me, but very rewarding. One big difference is that my flesh didn't melt off. Usually, misery is a defining trait of the festival because it's always 125 degress outside of the concert tents and 400 degrees inside them. This year, it was beautiful. It was 80 in the days and 60s at night. We even wore sweatshirts.

The festival also didn't seem to be as crowded this year. The last time I went was about 3 years ago and in the 5-year stretch I went, the attendance was always about 25,000 or more. This year's crowd had to be less than 20,000. There was still lots of people. Most shows were pakced. But what the slightly-dipped attendance meant was that people pretty much camped in the normal spots and weren't forced to pitch tents in crazy places like driveways and 90 degree slopes.

We got a nice shady and spacious camping spot on a hill out in an area called "The Shire." That is a fitting name. It was quiet and cozy. And there were hobbits. Anyway, we set up our tents around these two big trees that formed a neat little "living room" for us to hang out in and chat. The hill then sloped down a few feet to the tents...and then went down on a big slope down to the road which took us on a 5-minute walk to Cornerstone's main drag.

Another interesting thing I noticed this year was that there were still the typical Cornstone mean-looking people in mohawks, tatoos and dog collars but more than that there were lots and lots of costumes. We saw Braveheart, a banana, two koalas, several cows, Link from The Legend of Zelda, Mario from Maro Bros, Gumby and more. There were also a lot of flags. All of this made for very lively sights at shows. (You can see snippetts of shows here.) This leads me to my Top 5 Cornerstone Music Moments.

5. The Wedding's Open Door Policy. At the concert of pop-punk band The Wedding, it seemed as if just anyone could go up and sing. They had a large group of their friends sitting off to the side of the stage and every once in while, random people from that group would walk up to the mic and start singing. It was very democratic.

4. Family Force 5's headstands. New Gotee artist Family Force 5 puts on an amazing, high octane show. It is just crazy. They are showmen. One guy makes mean faces the whole time. Another gets down on the keytar. And then they have a 6th guy who plays no instruments but just dances...and throws things at the other members. At the end of one song, they all--even the drummer--ended in a headstand except for Nadaddy, the keyboardist and DJ--who stood triumphantly above them all.

3. Anberlin's tears. I've always liked Anberlin--who actually started their career by playing Cornerstone on what C-stoners call a "generator stage," which is just playing on amps in your campsite. But this week I got to see their lead singer do a press confernce and I fell in love with the band and their ministry. Talking about his persoanl realtionship with Jesus and how he is angered by anyone who tries to "sell" Jesus, he got choked up and actually began to cry. This is a man with a deep faith, real convictions, and a missionary's heart. That all makes up for how much he looks and acts like Rod Stewart on stage. You will eventually be able to hear a podcast of the interview here.

2. Staple's Farewell Prayer. As readers know, I am a huge fan of hardcore band Staple. And I was broken up when they announced they were hanging it up. But I got to see one of their last shows on Saturday night. I went to the show by myself and stood near the stage and let the rock heaven wash upon me. The show was higlighted by crowd chants of "Don't break up!" and the lead singer's honest, vulnerable and dynamic stage presence. They. Rocked. The. House. I found out later that Ethan couldn't find the band he'd been looking for and watched Staple from the back. He's not a fan but admitted, "That was an amazing amazing show." After the last song, the crowd brought them back on for an encore (which is actually rare for Cornerstone because of the tight schedules needed to fit 300 bands on 11 stages). But before they played, the stage manager brought them out and led the crowd in prayer for this band and their next chapter. Seeing the crowd with hands extended and heads bowed was humbling and moving. And it was a fitting salute to a thoughtful, godly--and rawking--band.

1. The Braveheart. The photo (taken by Phil Blair for Cornerstone) at the top of today's blog was taken at Thursday night's Flatfoot 56 show. Flatfoot is a Chicago-based Irish punk band. They're like The Clash or Rancid with bagpipes. I've become a big fan since getting their album a few weeks ago. But I didn't anticipate their show. It was the craziest, most fun time I've maybe ever had at a concert. They just go nuts--and invite fans to do the same. First of all, the three brothers in the band are about 9 feet tall. And they command the stage with an everyguy, jokey persona. It's like you are just at their practice. They goof around, tell jokes and even play a punk version of "Do your ears hang low?" But the defining feature is the rowdiness. There were people climbing the tent poles. There was a full-tent-sized circle pit. There were the many flags held by fans around around the tent which then, as the music started, slowly moved to the center, and began rotating quickly around the center in circle pits. And then there was The Braveheart. Flatfoot instructed the audience to part in the middle and face each other. The crowd then shouted "Oi" back and forth between the sides to build themselves into a frenzy before--to the rawkus sounds of the band--charging at each other and slamming into whoever was opposite you. It was insane. But awesome. Like at the Emery concert a few moths ago, I was impressed by how these Christians could mosh so well--but then pick each other up and show real compassion for each other. Both Flatfoot concerts I saw ended with Flatfoot's awesome cover of "Amazing Grace." Druing the slower, bagpiped part, the crowd joined with arms around each other and sawyed back and forth. And when the music picked up, the hitting resumed.

There were other great concert moments. David Crowder, House of Heroes, MxPx, Relient K and Kids in the Way all put on great shows. RK's Matt T clubbing people in the face with beach balls, MxPx's energy and charmisma, and Crowder's sly witty comments all made the week.

I also had a great time just chilling with our group. And playing Xtreme Bocce Ball. By the end of the week I saw the four of us falling into typical "family" roles. I was so the dad--keeping Ethan in line and such. Apparently my line of the week was, "Ethan, be careful." One particular challenge the two of us had was that Ethan liked to be the one who drained the melted ice from the cooler--but he'd do it in the middle of camp so we'd be sitting in mud...and the hill would allow the water to flow right into the tents. The Ladyfriend fell into the role of the saucy and entrancing nextdoor nieghbor lady who the dad is sweet on. And Charissa? Well, I realized on Saturday morning that she was the cool aunt who kept egging on Ethan so I'd have to yell at him more.

Perhaps the most meaningful thing to come out of the week is that Charissa decided that Matt Theissen of Relient K is a really cool guy who'd she'd like to meet. And so, this launches the newest PTOIT campaign: The Matt-Charissa Connection Campaign. We here at PTOIT vow to do everything possible to unite these crazy kids. We won't rest until they meet! Stay tuned as we count down from today (Day 1) to the inevitable day they meet.


Happy 3rd of July

Well, I told you all about being called "huggable" in front of the whole company. Here's the official company photo of me accepting my Award of Service from my boss:

So you see, it's not just me who's a big dork. It's mandated corporately. Thank to Emily for the pic.

And here's another work photo:

That's me finding new accessories for my office (with Heidi's help). What better place is there to find great bargains. I mean, it is a big eagle statue! And yah, I was being paid during the taking of each of these photos. And they both appeared in the last company newsletter so...hear that sound? It's the last vestiges of my credibility being sucked dry.

Lisa has introduced to a new blog fad. Or new to me. Apparently, people "tag" you to write about certain things. It's kinda like a blogging version of chain mail. If I don't do it I think I blow up or something. And we don't want that.

So, I need to list the seven songs I am "into" right now. This is easier to compile than those "5 favorite song" lists because it's about what's bending my ear right now. That's less pressure. So, in no order, here you go:

1. "Represent" by Pettidee
2. "The Coldest Heart" by The Classic Crime
3. "Out of Reach" by Sarah Kelly (This album isn't out yet, but this song features A November Rain-ish guitar solo from Slash. Oh yes, that Slash.)
4. "You Really Got Me" by Van Halen
5. "Grillz" by Nelly. (Who can't love lines like, "You should call me George Foreman, I'm selling so many grillz.")

6. "Jesus Freak" by Chasing Victory. (This comes off of the tribute album to dcTalk. I love when bands scream. )

7. "Ain't No Other Man" by Christina Aguilera. (Yah, I said it. I like it. But before you start hating, go listen to it. This is some tight stuff.)

If you have a blog, tell me what 7 tunes you can't get away from right now.

So, yesterday was a cool God moment. On Saturday, the Ladyfriend and I drove 4 hours to a picnic with her family. Good times. But we didn't get back to her mom's house until late and decided to stay there instead of driving the additional 30 minutes for The Ladyfriend and hour for me. The main reason we stayed out there was that The Ladyfriend had to work at her church's west campus early Sunday--and that's 10 minutes from her mom's house. So it just made sense to stay. But I wanted to go home. I've been running so much lately, I am never home. I wanted to sleep in and clean my house and just veg. I was kinda burnt out on seeing people.

But instead, The Ladyfriend got up way early and went to work and I got to sleep in and just drove over for the late service. When I got there, I grabbed a seat in the back. But during the greetings, my old friends Becki and Joey came over! I haven't seen them in almost two years. They live out there now. But how weird that we ended up at the same church service. It was my first time there ever. And their first Sunday back after a 5-month absence to church shop. They were going to go to the early service but ran late and just went to the later one. And just on a whim, they'd arranged for a babysitter jsut so they could have a few free hours in the afternoon. So, they got to come out to lunch with us. It was great--and a lot better than vegging on my couch.

Well, this will be the last blog entry for awhile. I am off to Cornerstone! Check out this story about the festival written by a skilled and handsome reporter. I'll be back July 10. Rock on.