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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

You Tube

Always looking for an opportunity to store stuff for free on the web, Terry Storch turned me onto You Tube. They give you 100 MB per video. Pretty cool for free.

With sites like this, I always love browsing through what others have posted.
I hope you'll enjoy this one titled "Soldiers Burning Weed"
Also, this one you may have seen, but it's still funny "Hilarious Sobriety Test"
I plan on using this later in life to share video. For now, just enjoy the things others have posted.
If you have time check out some of the ones posted and share the one you like with us.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Best Feeling in a Long Time

This past Friday, my wife and I experienced together what was the best feeling either of us have had in a long time. I want to use this post to share that feeling and how we accomplished it so you and yours can someday recreate it for yourself.

Now get your mind out of the gutter, you sicko. This is a PG story at most.

One of our rental houses is empty. The tennants broke their lease and left. I can't say I blame them, they were given a trailor for $1. I would have broken the lease too. But, rules are rules and they are required to clean up things when they leave. They cleaned the inside of the house, but left all kinds of garbage in the back and front yard. 3 mattresses, broken glass, an assortment of clothes and broken toys and several trash bags of food, etc. etc. This has been sitting out in the sun for around a month by the time I get to it on Friday. You can probably imagine the smell. What you probably can't imagine is what a cardboard tube full of meat and maggots smells like after it has been in the sun for a month.

While we are loading up the back of the truck we had to borrow to move all this stuff, it starts to rain. So now we are choking back vomit, handling only God knows what and getting soaked as we do it.

We finally get it all loaded up and are headed to the dump when my wife has the best idea. She says "let's go by where they live now and take them their stuff" I say "You're a genius and I love you" We head into the trailor court, find their trailor (a beauty of a kelly green trailor I might add) I get out, knock on the door and to her surprise, there is her former land lord, soaking wet and pretty smelly.

"Hi Francis" I smile at her with that little boy on Christmas morning sound in my voice. "You left a bunch of stuff in our yard and I brought it back to you. We'll just unload it right here in your front yard, okay."

"Uhhh, yeah, sure..." she muttered, still in shock.

We unloaded every last bit of garbage, told her we want our curtains back, she can mail them to us and she still owes us $300 on the last month's rent. If she doesn't pay us, we'll be seeing her in small claims court, where we will pursure every month's rent for the remainder of her lease.

Deann and I hop back in the truck and drive off with an incredibly liberated feeling of euphoria. The best pleasure I have had in months. Something about controlling every aspect of the situation to where you have someone under your thumb and they can't do a thing about it. I still smile when I think about it.

Well check out the poll this week and give me your opinion. Is it right or wrong to get pleasure out of someone else's misfortune? America loves it's funniest home videos. A rake to the crotch, a golf club upside the head, a bride's made falling down on the groom... we can't stop laughing. Is this right or are we dimented?

Last week's poll results are pretty unanimous with 83% saying men aren't perfect, but they aren't dogs either.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Grin and Barrett Turns 1

One year ago... 365 days ago... 525,600 minutes (enter chorus of broadway singers) How do you measure a year?

Thats when I started blogging. A lot has happened in the last year - in my life and in yours. The one thing that I hope hasn't changed is your interest in reading my corner of the blogosphere.

Thanks for reading and being patient with me as I grow and develop my writing skills. Celebrate with me as I celebrate one year of this ride.

In what appearantly is the tradition of bloggers on their blog's birthday I will post my first entry.

Inaugural Post

Inspired by my friend Scott, the happyweeble [new link], I have decided to overcome my fear of commitment to blogging and begin today.

While I won't pretend to have the expertise in blogging that others seem to have, I know I can grow and become the best darn blogger on the face of the earth. Well maybe at least in southeast Iowa.

I'm not sure what it is about the commitment factor that has kept me from blogging for so long. This blog has actually been set up for 2 months as of today, but something about knowing that I should write, but don't think I have time to do it kept me away. Perhaps also my inspiration, Mr. Happyweeble, blogging like a mad man, posting the Encylopedia Britannica plus some has not only inspired, but intimidated.

That aside, hold on and fasten your seatbelts, let the blogging begin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Books and Life Podcast

Here it is - I've done it! An official podcast. No more stupid Audio Blogger for me.

One disclaimer before you listen: I think I must have had 2 or 3 Valium before I recorded this. Next time - more caffeine I promise.

<-- click here to listen.

I've included a "Link-a-long" section so you can link-a-long while you listen.

Pour Your Heart Into It

Velvet Elvis

Provocative Faith

Persuing Your Life Dream

If you like the music, you can download it here - Silhouettes of Rain
If you don't like it, then click here

Special thanks to my brother in law, Brian Egge who gave me the technical assistance and is providing the storage space to pull this off. Normally I'd crack some joke about him being a hard core computer programing geek, but he married my little sister Elizabeth, so he doesn't need any more of a hard time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The weekly poll results are in and WOW!

I am shocked by the results. 100% said they would prefer financial freedom to do / have great things, but low job satisfaction. I guess I'm shocked because I have held on to my utopian belief that job satisfaction is the most important thing. I thought if you're happy in your job you'll be happy in everything. Survey says "Horse Hockey"

Sadly I've come to realize that this is not only the majority opinion, but also it has recently become my opinion.

Who was the stupid college professor or seminar lecturer that fed me that line of crap that "if you find the job you love, you'll never have to work another day in your life"? I mean what ever I was smoking at the time has certainly worn off and I'm not feeling the buzz of stupidity and brainwash any longer. Honestly, if I could remember who they were, I'd beat the snot out of them for polluting my mind. At least in my imagination I'd visualize the enjoyment of it.

New poll - Saw this on Good Morning America today. Treat your husband like a dog. Okay, men are dogs, but are we really that trainable??? Read here

Monday, August 22, 2005

Interpreting Scripture

I posted a while back about the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. My biggest challenge with what was said was in the book was the author suggests we should continually reinterpret the scripture. Somewhere out there a correct interpretation exists, but we as feeble humans will probably never get it right, so we should keep on trying so we can at least get closer.

I won't discuss my initial hesitance to this, since I did that in the first post about it, but I wanted to discuss my slow acceptance to this thought.

I think I've come to realize that Rob isn't saying we should throw out everything we've been taught and start our own sect of biblical interpretation, forming our own doctrines about scripture which will lead to redefining salvation and even questioning is salvation even necessary. Instead, I think he's saying realize what you've been taught has most likely come from man and not directly from God himself, so take an opportunity to question what scripture is really saying.

I've seriously been giving this a lot of thought / meditation / wrestling with God. So, let me pose to you this practical application question that I've been considering all day. In Mark 5:35-42 when Jesus goes to Jairus' house after being told his daughter is already dead, did Jesus raise the girl from the dead, displaying healing power, or was the girl literally sleeping like Jesus said she was and by recognizing this, Jesus displayed supernatural wisdom, recognizing another trap set by the religious leaders. Everything I've been taught about this passage (and there has been a ton) speaks of healing and raising from the dead. Even the motives we place on Jairus' and Jesus' actions are interpretations. So what's your interpretation of this or other scripture that is different than common thought?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Livin La Vida Shahrestun

Influenced by... well pretty much everyone, I finally started using iTunes. Mostly I just listen to the radio programs. Lots of great jazz and wold music. Then I found an interesting station called IranianRadio. I thought I'd broaden my horizons and see what the Iranians are into.

A couple of songs later, I find myself humming along to a familiar tune that I just quite can't place. I then put it together when the chorus hits. The title of the song "Dokhtare Shahrestun" somehow translates into Ricky Martin's Livin La Vida Loca in Persian.

I encourage you all to quit holding back and Dokhtare Shahrestun!

If you really want to live the crazy life, you can buy the CD here

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fun With Interviewing

I've got an interview scheduled this morning. I'm interviewing a potential candidate for a job here, not me interviewing for a job elsewhere.

My goal is not to ask stupid questions like "what's your biggest weakness"
Instead I figure I'll ask questions like "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

Maybe I'll just say "I'm thinking of a number between one and ten if you can guess it the job is yours!"

Actually I love the interview process from both sides. When being interviewed, I love the mental challange of guessing what they are really asking. When doing the interviewing, I love taking people from feeling uncomfortable to comfortable, then shaking them up and watching them become uncomfortable again. It's interesting to see how people respond to stress. I'm sick I know, but it really brings out thier personality better than stupid questions do.

Here's an article about interviewing from MadMan's Web

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A lie is not a lie if you tell the truth before you die

Perhaps because my father's wry sense of humor or maybe because of my mother's over bearing sense of discipline I find it necessary to bend rules to the point of breaking, but never let them break. Maybe because I married a strong willed woman, who like my mother it is nearly impossible to win an argument with that I typically avoid conflict with everyone, not just with my wife, and most often walk away without expressing my opinion even if I vehemently oppose what was just said or done.

I'm not sure what exactly has given me the skill, perhaps even the talent to be in the same room with someone I absolutely can't stand and would honestly like to punch square in the nose, yet I am able to mask those feelings and be rather pleasant. Does anyone else have those vivid imaginations of bashing in someone else's nose and watching blood splatter??? Uhh, yeah, me neither...

So does this make me a good diplomat or a great liar? Definately a good actor, but is it right to do? Aside from all the inner-self being psychology of my self esteem and ego, super ego, and id, is it morally right to put on this political front to keep peace?

My father used to quote his favorite scripture Hezekiah 3:2 "A lie is not a lie if you tell the truth before you die" Look it up... it's true ;) He would also quote things like "He who shall, so shall he who." Give you an idea as to why I'm the way I am???

So I wonder, to what extent I should be honest and to what extent I should express my true feelings?

Monday, August 15, 2005

How the Other Half Live

On our recent trip to the Ozarks, we decided to do some slumming. You know, go adventure to the other side of the tracks (in this case the other side of the lake) and see how those less fortunate than we are live.

I snapped lots of pictures and here are some of my favorites. It truly amazes me every time I stop to ponder how people make it in life with so little and how much I take for granted.

Notice the waterfalls on this one. There is a hot tub on the second level deck that a waterfall comes out of also, but it was off. Probably to save money and keep the people in the swimming pool below from getting splashed on. Then the gazebo on the left has another hot tub in it. I'm estimating 4000 sq ft of living space.

This little shack sits next to a rather large swimming pool.

I think this was a Habbitat for Humanity home. Nice when the whole commuinty pitches in and makes dreams come true isn't it?

You can really get a feel for how the people just make do with what they have. This poor family actully carved this out of the rock and is living in a cave. Coincidentally a golf course is almost directly on their roof. If you hit over the green, you can end up chipping from their chimney

Obviously these people were just able to scrape by when they bought cheap white paint to cover the run down exterior of their house. You can't really make it out, but there is actually a grand piano on the second floor inside those huge glass windows.

This poor little one level ranch house barely has a view of the water. Yet, somehow they find the strength to get up every morning and push on.

This was my wife's favorite house. She thinks that having a spectacular view over the water will make up for extreme poverty conditions. I think it just lends to an easy escape as they become so depressed with their circumstances and throw themselves off the cliff.

Finally, my favorite one. You can't really see the structure of the house due to the trees, but the roof line gives you an idea of it's size. I'd guess over 6000 sq ft of living space, not including the wrap around decks. Poor people have been waiting over a year for the house to be completed. They started it last year and are still trying to finish it.

These are just a few of the hundreds of below poverty cases we see every time we visit the Ozarks. Please join me in an effort to help the poor people. Send your money to www.saveamillionaire.com and you can help stop poverty.

Don't forget to check out the new weekly poll.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Keys to Success

I'm off on a week long vacation (much needed) to Lake of the Ozarks, where I will be joined by my wife, kids and wife's brother and his wife. I promise pics this time. The camera is already packed. Until then, here's a pretty meaty post compared to some of mine for you to look over.
If you have the time, help me out by thinking about it and posting your critiques of it. I'm seriously looking for feedback. - See you in a week!

As I mentioned earlier, I am going to begin posting portions of what I hope turns into a book on success someday. If not, at least I will grow along the way.

The keys to success as taught to me by my father are 1: practice and 2: determination.
These keys unlock doors you encounter along your journey to accomplish success.
However, these keys are influenced by laws. In otherwords, practice and determination answer to outside forces just like the apple striking Newton's head had every potential within it to become an apple pie, but first it was held by the law of gravity. My "book" will discuss these laws. The laws of success.

The first thing I want to know when I read a book is what's in it, so here's my table of contents. This probably won't be the final order by the time it reaches it's third printing and has been on the Best Seller's list for 28 weeks straight. ;)

  1. Law of Continual Advancement - There's always a better way to do what your doing. You must find that way.
  2. Law of Popularity - Word of mouth sells.
  3. Law of Right Knowledge - It's not always what you know, it's often who you know. You have to know the right thing at the right time.
  4. Law of Philanthropy - You must care for other people and other causes.
  5. Law of Ownership - You have to believe in what you are trying to succeed at.
  6. Law of the Island - You can't do everything alone.
  7. Law of Averages - You have to take calculated risks.
  8. Law of Increased Knowledge - Education is never wasted. You have to learn all you can all the time.
  9. Law of Restriction - Restriction of fear frees success.
  10. Law of the Library - You have to do your homework.
  11. Law of the Look - Be happy where you are, but never be satisfied with where you are. Instead focus on where you could be.
  12. Law of Efficiency - Waste not, want not.
  13. Law of Originality - Don't think like the majority, the majority isn't successful.
  14. Law of Security - Don't be afraid to admit you've failed.
  15. Law of Carpe Diem - Take the opportunity, any opportunity.
  16. Law of Familiarity - Stick to what you know (learn what you don't know)
  17. Law of Self-discipline - You have to encourage yourself.

Well there it is. I wrote these down 2 years ago, and just filed them away. You are the first to read them... ever. I had an 18th and 19th law, but as I was typing this, I decided that one doesn't effect success, and one will be redundant.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

Last weekend I picked up a new book by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Church called Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. His premise for the book is that no one artist has mastered painting. No one has ever called out "Hey stop painting everyone because I just painted the perfect painting. He contrasts this to the church's tradition of claiming to have correctly interpreted the Bible.

First let me say that I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the book, but I absolutely loved reading it. This is going to sound really shallow, but I loved the physical aspects of the book as much as the words in it. The plain white cover, the font and color accents. Even the paper seemed to have some sort of magical feel to it.

Okay, beyond that, here's what really threw me for a loop the first 15 or so times I read it.

"I'm part of this global, historic stream of people who believe that God has not left us alone but has been involved in human history from the beginning. People who believe that in Jesus, God came among us in a unique and powerful way, showing us a new kind of life. Giving each of us a new vision for our life together, for the world we live in.

And as part of this tradition, I embrace the need to keep painting, to keep reforming.

By this I do not mean cosmetic, superficial changes like better lights and music, sharper graphics, and new methods with easy-to-follow steps. I mean theology: the beliefs about God, Jesus, the Bible, salvation, the future. We must keep reforming the way the Christian faith is defined, lived, and explained."

I really struggled with this statement and still do struggle with it. I've always heard the "We don't change the message, we just change the way the message is presented" cliche on modern churches, and I agree with that cliche. I don't think I can agree with the idea of changing the message though.

Honestly, if I had skipped over those 3 paragraphs, or they had been left out I'd tell you how perfect this book is, but for some reason, I just can't because of that one passage.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Darrin's Dance Grooves Goes Biblical

Remember Darrin's Dance Grooves? A "teach yourself dance cool" sort of video, which at one point in my life I actually had to learn some of the moves as a job requirement. Some guy, who will remain nameless (but if you click here you can probably guess who he is) came up with the idea. Since he was my boss at the time I had to do it. Another story for another day.

Anyway, always in search for the latest in Christian curriculum, I came across this fabulous version of it Jesus style. Check it out

Away with the sarcasm now.

Who thinks up this garbage? If I walk into a church to find the congregation in some form of worshipful line dancing, I'm staying for the show so I can blog about it, but then I'm never coming back again. Dear God, what would the unsaved, unchurched think about this?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Success Defined

I've been thinking through this whole blogging process as I approach a year of blog. I see different blogs, some with a strict sense of purpose, some closely monitored, some random and some with little purpose at all. I'm not sure where I fit in to the whole mix, but probably not in the "strict sense of purpose" category.

One thing I have seen on several blogs is a blend purpose and humor. I think that is where I want to go.

For the last two years I have had an idea for a book I wanted to write on success. Well actually 2 books, but I'm not ready for anything on the second book yet. My biggest concern about this project is have I accomplished enough in life to be able to sell a book? Who knows, but here's my plan.

Over the next several months, among my usual silly stories and news items I come across, I'm planning on posting portions of chapters that I've written, or ideas I'm working through to one, inspire you and two, get your feedback on what you think.

Before I post anything, I want to hear from you. Without using the dictionary or other reference tools, how do you define success?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Weekly Poll Results

Another week, another poll.
Thanks to all who participated.

The question last week was:
What is your opinion of the current heat wave?
38% I like it, I love it, I want some more of it
38% I just stay inside all day
13% Some like it hot... I'm not one of them
13% I'd rather spend eternity in the lake of fire than have to endure one more day of this.

Well that kind of sums it up then. The heat didn't affect to many of you adversely, but a few aren't too fond of it.

One concern I have about this is the comment left which read "-Jul 26, 2005-We found out that there are a lot of potenital nudists in your readership. I hope this poll doesn't bring out the Satanists (option #4 -- sell your soul to Satan for a breeze?)"

Okay, I get the sell your soul to Satan for a breeze, but who are the potential nudists? And how did this person infer that from this data? Hmmm? A question for Dr. Olson, my research methods professor I think. Fortuantely for you I won't bore you to death with his rhetoric on the subject.

The statement did bring about curisoty in me. Check out this weeks poll.
Remember it is anonymous - so are the comments.