Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 82

Category: Billboards

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed.  Winner: Helpful Advertising

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Don't forget the gravy.

I prefer shelving thanks!

...and signs in the flight path!


You've been warned!

Nom, nom, nom.

Helpful Advertising

Read more about us online.

Detroit. A good place to pee.
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week Six Weigh In

If you want to find out what's going on and perhaps join in on the fun and accountability, click here for details.

Here are the stats for this week from those that are currently participating:


Name: Jim
Starting Weight: 211
Goal Weight: 180
Current Weight: 194

Recap: Two pounds per week is supposedly the healthy, recommended way but its getting dull and boring for me.  When I put it in perspective though I have lost close to 20 pounds in six weeks and I am past halfway to reaching my goal weight.  Based on how well I'm running, I've been thinking about entering a 5K.  I did a little bit of research and found a Fall Festival, Denton-based run in mid October.  If I end up registering for it, I will link to it next week and invite all you locals to run with me, assuming anyone would like that.

Name: Mike C.
Starting Weight: 238
Goal Weight: 218
Current Weight: 213

Recap: Dropped 7 pounds and got under the goal weight. No new goal, now just looking to get more fit. 

Great job Mike!



Name: Vickie P.
Starting Weight: 138.8
Goal Weight: 122.0
Current Weight: 118 This completes my 16th week of maintaining!

Recap: Another strange week but fora different reason.  I've strained my back something terrible and it has thrown the rest of my life out of whack! I'm happy to report that my body fat percentage did come back down into the normal range and I never did put a finger on exactly why it climbed up so rapidly over the last week.  And now I'll be laying off of running and walking and almost all non-essential activity so I'll need to be extra-careful about the calories I consume.  I wonder how many calories you burn an hour laying flat on your back in bed? What if you're surfing the Internet?  Haha!

Name: Ryan K.
Starting Weight: 258
Goal Weight: 220
Current Weight: 255

Recap: I still haven't managed to discipline myself with a workout routine, so my one pound loss for this week is solely from calorie counting and eating better.  I realize that this will not go very quickly for me unless I start exercising.  The challenge is plugging some kind of routine into my already very busy days.  Hopefully next week I will have a better report.

How about you? Can you stand to drop a few pounds and get into better shape? Want to be brave enough to post your stats publicly on this blog? If so, read the requirements in this kick-off post and submit your information by Wednesday of next week.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fanboy Madness

I am going to pick on Apple Fanboy's and girls with this post.  But my broader point is with any and all consumers that MUST stand in line to be the first (or one of the first) to get a newly released product.  The biggest question I have for any of you that do this is WHY?  What is the payoff that actually makes the long lines, the very expensive purchase, and the willingness to deal with first release glitches worth it?

The iPhone 5 is currently having issues with everything from its new Map App to its WiFi Connectivity.  When the iPhone 4 first came out people couldn't get a signal to make calls.  You eventually had to by a special case for them that helped boost their signal strength or trade it in for a later modified 4.  It amazes me that such large companies like Microsoft and Apple have the nerve to release products that have obviously not been Beta Tested or put through much, if any, quality control.

I mean how do you not know that your map application has images like this?  Or business addresses that put you in the middle of the ocean?  Or a MISSING Statue of Liberty?


I learned a long time ago when I purchased my first Nintendo that buying the slightly older release was the smartest way to do things.  By the time I put my money on the retail counter I was buying a $99 Nintendo that most of my friends had for a few more months than me to the tune of $199.  Mine was discounted because by then they were selling units that came with two controllers and a gun so you could play Duck Hunt.  Who wanted the original model that just had one controller and only came with Super Mario Brothers?  I did.

Let me know when you're ready to sell me your 4S.  I'll take two of them that are in "like new" condition. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Heroes & Hope 6.0

We live in trifling and uncertain times. I tend to highlight the more concerning topics fairly often. So in effort to be fair and balanced, it seems appropriate for me to present another series that highlights people, events, accomplishments, and the rays of light God gives us for encouragement sake.

This week I have two heroes to highlight and inspire you with.  The first is Howard Cooper the owner and CEO of The Howard Cooper Import Center which was an auto dealership that employs 89 people.  Howard, in his desire to retire sold the company to the Ohio based Germain Motor Company.  But before the transaction was completed and official, Howard had one last gesture of good will to offer his employees.  He decided that he would cut a check to each person for $1,000 for every year of service to the company.  If all 89 people had only worked one year, that would still amount to $89,000 but as you can imagine there were many employees that had worked for him quite a bit longer.  Bob Jenkins, for instance, was a 26 year veteran mechanic and his check was $26,000.  Cooper is quoted as saying, "I wanted to thank my employees and that was a way I could do it.  I hope it makes a difference in their lives like the have made in mine."

CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

Our second hero is also quite the generous soul. Sixty four year old Peter Drakos has made himself quite the expert at winning carnival games.  Starting from age nine he amassed so many stuffed animals from his winnings that he was able to give one to every student in his Elementary School...which totalled around 200.  He then spent the next century perfecting his craft using geometry, physics, and engineering to figure out and conquer each game on the Midway.  Several parks that he frequents have actually made a rule limiting the number of prizes a person can win to prevent him from cleaning them out.  While this is all very impressive, what makes this guy generous?  Well he never stopped his childhood habit of giving his winnings away.  These days he donates each toy to fifty different charities benefiting children.  Over the years a conservative estimate of his donations totals around a quarter of a million stuffed animals and toys. That is a Hero by my standards!


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Problem's Source

I had a not-so-great weekend.  Sure I didn't have to work and it had moments of fun and relaxation which are the main two goals I strive for.  But much of the experience was punctuated with frustrations, unmet expectations, whining and bickering children, and an uncomfortable tension.  To get more specific the frustrations and unmet expectations are mostly mine.  My wife shares some of this but I am by far the disappointed dad.  Between some lessons yet to be learned on the sports field and twin six year olds that still think whining, crying, and a tantrum here and there is still the best way to well...get their way...I met my quota. 

The whining and bickering belong to my kiddos which induced the frustrations and unmet expectations, which all made for the soupy ingredients that caused the uncomfortable tension.  The general rule that if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy does apply in my house.  But when Daddy ain't happy, the home isn't exactly firing on all cylinders either.  My kids don't enjoy being lectured, sent to their rooms, or knowing that they've let me down.  My wife doesn't enjoy my brooding and edginess even though she shares many of the same concerns.

Where I am challenged with all this and where I would love some advice from you, my trusty readership is this:  Where is the line between being a dad that just lets his kids be who they are with reasonable expectations and being the dad that holds them to unreasonable standards and then pouts himself when failures occur?  I know I am at fault for much of what went down in my home this weekend.  But every time I reexamine my expectations, I cannot seem to find any area where the standard is unreasonable.  My reaction is definitely in need of refinement but the bar doesn't seem to be.

So let's assume I manage to change my attitude/reaction to these let-downs. The challenge for me is how to do that without swinging the pendulum too far the other way and let the kids believe I am completely fine with bad behavior and failures?

Your thoughts...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 81

Category: Wedding Day

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed. Winner: How romantic

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Cold Feet

Don't make her angry!

I think he's trying to tell us something!

How romantic!

She's lost her head!

Interesting fruit placement.

Final Preparations

Ring Bearer Disgust
 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week Five Weigh In

If you want to find out what's going on and perhaps join in on the fun and accountability, click here for details.

Here are the stats for this week from those that are currently participating:


Name: Jim
Starting Weight: 211
Goal Weight: 180
Current Weight: 196

Recap: Another two pounds down which I realize is good and they say is the healthy rate at which to shed weight.  But I cannot help but be a bit impatient and want higher numbers each week.  The good news is I am just 16 pounds away from my goal weight which is about halfway there.  I think this coming week I will start some muscle toning workouts.  I have no aspirations of benching twice my weight but I wouldn't mind a few defined cuts here and there.


Name: Mike C.
Starting Weight: 238
Goal Weight: 218
Current Weight: 220

Recap: Now within two pounds of the goal.  Down 2 pant sizes and a shirt size!



Name: Vickie P.
Starting Weight: 138.8
Goal Weight: 122.0
Current Weight: 120

Recap: It's been a frustrating week as I feel like my normal body has gone somewhere!  After having so many fantastic runs...maintaining a faster pace at an easier effort than I expect, something changed.  I've been eating exactly the same but my body has gone up by .5 - 1% each day!  How does that even happen?  My weight has been in the 119-120 range every night this week and in spite of being very careful how I eat and making SURE I'm taking in plenty of water...and each night expecting my body fat number to be lower that the previous night, it was higher!  Is there a correlation between that and my running being harder?  Or is it some kind of phase? Or have I been pushing it too hard on my hard effort runs without taking enough easy/recovery runs in between?  The only good thing has been that I've not been as hungry as usual and I haven't had to summon the willpower to resist eating.  In fact, I've had to consciously decide to eat at times instead of always counting the minutes until I can eat again.  So if I had to be honest, I would say that I would rather have it this way...higher body fat, slower running, but not so hungry all of the time and my weight staying down with not much effort.  It's interesting to me that I would feel that way because if you'd asked me before which I would prefer, I would most definitely say the opposite!

Name: Ryan K.
Starting Weight: 258
Goal Weight: 220
Current Weight: 256

Recap: I downloaded Insanity on my computer only for the mother board to crash.  So my plans for working out have been delayed a bit whilst that issue is being worked on.  However I have been eating much better this past week and due to that alone, I've managed to drop two pounds!

How about you? Can you stand to drop a few pounds and get into better shape? Want to be brave enough to post your stats publicly on this blog? If so, read the requirements in this kick-off post and submit your information by Wednesday of next week.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let's Get This Straight - 3



I have several friends on Facebook that are atheists. And in that group there are several that are at least as vocal about their world view as I am, if not more-so. When they post something like the photo(s) you see above, it is very difficult for me to remain silent. But I don't think Facebook is the forum to iron out our differences or argue. They put up with my preaching and I need to respect their right to preach as well. So I have decided to take examples they use, careful not to reveal their identity and respond accordingly here on the blog. Should they see an example they've used when coming here and want to discuss...I think this site might be a better place to dialog.

This installment I have no gripes, simply interesting observations.  I had to perform a double-take when observing this particular atheist friend's offering.  It's always nice when we can agree about something since it is such a rare occurence.  So there will be no write up explaining which logical fallacy this photo violates because it doesn't violate any of them.  Instead here are a few bullet points of interest for you to consider:

  • Made of Earth completely supports the Creation account in Genesis.  It also supports the often used funeral phrase "ash to ash, dust to dust" which is based on Genesis 3:19.  There we find out that we will return to a dirt or dust form just like Adam originated from.  And as any morbidly astute observer can plainly witness when any carbon based lifeform dies, the decaying process litterally causes us to become composting soil.  With modern burial techniques this is slowed but the decay does happen.
  • Made of Stars?  Yes...we, according to Carl Sagan, are made up of "star stuff".  He isn't wrong.  We have carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen molecules in our bodies, not to mention atoms of all other heavy elements.  To me this points to a Common Designer, not an earthbound common ancestor as Darwinists postulate.  Check out Sagan's insightful quote:
  • Outer Space (AKA: The Heavens) is where we come from?  Sounds rather theological to me.  Sounds like after death we return there.  Sounds like the Bible verse that "none shall have excuse" for their disbelief is true.  Sounds like we all inherently KNOW that we are creations of God and are meant to return to Him.
  • Last but not least (and back to the original photo) we have the word "MADE" in each of the two statements.  Be humble because you're MADE of earth.  Be noble because you're MADE of stars.  This begs the question.  Made by WHO?  To this day its never been observed by any scientist the spontaneous existence of something from nothing.  This inherently implies that something has ALWAYS been in order to avoid infinite regress.  Atheists used to claim the Universe itself was the constant but we now know that to be false.
  • Atheists and Theists are not as far apart as most might believe.  This photo is just one illustration of that point.  But I invite you to watch an older video of mine below to see how much more we actually have in common.  Perhaps this is ground we can both stand on to help iron out our disagreements? 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Disenfranchised

More than ever before I find myself disgruntled and disappointed with this country.  I don't find myself aligning with either political party or its candidates.  I don't find myself excited about our future.  I don't see a government that is By the People and certainly not FOR the People. 

The photo above really sums up how I feel.  And if you just take the first three words of the first sentence and leave everything else out...you are still left with a perfect point.  We The People are no longer represented.  We The People no longer have a voice.  We The People get run over more and more each day.

A friend of mine and reader of this blog always comments to posts like these and tells me "What do you expect from a fallen world and a country that has rejected God?  Put God first.  He is in control."  And he knows I put God first.  These comments I think are meant for encouragement and those that might be reading our exchanges. God is first in my life but not in my country.  That is a bitter sweet scenario.

It's sad but I actually think about living abroad sometimes or wishing that Texas would just drop out of the Union.  We were once a great country.  I hope we can be great again but I don't think that is in the cards.  Perhaps this is exactly how I should feel in light of Bible passages like these:

1 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

A born again Christian is an alien, a stranger, or in some translations a pilgrim or sojourner.  This tells me that even if I left this country or if Texas became its own nation, I still wouldn't find solace.  These are man-made solutions.  Where man's dirty fingers are, there also will be imperfect, fallen results.

E.T. Phone. Home.


Monday, September 17, 2012

The End Is Near 10.0

The idea of this series is to share five links to various sites that show evidence that we are living in the End Times. You will quickly see that for every link that may lead you to a serious article or news coverage that looks to be straight out of Revelation, there will be several more that are just tongue-in-cheek and meant to be funny.

I am not a date setter. Scripture says we will know the "season" of the end but not the time or day. And since a day is to God as a 1000 years is to us...there is really no telling how long a season might be. Here are just a few reasons I think we are in the season of The End...

Machines on the Rise - In the vein of movies like Terminator, one of the categories that is growing quite common in this series is how advanced our technology is becoming. This week, we have three such examples:

1. Spies Develop Star Wars Hologram Tech

2. Is Brain Hacking Possible?

3. Remote Controlled Cockroaches

Natural Disasters - Another common theme in End Time narratives, both Religious and Secular, is the growing frequency and magnitude of naturally occurring devastation.  This example might be best labelled a "near miss".

4. Jupiter May Have Saved Earth

The Middle East - Any major activity in the Middle East will naturally get the attention of End Times scholars.  But when Israel is involved the red flags get even more interesting.  As America's government continues to show less and less suport of Israel, we should be concerned.

5. Iran Developing Nuclear Bomb; President Obama Ignores Israeli Pleas

Friday, September 14, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 80

Category: What We See...

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed. Winner: Looking Blah or Awesome?

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Bowl Cleaner or Target Practice?

Amazing Dress or Just Another Outfit?

Looking Blah or Awesome?

Nature Hike or Nature Calls?

Bathroom or Fashion Photo Set?

Little Angel or Snot-nosed Terror?

Beautiful Ceremony or Wedgie Fest?

Wonderland or Empty Wallet?
 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week Four Weigh In

If you want to find out what's going on and perhaps join in on the fun and accountability, click here for details.

Here are the stats for this week from those that are currently participating:

Name: Jim
Starting Weight: 211
Goal Weight: 180
Current Weight: 198

Recap: Well this was my smallest weekly loss yet.  Only two pounds.  But I am excited that I even got that far for two reasons.  (1) It means I finally got under 200 lbs.  I hope to say goodbye to the two hundreds forever.  (2) As of yesterday I was showing NO loss.  So turning in two pounds is much better than zero.  The running continues to get easier...no stopping...longer distances...faster pacing.  My stomach is now used to the smaller portions so hunger pains aren't much of a factor anymore either.  The biggest challenge is staying motivated when the scale seems to show very little improvements over the course of several days!  Sorry for the stereotypical mirror shot.  That is all I could do for an updated photo this week.

 
Name: Mike C.
Starting Weight: 238
Goal Weight: 218
Current Weight: 224

Recap: Lost another three pounds this week.  I am 6 lbs away, and working on carving it up! 


 
Name: Vickie P.
Starting Weight: 138.8
Goal Weight: 122.0
Current Weight: 119.8

Recap: Happy about the extra pound gained because my body fat stayed the same...having some success in gaining muscle! Finally reached the last short term goal I made for myself this past April when I joined Weight Watchers. I had 4 or 5 goals...reached the other ones over the previous weeks and months and finally hit the last one this past week...getting my running paces back down to what I feel is a "respectable" level for my age and ability. Every run is happy happy joy joy...even the recovery runs...because I stay in the sub-10:00 mile range! My interval workout (6 x 400) was in the 7:44-7:16 range...I've done a sub-9:00 5k run (not race, which I would expect to be faster). I'm excited to see how much more improvement I can eek out of this rapidly-approaching-50 year old body!

How about you? Can you stand to drop a few pounds and get into better shape? Want to be brave enough to post your stats publicly on this blog? If so, read the requirements in this kick-off post and submit your information by Wednesday of next week.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Broken or Rigged?

I often postulate that our two party political system is broken.  And it is.  But I don't think that term is comprehensive enough for what is actually going on.  Broken implies that through no fault of those in each political party the system just isn't working as it was designed to work.  That somehow through the years its become less relevant to our advancing ways.  That the only reason it needs reform is on par with renovating an old home to meet modern styles and tastes.

Not so.  Not even close.  I suspected with good reason that things were bad and perhaps rigged.  But never before has such an obvious example hit the radar.  It all started at the RNC as John Boehner called for a two thirds majority vote on a new party ruling.  Essentially this new rule would allow the GOP to stop grassroots candidates they deemed unsavory for office regardless as to whether or not that particular candidate had captured the majority votes.  They would still have the power to put "their man" forward.  Had this rule existed when Ronald Regan was up and coming, it would have prevented him from the nomination and therefore the presidency.  As Boehner takes stage and asks for a vote, the delegates quite clearly are divided.  Fifty percent at best is what he had that were for or against this proposed rule change.  But guess what?  The teleprompter that he was reading (also known as a script) told him that the required two thirds was achieved and the ruling was passed.

Perhaps the DNC will be different.  Well, it wasn't.  In this case a ruling about using language that includes God and a declaration of Jerusalem being the official capital of Israel was up for a vote.  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villariogosa, like Boehner, steps up and asks the delegates to verbally approve or reject of this proposal.  Again, it sounds like a fifty percent split with both sides being very equal.  The Mayor recognizes this and asks two more times for them to vote.  Finally a woman tells him to read the rest of the teleprompter and let the fallout be what it may.  And the script, just like at the RNC, read that the necessary two third had been accomplished and the ruling was passed.

If this kind of rigging is happening at the National Convention, where else is it occurring?  Was Romney really the GOP pick?  Does our vote actually count?  Can you make your voice be heard?  Are we, the people, electing actual representatives?  Watch this video recap of the events that I am reporting to you and decide for yourself.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What Fell That Day?

Some say two towers fell.  And that would be a true statement.  Some say our National Security fell.  And that would be partly true as well.  EMS workers, Firemen, Police, and thousands of American Citizens also fell under attack and lost their lives.  The Pentagon fell.  Airplanes fell.  Our collective hearts and spirits fell as we mournfully watched our fellow Americans on live television be victimized.

But you know what else fell down...at least for a while?  Our differences.

Whether it was our political views, our divisive stances on religion, our concerns for the self, or our passionate opinion that chocolate is better than vanilla...nothing else mattered.  In those moments and into the months that followed, we were simply a family.  We were Americans that endured the worst attack to happen on our soil in our History as a Nation.  We were Americans that wanted answers and united in our desire to stand strong.  We stopped caring about that which really didn't matter and we focused on one another.  Caring for and loving one another.

No one stopped to ask what political affiliation, what sexual preference, what denomination, what stance of abortion, what social status, what profession, what ethnic background, or what level of wealth you had or didn't have before offering a hand to one another.  It was one of the only times in my life that God's perspective on how to really love one another and how to really prioritize life's issues became crystal clear.  It's just a shame that it took such drastic tragedy for us to open our eyes and truly understand. It's even more of a shame that we've forgotten and returned to our polarized, divisive ways!

What more will it take to teach us?

Monday, September 10, 2012

What's Your Excuse? 6.0



We all have them. EXCUSES! Reasons why we can't accomplish something.

Reason why we can't:

  • Travel
  • Lose Weight
  • Earn More
  • Have extra time
  • Vacation
  • Improve our skills
  • Better our situation
  • Eat right
  • Exercise
  • And many more...
This series exists to hopefully help you and I both stop making excuses. For today's post, I present Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham.  Overcoming his disabilities he does what most able-bodied skaters only dream about...tackle the Mega Jump Half Pipe.  Aaron doesn't allow excuses to hold him back, so why should you?  Enjoy and STOP making excuses!


Friday, September 07, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 79

Category: Photoshop Mistakes

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed.  Winner: Creepy severed hand

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Creepy severed hand

Taking multi-cultural to the next level

Anybody seen my arm?

Crowd Cloning

Hover Plane
 
Three legged man
 
Authentic Pirate Gear
 
Who doesn't love a good double sunset?