April 28, 2011

Your Going Viral Lesson for the Day

I've written 43 songs about presidential failure. Yet in 24 hours, my Rebecca Black Easter Song parody, "Good Friday" received 4 times more views than my most popular president song has (George Washington).

On the plus side, I learned the secret to going viral. Making sure Perez Hilton likes it. The downside to this? Perez simply stripped the video from my YouTube site, put his logo over it, and played the video in his own player. 10,000 views that didn't go to me.

The most surprising thing about this whole thing? How guys like Perez Hilton "got it", and so many Christians didn't.

Check out my guest post on Matthew Paul Turner's Jesus Needs New PR blog to read more about my lesson regarding satire and the church.

April 27, 2011

Animal Crackers? They're Animal Cookies.

I started packing my own lunch from an early age. But, there were some expectations ingrained in me that I still follow to this day. A lunch consists of:

Sandwich. Fruit. Chips. Dessert.

Of course, there were workarounds for the pubescent mind. Fruit could rightfully substituted for a fruit roll up or Shark Bites fruit snacks. A sandwich could be substituted for a Lunchables make your own pepperoni pizza kit. Even in elementary school, I thought these tasted disgusting. I don't know why I kept making my mom buy them.

But, there was one substitution I was never able to trick my mind into. Because animal crackers aren't crackers. They're cookies. To replace my Doritos with them would simply be disgusting.

April 26, 2011

E-Ching for the Day

"The rich are those who have gambled and won. The poor are those who have gambled and lost. And the miserable are those who have never gambled at all."

More on my Perez Hilton pick-up tomorrow.

April 22, 2011

Psst...Sunday's Coming

Good Friday as a holiday has always bothered me. As a musician, I love the angst. The somber attitude. The darker songs. The melancholy. But, it was all a bit silly for me.

Are we just pretending we don't know what's going to happen on Sunday? Are we merely trying to trick ourselves?

Then, a few years ago, it hit me. We don't grieve out of fear the resurrection may not occur. I grieve because I put Him there. He not only made this sacrifice FOR me, but BECAUSE of me. It's my fault.

I grieve today for what I have done. And I celebrate the grace we have been offered.

April 21, 2011

Facebook Guide to Entertainment Etiquette

I'm starting to really dislike Facebook. Simply because people don't know how to effectively entertain a mass audience. Yes, I'm probably talking to you, as well as reminding myself, yet my desperate need to be liked causes a higher status censorship ratio than most people have.

Think about the people whose statuses you enjoy reading the most. They're probably entertaining. They're probably interesting. And they're probably not all that often.

So what can you do? Think about what percentage of your friend list would be interested in your post before posting it. That means less niche news, and more broad comedy. Be a good communicator. Choose your words carefully. And be more selective with when you speak. Follow these rules, and your friends won't secretly hate/hide* you.

*To make your personal Facebook experience more enjoyable, you can hide those annoying communicators without the public embarrassment of a de-friending. Simply hover your mouse to the right of their post on your wall, and an X should appear, where you can choose to hide them. I've probably hidden half of my friend list. And 40% don't ever post. So, I get the cream of the crop, the 1/10 posts that are most entertaining. Be the 1/10.

April 20, 2011

April 19, 2011

Breakthroughs vs. Breakable: A High-Tech Dilemma

I sat at my mechanic's for 3 hours this morning, waiting for my brakes to be changed. While there, I was able to witness a small sample size of the common problems that bring people to their mechanic on a Tuesday morning. Many of these problems were computer-based. A sensor malfunctioning of some kind.

Recently, I've noticed that the buttons on my 15-year old alarm clock have gotten slightly harder to push. Its first defect. Yes, I know the technology is night and day difference. But my alarm clock is 15 years old and running. And I haven't gotten a laptop past the 3 year mark yet.

There is a constant desire for the latest and greatest technological breakthroughs. But with these new wonders come new malfunctions we didn't foresee. So, what about this idea?

What if a car manufacturer could more or less perfect a 2005 Honda Civic? It would run flawlessly for 250,000 miles with extraordinarily basic maintenance.

Would you buy this car? Or would you be mad that you couldn't control your windshield wipers via voice command?

April 18, 2011

Chivalrous When Convenient

I like to think of myself as a gentleman.

But I came to a horrifying conclusion this weekend. I always open the car door for my wife... as long as we're heading toward the vehicle from the passenger side. When we're coming to the car from the driver's side, I allow my very independent wife to manage herself in.

When convenient, I'm chivalrous. When inconvenient, I'm a feminist.

Yes, I agree. I think that's the worst thing I've ever heard, too.

April 14, 2011

Why is it So Hard to Be Skinny: Food is Awesome

Historically, the human diet was much simpler than it is today. Not necessarily "better", in the modern-day sense of the term. For instance, in most cultures, it included tons of animal fat. But, it was real food. Today, it's chemicals. It's geo-engineered flavor. Combine that with  the culinary genius of those who combine the four spectrums of the flavor profile (sweet, sour, bitter and salt) into every creation. And food today tastes better than it ever has in the history of the world.

It's also one of the reasons we're eating too much.

After struggling with his weight for the last 5 years, my good friend Dave (who gave me permission to write this) jumped on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. And in order to get the social support and accountability he knew he'd need, he told everyone he knew about his plan and his goal weight of 210 pounds.

Dave has lost more than 30 pounds so far over his 35 week journey. But there have been a lot of ups and downs along the way. (Watch this past week's video update for the latest example.)

I was angry after watching this latest update. Not because of the weight fluctuation. But because of the cupcake montage at the end. I think I yelled, "Are you kidding me?" at my computer screen. I just didn't get it.

And then I realized something. I just don't get it. My biggest weight swing in my life has been 20 pounds. Dave's hoping for a 110 pound swing. Our motivations, limitations, baggage and understandings are not the same. So, I sent this video to a few of my friends this week hoping to get some clarity. Here is an aggregate paraphrase of their understanding. And I'm looking for your help to fill in the blanks.
"Weight Watchers isn't A.A. In alcoholics anonymous, they claim you're an addict. Moderation doesn't work for addicts. The unique take of WW is that you can eat whatever you want, as long as you count it. And this works for a lot of people. But it doesn't work as well for addicts. Addicts, by definition, can't be moderate. They need to categorize certain foods as "NO". Or else, by sheer willpower alone, they will up-and-down forever."
This made a lot of sense to me. But again, I just don't get it. I know that a few of you readers have accomplished significant weight losses yourselves, and I'm looking for your expertise on this...

April 13, 2011

Why is it So Hard to Be Skinny: Exercise is Boring

I hate working out. It's really boring. But I like television.

Behold! Make sure your treadmill is in the same room as your TV!

In fact, I'm certain that's the only reason I run in the winter. Because our projector broke this week, and watching the wall when I run has been pretty horrendously boring.

In the warmer seasons, I run with my wife outside. That is the only reason I run outside. I wouldn't do it alone. I'd prefer my basement. After all, there's a TV there.

From a biological standpoint, we were designed to be boar hunters. Now that we have to fake it, it's harder.

April 12, 2011

Why is it So Hard to Be Skinny: Intervals

I ran intervals on the treadmill this morning. Two minutes at level 6.0. One minute at level 8.0. Repeat until exhausted.

Trainers recommend interval workouts for a couple of reasons that I don't really understand.* But in short, they're great for your heart, since you get your heart rate really high during the intense times. And the intervals also force you to push yourself without exhausting yourself - maxing out your calorie and fat burning potential.

From a biological standpoint, the early human hunter-gatherer lifestyle likely lent itself well to interval workouts. The day long pursuit of prey, with the sprint lunge attempt at the kill. These were the very first interval workouts.

Our body was designed assuming interval workouts. But in our 21st century lifestyles, they don't happen organically throughout the day. So, we have to pretend we're boar hunting. Only the treadmill has replaced the hunt.

* Please help with the science-y stuff in the comments.

April 11, 2011

Why is it So Hard to Be Skinny?

Being fat sucks. Being skinny is awesome.

This week, we're going to explore the world of exercise, healthy eating and most importantly, the psychology and motivations behind these short- and long-term goals in the 21st century.

*Guest posters with specific personal expertise welcome! (E-mail me)

April 08, 2011

Universal Right and Left Bathrooms

When you walk to the back of a restaurant, and there's one bathroom door on the left, and one bathroom door on the right, you shouldn't have to think about which is which. You shouldn't have to look at the bald anorexic icons to see which one is wearing pants.

We need to make a decision here, as a global community. To avoid confusion. To avoid embarrassment. From now on, every new establishment will put the women's room on the left, and the men's room on the right.

You're welcome.

April 07, 2011

Harry Potter is For Nerds

Just because Harry Potter is popular doesn't mean you're not a nerd for liking it.

That was, and is, my premise..although I was unprepared for the commentary that followed my intentionally jerky statement. Feel free to defend yourself in the comments, nerds. 

April 06, 2011

Lightning Fried My MAC?

My wife and I woke up on Monday morning to the loudest thunder we've ever heard in our lives. In fact, it seemed as though lightning had actually struck our house. But when you're in a dead sleep, it's hard to judge something like that.

So, we wake up in the morning, go downstairs, and our MAC is powered off. Well, the little circle power light is still lit, but nothing else. And it won't power on. I used my other computer (working fine) to troubleshoot, and still couldn't get it running.

I brought it in to the MAC store's Apple Genius Bar. They said that the logic board was fried. I mentioned the storm. He said that would definitely do it and makes sense, but was surprised to hear it was plugged in to a power strip. So this is where I don't know what to do.

The evidence for lightning killing my computer?
The fact that it died that very night, and that its symptoms match those of a lightning power surge.

The evidence for a coincidence?
The fact that the power did not go off anywhere in my house, and that nothing else broke, including my laptop that was plugged in.

But since I need something to blame, I blame lightning. In better news, I'm getting a new MAC today. In worse news, I'm poor again.

April 05, 2011

Online School Your Children

Fact: I can learn better (faster and more personalized) on my own using the Internet than I currently could in a college classroom.

Question: How young is too young for that fact to be true?

Rather than talking about making our educational system "better", what would it look like if we destroyed it altogether?

April 04, 2011

I Am a Grandparent Widower

We buried my last grandmother's body today. The pink casket was oddly beautiful. I couldn't get "Islands in the Stream" out of my head.

April 01, 2011

In All Seriousness

I don't think April Fools jokes work too well anymore. With the advent of social media, you get reminded of it too early in the morning, so you're on-guard all day. So rather than try and lie to you in the name of humor, I wanted to share a quick story.

Friday is recycling day in my neighborhood. I've been parking in the driveway all week, because my garage space has been overtaken with boxes. This morning, in the bitter cold, I spent 10 minutes dragging them all to the curb. The recycling man came, left a note saying he couldn't take them because the boxes weren't flattened (most of them were) and left the giant pile behind. I then spent the next 10 minutes angrily bringing them back into my garage, mentally preparing myself for another week parked in the driveway.

That is the worst thing that has happened to me in the past month. My life is wondrously joyful.

A Christian Approach To The End Of Life

 Note: This post has been contributed. Unsplash - CC0 License Talking about the end of life isn’t a popular topic. But it is something that ...