So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Thursday, March 31, 2005

At Long Last! Another Book Review

It's not that I've stopped reading, but I am definitely reading fewer books this year than last and I've only reviewed half of what I've read. Well, after a month and a half off, I've reviewed another book over at Amazon: The Last Disciple by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer.

Why you should read my review of The Last Disciple: Well, first, you've grown soft and flabby from not reading my reviews (just as I've grown soft and flabby from eating too many deep-fried and/or sugary snacks).

Second, I take yet another opportunity to point out the flaws of the Left Behind series.

Third, I totally bluff my way through by making a reference to an excellent book I've never read (I have seen the movie, but that hardly counts) - I love it when I do that.

Fourth, never mind the fourth reason.

Fifth (and finally), it's my 125th review; someone crank up the Kool & The Gang and let's celebrate!

Mikesell : 2:54 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

How Was Your Easter?

Well, it turns out there were no complaints from me playing U2 before the church service the other week. How disappointing. I'll have to try harder next time.

The 2nd Chapter of Acts this week at least got noticed. I played half a dozen tracks from Roar of Love, then "The Easter Song" and then another half dozen old school Easter tracks by Keith Green, Larry Norman, Don Francisco, Mark Heard, and Children of the Day.

One fun moment came during the offertory when I wanted to see how loud the vocalist could go at the end of the final chorus of CeCe Winans' "Mercy Said No." She peaked at 92dB, which, as you can see from this chart, is between a train whistle at 500' (90dB) and a subway train at 200' (95db). Daleasha sounded much better than a train at any distance and I turned the main volume control down a bit for the remainder of the song.

After church I scored an invite to dinner with some friends. Ham with raisin dressing, real mashed taters, lemon meringue pie. Mmmmm. Good company, too. Thanks Dan & Laura!

Dina and Phil are still in So. Cal. (I didn't go because I have a thing about flying with sinus congestion). They're back Wednesday morning. One more day of living la vida sola. <sigh>

Mikesell : 12:56 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I Pick the Hits

Once a quarter I fill in as the sound guy at church. One of the perks of the job is being able to turn the treble all the way up on the worship leader "just for fun." Another is picking the CD that gets played as people find their seats before the worship team begins.

Last week, Palm Sunday, I felt the mid-tempo stylings of the average praise & worship warblers wasn't going to cut it for the Messiah's triumphant entry into Jeruasalem. My choice? How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by U2. I skipped pop sensation track 1 (Vertigo), and I doubt few people had any idea what they were listening to (except for the cool people).

This week, Easter, I'm going with tracks 6-12 from 2nd Chapter of Acts' Roar of Love. Maybe I'll throw a sop to the grey heads and close with 2CoA's "Easter Song." Maybe I'll go with Keith Green's version with the alternate second verse just to tweak 'em.

At a recent board meeting we moaned over our lack of 20-35 year-olds (your church too, huh?). Is blasting U2 from the huge mono speaker precariously suspended above the pulpit going to bring them in? Probably not, but if they're in attendence for the first time or two, it might help them open up a little. Then they meet our hockey-playing senior pastor and it dawns on them that church might not be what they're afraid of, after all. It's a theory, at any rate.

I hope Superchic[k]'s next album rocks and I'm still allowed to do sound this coming June.

Question for comment below: What CD would you play pre-worship if you could pick the hits? (and if it's something they play on K-LOVE, be prepared to defend yourself in the Court of Rock.)

Mikesell : 12:26 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Holy Moley! It's Holy Week at iTunes

Christian music is not a new category at iTunes Music Store, but I don't recall having seen so much added in a single week before. From old school to new, there's something for everyone (who has a computer and between 99 cents and a ten-spot). I've probably missed some, particularly in the straight-up gospel segment, and I've intentionally left off "kiddie music," but here's what's new at iTunes this week:

  • 2nd Chapter of Acts

  • Annie Herring

  • Audio Adrenaline

  • Barry McGuire

  • Bleach

  • Bride

  • Charlie Peacock

  • Chasing Furies

  • Cheri Keaggy

  • Chris Tomlin

  • Considering Lily

  • David Meece

  • DeGarmo & Key

  • Don Francisco

  • Eden's Bridge

  • The Elms

  • End Time Warriors

  • Geoff Moore

  • Grammatrain

  • Guardian

  • Iona

  • Jars of Clay

  • John Michael Talbot

  • John the Baptist

  • Jump5

  • Keith Green

  • Margaret Becker

  • Matt Redman

  • Michael Card

  • Mylon LeFevre

  • Newsboys

  • The Normals

  • Out of the Grey

  • Petra

  • PFR

  • Phil Keaggy

  • Point of Grace

  • Rebecca St. James

  • Ricky Warren

  • Sarah Masen

  • Scott Wesley Brown

  • Seven Day Jesus

  • Stephen Fry

  • Steve Camp

  • Steve Green

  • Steve Taylor

  • Steven Curtis Chapman

  • Stormie Omartian

  • Twila Paris

  • The Waiting

  • White Heart

  • Whitecross

  • ZOEgirl

There are a lot of compilations, too, including a personal favorite of mine: How the West Was One by A Band Called David/Phil Keaggy/2nd Chapter of Acts. I no longer have 36 free downloads and one track is available by album purchase only, so I may have to drop $17.00 for the double album.

Mikesell : 9:35 PM : 1 snarky remarks

You Think You're "All That" Philip Mikesell ....

Last week a friend from church invited Phil to a play date at All That!". So that's where he was yesterday. Here are some photos I took when I came to pick him up.

Mikesell : 2:54 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Good Guys, Good News

Maybe you have a favorite home electronics store. Maybe you don't. It doesn't matter much, either way, since this isn't about you in the first place.

My favorite home electronics store is The Good Guys. When I was a teenager I bought a turntable from them. It was red. I liked it. I think I probably bought my first VCR from them, too, but I'm not certain about that.

After I got married, The Good Guys sold us a Denon stereo receiver. We still have it. Still works great. We also got a car radio from them - installed - when we were still in California, too.

A while back I bought a DVD player from them. It was nice, although it had occasional problems with VeggieTales DVDs. Recently it died, but I had bought the extended warrantee with 3-year replacement. We were a year and a half into the warrantee, so we're set, right? I found the original box with original packing materials and wrapped it up nice and neat, ready to go.

Of course, I couldn't find the receipt showing I had actually purchased the replacement warrantee, which is pretty much the way things go around here. I called the customer service 800-number on the off chance that I wouldn't be hosed, and it turns out that the store should have that information in its computer.

Well, I should have filed the receipt better, so I didn't have great hope when I took the dead unit into the store this morning. Turns out I was in their database (I didn't tell them I'd lost the paperwork before they looked me up; sign me up for Celebrity Poker), and the exchange went smoothly. The guy said it would've gone faster if I'd had the paperwork, but I don't think it went all that slowly.

I walked out with one of these. I think I paid a bit more two years ago, but the new unit has new features like an SD card reader so I can see "big screen" pix of Phil.

Before I left the store, the salesguy suggested I tape the receipt to the bottom of the unit so I won't lose the receipt again (I forked over $36 for the 3-year replacement deal). Guess where I never checked for the original receipt? I have no idea if I had taped the receipt there or not, but I can pretend I did and that I'm not a complete filing retard (people who actually have partial or complete filing retardation should not take that as a pejorative comment; the filing challenged can, with encouragement and minor electroshock therapy, lead otherwise perfectly satisfactory lives. I salute the filing-impaired whereever they may be, in city and county clerks' offices nationwide (and in Canada), in DMV bureaus, in physician and dentist practices, at schools, and in church offices - well, not my church office; Shannon is very organized. Huzzah!).

Re: the pix of Phil I mentioned earlier (and how I had so much time to dilly-dally in the store ... and a haircut ... and an oil change), there should be some pictures of this morning's "play date" online tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Mikesell : 12:01 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Goodbye, Grampa Al

Back in early 2004 I mentioned that Dina's grandfather had had a heart attack and wasn't expected to make it through the night. The next day things had turned around and Al was on the way to recovery.

This morning - 14.5 months later - Al passed away. We'll be headed south next weekend for his funeral.

On a positive note, Nana and Al are together again. That makes me smile.

We love you and will miss you, Grampa Al.

Mikesell : 10:34 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My Own Personal Red States

Every once in awhile I'll subscribe to an e-newsletter. Usually there's a promotion involved and I cancel soon after I've met whatever the obligation is to get the premium. One that I subscribed to and didn't cancel is WinXPnews. It's become pretty ad-ridden, but the keeper is a set of links at the end for fun stuff on the web.

Recently, one of the links was to a site that lets you build a map of the U.S. showing all the states you've been to. It's fun and a whole lot cheaper than buying a Winnebago and getting the state decals.

Here's my map. 26/50 states (52% -- It's a mandate!)

Build your own map here. Sorry, Blue States not available without photo-editing software (sold separately).

Val and other north-o'-the-border friends: Chart the provinces you've visited here. I'd show you my map, but if you know what British Columbia looks like, you've seen my map already.

Mikesell : 8:56 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Friday, March 18, 2005

More Blogs I Read

I've added four more blogs over on the blog-roll. Check 'em out. Don't blame me if you learn something.
  1. Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
    Sarah Weinman is the crime fiction columnist for the Baltimore Sun and does other neat stuff, too. Someday I hope to have a clue about half of what she covers in her blog.

  2. Flogging the Quill
    Ray Rhamey is a novelist and editor whose blog focuses on the craft of storytelling. The highlight of his blog is the before and after edits on readers' manuscript snippets. A masterpiece of showing how to fix prose, not merely telling.

  3. Pat Loomis writes a blog titled Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer. Pat has recently started a monthy "Christian Fiction Carnival" that I hope to participate in next month. See her site for details.

  4. Traci DePree blogs on writing, editing, and publishing fiction. Ordinarily that'd put her in the upper group of "craft" blogs, but Terry Whalin's The Writing Life, whose title matches DePree's, is already up there. Be sure to check this blog out, too, though. Good Stuff, Maynard.

Mikesell : 10:29 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Show and Tell

Every Friday for preschool, Philip brings in a show and tell item.

Here's a picture of this week's. He calls it the Boatmobile.

Technically it's the Hydrojet and this is the last year it's in HotWheels' production line. I don't expect Phil will point those things out, but, since the whole blog concept is like show and tell for grown-ups, I thought I'd share that.

If you read my blog entry last week about HotWheels, you may remember that the Hydrojet was the vehicle that didn't have a photo linked to it. Now you can see it in all its three-and-a-half-inch glory.

Mikesell : 1:15 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Phil's Been Working on the Railroad

... and my last nerve.

Among the many things Philip loves are trains. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine. He loves his little train playsets. He loves the story - now a major motion picture - The Polar Express.

He loves taking a bunch of boxes and lining them end to end to make a train, which is what he did today.

Unfortunately, Phil knows too much about trains. He knows, for instance, that real trains have couplings, the part that actually connects one car to the next. He knows that cardboard boxes don't have couplings.

So how do you connect one box to the next? Two words. Maple. Syrup.

Yeah, that was a fun mess to clean up.

NB: When you ask Phil what he's doing and he says "playing trains" and then you ask him again a bit later and he doesn't answer, you've got problems - and about a 20 minute cleanup.

Mikesell : 10:18 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Our New Baby

The latest addition to our family arrived on Tuesday. We've been so busy getting things in place, I haven't had a chance to blog on it. The arrival was about two weeks early, but when it's time for delivery, it's time for delivery.

Stats on Dina's little darling:
Size - 15"
Weight - just under 6 lbs.

Philip and the dog are handling sibling rivalry fairly well, although the boy wants to climb up in Dina's lap more often when the new wee one is already in it. Kids, huh?

Here's a picture.

Mikesell : 4:33 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Quick Amazon Update

This time last year I was in the mid-6000s. This morning I bumped up to 1950.


Mikesell : 10:00 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Boy and His Construction Equipment

It was a nice day yesterday so Phil took his trucks out to the meadow and played for awhile. Here are some pix:

Mikesell : 11:23 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Saturday, March 12, 2005

20/20 Rating

My rank at Amazon shot up a couple more tiers to 2020.

I'm still 1,000+ from getting a "Top Reviewer" notation on my profile. Still, progress is being made.

Maybe if I started reviewing more regularly things would speed up. But, then again, what's the rush?

Mikesell : 11:48 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 11, 2005

Philip -- Weight : Height Equilibrium

We took Phil in to the doctor today. He was complaining of earaches and headaches, and since they were bringing him to tears, we went ahead and got him checked out. Slight ear infection, 101.2 fever. So we got him some Zithromax and numbing eardrops and he's doing much better.

The most interesting part (not that the above wasn't interesting) was that he weighed 41 pounds and was 41.5 inches tall. One pound per inch is a nice ratio*.

Were I to have that ratio I'd weigh 71.5 pounds.

Ha. Ha Ha. HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa.

Sorry. <ahem> Lost control there for a moment.

* at birth, Phil's weight/height ratio was 1lb : 2.4"; as you can imagine, my ratio was nowhere near that then, either

Mikesell : 11:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Acquire the Fire(fox)

After 10 years or so, I've finally moved beyond Netscape. Until earlier this week Netscape 7.1 had been my browser of choice (on the PC). Then it stopped playing nicely with Blogger comments, which meant I couldn't make snarky remarks on other people's Blogger-based blogs. Clearly, this was not acceptable.

I've had Firefox (based on the old Netscape code) installed on the PowerBook for a while now (though Safari is still my browser of choice there). So I went ahead and installed in on the PC.

Two words: Lovin' it!

Very similar to Netscape with the tabbed browsing and the pop-up blocking.

Blogger comments work again (although something was hinky systemwide earlier today). A warning message pops up when I hit the back button during Blogger edit preview letting me know I'm about to lose unsaved changes in my post, which is a great plus.

Another nice feature is being able to have a new tab created when I click a link in Eudora. With Netscape it would load the new page on top of whichever tab was active. Now I get the new info without losing whatever I had been doing when I clicked the link. Sweet.

But the best thing is the context-changeable search field. From the navigation toolbar I can search Google, Amazon, IMDb, Wikipedia, and a couple dictionaries without first navigating to their .com website. Want the lowdown on Star Wars? Change the search drop-down to IMDb, type in Star Wars, and away you go. Want to check the Amazon Sales Ranking of Forgiving Solomon Long? Change the drop-down to Amazon, type in the title, and you're there ... with a quickness!

I don't regret sticking with Netscape for so long. It did what it was supposed to do, but it started to lose its backwards-compatibility and it was time for a change. So thanks and farewell old Mozilla code. Welcome and huzzah new Mozilla code.

And, in case you were wondering, FSL is currently ranked #145,057 at Amazon.

Mikesell : 10:57 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Good Stuff at St. Vincent de Paul

Stopped by the StVdP store on Division in Eugene yesterday and walked away with a few plums, a couple figs, and a mango.

The plums were:
The figs (these aren't necessarily bad, but they may wind up having more fiber than flavor):And now: Mango!

Mikesell : 11:35 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bleak Year for Hot Wheels

Well, the South Texas Diecast Hot Wheels Guide has finally updated their "What's New" section. For the most part, it ain't pretty. Here's the good stuff:It does look like a good year for motorcycle fans. It'd be nice if they produced enough that they aren't all swooped on by collector shops.

Mikesell : 8:30 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Seven More iTunes Used

Over at the faith*in*fiction messageboards a new guy introduced himself and mentioned that he likes the band The Echoing Green. This reminded me that I also like that band and sent me to the iTunes Music Store to see if EG had any albums available.

Sure enough, they have two: an EP and a full-length disk. I grabbed the 7-track EP, She's Gone Tragic. Tomorrow I'll start acquiring The Winter of Our Discontent, which on iTunes has a couple extra tracks.

Good deal.

Mikesell : 1:41 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 04, 2005

A Weekend Away

I'm off to a men's retreat at Aldersgate Conference Center this weekend. Blog posting will likely be light.

I'm taking my Revival MS with me. Hopefully I can get another chapter or three done during my free time.

Mikesell : 12:09 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Run for the Borders

Here's another 25% off coupon for Borders/Waldenbooks/Brentanos.

Valid March 8-14, 2005.

Tell us below what you got (unless it's a present for me; in which case, thank you very much).

Mikesell : 7:02 PM : 0 snarky remarks

12 More Free Songs Used

Well, chalk it up to the unstoppability of Denny Crane, but I used a dozen credits to pick up Has Been by William Shatner. I'm quite pleased with the tracks. He's not Barry White, but Shatner's vocal stylings are much improved over his earlier outing (Transformed Man, featuring "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Mr. Tambourine Man").

You can feel Shatner emoting a bit on the title track, but in a good way.

The album is only eleven tracks long. I used an extra credit to get an iTunes exclusive track of "It Hasn't Happened Yet" (Live recording).

Thanks Apple & Pepsi.

Mikesell : 6:09 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Best News I've Heard All Day

Words can't express how glad I am to hear this.
(courtesy of SciFi Daily)

Mikesell : 5:23 PM : 0 snarky remarks