#Blogtober2021 Day 8: Calling an audible.

Hey fam.

I’m wiped out. It’s been a long day of family time and household obligations, and I have nothing in the tank. So no blog post tonight.

Instead, an invitation: in the comments, let me know how I can pray for you. My promise to you is that I actually will.

If you don’t believe in God or in the effectiveness of prayer, that’s too bad but I won’t fuss at ya. Just know that my prayer for you doubters is that you will one day come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, that you will find forgiveness of sin and receive a new heart and will in Him, and that He will upend and transform your life. That’s honestly the greatest and best thing I can pray for you.

That’s it. Goodnight, gang.

#Blogtober2021 Day 7: Oh, I’m still doing this, am I?

Hey gang.

It’s 11pm. I have been working since the kids went to bed this evening (just took a 20 minute break to watch Youtube videos with my wife and eat some oatmeal–so much for tonight’s fast!). And then I rememembered, oh yeah! I’m supposed to post something every day!

So here I am. Typing to you. Hi.

This is one of those posts where I feel like I’m just wasting your time. I don’t have anything interesting or insightful to say at the moment. I remember hearing/reading something from…someone (I dunno, maybe Jeff Goins?) about how successful blog posts are reader-focused–posts in which the author is providing information, or a recommendation, or something that makes his or her readers’ lives better. In other words, I should be giving you some sort of return on the investment of your time spent reading my work.

If you want to write something introspective and personally expressive, he said, you should put that in a diary or journal, not on a blog.

And I get that; that makes sense. If you don’t know actually me, there’s zero reason you should care what I’m doing at this moment. Odds are, if you don’t already have a relationship with me, you haven’t bothered to read this far. (If you have, thank you, but also…why?) Let’s face it, most of the people in my actual flesh-and-blood life don’t read my blog and can’t be bothered. That’s totally fine, too. But if I can’t compel my closest friends and loved ones to read each post, it’s a fool’s errand to expect a stranger to, unless I’m giving them a good reason.

So, what am I doing here, at 11:11pm (make a wish!), with nothing to say but still nattering on line by line? (What’s worse, I’m blogging about blogging, which is even more double-boring!)

Why am I bothering? Because I need to learn to become consistent.

I want to challenge myself to string together 31 days of writing something. Because if I can do that, maybe I can do 30 more, either here or elsewhere. Or maybe 60 more. Maybe I can start doing the thing I keep telling myself I need to get around to doing: being the writer I’d always hoped I’d become. Maybe I can actually write this crime novel that’s in my head and that I would love to share with you (and the two sequels that might follow it). Maybe I can finally work on typing up years of Bible study notes and Sunday School lessons into resources that would be a blessing to the people of my local church and the wider Church as a whole. Maybe I can keep working hard to produce valuable content so that I can start earning some real money through my writing.

That’s why, on Day 7 of Blogtober 2021, at 11:28pm, I’m taking thirty minutes away from the never-ending cascade of work tasks that have kept me up late for the last two weeks, so that I can pop on here, say hello, and let you know that I want to become the kind of person who writes every day.

And at this very moment, you’re helping me do that. So, thank you.

Talk to you tomorrow.

#Blogtober Day 6: Jason, I’d like to register a complaint.*

Not my actual meal, because you can see entirely too much green here…
Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

I decided to take my family to Jason’s Deli for dinner.

It’s been…a while since I’ve eaten at Jason’s Deli. (My wife reminds me that we ate there the night before our second child was born, so that puts us at about 2-3 years. Pre-pandemic, in other words.) I was pretty excited about this: salad bar, fresh ingredients, hit up the gingerbread mini-muffins and apple slices a couple of times. Very cool.

We were confronted as we entered by a sign that said the salad bar is–I mean, I can’t even believe it still–the salad bar is now… single-trip only.

No more “all you can eat.” No more “lemme get just a little bit more of that pudding and those apple slices.” Nevermind the fact that if we’re being honest, most of us never really took more than one pass through that salad bar. It’s supposed to be all-you-can-eat! Jason’s Deli has given into the red wave of nanny-plate-ism, using the current forever-plague as an excuse to deny red-blooded, God-fearing Americans the right–the RIGHT–to have a mountain of cottage cheese and a multitude of saltine crackers! SINGLE. TRIP. ONLY?!? THE NERVE OF YOU, JASON!!!

But I kept my cool. I don’t want to end up on Youtube or TikTok in a “crazy customer” compilation. I may have given the cashier a minor bit of guff about it (“Is that true? Man, that’s too bad. Are they gonna change that? I tell ya, brave new world we’re living in. Ya hate to see it…”), but I would never cause a scene.

That’s fine, Jason. That’s fine. I’ll play your game.

You say one-trip-only. Very well. One trip.

…And it’s at this point that I wish I had taken a picture of my plate, which was a glorious 5-inch-tall heap of salad greens, veggies, 4 kinds of cheese, bacon bits, and ranch dressing; crested with onion crunchies and dried fruit and nuts; wreathed at the base of the salad mountain by goodly scoops of corn salsa, potato salad, cottage cheese, and THREE HARD BOILED EGGS. The heaping plate was joined by a side dish containing 3 gingerbread mini muffins, a 3-seed cracker, and croutons and pickles for my kids. (No croutons or cornbread muffins for me–I didn’t wanna get crazy.)

Seriously, I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture, gang. It was a sight to behold. And I ate the whole blessed thing, because all in all, it was a mostly-low-carb feast of vege, protein, and some (okay, not optimal) fats.

And my final summary judgment on Jason’s Deli, in light of all I’ve seen and heard and experienced this evening?

Hey, man, it’s still pretty solid. If you like salad bars, it’s worth going.

Just treat it like a college student hitting up the local Chinese buffet when the cafeteria is closed [he says, from experience]: Make sure to maximize your plate space. Go in with a plan. Think about how you will construct the salad for structural integrity and maximum value. And then go forth and execute the game plan.

Bon appetit.

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*Mr. Jason, and anyone else in the “Deli” household who may be reading this: I don’t actually have a complaint. I like your restaurant. And I get what you’re doing with the new menu approach. I’m still a fan.

But just know that if the one-plate limit becomes permanent, I’ll make sure to get every last penny’s worth off of that one plate. Fair’s fair. Dave don’t play.

#Blogtober Day 5: “What time is it? It’s time for lunch!”

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

[If you’re a parent of a toddler, or just know a toddler, you might recognize the quote.]

I haven’t been back to F3 for early morning workouts in a few weeks, and have really been hit or miss for the last few months. Part of the issue has been work/life stuff, but a big piece has been nagging injuries that just aren’t getting better (including tendonitis in one and then both elbows). My wife wisely reminds me that part of that problem may be high levels of bodily inflammation, exacerbated by both being now middle-aged, carrying a lot of weight, not getting good sleep, and not eating in a consistently healthy, disciplined way.

I’m slowly getting back into low-carb eating–still struggling, still not perfect, but trying to make better choices, watch my intake of saturated fats in the short-term, drink lots (and LOTS) of water, and make sure I get enough protein. But before I really get locked in about what I eat, I’m trying to get control over when I eat and how much.

As part of that, I’ve started intermittent fasting (IF)–also known as “time-restricted eating,” if you don’t like that particular”f-word.” There’s lots of evidence that IF has major benefits beyond caloric reduction, specifically in the area of inflammation recovery, improved digestion, and burning visceral fat (the dangerous fat that collects around your internal organs). If you haven’t considered IF, there are lots of good resources out there. I follow both Thomas DeLauer and Logan Delgado‘s channels on Youtube, and they provide some good info. (DeLauer in particular digs into the scientific research around a lot of these issues.) Neither of these guys are doctors or scientists professionally–they’re fitness Youtubers and coaches/consultants–but they both have lost weight and kept it off, so they know something of what they’re talking about.

For me, IF begins with pretty simple routines. Certain days, I’ll go around 14-15 hours between meals, while other days it’s just a basic 12 (8pm to 8am, for example). I haven’t pushed it beyond 15 hours yet, but I may get there. Honestly, just sticking to the 12-hour window is helping to curb some of my snacking temptations–and forcing me to drink more water.

If you’re struggling with over-eating/over-snacking or you’re carrying a lot of weight (especially around your middle), you might want to look into IF. I can’t tell you it’s done all these amazing things for me–I just started. But I can say that it’s pretty easy to get started, and seems like it’s simple enough to be done consistently and for the long term.

Also, I can confirm that once I hit the end of that fast, whenever it ends, something like that Bubble Guppies song I referenced starts playing in my head.

“What time is it? It’s time to EAT!
What time is it? It’s time to EAT!”

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Have you tried intermittent fasting / time-restricted eating? Has it been helpful? Let me know what you think and any advice you have in the comments.

#Blogtober Day 4: The Night the Lights Went Out in Menlo Park.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

So Facebook and Instagram just went down, as you probably know.

I haven’t looked up any theories as to why. I’m sure it’s just a technical glitch–someone accidentally deleted a bracket in the code or something.

I have to admit, in the back of my mind, I’m imagining some sort of white-hat hacker op to take down the platform after the recent Wall Street Journal series of articles airing Facebook’s internal memos and studies about the mentally corrosive effect of their product on teenagers.

Can’t you just imagine the movie: A middle-aged man (who “went straight” after spending his 20’s getting into more and more dangerous hacks) settles down and starts a legitimate business in cyber security. He gets married, starts a family, and then has a child who gets into social media in his or her early teens only to be cyber-bullied into doing something drastic and permanent. Enraged and heartbroken, the grieving father exacts revenge on the multi-billion dollar company that profits (in his mind) off of the psychic desolation of bullied and broken children. He runs his “last big job”–a complete takedown of the very social media platform that contributed to his child’s tragic fate.

Basically, it’s a mix of Taken and Mr. Robot. Naturally, the film would star Liam Neeson. (Just kidding. Imagine the extended shots of Neeson pecking away with two fingers at the keyboard while squinting at the screen. No thanks.)

Honestly, I should have written this up as a short story. Oh well.

I mean, this whole thing will likely be over by tonight anyway. Facebook will figure out what’s going on and fix it. The boomers will go back to sharing memes to show they truly love or hate ___. The millenials will log back into Insta. And life will go on as it has before.

But what if–and just hear me out–what if it didn’t?

What if we all come up for air from our phones for a bit and realize, Hey, I don’t need this thing. In fact, the further away from it I get, the better I feel about myself and the world around me.

I mean, that’s total nonsense–no one would ever think that. But, I’m just saying, “what if?”

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go jump on Twitter to talk about all this.

#Blogtober2021 Day 3: …welp.

Took me all of 3 days to miss my mark. (Can we still count it if I haven’t gone to bed yet? No?)

Today is (was) Sunday. Church, home for naps, church again, home for bed, and then the nightly reset of the house. What I didn’t count on was a conversation with my wife turning into an impromptu budget and financial planning meeting.

Big pans are being discussed. Good but scary plans. If you’re a Christian, I would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and direction for my family.

Anyway, that’s part of the reason why I missed the daily deadline. It I’m okay with that. Ending the calendar day holding my wife’s hand and praying about our family’s future is a great thing.

I’ll check back in later today. Y’all go to bed.

#Blogtober2021: Once more into the breach, dear friends.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Hey y’all, it’s been a minute.

I needed to focus on other things in September. (He says as if this weren’t the recurring theme of the last several months.) I’m sorry that I haven’t been writing consistently…but I’m also not. I know that consistent output increases traffic, which then increases click-throughs and multi-post visits, yada yada yada. But the cold fact is, gang, I needed to have fewer things in the back of my mind that really need to get done. I’ve got enough of those that I didn’t get to, as it is.

But hey, I’m back, and you can see the post title, so you probably can guess what I’m about to say: I’m ready to knock out a blog-sprint with y’all again this year. You may recall the rousing successes of #30ThankYous in 2018 and #Booktober in 2020. (If you don’t, feel free to click through and check ’em out–I think they’re pretty great).

This month, rather than shooting for an over-arching theme, I’m going to try something a bit more challenging: time-bounded consistency. My goal is to write, edit, and publish one post a day, without stacking posts in advance or pulling from my pre-written drafts. Each post will be completed within the confines of a 24-hour period. For some people, that may be an easy task. For me, well…we all know how I do with daily posting.

The posts won’t be long or deeply-researched. More like micro-blogs. Snapshots. Quick hits.

Will it be interesting? I hope so. But hey, you can let me know as we go, yeah?

Okay, that’s it. It’s a quarter after midnight and I need to get to bed (I’ve been averaging about 5 hours of sleep a night this week, and I’m feeling it).

I’ll talk to y’all tomorrow–like, for real, I will.

In all things, clarity.

black text on gray background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We Christians sometimes struggle to use social media well.

Rather than going out of our way to be clear, we choose to aim for “pithy and incisive” and instead land squarely in “muddled and misunderstood.”

It’s predictable on some level. Social media readers (and here, I’m thinking mainly of platforms like Twitter or Gab) tend to reward those whose posts are punchy, snarky, and meme-able. Everyone loves a good pile-on; there’s a certain warm camaraderie in adding your voice to the chorus of “Look at that guy—what a doofus!” As a result, when we post our own comments and memes, we instinctively revert to middle-school “gotcha” mode, chasing after our mutuals’ “oh snap” replies and GIFs and those precious “shares” and “likes” that affirm our rhetorical prowess. (Please, Mr. Dorsey, just plug all that ephemeral affirmation directly into my veins!)

Sometimes, however, the slings and arrows we are so quick to let fly at our online ideological foes can be based on less-than-complete information or may communicate with all the subtle finesse of a rusted claw hammer.

If we are indeed disciples of He Who Is The Truth and obedient servants of the God Who Does Not Lie, then it seems redundant to say that we should be truthful in all of our interactions, including those online. I’ve talked about this in the past, with regard to the stories and articles we share online. But I would also venture to propose the following three bits of advice for our daily digital dialogues:

  • Part of love “believing all things” may just be assuming the best when someone who is otherwise demonstrably orthodox says or posts something that may be unclear/confusing. When that happens, walking in love could mean starting by asking questions to gain clarity, rather than assuming heterodoxy of a brother. If the issue is minor, it could even mean letting a post go without saying anything. (I know, that’s crazy-talk when someone is wrong on the internet.) And if the issue really does need to be addressed (and you actually can gain a hearing from that person, rather than just being another stranger shouting online), walking in love means addressing it publicly but in a way that is not self-aggrandizing or belittling of the other person. If the person is a Christian, entreat them directly as a brother or sister. Don’t play to the audience. 
  • The flipside of that is, when we post things online, we should be willing to rework our pithy, “retweetable” construction if we realize our readers find it unclear or confusing, especially when (for example) we’re dealing with weighty matters like theology or sensitive issues related to sin or suffering. Zingers get buzz, but they don’t often build up. If you come to realize that you should have said something more clearly in order for it to be of benefit to others, don’t be too proud of your turns of phrase not to “kill your darlings” and try again in order to communicate something important in a way that is direct and digestible.
  • If you do tweet something that you later realize was ill-informed, poorly communicated, or insufficiently considered, don’t double-down. Just acknowledge it and move on. Seriously. Don’t employ tortured logic to contort your original post to mean something entirely different (or at a minimum, tangential) from its plain original reading. If you goofed, say you goofed. If you missed the mark or overstated something, admit it. If you want to add more context to explain things more clearly, or remove/repost with a correction/explanation, go ahead and do that. But don’t insult the rest of us by asking us to disbelieve our “lying eyes” as if the fault lies entirely with us. If you find that a dozen people are all “misinterpreting you” or “taking you out of context” the same way, it’s more likely a “you” problem than a “them” problem.

Am I now seeking to be the social media police because I’ve raised this issue? Yes. You’ve caught me; that’s exactly my desire. All online traffic needs my approval, with proper forms filled out and stamped in triplicate. You’re exactly right.

OR… perhaps I’m just a Christian who gets frustrated that so much of the sturm und drang of my Twitter feed could be avoided if (presumptive) brothers and sisters in Christ would stop trying to be social media influencers for a minute and just seek to be honest, clear, and edifying with their (online) speech. You know, the way we’re told to be. (In other words, I think we should seek to be salty rather than spicy.)

I’m far from perfect in this area–my Twitter “drafts” folder is a barren boneyard of half-baked takes and snarky responses–but I sincerely want to grow in wisdom with how I use social media. At the end of the day, it would be better for me to lose the miniscule “platform” I’ve built and shut down all my accounts for good, rather than become a known and influential online figure who profanes the Name by my sinful speech, conducting myself as little more than a banging gong or clanging cymbal.

I’m still thinking through all this, so if you have ideas/disagreements, or if I’ve missed something obvious that should factor into my thinking, I welcome your pushback and am happy to discuss further. Hit me up in the com-box below.

This ‘n That (08/26/2021)

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Hey gang!

I’m taking a break from Twitter for a few weeks, but I still have random topics I’m itching to talk to SOMEONE about, so I thought I’d post some of that here as a grab-bag of sorts. This will be different from the #FridayFeed, since those posts will be more strictly links and videos I’m sharing for your enjoyment.

Think of “This ‘n That” as having more of a coffee-break, chit-chat vibe–a mix of personal updates, comments about current news/culture, and maybe some recommendations of cool stuff I’ve found recently. Those of you who have been reading my stuff for a long time might like to think of this as the next iteration of the “PBB Cool Ten.” I won’t post something like this every week, but whenever I have enough to natter on about, I’ll share with the class. So here we go!

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Afghanistan

Let’s go ahead and lead with real news before getting to the silliness. The situation in Afghanistan is a disaster on multiple levels. While I agree that there had to be some sort of end-point for America’s direct military involvement in the country (but not necessarily an end to a US presence in the country/region–see: Germany, South Korea, etc.), the way this has been done is utterly baffling, tragic, and infuriating. The United States should not be treating the Taliban as either a threat or an ally, yet somehow the American president is doing both. We have an obligation not only to extract our citizens and materiel, but also our allies who have risked their lives and families to assist us in our missions. The US military has been put in an impossible and unwinnable position, and their leaders and government commanders have brought shame upon them throughout this episode. The more I read about what’s going on, the more I’m filled with anger, frustration, and grief over the loss of life that is ongoing and will only escalate as American forces continue to exit the country. What an utter disaster. What a failure. What a crippling, cowardly episode that should be hung like an albatross around the neck of this president for the rest of his political career. I have no other “appropriate” words for what I think about this.

A few days ago, I commented to my wife that perhaps on Earth-3 (or some other alternate reality), there is a different American president who is saying something like, “The Taliban has not kept their end of the bargain and are already terrorizing the country again, so right now American troops have begun an overwhelming offensive with the single goal of wiping out the Taliban in its entirety.” Turns out, Jocko Willink and I were on the same wavelength. This instagram post with a message from “President Jocko” is well-worth watching, even if only for giving us a glimpse of a different kind of presidency in this moment.

But seriously, if you are Christian, I would encourage you to pray ardently for Afghanistan and especially for the Christian church there. I’m already hearing reports of frightening and deadly persecution ramping up at the hands of the Taliban. It’s getting bad there, and it’s getting bad quickly.

Okay, serious discussion over. Time for some lighter things. (At least, somewhat lighter.)

Sonny Chiba

I heard last week that Sonny Chiba died. I only knew of him as the great sword-maker (and sushi chef) Hattori Honzo from the Kill Bill movies, but he had a pretty notable career in Asian cinema, both as a hero and as a villain. I’d be curious to check out his older work sometime (you know, during a future life-stage when I’m not watching Blippi or Paw Patrol or Fireman Sam more than actual grown-up television shows). Speaking of which…

Blippi

Let’s talk for a minute about Blippi. Blippi is a gangly, goofy man in his late 20’s / early 30’s wearing a signature blue and orange hat, bowtie, suspenders, and skinny jeans. His videos are mostly harmless, though they can be pretty inane. (I think any parent would agree that there’s a sort of “Mendoza Line” where silliness becomes annoying stupidity. Blippi lives on that line.) His videos are colorful and musical and somewhat informative (half the time, it sounds like he didn’t read his script and is ad-libbing science “facts” about the creatures at the aquarium or on the farm).

While I don’t have the kind of beef that some think-piece writers have against him (which is hilarious to me, to be honest), one thing that has always bothered me is that he’s a grown man displaying the mentality and behavior of a 7-year-old boy (think Tom Hanks in Big, but hopped up on sugar). When I first became a father, I started paying a lot more attention to how dads (and grown men in general) are presented in media. There’s no question in my mind that media catechizes kids on how to see the world, so presentations of what men and women are and how adults behave in these videos and movies matter. I want to find better examples of what men and women are and do for my kids to take in and emulate. Most importantly, I want to be one of those examples. I’d rather they think of me when they think about how a grown man behaves, rather than thinking of Blippi bouncing around and giggling like an idiot.

Back in the Gloom

In April, I talked about starting to attend F3, a boot-camp style workout in the early morning hours. I kept attending occasionally, but through the spring and into the early summer, our family was dealing with several rounds of illness that worked through the whole family, so I’d miss 1 or 2 days a week out of the 3 available at my chosen location. With so many gaps in my attendance, I didn’t make much progress (though some friends encouraged me by pointing out my improvement, however minimal). But then I noticed my forearm started aching and losing strength. I stopped working out for about 6-7 weeks, as I tried to rest my arm and figure out what was going on. I had so much trouble gripping and lifting things with that arm that I eventually had to go to the doctor. Turns out, I had developed a clear case of “tennis elbow.” The orthopedic surgeon I met with told me that 1 out of 3 people he sees that are in my age group will develop tennis elbow, because our ligaments just tend to start breaking down in middle age. Great. Thankfully, there was no visible structural damage, so he gave me some stretches to do and meds to take, and I’m now on the mend. After my long absence, I finally went back to the workout last Saturday, though I was really anxious for some reason that my heart wouldn’t handle the sudden resumption of hard work. As you might have guessed, my heart made it just fine. My legs, on the other hand, were shredded by dozens and dozens of squats, leaving me hobbling and groaning like an old man for almost a week. So I’ll be posting again for a workout this Saturday, and hopefully (with some foresight re: stretching and resting properly), I won’t be missing many more workouts from now on.

Nudge Coffee Bar

Gotta tell you about the newest delightful treat my wife brought home from the grocery store: Nudge Coffee Bars. (#NotSpon, but for real, Nudge, hit me up, becauase I am a FAN). They have the consistency (the “mouth-feel,” if you prefer) of chocolate bars, but they are not made of chocolate (a fact they are strangely emphatic about!). The bars are essentially what you’d have if you made chocolate with coffee beans instead of cocoa beans, added some other stuff, and this magical concoction popped out of the pan. Each square has the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee, so if you want to take a sweet treat on the go that gives you a little pick-me-up, this is a great option. PLUS!!! Nudge bars are made with an erythritol/monk fruit blend and some added fiber, so they are only around 1-2 net carbs per square, which means they are a great option for a low-carb/ketogenic eating plan. I tried the Ethiopian and Italian Roast flavors, and both are delicious. The crazy thing is, while Nudge Coffee Bars are most assuredly NOT made of chocolate (don’t you put that on them, Ricky Bobby), they really do taste like a rich mocha or espresso drink. The danger for me is that I’m already drinking coffee throughout the day, so I can’t eat too much of this goodness at once before all the caffeine hits my system, my heart races, and I start to see sound. But man, Nudge is so good. Check ’em out.

Fun with Greek vocabulary

I had the privilege of preaching 4 times at a small church about an hour north of ours. You may have noticed that I’ve been posting my sermon transcripts lately (next one coming this Sunday, Lord-willing). I’ve been really enjoying studying for these sermons, and part of that has to do with how I’m changing my approach to sermon prep and shifting the time spent so that I’m analyzing the text more than studying a stack of commentaries. I’ll go into detail about this in another post on a group blog I’ve joined recently (I really will have something posted soon, Michael!), but I just wanted to note that part of the joy of preparing to preach over the last month has been getting to do some this more in-depth language study. What’s crazy is, I can’t read New Testament Greek yet (hoping to start learning in the spring!). I’ve been relying on a (possibly a bit outdated) interlinear text and a Strong’s concordance that is meant for use with a King James translation (requiring an extra layer of translation on my part, from KJV to ESV!). But as I’ve studied how Jude uses the Greek language to communicate huge truths in just 25 verses, it’s been wild to learn how a slight change in spelling or phrasing makes such a huge difference in meaning. All of this to say: the Bible is amazing, y’all. It’s a miracle. 66 books, 40 or so human authors, across 3 continents and 2500 years–yet still unified and consistent because it has one Divine Author who inspired every letter of it. Just awesome.

Power Wash Simulator

When I first heard about the computer game Power Wash Simulator, I thought it sounded like one of those troll games with janky mechanics that is meant to last only a few minutes. Then I noticed that some Youtube gaming channels I watch from time to time were talking more and more about the game. So, I checked out a few “let’s play” videos. Y’all, I don’t have time to play video games much anymore, but I was *thisclose* to dropping the twenty bucks on Steam to pick it up. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about watching this gameplay. I won’t send you to the channels I watched (I think you have to be used to those streamers’ typical patter in order not to get annoyed), so here’s a no-commentary video of the first level or so of the game. Seriously, I dare you to watch it without feeling some sense of satisfaction as the van is transformed from dirty to spotless.

Dad Clothes

Speaking of things that are utterly dad-like: My wife teased me the other day because my outfit for leaving the house was a “dad” uniform: plaid button-down (untucked and sleeve-rolled, natch), khaki cargo shorts, leather boat shoes, faded ball cap. I’ll admit it, I’ve leaned in hard to the “dad look,” but you know what? I’m comfortable with that. I hate having to think about clothes or style. I have the body type that looks schlumpy, no matter what I’m wearing, so I just go with what’s comfortable and not too form-fitting (gotta protect the hearts and minds of the ladies). And cargo shorts make sense–all that pocket room! (I draw the line at jorts, however… though I wish I’d drawn that line before my teens/twenties. The pictures from the early 2000’s… *shudder*) I did grimace ruefully last week as I was reading an article in the Gut Check Quarterly that was inteded to lampoon seasonal style guides, and did so by recommending…the stuff I normally wear. But you know what? Dads don’t care. Dads abide. Often in a stained white undershirt, like the one I’m wearing…right…huh.

Reading the Paper

Might as well complete the “dad” trifecta: I bought an online subscription to the Wall Street Journal this week, and I’m loving it. It was a phenomenal deal: $4 a month for a year. I’ve been looking to add another source of news to my media diet, and at the odd times over the years when I’ve had access to the WSJ (which is normally crazy expensive, so I only get it when we stay at certain hotels), I’ve found the writing to be thoughtful, even-keeled, and informative. So far, I’ve already learned some interesting things that I probably would not have picked up otherwise by relying on social media trends, news blogs, and local TV news. Plus, the WSJ has a daily crossword that you can complete on the app, and I’ve enjoyed knocking those out over the last few days. I’m starting to develop a daily habit of reading “the paper” either during breakfast or after evening clean-up once the kids go to bed. Hopefully this will make my online news consumption a bit more well-rounded than what it is currently.

#TwitterSupperClub

I’ve been away from Twitter (mostly) for a few days, and I’ve realized that I miss interacting with a few folks on Twitter, but I don’t miss the experience of Twitter–with one exception: #TwitterSupperClub. This is the brain-child of Andrew Donaldson, the managing editor of Ordinary Times, and it’s brilliant. People who participate in the #TwitterSupperClub basically do what non-tweeters thought the platform was in the early days: a bunch of folks posting about what they had for dinner. Participants share pictures, descriptions, and recipes for the enjoyment, envy, and often inspiration of others. Donaldson described it once as a way to cleanse the digital palate of all the madness that often fills our social media feeds. So, if you’re on Twitter, let me encourage you to take a look at the hashtag and perhaps participate. The world could use more noodles and less negativity, more havarti and less hatred, more vanilla creme and less vitriol. Hook us up with pics of your delicious creations. Spread the love.

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That’s all I’ve got this week. I know I haven’t been posting very often lately, but I appreciate y’all checking in. Check back for a new sermon on Sunday, and more fun next week!