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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Teens On-line

Check out THIS from TechCrunch:

Think that user generated content is still only the domain of a relatively small few? Well a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that the next generation at least is switched on and producing content.

According to the study, 59% of all American teenagers engage in at least one form of online content creation. Of those 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys however like their video, with 19% of boys posting video online vs. 10% of girls.

Other figures from the study:
  • 39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories, or videos.
  • 33% create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups they belong to, friends, or school assignments.
  • 28% have created their own online journal or blog, up from 19% in 2004.
  • 27% maintain their own personal webpage
  • 26% remix content they find online into their own creations.
Interestingly the presumed dominance of social networking sites (such as Facebook and MySpace) amongst teens was not reflected in the study, which found that only 55% of teens online use a social networking site. The flip side to that is that the presumption that sites such as MySpace may have peaked may be untrue if 45% of teens aren’t using one of these sites already.

The full study is available HERE (pdf).

HT: TechCrunch via TonyMorganLive

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For All the Womens That's I've Loved Before...

Yes, the typo above was intentional - I wanted it to sound more Julio Iglesi-esque.

I saw this on Tyler's blog and though I'd give it a shot. I was happy to see that Jimmy Page was a look-a-like. But I was a little concerned that I might look like Ashley Olson.

What does that say about me (or her)?

Get your own celebrity look-a-like HERE.

HT: MyHeritage via The Carettos via Big T-licious


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Keep Out!

911 changed things. No doubt about it. But who would have thought THIS would happen?

Yesterday, Pam and I played host to the DeCesare/Goodman/Bergman clan. This meant five kids in the house.

We have a little room, a kind of shed, attached to the garage. The kids adopted this as their own. We were charmed when they appeared to turn the shed into a new country, complete with its own three color flag. "As long as they don't start singing and marching," the adults joked, and that's the last we thought of it.

Then the four year old wandered back to the house carrying a slip that read, "Beutyful 2414."

Eventually, it dawned on us that this was her password and security code. Here is the entire manifest. (I give it to you in the strictest confidence.)

Pretty: 8412
Curley: 3333
Navey: 1384
Beutyful: 2414
Flower: 1211

Each of the kids has a password and security code. I don't know how many terrorists there are in my part of Connecticut but clearly the little shed is now secure. Relatively speaking. We could use a metal detector and a rent-a-cop but then the kids will have to start raising taxes, and no one around here wants that, believe me

Read the entire article HERE.

HT: This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics via Dynamist Blog

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Blood, Sweat, and Rock-n-Roll...

It was a great day! Monday, January 28, 2008 marked the beginning of a new era: downloadable music that is FREE and LEGAL. QTrax was here and it was going to change the world. Haven't heard about QTrax? Read all about it HERE.

And just as life was about to change... it didn't. The labels pulled out and the deal was off (for now). Read about it HERE.

So that's what you need to know about rock-n-roll. Here's what you need to know about blood and sweat:

The oldest blonde boy is taking a kick boxing/grappling/mixed martial arts class at our church. That's right... I said at our church. He loves it... says it's the best workout he's ever done.

So last night the boy and I were wrestling (that's the sweat). He's young and strong, but I am old and wise and willing to fight dirty. Then there's the fact that... use your best streotypical asian accent here: My kung fu is strong!

So we're wrestling and the next thing i know, the boy bloodies me! He pops me in the nose and I am a bloody mess.

It was a proud moment.

Boy-1. Old Man-0.

HT: Times Online and Associate Press via This Guy Falls Down

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Liza and Carol...

My sister just sent me this. Hello Dolly!

RSS: Embedded video

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Flemings... Amazing!

I posted a couple of weeks ago about the great time that Mrs. Two Blonde Boys and I had at Flemings. It was our first time at the restaurant. Our friends gave a gift certificate there for Christmas.

What made the occasion even more incredible was what happened a few days later:

I opened my mailbox to find a note from Flemings. When I opened it, there was the following handwritten note:

Thank you very much for taking the time to dine with us this past week. We hope your evening with us was memorable and that you soon have another opportunity to join us. Please do not hesitate to let us know if we acn assist you in any future arrangements.

Thank you,
Flemings Fresno
Included in the note was the business card of operating Partner, Michael DiGiambattista.

I was blown away. Flemings... you had me at hello. The note took it to another level! You truly exceeded my expectations.

If you've never been to Flemings, go now. Do not wait. And be prepared for a delightful experience (even if you don't get a handwritten note).

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Creation is over...

We just finished a great series on Creation at NewCov. Sunday, our pastor gave one of the best messages I have heard him preach in the 8 years - one of his Top 10.

Randy did an outstanding job on the visuals. Check out the pictures on Randy's blog. The pictures don't do him justice - it was really beautiful. Combine it with his great lighting and it was a home run.

Here is our final set list for this series, along with iTunes links:

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Aristry in Motion...

Check out this amazing video.

RSS: embedded video

HT: Perspective

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Make a CD Lamp

  1. Collect all your old CDs.
  2. Stack 'em.
  3. Get a cold cathode lamp from someplace like these from NewEgg.
  4. Build a holder (basic wood shop skills needed).
  5. Put it together and enjoy!

HT: RJ3 Labs via Techblog via Lifehacker

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Get in Shape for Work...

If you're looking for a new job or a way to move up the "food chain" at work, it may not be a bad idea to start running. It seems that running is becoming a common way of determining whether someone is a worthy hire or not. General Petraeus, the four-start general who is currently in command of the multinational force fighting in Iraq and an avid runner, says this in a recent interview for Runner's World:
There's something about an individual who has self-discipline, drive, basic fitness, and the heart to run reasonably well that indicates the kind of spirit that you are after in people who take on tough tasks.
So next time you start to prepare for a job interview, it may not hurt to get a few runs under your belt, too - you never know if the interview will take place on the street!

Read the full article here.

HT: Rockstar Runners

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy National Peanut Butter Day

I couldn't stop blogging today without bringing you this from Slashfood:
I wasn't sure how to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day. I could put up a bunch of recipes that include peanut butter (see below), but I also wanted to ask one of the more important questions of all-time.

How do you make your peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

I mean, what type of bread do you use? What type of peanut butter? Do you spread the jelly on top of the peanut butter or on the other slice of bread? Do you cut it or eat it whole? What do you drink with it?
For me, it's sourdough bread. First spread butter on both piecces of bread. The use Skippy Super Chunk and strawberry preserves (I prefer Bonne Mamon Strawberry Preserves). And to drink? Ice cold milk (skim) or a Diet Coke on the rocks.

Here are some great peanut butter recipes:

Peanut Butter and Fudge Swirl Pie
Peanut Butter Cookies
Choco-Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
Fudgy Peanut Butter Cheesecake

HT: Slashfood

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This Made Me Smile...

Take a minute and smile...

HT: *TheBlogstar

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Want to Podcast?

Over the past year, I've been involved in producing two podcasts. One was sort of a "pre-game" for the Men's Retreat at our church. It wasn't a podcast in the truest sense of the word, but give it a listen and you'll get the idea.

The other "real" podcast I produce is for my church. You can check it out - and subscribe - HERE. I am doing two versions - an audio only (standard) version and an enhanced version with the pastor's graphics and links.

We are currently hosting with Libsyn and I am very happy. But I may experiment with moving the podcast (or starting a new one) and hosting it on Typepad (who I use for storage for my blogs).

If you have Typepad, you can (according to Randy at Ethos) - with some work - get it to host your podcast. Check it out HERE.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beautiful Design...

Beautiful. Inspiring.

Check out this blog.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Simon Cowell on Excellence...

Idol is back. That means Simon is back. You either love him or hate him.

I happen to love him. Not for his meanness - he could be nicer. But for his blunt honesty. While he is often rude and harsh, he tells it like it is. Simon is not there to inspire people to achieve their dreams. He is there to run a business and to find talent.

That may sound harsh, but it is what it is. Music labels are in the business to make money. They nurture as much as they need to to make money.

Simon is not looking for good singers. He is looking for one great talent - someone who can sing, who looks great, who has a fantastic personality/image. The bottom line is this: excellence wins (and sells).

Bruce D Johnson has a blog post that captured this idea perfectly:
I know plenty of you are American Idol fans, like my wife and two teenage daughters. But for me personally, I have a hard time watching it (especially at the beginning of the season during the tryouts when the word excellence isn't even in the grab bag of words to use to describe what you're watching). However, earlier this evening, as I was walking by the family room (where my daughters were watching) I overheard Simon say something incredibly profound to one of the contestants. He said, "That was good. But if you want to win, you have to realize that good is not enough. You've got to be GREAT!". I couldn't have put it better.

That same line is true of everything we do. If you or I want to win at a relationship (parental or spousal or other), you and I have got to be GREAT! Good is not enough. If your company wants to win, it's got to be GREAT! Good is not enough. If your church wants to win, it's got to be GREAT! Good is not enough. If you want to win as an employee (or employer), you've got to be GREAT! Good is not enough. If you or I want to win at anything, we've got to realize that good is not enough. We've got to be GREAT!
So... are you content to be good at what you do, or do you want to be GREAT?

HT: Bruce. D Johnson

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Pownce, a file sharing/social networking/micro-blogging web site that's been in a highly-noticed private beta for six months, has gone public. Like Twitter? Then you just may love Pownce.

Pownce is more than just micro-blogging... you can send up to 10MB files (100MB if you upgrade to the Pro version for $20/year), invite fellow Pownce users to events (synced with Google Calendar), and get details on messages you've sent out, like how many have received it. One downside is that it lacks Twitter's mobile phone functionality, so it's not quite as crack-like as Twitter (just a minute... I need to Twitter that I'm writing this post.... ... ... ... ... OK)

Pownce is still in beta, but you sign up for free at the site.

HT: Pownce via TechCrunch via Lifehacker

Lunch with Randy...

I had a great lunch yesterday with Randy at Max's. We both agreed that if cre:ate was in Fresno, Max's would definitely be one of our stops for lunch or dinner... great food and a great vibe inside. If you've been to cre:ate, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, here's a few shots from lunch. We started with the Sweet Potato Fries. Randy had the French Dip Max's Roast Beef Dip (thin sliced roast beef, vermont sharp white cheddar, house au jus & horseradish cream on side), while I opted for the Hot New York Pastrami (Dijon-mayo, fontina cheese & caramelized red onions on fresh french baguette). Everything was superb.

On the way home, we grooved to "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough."

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Concert >> Movie?

I don't know if I would go to a concert at a movie theater, but this looks cool...

HT: Shlog


Bigger is Better?

My sister's boat is named "More is More." Love it!

But bigger is not necessarily better (despite all the junk e-mail I get to the contrary). I mean, have you ever clicked on a URL an e-mail only to realize it didn't work because it was too long and the line wrap broke it?

Or maybe you sent a URL that wouldn't work that you really wanted someone to follow. Problem solved!

Check out TinyURL.

Enter a long URL to make tiny:

You're welcome.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Video Shmideo...

What can happen if 3 guys know how to shoot and edit video...

Very cool!

HT: biggiefries

Quote of the Day...

"There is no use whatsoever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself."
Andrew Carnegie

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Thursday, January 17, 2008


This post from Church Marketing Sucks will give you something to think about:
  • Percentage of McDonald's franchises that did not sell a hamburger last year: 0%
  • Percentage of Ace Hardware stores that did not sell a hammer last year: 0%
  • Percentage of Salvation Army outlets that did not help a needy person last year: 0%
  • Percentage of state universities that did not educate a student last year: 0%
  • Percentage of airlines that did not fly a plane last year: 0%
  • Percentage of WalMarts that did not sell merchandise last year: 0%
Now I know this may cause a knee jerk reaction... Christ isn't a product, the church is a holy place not a supermarket, etc. I get that. But maybe, just maybe, it's time the church take its "business" as seriously as any other organization does.

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Say Goodbye to It's a Small World...

If you like It's a Small World at Disneyland, you'd better get there to ride this weekend...

This holiday weekend marks your last chance to ride It’s a Small World at Disneyland before the beloved boat ride undergoes a major overhaul.

The classic attraction goes down for a 10-month rehab starting Jan. 22, 2008, to replace the original flume and fleet of boats used at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, where the ride debuted.

Disney Imagineers are still trying to decide what - if any - changes and additions to make to the characters and scenes in the 14-minute show. The new Small World ride at Hong Kong Disneyland adds 30 Disney characters to the attraction (including Mulan, Peter Pan and Aladdin).

The Anaheim ride’s long hibernation is scheduled to end Nov. 28, 2008, according to Disney officials.

HT: Disney Travel & Deal Blog

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More Leadership Thoughts...

I stumbled across this blog while I was reading another blog (can't remember who...)

You know you are not leading when...
  • You wait for someone to tell you what to do rather than taking the initiative yourself.
  • You spend too much time talking about how things should be different.
  • You blame the context, surroundings, or other people for your current situation.
  • You seek consensus, rather than casting vision for a preferable future.
  • You aren't taking any significant risks.
  • You accept status quo as the way it's always been and always will be.
  • You procrastinate to avoid making a tough call.
  • You talk to others about the problem rather than taking it to the person responsible.
  • You don't feel like your butt is on the line for anything significant.
  • You ask for way too many opinions before taking action.
Read the entire article HERE.


Quote of the Day

"I am not a consensus politician. I am a conviction politician... Consensus is the negation of leadership."

-Margaret Thatcher

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Monday, January 14, 2008

I Love Cats... They Taste Just Like Chicken

I do not (and will not) own a van, because... well, if I have to tell you, there's really not a lot of hope for you.

I don't do cats because...

Monday Morning Stuff...

Here are some tasty nuggets I found out in the blogosphere this morning:

  • Hilarious video by Flight of the Conchords (HT: The Blogstar).
  • Did you realize that 2008 was the United Nations International Year of the Potato? (HT: jafferblog)
  • I am thinking about giving Xobni a try with Outlook. I'll let you know what I think. (HT: tonymorganlive.com)
  • Here are some great quotes from a Men's Health article on resolutions: Example: #4. Every great thing has its Golden Age. Often that age is right now. Live there, not in some glorious past you’re probably misremembering. And #15. There’s nothing that happens after 11:30 p.m. that can’t be replied to or TiVo’d the next day. Hit the pillow for some restorative sleep, then hit the ground running tomorrow, while others are still trying to find their legs (and their Starbucks gift cards). (HT: Just Charlie)

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Great Are You (downhere)
Shout to the Lord
The Solid Rock (acoustic guitar & vocals)
You Are (Mark Roach)
Come Into His Presence With Singing (band tune - my wife said it rocked)

"The Fingerprints of God"
Series: Creation (2/4)

We had the vocalists on stools & booms again this week - we are going to do that for the entire series. The lighting & stage looked really beautiful again. Randy made a really cool video background for "Great Are You."

Check for pictures on the NewCovTech blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Music A-Go-Go

This thing will waste your time... and you will have a BLAST doing it!

Check it out HERE.

HT: Hale Yeah

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


THIS is one of the coolest openers I've ever seen at a church!

Very cool!

HT: Ragamuffin Soul

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Great New Artist

If you haven't gotten a chance to check out Colbie Caillat, you should. I love her sound. I "found" her when I got a free iTunes download of her song, "Bubbly."

Here's some more info on Colbie from her web site:
A great song, says Colbie Caillat, should lift your heart, warm the soul and make you feel good. Taking her own sound advice, "Coco", the debut album by the 22 year-old Californian singer-songwriter is simply crammed full of them.

In an age when marketing has been elevated above content and so many songs are written and produced to a pre-ordained formula, Caillat comes as a welcome breath of fresh air. Records these days seem to fall into two categories. The vast majority tend to contain one or two good tracks which you download to your computer so that you never have to listen to the rest of the album again. Far more rare are those that demand to be listened to from start to finish, with every song in perfect symmetry. Think of the kind of vintage, organically-crafted albums that Carole King or Joni Mitchell used to make. Thankfully, it's a tradition that is being kept alive today by the likes of Norah Jones, Jack Johnson - and now Colbie Caillat.

"If you listen to an album like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, every song has its place," she says. "If you took one away you'd spoil the balance of the entire record. That's the kind of album I wanted to make. It wouldn’t feel right to have my name on a record that was just a few good tracks and then lots of filler."

The reference to Fleetwood Mac is revealing. Caillat grew up in the idyllic clime of Malibu, California with music all around her. Her father, Ken Caillat, co-produced Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" and "Tusk" albums and later ran his own record label. As a child she recalls the likes of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie being around. "Of course I've learned a lot from them. You'd be a fool not to," she says. Yet she is totally her own woman.

She began singing with serious intent at the age of 11 after hearing Lauryn Hill's version of Killing Me Softly. "I think her voice is absolutely beautiful and it made me want to start singing so I entered a talent show and of course I sang a Lauryn Hill song." As she grew older, however, her father offered one crucial piece of advice. It was all very well having a great voice, he pointed out, the people who command real respect in the music business are the songwriters. "I thought about that for a long time", she says...

Once she had a bunch of songs, she put a few of them on MySpace, more in hope than expectation. "Nothing much happened for a few months," she remembers. "Then I wrote this song called Bubbly and put it up there and it got this huge reaction. I mean thousands and thousands of hits every day."

In the end, she became the number one unsigned artist on MySpace for four successive months, garnering an almost unbelievable 10 million plays...

Quite what it is about Bubbly that struck such a chord, she's still not entirely sure. "I guess it's the simplicity of the lyrics and the melody," she says. "It's meant to make you feel good and everybody can relate to it." And "Coco" - the album is named after a childhood nickname which stuck - is full of similarly memorable songs imbued with an irresistible warmth which draw on a rich array of influences. "I love all kinds of music and I've been influenced by all of it," she says. "Classic rock like Fleetwood Mac and the Steve Miller Band. Original soul like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Lauryn Hill. Bob Marley and reggae, John Mayer. Anything that makes you feel good."

And from the sunny, upbeat promise of songs such as Bubbly and Oxygen to the gentle, semi-r & b groove of The Little Things and the lilting reggae of Tied Down, "Coco" is one of those classic albums that simply makes you feel glad to be alive. "You make me smile, please stay for a while," she sings on Bubbly. It really ought to be her mantra.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008



  • God of Wonders (with intro from the movie, Contact)
  • I Could Sing of Your Love
  • Thou Art Worthy (acoustic guitar & bass only)
  • Take My Life (Holiness)

"Before the Beginning"
Series: Creation (1/4)

We had the vocalists on stools & booms. Lighting & stage looked really beautiful. Great job, Randy! (I think he may have posted pictures on the NewCovTech blog).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday Night Unwind

Mellowing out to the sounds of one of my Christmas presents: the new album by the Eagles... Long Road Out of Eden.

The first track is a wonderfully haunting bit of poetry and song called No More Walks in the Woods:

No more walks in the wood
The trees have all been cut down
And where once they stood
Not even a wagon rut
Appears along the path
Low brush is taking over

No more walks in the wood
This is the aftermath
Of afternoons in the clover fields
Where we once made love
Then wandered home together
Where the trees arched above
Where we made our own weather
When branches were the sky
Now they are gone for good
And you, for ill, and I
Am only a passer-by

We and the trees and the way
Back from the fields of play
Lasted as long as we could
No more walks in the wood

If you like the Eagles, you're gonna like this new 2 disc set of originals from the band.

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Friday, January 04, 2008


Mrs. Two Blonde Boys and I went our to Fleming's last night - our first trip.

One word: Wow!

I had the Fleming's Salad, Crab-Stuffed Shrimp, Chipotle Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese, and for dessert, the Chocolate Lava Cake (yes, Spence... lots of whipped chantilly cream).

Kel had the Wedge Salad, Portobello Filet Mignon, Fleming's Potatoes, and for dessert, the Creme Brulet.

It was a truly outstanding dinner, and the dessert ranks up there with the top 2 or 3 desserts I've ever had.