Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Want to Drink More Food

This is like drinking pumpkin pie!

Larry Swank

Thanks to Christmas Creep, I guess the Christmas season is upon us? Meh. I hate Christmas Creep. Stop trying to sell me Christmas presents and make everyone think that Christmas is about presents and commercialism instead of the birth of our Lord and Savior into this world as a man. But that's not what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about one of the good things about Christmas Creep: the early advent of specialty foods. In this case, specifically, Prairie Farms Old Recipe milk. They've got egg nog, candy cane milk, chocolate cherry, and chocolate mint milk. They're delicious, and each quart comes with a free punch to the arteries. They've also got a pumpkin spice flavor (which I suppose is more a Thanksgiving thing negating my ramble at the beginning of the post, but it stays anyway) which tastes exactly like drinking pumpkin pie. It's like you took a piece of pumpkin pie - just the awesome guts part, not the crust - stuck it in a blender with some milk, and then drank what came out on the other side. It is incredible, and I recommend that you try it immediately.

It got me thinking, though, that we need to have more foods liquefied for our convenience, though. Foods like these:

  • Lasagna. It's got cheese in it so the dairy base is already there. It wouldn't be hard to come up with some tangy, smooth drinking lasagna milk. How delicious would that be for a quick lunch, huh? Yes, I'm completely serious. Chug down some milk and get the tangy taste of tomato sauce and some well-spiced sausage as it goes down. Yum.

  • Jell-O. Yeah, I know that such a thing as fruit juice exists, but it's not the same. You know how if you have a chocolate shake and let it melt and then drink it that it tastes similar to - but distinctly different from - chocolate milk? I'm proposing that the same would be true with Jell-O. There's this flavor quality in Jell-O that doesn't exist in real fruit. I chalk it up to what Jell-O is actually made of. In any case, Liquid Jell-O, please. And don't tell me just to make Jell-O and drink it before it hardens. I want to buy this stuff at a Speedway when I'm in a hurry.

  • Brownies and apple pie. I used to work at Steak and Shake when I was in high school, and we were all the time making non-standard shakes for ourselves. Our two favorites were hot fudge brownie shakes and apple pie shakes. We'd make the original desert, heated up and all, and then dump it into the blender with some ice milk to make the best shakes ever. Someone box this up for me.

  • Bologna and eggs. Here's how you make bologna and eggs - scramble some eggs, dump in some fried bologna, and then melt cheese over it before serving. Try it, think about how delicious it is, and then imagine drinking such a concoction. This is one you'd have to serve warm, maybe before bed.

  • Creme brule. This is probably the most reasonable of my suggestions. Take the richest dessert I can think of and liquefy it. Is this so hard? Honestly. I mean, you couldn't set it on fire or burn the top of it or anything, but that's not the point. The point is that I want to drink creme brule. If you've got to burn something to enjoy it, set fire to the carton with a blowtorch after you empty it.

  • Your favorite kids' breakfast cereal. Doesn't matter what it is, this would be a goldmine. You know that the best part of any bowl of cereal is the milk leavins'. Count Chocula is delicious, yeah, but the Count Chocula flavored milk that's left over after you finish the cereal? That's a delicacy. You could ship that stuff east and come back with boat loads of spices and gunpowder if you survived the voyage. We've been to the moon, so why can't I buy milk that tastes like there's been Captain Crunch sitting in it for half an hour? And Frosted Flakes flavored milk? That's the king of milk leavins'. That could replace cow-flavored milk in every American household. You know it's better than normal milk.

  • Bacon. That's right, liquid bacon. This one doesn't need any explanation at all, quite honestly. It's liquid bacon. It'd be delicious. And just think of the potential for it as a topping! Squirt a little liqiud bacon on top of any cheeseburger or on your eggs (or even your bologna and eggs) and you've got an instant party!
And yes, I'm completely serious. I'd drink all of that stuff. I'd buy liquid bacon by the case, I'd have a gallon of Frosted Flakes flavored milk in my fridge at all times, and creme brule flavored milk would likely put me in ICU in short order. C'mon, corporate America food producers! Put your chemicals and hormones to good use for once and make something awesome!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

About Me

I've never written one of these here [my Facebook page], which is somewhat surprising to me given my tendency to ramble from the fingers ...

Larry Swank

At home, I am a husband to beautiful, Godly woman. I am father to three wonderful children: my princess, my best buddy, and my little ball of joy. I am Mr. Swank, the principal of FortySixTen Academy, for three glorious hours every weekday morning. I am a guy always looking for a game to play with someone. I play Pokemon, because somewhere just under the surface I still have the joy of remembering how to have fun like a child.

At work, I am a web developer. I am a database architect. I am a I'm a graphic designer. I create things that work the way they're supposed to. I am my own worst critic. I come in when I want and work as long as I want, and my non-existent boss is cool with that. I wear fuzzy slippers, and I work literally a foot from where I sleep.

At church, I am a disciple. I am the bass player. I used to be the audio guy, but I graduated, leaving my wife to be the audio babe. I am the webmaster. I make cakes, which are occasionally well decorated. When necessary, I am manual labor, because skill in labor isn't one of my strengths.

Wherever I go, I am a child of God. I am a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, fully God and fully man, and I profess my faith in Him as my Lord and Savior. Although I often sin, I have been forgiven and made clean by the blood of the Lamb. I am thankful for the victory of Jesus on the cross.

Friday, October 16, 2009



Gabe Sapolsky
as Jimmy Bower
Former Ring of Honor broadcaster

Any of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook might have seen me post that phrase a time or two before. Usually, I post it right as I'm about to drive somewhere. It's the equivalent of Boromir blowing his horn before leaving on a long journey to warn the foes of Gondor that he's about. "I'm on the road, so you stay off if you know what's good for you." That sort of thing.

It originates from old DVDs for the indie wrestling promotion Ring of Honor. The Booker, Gabe Sapolsky, played a character named Jimmy Bower, one of the announcers in the fed's early days. When something especially dangerous would happen - a head drop suplex, a stupid dive through a table, or so on - Bower would belt out with his trademark call of "Dangerous!" It was always my favorite part of any show; partly because something ridiculous was guaranteed to have just happened, but partly because I really like the call. It resonated with me.

I read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge this past week. If you've never read it and are either a man trying to understand yourself better or a woman trying to understand men better, I recommend picking it up, as it's an excellent read. Eldredge talks about what's at the heart of a man - what God has programmed into us from the beginning of His creation - and spends a lot of time pointing out that men are inherently dangerous creatures. We like doing dangerous, adventurous things. We're all, deep down, Likes to Fight Guy.

This has been a remarkable eye opener for me. Three and a half years ago, I made the most dangerous decision of my life. I left a job that gave me a steady (if somewhat meager) paycheck to jump into the wild unknown of entrepreneurship. God blessed that greatly almost immediately, giving me an amazing client I still have the privilege of working with to this day, and has continued to bless that boldness.

Somewhere along the line, though, I lost that. I lost the desire to take risks. I got complacent in my success. I forgot that what made me successful in the first place was the blessing that God gave me for trusting Him and walking forward boldly in that trust.

I'm trying to recapture that now. I'm trying to find the adventurous spirit that He put in me that enabled me to be an entrepreneur in the first place. More importantly, I'm trying to find the path he wants me to walk down in my business now. I'm sure it's going to be risky, but that's the point sometimes. If everything is safe, we can't trust Him.

"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."
- 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aunt Bethany Should Say Grace

Grace? She passed away thirty years ago.

They want you to say grace. The blessing!

Mae Questel as Aunt Bethany
and William Hickey as Uncle Lewis
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (2009)

I spent the past weekend at a campground in Clay City, working as a volunteer at a Walk to Emmaus Christian retreat. If you have never been on one - and there are Emmaus communities in every state so your location is no excuse - I highly recommend that you go. They're among the most enlightening and enriching spiritual experiences I can imagine having here on this earth.

Getting to work at the Walk, though, that was something different. It rained on us all weekend, for starters, so I spent the weekend walking around in the mud. I was on my feet more than someone clocking in at 232 pound at my height probably should be for the four days. I was routinely one of the last people on the campground to go to bed and one of the first to get up. The first day, it rained so hard as we got set up that I had to change all of my clothes, as they'd all been soaked through. The cinder block cabin I stayed in was, from all appearances, the birthing place of all spiders.

And I would not change any of it. It was, with no exaggeration, the most spiritually fulfilling thing that I've ever done.

I was privileged to spend those days in the company of thirty-three guys seeking to have a deeper walk with their Lord. I was able to serve them in whatever capacity I was needed, and got to see them change from their arrival on Thursday to their departure on Sunday. And, true to His form, God found plenty of time to work in me while He was doing His thing with the acutal Pilgrims. I spent the weekend surrounded by love and filled with the Holy Spirit, and got to expend every ounce of myself in service to my Lord and my fellow man. I honestly don't know how it could get any better than that.

I was unsure what to expect going in. I didn't think it would be nearly as enriching as actually experiencing the walk as a pilgrim was. It turned out to be even more enriching and more meaningful for me, though, which is one of God's little miracles considering how fantastic an experience it was the first time.

Alright, enough gushing. Go to a Walk if you've never been. Work one if you have. The experiences will change your life.

Friday, September 18, 2009


In a loud voice they sang:
   "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
   to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
   and honor and glory and praise!"

Revelation 5:12 (NIV)

It has been a crazy week. I spent the week sick, but then had to stop being sick when Holli got sick (becuase only one parent can be sick at a time). While still partly sick, I walked around the church's neighborhood on Wednesday, met some of the awesome people in the community we've moved into, and invited them to our block party on Sunday. I busted my tail yesterday at work trying to catch up on what I missed, still not fully well but well enough to sit up, work, and cough occasionally. Today I went to WVIHOP for my weekly set there, and now I'm trying to plow through some more work. Did I mention I started writing songs this week, too?

Yeah, it's been kind of nuts. I don't normally look forward to the end of the workweek like the rest of humanity does, because my days just kind of run together. From where I work, I could make it to my bed and take a nap without the use of my legs. It sort of makes the concept of "going to work" as opposed to "staying home" obsolete, so the weekend just happens to be the part of the week where I don't work, not the part where I don't have a boss yelling at me. I've got more time for the Lord and more time for my family, but it's not like those days are unrecognizable from the rest of the week.

This week, though, I need the rest. I'm pretty much just worn out from the sickness and the post sickness scrambling to catch up, and I need to just relax. I look forward to my Sabbath starting in a few hours.

What's keeping me going right now? Number one, Holli's grooming me, which is awesome. Number two, we sang Revelation Song - my absolute favorite song right now - for like thirty minutes during the set at WVIHOP this morning. Those two things are powering me through the day right now.

Blargh. See y'all next week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Justice in 140 Characters or Less

That must be weird. Talking about that with a policeman on Twitter.

Brianna Swank

Yesterday, I was going to Wendy's with Holli and Connor for dinner. Holli was driving, because I hate driving and avoid it whenever possible whereas she loves it, so that works for us. We pulled up to a stop light right in front of Honey Creek Mall, where US 41 northbound gets funneled into one lane because of construction, and traffic just stopped. People were inching forward into the intersection, cutting other people off. Those people were in turn then breaking as many traffic laws as possible to wedge between cars and get to their destinations. We sat, with zero exaggeration on my part, for more than fifteen minutes at this light, which is dumb. While we were sitting, of course, we saw a sheriff pull through on his way to get somewhere instead of doing something about the mess.

So I tweeted about it. It's kind of my thing. This morning, when going through Tweetdeck as part of my daily routine, I got a response back from an actual law enforcement officer informing me that it was THPD jurisdiction, not the county's.

I vacillated back and forth on whether or not this was awesome or Big Brother style scary, and I think I'm settled on awesome. The possibilities here are kind of mind boggling, actually. Could Twitter replace 911 in my never-ending request to destroy landlines and run Verizon out of business? Seriously. Think about this:

Just got into a wreck. GPS coords in profile. Send officer, please. #THPD

That is pure, unfiltered awesomeness, my friends. Especially with the total lack of social filter and common sense that so many people have on the internet. Because for every handful of polite tweets like that one we'd have requesting help from our neo-911 system, we'd have one like this.

Just smashed a car and punched the guy. I'm drunk. GPS on tweet. Send cop, idiots. #THPDsucks

Watching more deserving people go to jail for being rude and speaking their mind without the imminent threat of a police officer in their faces would make me happy. And can you imagine an episode of Cops? "We're responding to a tweet in town. Woman said her husband was threatening to pwnz0r her like a n00b." Priceless.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My New Office

I hate your bookshelf.

Holli Swank

I moved some furniture last night. Took a bookshelf out of Connor's bedroom that was housing toys and replaced it with some plastic tubs that serve the same purpose. Then I put that bookshelf, which was a little old and ratty, and put it in our back hallway. It replaced a second, nicer, and somewhat smaller bookshelf, which was just the right size to move into our bedroom. It now houses most of my junk in our bedroom, leaving our other bookshelf back here for Holli's stuff.

I love it, of course, because I've got a place for my stuff which satisfies the part of my brain that craves orderliness. It's also allowed me to reclaim desk space, something I greatly desired. Getting a bunch of my gaming junk off of the desk, where it formerly resided because I had nowhere else for it, has given me tons more breathing room here. It's making working much more enjoyable.

The most unexpected and, quite possibly, most awesome benefit of it, though, is that it's basically given me a little cubicle area to work in. It's fantastic. I can't explain why I love it so much, but I am absolutely enthralled by it. Boxing myself in is, apparently, full of win.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

La-bor (n) 1. productive activity, esp. for the sake of economic gain. Labor

In the United States, today is Labor Day. It's the most poorly named holiday in existence. Today is not for labor. Today is, in fact, a way for most people to get out of their labors. I don't understand it, quite frankly.

Nevertheless, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, so despite my boss - vis a vis, me - not insisting that the office be closed, I'm still not working today. So, I'll find something to do - play some guitar, play some Wii with the kids, maybe work on some terrain pieces for use at Scott's house when we play AT-43.

So, happy Misnamed Holiday Day, everyone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Makin' Tiles

It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Mike Myers
as Wayne Campbell
Wayne's World (1992)

Last night, I went over to my friend Scott's house for our weekly game night. We get together with a couple of other friends once a week, bust out our tiny plastic replicas of giant robots, and blow the snot out of one another's armies. I've largely given up video games and I don't watch TV, so this - along with my guitar - comprises most of my recreation.

Circumstances had it down to just me and Scott last night, so rather than play, we decided to be productive. Scott and another friend of ours had printed up a bunch of awesome paper tiles that you use to make terrain to play on - roads and cityscapes and that sort of thing. And the plan was for Scott to take those tiles and glue them to a bunch of foamcore into intricate patterns so we could have a set of five or six fixed boards that we could mix and match two of at a time to make our play area.

As he was doing this, though, my mind got to working (as it often does) and I wondered why we didn't take the little 7x7 tiles and cut them out individually so the whole thing was much more modular and flexible. I was informed it was because many people said they got jostled and knocked out of place easily. I replied by noting that if we just put down some sort of rail or framework, it's not really going to move. Scott took a few minutes to evaluate things, and then in short order we got to cutting. After a productive three-hours session, we had a mountain of tiles to work with, and were subsequently able to lay out a 3' x 6' board of interconnecting roads, railways, and black tiles representing buildings we have yet to construct. For a wargaming geek like myself, it was, how you say?, awesome.

I play with Connor here occasionally at home. I showed him the picture I took of what we did, and after he realized what had happened, his eyes bugged out and he got excited. I'm pretty well mandated to build some tiles to use here at the house now. It'll be a fun craft for Connor and I to work on after school together, and when it's finished, it'll be awesome. I even plan to build a little board for them with a wooden lip around the whole thing to hold them in. Varnish it really nice and have it look like a good piece of furniture, that sort of thing. Could be fun.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nine Years Later ...

Now that the fight has started, try not to get hit.

Expert Advice on Topics I Know Nothing About: Boxing

While Holli was in the hospital after giving birth to Brianna, I had an idea to write a book. The book would be full of advice on things I had no business giving advice on. The idea seemed hilarious to me at the time, and so I vowed to one day do it.

Today is that day. Well, kinda. I mean, it's not a book, but it's a blog, and blogs are the new books! I should stop typing. Just go visit the blog, please:

Expert Advice on Topics I Know Nothing About

Monday, August 31, 2009

Modern Day Idolatry

"I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."

Exodus 32:9-10 (NIV)

Last night during Eric's message at HealingPointe, he challenged each of us to pray and ask God to help us take stock in our lives and find the idols that we've erected for ourselves to serve as our substitutes to him. Now, I don't have an Ashera pole in my backyard or secret altars in walk-in closets, but I'm not without my own idols. Modern day idolatry is subtle.

The Lord has been dealing with me today as the day's gone on, unveiling one after another to me. He was nice enough not to overwhelm me with the truth all at once, because He knows what I'm capable of handling, but I get the feeling that by the end of the day I'll be feeling pretty bad about myself once He's done with me. I look forward to that. Not because I want to feel bad, mind you, because none of us do; rather, I look forward to the opportunity to better myself that it presents.

One after another, God's shown me things today that I feel like I need to be happy and fulfilled. Things that I run to instead of Him when I'm distressed. Things that if I were to go without for a day, I'd be troubled; a week, and I'd be inconsolable. None of these things were Him, and yet He should be the only thing that fits those descriptors.

Lord, please help me this day to realize what it truly means to worship you and tear down the idols I've built up in my life. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Augmented Reality Gaming

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a real-world environment whose elements are supplemented with-, or augmented by computer-generated imagery. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in meaningful context with environmental elements.

Wikipedia: Augmented reality

I've been fascinated with the concept of Augmented Reality games (which for the sake of my fingers I will from here on out refer to as AR) for quite some time now. Now, my fascination isn't limited to the Wikipedia definition above, although that's a good start, but rather with games that, in some way, let you interact with the environment of the world around you.

My fascination with the whole concept started with a game called Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. It's a Metal Gear game, which means that it was awesome. You played Snake, complete with awesome battle mullet, and snuck around places you weren't supposed to be to save the world. The new twist they introduced, though, is that you could use an infiltration team of up to four people for each mission, using soldiers that you captured and converted to your side in the course of your missions. You trained the soldiers, gave them upgraded abilities, and armed them to suit their talents and the mission. It was like Pokemon with guns.

The best part of the game had nothing to do with tactical espionage action, however. The best part of the game was recruiting new soldiers via something they called "RF scanning." You put the game into scanning mode, and if there was a wifi signal nearby, a little radar started to ping. You hammered down on circle button, and eventually you pounded it enough to get a bar above a line and were gifted with a soldier. The soldier was unique based off of the individual router, with some routers giving good soldiers and some routers giving unbelievably bad soldiers. I would take my PSP with us when we'd travel pretty much anywhere and scan as we drove down the roads, cackling with glee as I retrieved soldier after soldier. I'd do it walking around in Walmart or the mall. It was fantastic.

Next came a PS3 game called The Eye of Judgement, which was a true AR game. It was, at heart, a money-sucking collectable card game, except it was awesome. You took your deck of cards and played the game like you would any other card game, except you put the cards under the special Sony camera, it read some characters off of it, and it brought the card to life on the screen with awesome computer graphics. You're just playing a card game like any other that wasn't really outstanding in any way in its gameplay, but when you have CG giants slugging it out against CG dragons because you put down a little card, the gameplay doesn't entirely matter.

Even one of my new favorite pastimes, Geocaching, is essentially a form of AR game. It's basically hiking at which you can win. You find a GPS point nearby where someone has hidden a treature and set off on an adventure to it. You use your game device, a hand-held GPS of some variety in this case, to navigate your way to the GPS point and find the hidden treasure. It takes the ordinary and adds a gameplay element to it, which is awesome.

The last few months, video games have largely fallen off of my radar, the sole exception being iPhone games that I can play in five-minute bursts once or twice a day. The concept of AR games still fascinates and intrigues me. I tried a game called Parallel Kingdom for the iPhone that tried to be an MMORPG based on your actual physical location in the world. The idea got me all jazzed up, even if the gameplay seemed a little lacking. There's another offering on my phone called Seek N' Spell, where you find a field and the screen puts a bunch of virtual letters over your GPS location. You then get five minutes to run around to the location of the letters to "pick them up" and then try to build the best words you can in a mashup of Scrabble and, you know, running around. It's fantastic. These are the kinds of games that still manage to fascinate and intrigue me.

Sony has a new game coming out in this genre called Invismals. It's their answer to Pokemon, in that you collect adorable little animals to make them fight against other adorable little animals. The trick, though, is that you find the adorable little animals for your virtual cockfighting exhibitions by slapping a camera on your PSP and running around and exploring the world - apparently, certain color and texture combinations on the camera trigger different Invisimals in the software. That's freaking amazing.

The iPhone has a camera, GPS, and internet access built into every single new unit that's getting sold. It has the simplest, most intuitive interface on the planet, operating almost completely by touch. It's a device that's almost omnipresent with people who own them, because it's their phone. The fact that there aren't more good AR games leveraging the iPhone is almost criminal.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mental Ambidexterity

Why are you smiling?

Because I know something you don't know.

And what is that?

I am not left-handed.

Cary Elwes
as Westley
and Mandy Patinkin
as Inigo Montoya
The Princess Bride (1987)

I fence with my left hand. Not for reasons similar to Inigo's, in that I'm far too good a swordsman to have a competitive match if I don't use my off hand. Quite the opposite, in fact. See, I'm a robust individual, and when I turn to the profile and get into the fencing stance, I present quite a large, inviting target. Also, at five-foot-eleven, I'm not a short man, but I'm also not graced with the natural size most of your dominant fencers have. So, when I learned the noble sport, I took up the only advantage I could: I learned to fence with my left hand, which throws most fencers, who are used to the vast majority of their opponents fencing with their right hand, somewhat off-kilter.

But I am not left-handed.

I do most things with my right hand. I write with my right hand. I eat with my right hand. I throw a baseball with my right hand. I shoot a basketball with my right hand. But when I decided to learn to fence, I decided to do it with my left hand to take whatever advantage I could to cover up for my natural lack of athleticism. The beauty of it is that it worked; to watch me fence, you could never tell that I wasn't a lefty in everything I do.

I wouldn't call myself ambidextrous, though. Why, do you ask? Because I can only do things with one hand or the other, not with both. I'm a horrible fencer with my right hand. My handwriting from my left hand looks like it came from a five-week old chimpanzee with brain damage. In fact, there's only one thing that I can do with some level of success with both hands - hit a baseball - and even then, I'm not doing the same things with both hands; I hit for more power as a righty, but I have better coordination as a lefty. So I wouldn't call myself ambidextrous physically.

I would go so far as to say that I'm mentally ambidextrous, though. What does that mean? It means that, in general, I use both sides of my brain equally well. Most people are either your right-brained, artsy types or your left-brained, logical types. I happen to be both. Yes, I'm a programmer by trade, but I'm an art-house, black turtleneck, coffee drinking kind of programmer. I want my code to be elegant, not just functional. As a web developer, I can't just get by on programming, either, because there is an artistic component required of my job. I think that's why I like my job so much: I get to actively use both halves of my brain on a regular basis, and I can't think of too many other jobs like that in the world.

As I've learned more about music, I've discovered that to be why I like music so much, too. Yes, it's obviously a very artistic pursuit. It's also a very logical, system-governed thing, too. I can certainly imagine someone being a good musician without being good at math, but I think having a strong foundation in math and logic makes the pursuit of music theory to be significantly easier for someone. It's the one way in which I can express myself that stimulates both sides of my brain, and I think that's what makes it so appealing to me.

My other favorite hobby? Miniature wargaming. Yeah, I know, I'm a dork. But, it's also similar in that it allows me to stimulate both sides of the brain, albeit at different times. The games themselves require logic, concentration, and tactical thought. In preparation for the games, though, you get to paint tiny little figures. Again, it's a hobby that lets me flex both halves of my mental muscles, and it appeals to me.

Where music surpasses any other pursuit I've ever been a part of, though, is that it lets me do both simultaneously. I'm keeping time, anticipating chord changes and patterns, and all the while making something pretty. What's better than that for a both-brainer?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Field Marshal Connor

Is that for them to take cover behind?

Connor Swank

I picked up a new game for Connor and I to play. You move around giant robots, squash infantry types, and blow stuff up. It will also be a great teaching aid in teaching him measurements, negative numbers, and multiplication. It's funducation, a concept of which I am a huge fan.

On Friday, I sat down to teach him the rules. First game we kept it simple and had one giant robot each to blow each other up with. We played again, and this time I dropped a big metal box (all terms relative, of course) on the game board that the robots can use for cover while firing. He immediately looked at it and said, "What's that for? Is that for them to take cover behind?" Well, so much for that lesson. I was, however, impressed by my son's innate grasp of tactics.

The game progressed, and I managed to get my giant robot to cover first. Connor then got to the other side of it and we traded one volley of fire. The very next time he had the chance to move, I was going to explain that it might be advantageous for him to actually walk around the cover and shoot at me without the cover protecting me. Being my son, though, that was not necessary. Before I could even start that discussion, he asked if he could move around the box and blast me.

I'm only going to be able to beat him at games for another year or two, tops.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Michael Stackpole Is an Awesome Human Being

Have you looked at 25 Years yet? I haven't seen it yet.

Michael Stackpole
directly to me

If you're not a fan of science fiction, you might not have any idea who Michael Stackpole is. To save you the thirty seconds it would take you to do a Wikipedia search, he's an author and game designer. He's probably best known for his work on Star Wars novels, but he's been far more prolific as an author in my beloved Battletech universe. I read my first Stackpole novel when I was twelve years old, and have been reading Stackpole books ever since.

Why does all of this matter? Because I met him on Thursday, it was awesome, and you're reading my blog.

So anyway, I went to GenCon (the biggest dork convention west of the Mississippi) in Indianapolis on Thursday. I spent the day with some friends, checking out some gaming stuff, and generally having a good time. One of the things I intended to do while I was there was visit the Catalyst Game Labs booth, home of the guys who are currently running Battletech, and see if I could get some of them to sign my copy of their core rulebook. As I'm wandering around the booth, two guys with exhibitor badges walk by, and as they were pausing for one of the pair to quip sarcastically about how "subtle" their floor space was, I got a look at the names on the badges. The duo consisted of Loren Coleman, the owner of Catalyst, and Michael Stackpole himself.

The two left the exhibitor hall, and after a few seconds of internal debate, I set off after them. Turns out they were just going to a line that the exhibitors had to wait in to get something. I ambled up to the line, bothered them for their time, then shook their hands for, respectively, resurrecting my favorite board game and for writing so many great books. Then I went about my business for a few seconds before I remembered I wanted autographs. I got into my backpack, got out my sliver Sharpie, and headed back. I apologized profusely for bothering them again and asked them for an autograph, and they happily obliged (although they were a little stunned that I asked them to just sign right on the front cover).

Autographs obtained and emboldened by Loren's suggestion that I go in and find another of the Battletech bigwigs, Randall Bills, to get his autograph, I headed back into the hall and started acquiring more names on the cover of my book. I get a few more autographs, and while I'm waiting to actually get to Randall, I pass the time by looking at a distance at their new Battletech coffee table book, 25 Years of Art and Fiction. They got some of the seminal authors of the Battletech universe, Stackpole included, to write new stories covering all the years of Battletech history and commissioned a bunch of new art. It's a fantastic looking book.

While I'm waiting, Stackpole comes up next to me looking at the same book, and I thank him for his time earlier. We start talking, I explain how I've been reading his work since before my voice started changing, and he proved to be a genuinely cool, nice guy. He had no reason to talk to me, but still spent his time yapping with me like we were old friends.

Then he dropped the hammer. He said to me, "Have you seen 25 Years yet? I haven't seen it yet." I responded in the negative, not having seen the innards of the book yet. So, being Michael Stackpole, he just kind of barreled through the line that was in our way, grabbed a copy of the book off of the stand, and brought it back to me. He opened it up and we started flipping through it like I'd do with another fan. We sat there for a good ten minutes gawking at the pictures they'd collected, talking about our history with a game that we both obviously love, then they get to his story, which is about Devlin Stone, the lead protagonist of the current Battletech storyline.

Then he dropped the hammer again. He started talking about how he got into the project kind of late, and they were letting people pick their stories from a list they wanted to be in there. So a lot of the stories were gone when he picked, but the story about Stone was still avaialble. He said the best he could figure is that nobody wanted to take a crack at writing about Stone because he was so important. Then Stackpole noted that since he created Stone in the first place, he was happy to do it, and signed up for the story. We flipped through his piece - the first time he'd seen his story in print, mind you - and gawked at the art they added. He then told me he was going to go tell Loren he was stealing that copy and excused himself.

I have heard a maxim lately that I actually find to be one that's very true: "Never meet your heroes." The idea behind it, of course, being that they usually disappoint you because they're usually jerks. Being that I've been reading Michael Stackpole books for two decades now and plan on reading them for as long as he writes new ones, he's probably as much of a hero as I have. He did not disappoint. Not only was he totally accommodating and nice to a fan, but he actually proved to just be a nice, cool guy and bothered to spend some time with and share some anecdotes with me. It was by far the best celebrity experience I've ever had.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Because He's God

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:24

A quick addendum to yesterday's rambling post that was spawned by the Myers-Briggs test. If you'll remember (or scroll down), I was scored an ENFP - Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving. Holli, my beautiful wife, took the same test on the same day and was scored an ISTJ - Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging.

Yes. Completely opposite personalities according to the test, and yet less than a month ago marked our tenth wedding anniversary. Holli noted that perhaps opposites do, in fact, attract. I prefer to think that the Almighty knew very precisely what each of us was lacking and never meant for either of us to live life without the other.

Between the two of us, we make one pretty good person. I give her spontanaety, she gives me structure. I give her complex logical thought, she gives me common sense. I know how to handle the numbers that aren't prefaced by dollar signs, which she in turn knows how to handle. We are each even the most comfortable teaching the subjects that the other wouldn't be all that good at. We are truly one flesh, and I am thankful to have such a great partner.

I love you, Holli.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Because I'm Larry

Why don't you blog anymore?

Holli Swank

Yeah, I know. I keep blathering on and on about how I need to be more regimented in this, but nothing ever comes of it. Discipline, even with the little stuff like this, is one of the hardest things for me to come by.

I'm made a certain way. I took a Myers-Briggs personality test yesterday, and it scored me as an ENFP: extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. Every time I ever take this test I score it either as an ENFP or an INFP, depending on the day. The difference between extroversion and introversion for me is almost always minimal to the point of being non-existent, though: I want to be around people, but I don't need to be around people. It's a subtle but important difference.

Fortunately, the Kiersey Temperament Sorter is a simple tool that's broken down with introversion and extroversion at the end of its scale. Type NFP people are called Advocates by the Kiersey Temperament Sorter. That Advocate itself is a subset of the Idealists, who are in turn a subset of the Introspectives, the first division of personalities as based on the scale. Advocates. Depending again on the day of the test, there's one last division on whether I'm feeling expressive and extroverted or reserved and introverted. The former puts me into the final classification of Champion, as I was scored yesterday, and the latter has me as a Healer, which is how I was slotted the last time I took one of these.

Champion. Healer. Those are great words. Someone who picks up the cause for another and tries to change things for the better. Someone who tries to heal the hurts of the world and those around him. What's wrong with that, right? That's awesome.

Yet despite the awesome way in which God made me, I used the very first paragraph of this post to bemoan my lack of discipline.

I can go through the Myers-Briggs test, look at the questions, and pick out a cornucopia of things I dislike about myself. I'm disorganized. I'm flighty. I'm a starter, not necessarily a finisher. I'm undiciplined. It's hard for me to focus. I can't even remember to write a simple blog post every few days.

And yet, that same test would tell you that all of those things are side effects of the unique qualities that God knit into me in the womb. And it's because of those unique qualities - the very ENFP-itude of Larry - that Kiersey's scale would classify me as a "Champion." Kiersey described Champions as follows:

"Champions delight in novelty. They are optimistic, enthusiastic, and vivacious, craving expressions of strong emotion. With a dramatic flair, they share their experiences with others, hoping to reveal some universal truth or win others over in support of a cause. Attuned to possibilities, Champions scan their environment, probing the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. This sensitivity sometimes conflicts with their intense drive for personal authenticity. Spontaneous and personable, they attract others to their company."

None of that sounds bad in any way, and honestly, I think most people that know me would suggest that's a reasonable description of me. I have such a hard time seeing the good in it, though, saying that if I could just be a little less flighty, a little more focused, I could be better. Would I really be better, though, or would I just not be Larry anymore? And if I worked to change the very "flaws" that make me expressive, sensitive, optimistic and enthusiastic, would I just be shaking my fist at the Lord and suggesting that maybe He didn't make me quite right?

I've struggled with self-confidence all my life. I've always wanted to be something different than I was. As I age, though, I'm starting to understand that self-confidence doesn't come from becoming something else. It comes from being happy with how God made me and refining, not changing, what I am. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find something to Champion.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Microphone Explodes

The microphone explodes
Shattering the molds

Rage Against the Machine
"Bulls on Parade"
Evil Empire (1996)

Wow. Apparently Evil Empire is thirteen years old. Doesn't matter; it still rocks harder than most of the stuff that's getting spewed out these days. I'm getting distracted, though.

My biggest client is gone for the rest of this week, off to attend a conference in Bermuda. Since a big chunk of my time is usually spent taking care of what he needs, in his absence I've got a void to fill. I'm thankful for it, because I have a lot of stuff to fill the void with. We'll be getting back to homeschooling as we start our second school year at the beginning of August, so Holli and I need to finish preperations. Likewise, I need to make sure I'm fully caught up on work and sleep before we do so, because it's hard to catch up on either once school starts back up again.

With that in mind, I've got a big slate of work-related tasks to catch up on this week. I've got a couple of small projects still outstanding that I want to get nailed down. I've also got some internal projects I'd like to get finished, too, including my third new website that I'm just dying to get out there. Finally, I've got some little business-related odds and ends ot tidy up while I'm at things.

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fortunately, It Is Impossible to Rock Out Too Hard for God

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy

Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd
"God of Wonders"
New Song Cafe, Vol. 1 (2003)

It's Friday, so it was my turn to be "on the wall" with Marvin's Friday morning team at WVIHOP doing our Harp and Bowl set. Things didn't start off well this morning, as some personal nonsense had me get there about twenty minutes after I normally do and had me in kind of a sour mood. They continued to go poorly in their start, as we struggled for about ten minutes to figure out why my guitar wasn't making sound through the loudspeakers only to realize I had my volume turned all the way down. Fortunately, though, that was rock bottom.

I had so much fun out there today. We started off with God of Wonders, which is a song that I've practiced for quite some time alone here at home, and I'm pretty comfortable with. We also did Mighty to Save in our opening three worship songs, another song that I'm really pretty decent with. The net result is that, despite my mood coming in and my fumbling with my stupidity about amplifiers, I settled in and got pretty comfortable with my playing.

While I was there, the Holy Spirit did some work in me. He dropped a couple of verses onto my heart that ultimately had a huge impact on dealing with my issues from the morning later in the day. More importantly, though, the Spirit lifted the burden from me, and I was able to throw myself into worshipping God through my guitar rather than worrying about life. So now I'm not only comfortable with my guitar playing, but the Spirit has liberated me. This is like a firestorm of things for Larry to embarass himself.

We got towards the end of the set and had our rapid-fire prayer time, and the rabbi from the Messianic Jewish community here in town gave the last prayer. I don't know his name, and unfortunately, he left before I had a chance to talk to him, but he's an awesome man of God and that really comes through in his prayers. Today was no exception, and he took a room full of people who were already fired up for God and just lit a fuse among us. The worship team followed his lead, and Marvin led us through a simle G-C chord progression (although I was taking the liberty of playing Cadd9 because my hand hurt) whlie we sang this chorus:

When the enemy comes in like a flood
The Lord will raise up a standard

Everyone was clapping and stomping. So I'm confident in my guitar playing so far for the day, the Spirit has freed me, and now I'm all fired up for God. So I start absolutely hammering the strings on my guitar, bouncing back and forth in my chair, and actually singing at the top of my lungs along with the chorus (an amazing thing for me becuase I cannot play and sing at the same time usually). It was righteous - the room was just filled with the presence of God, I was worshipping the Lord, my family was there to share it with me, and I had more fun than I'd had in ages. That, my friends, is living.

Friday, July 3, 2009

So Did I, Emums

I tooted.

Erin Swank
Last night, while our guests were still here

We had the Sabelhaus family over for dinner last night in a bartering of services; we made dinner for everyone, and Frank taught me how to change brake pads on the van. It was an awesome time. We really enjoyed hanging out with the Sabelhaus clan, the kids all seemed to have fun, and I learned a new skill. Nothing wrong with that.

Changing the brake pads was much easier than I thought it would be. I expected it to be a big production, but you just take off the tire, take off the brake, and there they are. It was almost a little disappointing; I expected to have to kill a gremlin or something to be able to get to the pads. I was impressed with the engineering of the van, though; it is solidly built. I suppose that makes sense, though, seeing as how it weighs thousands of pounds and rolls down asphalt at high speeds. It would need to be solid to handle those sorts of stressors.

For dinner, we had Holli's Famous Spaghetti Sauce, some stuff to dump it on, and the associated breads and salads. The sauce was the star of the show. It's very sweet, but it's got a lot of spicy kick to it. Bobby Flay would approve. It also has the unfortunate side effect of making me fart - frequently and loudly - and last night was no exception. I actually woke myself up with a couple of them last night, so I can't imagine how bad it was for Holli.

That's right. Potty humor in my blog. If you're shocked by this, you obviously don't know me that well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Meteorology Stinks. Music Does Not.

We're always playing with the weather prediction algorithm in an effort to make it more accurate and do away with meteorology once and for all.

One night, Holli and I were sitting around and she had the idea that I should put up a site that randomly generated a weather forecast. I loved the idea and went to work on it right away. Holli's brainchild has finally been born, and you can witness the fruits of her ingenuity and my labor at

I like weathermen. I really do. They're my favorite of the newscasters, because they, more than anyone else giving us the news, seem to actually care about and enjoy what they do. Sports guys occasionally get close, but the weathermen are so consistently happy about their jobs, it's hard not to like it. And don't even get me started on Jim Cantore. He's like Superman in a rain poncho.

So I like weathermen. Weatherwomen are cool, too. It's just that the science of their chosen field leaves a little to be desired if I can, with a moderate amount of accuracy, randomly generate a forecast. That's all I'm saying.

Tomorrow's going to be a musical day for me. I'll get up and make my way over to the WVIHOP to play guitar again, which is fantastic. I've been looking forward to this for two weeks. Then later that day, Holli and I will go out and have our anniversary dinner - a little early, but that's okay - before heading up to Indianapolis to see Casting Crowns play live! Woot! That is so awesome I can't even put it into words. I love me some Casting Crowns.

Alright, that's enough yapping. I've got to go work on some Flash.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Me Fail Blogging?

That's unpossible!

Nancy Cartwright
as Ralph Wiggum
"Lisa on Ice"
The Simpsons (2004)

I didn't think it'd been that long No big deal, though, because it gives me plenty to yap about here. Let's dive right in!

HealingPointe had our first service in our new church building last night! This is huge for us. It's the first time we've been in a building that's been ours rather than some place that we rented. We're looking forward to getting everything spruced up; Holli went over to help out today, and I'm going over to shovel dirt tonight. We're also really excited about getting oursevles involved with the community that we've moved into. It'll be nice to actually have neighbors instead of being in a strip all.

Father's Day was yesterday, too, and as usual, my family did not disappoint. I got breakfast in the bedroom (my back hurt too bad for me to still be in bed), awesome hand-made cards from the kids, and a cool new shirt. Then before church I had steak for dinner. That's about all I could ever ask for for my holiday.

Going back to Friday, I started playing guitar at WVIHOP during one of their Harp and Bowl services. I'll be playing with Marvin's team every Friday at 10 AM. Marvin told me that he was pleased and "heard no major train wrecks," so I guess I did alright. I've been practicing the songs that we did on Friday and learning some of the chords that gave me fits (I'm looking at you, C sharp minor!). I'm doing very good with my B chord, except I'm kind of flipping off anyone looking at me when I play it. I've got to try to fix that. Frank gave me a couple of tips on it last night, though, so that should help.

That's enough for now. There's still a ton to get done today. That's a decent recap, though. I'll see if I can't be back tomorrow to talk about my love-hate relationship with pickles or something.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Rich Jerk

What do you think about The Rich Jerk program?

Well, I'll tell you if you go to my site. I do like the product, I'll say that much here. If you want more, though, go read the review.

I really like writing these posts. Well, I take that back. Writing these posts is really easy. I always feel a little slimy after I write them, like I need a shower or two, but I get over it. It's easy, though, beacuse they're easier than any other post I write to come up with the quote for. I'd abandon that convention if it wasn't absolutely ingrained in my writing style at this point. To not do it, though, would just feel wrong.

I Have Returned

Go back to then.
I can't.
We missed it.
Just now.

Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet
and George Wynur as Colonel Sandurz
Spaceballs (1987)

I'm back in the office this morning after a brief, unexpected absence of two days. I had the opportunity to spend a little more time with God and my family than normal, and that has been a very good thing. I'm back to things today a little bit behind, but a whole lot more focused, so we'll see how everything works out.

We're still trying to figure out how to make life work here. We've got a lot going on for the Swanks between homeschooling and having me work at home. That's to say nothing of actual family time. Or church. Or parent time. Or time for housework. Or time for recreation. I'm still struggling with there not being enough time for everything I want and need to get done in my average day, but that will get easier as I continue to get this whole time management thing down.

Part of the trick is making sure that there's time in the day for me to do whatever I want. We do the same thing with money already; I get a small allowance every month which is basically for me to blow on whatever, and having that allowance keeps me from blowing money out of the general fund. If I want something I can't afford, I have to wait until I've saved enough for it. It works for me. I'm going to try doing that with time, too, and make sure I have a designated time during the day that's just for me and my hobbies, which should make it easier to keep that time from creeping into everything else.

Yeah, that's enough rambling for today. See y'all later today when I shill my sites again. Yeah, I'm shameless.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


If I can be serious for a moment ...

Lance Storm

I love my job. I honestly do. I'm pretty sure that I have, as far as secular jobs go, the best job in the world. I work whenever I want, pretty much wherever I want, and my boss is nonexistent. The job could not be more perfect for the kind of person that God created when he formed me.

The last few weeks, though, something has been lacking. I've sat down to work, at whatever time work happened to roll around for the day, and I've felt ... off. The cynic in me would suggest that it's because I've been working the same job for three years, therefore making it time for me to find a new job to maintain the natural order of things, and I thought for a while that maybe that was it. It's not like I've never gotten bored with a job before. It just didn't fit, though; I wasn't bored, I was depressed when I sat down in front of the keyboard.

Fast forward with me from where we were a little to the weekend that just passed, and I'll run things down for you. Friday night, Holli and I went to the WVIHOP. We sat next to our good friend Marvin for about an hour, and the three of us lifted up our voices to the Lord. It was marvelous.

Saturday I got to have my first real Sabbath in ages, since there was no work required of me to help get ready for church (or church for that matter, because we're moving to Sundays), so I spent the day honoring the Lord's day and spending time with the Lord. The only time I left the house was to go back to WVIHOP for Harp and Bowl training, which basically consisted of me learning a little about the structure and then playing some worship music with Marvin. The rest of the day I laid around the house, listened to worship music, and enjoyed my family. It, too, was marvelous.

Sunday, the congregation from HealingPointe - since we're without a building for another couple of weeks - went down south to Pimento to have service with the folks from Father's Glory. It was a great visit, filled with wonderful people and a really awesome spirit to worship. After the service, we all went back to Eric and Amy's place. We hung out for a few hours, ate some great grilled food, and watched the kids play around in the sprinkler in the back while we all talked. It might have been the best day I've had in a long time.

I spent the weekend dwelling in my Father's love. I felt it when I worshipped, I felt it when I played for him, and I felt it in the love of those around me. I was almost overwhelmed by it. Then came yesterday. I sat down at my keyboard, started to work, and my heart just sank. That's when I figured out what's been wrong.

I want that feeling that I had this weekend all the time. I want to be filled with the Spirit constantly. I want to abide in my Father's presence and love throughout this life. I just don't know how to do it yet. I want to spend my days singing to the Lord, praying, loving on my friends, my family, and anyone I can find on the street. I want more.

The rub, though, is that I can't have more; not yet, at least. I have tasks in front of me that I must take care of. Knowing what the alternatives could be, though, makes things somewhat difficult at times.

I oftentimes liken us to children and God to our parent when talking about stuff with Holli, which I think frustrates her, but the analogy is so perfect here. I can picture Holli baking some cookies and the kids come running in because they smell the awesome cookies, and they know how good cookies taste, and it's so cool that there are cookies right there for them to eat soon. Then daddy comes along and tells them that they don't get cookies until they clean their rooms. Their little hearts sink, they stomp back to their rooms, and rather than just buckling down, cleaning it real quick, and then eating cookies, they pout, get nothing done, and end up going to bed without any cookies.

That's me right now. I'm throwing a temper tantrum becuase I can't have my cookies just this minute. I just need to shut up, clean my room, and get ready to enjoy the cookies when I'm done.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cartoon Feline Wisdom

I hate Mondays.


Another Monday, and another mountain of e-mail awaits me from the weekend. But do not fear, for the sites are still getting updated. There's a new post up on Truth In Internet Marketing about how to get started making money online for those who are interested. Well, I suppose it's more about how not to get started, but it's still good.

There's a lot of other stuff on my mind today, but I've got no idea how to express it. I don't think I've even been able to adequately process it on the inside yet, so I certainly don't have any idea about how to get it out. I've found some things to be inadequate today, or perhaps I've just found them to be inadequate when compared to the alternatives. See? I've got no idea how to express any of this. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Talkin' Money

Get away
Get a good job
With good pay
And you're okay

Pink Floyd
Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Today at, I talk about the actual income potential of Internet marketing. It is, in a word, staggering. I make mention of some of the guys that I've worked with, for, around, whatever in the past, and these guys are rolling in it. They're also some of the hardest working guys I've ever known, though.

I don't want to be rich. I don't want the temptation of having a bunch of money, first off, as I know I'm not ready to handle something like that yet. I also don't want my life to be about the acquisition of wealth, and unfortunately, that's what most people who are rolling in cash have to do to come about it. Yeah, there are plenty of people out there because dead Grampa Robert made his whole life about the acquisition of wealth and they're now reaping the benefits. For the most part, though, people who are wealthy are the people who have actually worked to make themselves wealthy.

I want to take care of my family. I want to make them comfortable. It's just that for my life, I'd rather take the time I could spend working non-stop to try to grab more cash and invest it in my God, my family, and my friends. What good's all the money in the world if you can never really enjoy it? I'm venturing towards preachy territory, though, so I digress.

We did do some work with money around here today. We organized all of our bills up and established a strategy for tackling them and working them down, which is a very good thing. It's going to be a tough road, and one that will require discipline - there's that dirty word again - but it's one that will be worth the walking.

Monday, June 1, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different!


That's my written interpretation of all you sitting there, reading, mouth agape, because I'm actually blogging and not shilling my stuff.

It's been a hectic past six weeks or so. I went on the Walk to Emmaus, which is a radical, life altering thing. I'd love to actually talk about it, but I honestly can't do it any justice with my meager command of the English language. So, rather than trying and failing to tell you how tremendous it is, I'll just exhort you to go as soon as you get the opportunity. If you know me, come talk to me, as I'd be happy to sponsor you.

I still have iPhone. I've been planning on talking about it for weeks, but it's not really something new anymore, so a little of the luster is off of the subject. I'm now an accomplished iPhone user, though, so I suppose I'm a little more of an authority on it now. Whatever. Here's what you need to know: it's freaking awesome. iPhone (it insists in its instruction manual on being called by its name, iPhone, rather than generically as an iPhone or the iPhone) has helped me in the following small sampling of ways:

  • It's helped me lose weight.
  • It's helped me manage the family's money and actually know how much money we have, thanks to a handy little checkbook app.
  • I've got a bookshelf's worth of books in it to read at my leisure.
  • We don't ever get lost. Yeah, I said it, Eric. It took us right to that Krispy Kreme ... warehouse. Maybe I still need to learn how to use the GPS.
  • It got me into geocaching, the world's greatest hobby.
  • I can listen to about a bazillion different live music streams, in addition to what I have loaded in on the internal iPod.
  • It helped tune Frank's guitar at church on Saturday.
In short, it is mankind's greatest technological achievement.

What is internet marketing?

What is internet marketing?

I can't believe I tried to answer this question on the site. It's much too vague to actually get answered. At the same time, though, it's one of those foundational, building-block kind of questions that has to be answered before going forward. So, I answered it in a fairly simplistic kind of fashion. I didn't want to add to the confusion around the subject, because there's a lot of it there, but rather define a baseline that we could move forward from. With that as the goal, I think I did a good enough job.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Site Update

I am ashamed -- I hide --
What right have I -- to be a Bride --

Emily Dickenson
"I am ashamed -- I hide"

I'm ashamed of the shameless pimping and self-promotion going on here at the blog these days. However, it's getting me to the blog more regularly, which is a good thing. Also, the tasks that are getting me to the blog are forcing me to write, which is also a good thing. The end result is that I might actually, you know, start blogging instead of just pimping my sites out soon as a byproduct of all the pushing of the sites. We take what we can get, I suppose.

In any case, I put up a new update at The first update, actually, in which we answer the question "Can I make money with Google AdSense?" No, I will not tell you the answer here, as that would completely and utterly keep me from my goal of driving traffic to the site. Click the link, Lazypants.

Yes, writing is fun again. I have to start doing this more often.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two New Websites

And a partridge in a pear tree

"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
Traditional Christmas Carol

I made new websites! I am very, very pleased with myself. This is the first forward progress I've made on one of my own projects in much longer than I care to remember. I really got convicted about abandoning that facet of my business last week, and it's born a little fruit already.

The first site I'll talk about is my finally resurrected website. I've tried a couple of different things with this site, because I really like the name, but nothing ever stuck with me as a concept. I've finally turned it into a site where people will be able to submit their questions about internet marketing and get an honest, straight answer from me, because I'm not trying to sell them anything.

The second site is something I'm having much more fun with. At, you can go get ... well ... pretty much what you'd think: a random weather forecast. I will give credit where it was due, as the whole thing is the brainchild of my lovely and witty wife Holli, and I thought it was hilarious so I'm running with it. I've had a long standing grudge against the field of meteorology, because I think they're largely just sticking their heads outside and then guessing, and this is my way of having a little fun with them.

The whole thing is very rough right now, but I'll be polishing it up soon. I'm going to get some good stock iconography to spice up my actual forecasts, then make the text in the forecasts themselves a little more fun; 30% chance of rain of frogs, that kind of thing. Next, I'll actually base the forecasts on weather data for the Terre Haute area. Someday I might even find a way to tie the whole thing in and let you get a random weather forecast appropriate for your zip code, but we've got to take things one step at a time.

As I update both sites, I'll keep everyone posted here. I've also got a third site I'm going to work on after I get these two both running at levels I'm happy with. This site will be the culmination of delusions caused by sleep deprivation from Brianna's birth nearly nine years ago. That makes it awesome.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ready. Fire! Aim.

If you ever get your hands on some plutonium, you'll be dangerous.

Glen Cook

I'm a ready, fire, aim kind of guy. I get an idea and I rush forward with it before I think it through. I've always been that way, whether you want to call it "spontaneous" or "impetuous." It's just what I am. It's decidedly not a good thing, but it's Larry.

I'm also probably a little too smart for my own good. I've always been smart enough to get by with minimal effort and let me brains pull me out of a jam. I've got any number of anecdotes I could tell to illustrate the point, but I rather chose to use the quote in this post - from my high school physics teacher, one of the few to see through my facade of being "above average" - to do it for me. The point is that I've been blessed with this wonderful brain, but rather than using it for good, I just kind of let it languish.

So what does that make me? I'm an impetuous, easily-distracted underachiever. With a little focus, I honestly believe that I could do something great for the world (or irradiate it to dangerous, inhospitable levels if Cook's words are to be believed). I just don't know how to find it.

You know what's funny? Half of the book of Proverbs go about telling me all of the answers I need. I just read them and they might as well be written in the language of the planet Zorbador. I forsee some serious study in Proverbs for me in the near future.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Long Time Gone

What is it?
It's it
What is it?

Faith No More
The Real Thing (1990)

Don't ask me what the quote has to do with anything. I have no idea, honestly. Epic is an awesome cool song, and I didn't want to use any variation on "Where have you been, young man?" so you get Epic.

Anyway, there's a lot going on. Holli and I both had remarkable, life altering experiences on the Walk to Emmaus. I'm adjusting my work schedule yet again, trying to make changes in life, and largely getting overwhelmed as the enemy looks to attack me whatever chance he gets throughout the process.

I really don't know what to write right now. I don't have the time to spew forth everything that's swirling around in my brain at the moment, unfortunately. There's so much with faith, life, and work that I could talk about. I wouldn't know where to start, though, and the rattle coming from the shredded remains of my Lappy's "fan" - the quotation marks necessary because it is now just a hollow shell of a fan - make me mindful of how long I leave it on for right now.

So rather than try to recap, I'm just going to leave you all with a thought. Eric, our pastor at HealingPointe, notes all the time that Jesus wants us to sit at His feet, as Mary did, rather than running around trying to handle everything like Martha did. If I could figure out how to do that right now, I would.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Walking to Emmaus

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

J.R.R. Tolkien
"The Road Goes Ever On"
The Lord of the Rings

I'm off on an Emmaus Walk spiritual retreat. I'd tell you more about it, but I know very little. I'm mostly going on blind faith in my pastor who said it's a phenomenal experience, and since I trust Eric implicitly, away I go.

I'll be gone from Thursday night through Sunday night, with no phone or internet access. This makes me simultaneously nervous and excited. I'm nervous for reasons that should be obvious; they're obvious to me, at the very least. I'm an entrepreneur and web dork, and being without the phone and internet seems anathema to me at this point. I'm afraid I'm going to have withdrawls, falling trembling to the floor when the stark realization of the fact that I have no idea what's going on anywhere I can't physically see sets in on me.

I'm excited, though, for that very reason. I'm so tethered to that nonsense by what it is that I do that it's all a constant distraction for me in my life. I look forward to being without it - and any other distractions - for a few days. I look forward to listening to God in a place where His voice is one of the only ones that can reach me to see what He has to say.

See y'all next week!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I Love My Church

Family denotes a group of people affiliated by a common ancestry, affinity or co-residence. Although the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by "blood," anthropologists[who?] have argued that one must understand the idea of "blood" metaphorically, and that many societies understand 'family' through other concepts rather than through genetic distance.

Wikipedia: Family

We had our Easter service at HealingPointe tonight, and it was fantastic. We had worship, videos, an awesome message, and communion. I couldn't have asked for more out of a worship service.

After service, we all filed over to the local IHOP - and I reference the House of Pancakes this time, not the House of Prayer. We squeezed thirty human beings, nearly half of them children and one of them my mother, into three booths and about five tables. We had great food and awesome conversation, some of which was carried out across the aisles thanks to the awesome technology that is yelling. Some of us got our food early and ate while others without food looked on despondently. They took incriminating photographs of us eating to post to Facebook via the iPhone, only for our table, that with food, to respond in kind, mocking their lack of food. The whole place was filled with laughter, love, and a sense of belonging.

The people at my church are as much my family, and in many ways moreso, than most of the people in this world that share my DNA. To those of you reading, I love y'all. I don't toss that word around lightly, but it's the absolute truth. You guys are my family.

Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Words Fail

He's alive!
Yes, He's alive!
Yes, He's alive, and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide

Dolly Parton
"He's Alive"
White Limozeen (1989)

I've been trying to write something here about Easter for quite some time, and I just can't. God has graced me in a great many ways, and to some extent, he's graced me as a wordsmith. I do not have the skill with the written word, however, to do any justice to what this week means to all of us. I can't write anything that will do any good, no matter how hard I try. The only recourse left to me, clearly, is to stop trying, and just let Jesus' own words speak on His behalf:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going" John 14:1-4

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Am a Panhead

Friggin' Rock Friggin' On

Gregg Kavanaugh

So we went to a rock concert here in town tonight. Terre Haute doesn't get many rock concerts, so we were happy to attend. The fact that it was headlined by one of our favorite Christian bands, Skillet, didn't make our decision any more difficult.

Our tickets said Row 1 on them, but when Holli was checking prior to the show on Ticketmaster, it also showed that there were floor seats. We figured that what we had was the first row of the bleachers, and that there would be floor seats in front of us. We were mistaken. Front row, two seats right of center. I could stretch my legs out from my seat without constraint from other chairs in front of me. My face was peeled away by the blast of the speakers. It was righteous.

Decyfer Down opened the show. I'd never heard any of their music before the show, but I quickly became a fan. Their lead singer looks like Chris Jericho of WWE fame, and sounds quite a bit like him as he sings, too. I do not mean the latter statement to be anything but a compliment, mind you, as I think Jericho's got a good voice. Their music was just good ol' hard rock, except they're rocking for Jesus, which is a cause I can get behind.

Disciple was up next, and my brother-in-law had warned me that I might not like them, as he thought they were a bit on the screamy side. Perhaps they do scream, but it's much more in the mold of Rage Against the Machine, a band I liked very much when it existed, rather than in the mold of your average speed metal band singing D-E-words, which I do not like. They've also clearly got some roots in southern rock, a genre Holli still refuses to acknowledge the existence of, because there were some really strong melodies underneath all of the hard-rocking guitar. Their lead singer has more energy than any human being I've ever known, and he gave an absolutely fantastic testimony near the end of their set. Also, one of their guitar players did a backflip off of a crate with his guitar on, which was, needless to say, awesome cool.

Skillet closed the show, and they just blew us away. They're absolutely fantastic live, and even actually trudged along a fiddle player (it's a fiddle if it's played in concert with a guitar) to do their strings live. All five of them, much like Disciple's lead singer, were loaded with energy. Being an aspiring guitar player myself, the thought of actually being able to play my instrument at the high level they were at was daunting enough; playing it while singing and bouncing around like I drank a case of Red Bull seems impossible to me, though. I even have a picture of the fiddle player playing the string part in "Rebirthing" with both of his feet off of the ground. It was just nuts.

When the show was over, Holli looked down at her feet and found a guitar pick for me. As the roadies were cleaning up afterwards, they grabbed a bunch more of them off the ground and threw me another. You know, because I was in the front row. So now I've got two picks that have been used in the Lord's service, and hopefully they can carry on the the tradition here.

As I go to more and more Christian concerts, the difference becomes more and more clear to me. Here we were, however many people filling up the Hulman-George Theater, all rocking out and bouncing in our chairs during Skillet's set, when they play a worship song for us. What was a wild, rocking time suddenly turned into a theater full of hands raised, praising the God of the universe, focusing and letting loose all of the praise that we'd been involved in for nearly three hours.

Also, before the fascists running the arena made everyone go back to their seats, we had formed the most polite mosh pit I've ever seen. Everyone had their own personal space, nobody was pushing everyone. It was great.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Me!

Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!

Pat Hughes

Today, the MLB season kicks off in earnest, as Opening Day is finally upon us. To this, I say huzzah, and bring on the Cubbies! Also today, I celebrate my third anniversary as an entrepreneur, as it was Opening Day '06 when I opened the proverbial doors of Swank Solutions to start in as a web developer and network consultant. Times and business entities have changed, but here I sit, three years later, getting ready to start my fourth year at the same job for the first time, well, ever. Hooray for accomplishments, as pathetic as they might be.

How will I be celebrating this momentous occasion? Working. Yeah, I know; I'm pathetic.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ten Random Songs from my iPod, Round II

I felt the power
Of death over life
I orphaned his children
I widowed his wife
And all for no reason
Just one piece of lead
I hung my head
I hung my head

Johnny Cash
"I Hung My Head"
American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)

It's time for another one. Here we go!

  1. "Draw Me Nearer" by Caedmon's Call from WOW Hymns
    WOW Hymns is an awesome album. New Christian artists singing old hymns (or new songs written in the style of old-timey hymns). It's very cool. I cleaned out my iPod recently, letting go of my obsession to keep only full albums on, thereby deleting a bunch of duplicates and freeing up some space. I left this full album on, though, because the hymns are a nice break in my usual lineup of songs.

  2. "The Gloomy Mansion" by Takeharu Ishimoto from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack
    I'm a dork. I was a dork last time, I'm a dork this time, I'll be a dork next time I do this. The video game music stays.

  3. "Hey Now" by tobyMac and Coffee from Welcome to Diverse City
    Another full album that survived the purge. Toby's awesome.

  4. "I Need You to Love Me" by BarlowGirl from WOW Hits 2008
    Holli and I have different opinions on chicks that rock. I like them. She does not. Not because of any female jealousy or anything, she just likes her rockers to be guys. I like female rockers because they bring something different to the table vocally. Suffice it to say, I like BarlowGirl.

  5. "Born Again" by Third Day from Revelation
    Dude rockers are alright, too, though.

  6. "Lord Move, or Move Me" by FFH from Found a Place
    This song is awesome. We first heard it at church (hooray for Frank and Beth!), and it's just got really powerful lyrics. I've always been the kind of guy that the lyrics have to appeal to me in a song, and this fits the bill on that. That's why I've never liked speed metal of any type: if I can't understand the words of a song, it's useless to me.

  7. "Samuel's Awakening" by Jason Upton from Open Up the Earth
    My love for Upton's music is well documented. Objectively, I'll say that he's a lot better on his live albums than on his studio albums. There's a level of passion that comes through in his live stuff that just doesn't translate into a studio-engineered album.

  8. "Doxology" by David Crowder Band from WOW Hymns
    If you grew up going to church, you know the Doxology. We sang it at IHOP on Friday, in fact, and it was awesome. Well, this is the best version of it ever.

  9. "I Hung My Head" by Johnny Cash from American IV: The Man Comes Around
    One of my regrets is that it took me until Cash's cover of "Hurt" to realize just how awesome The Man in Black really was. Vaya con Dios, Johnny, although I know you did.

  10. "Take My Life (and Let It Be)" by Chris Tomlin from WOW Hymns
    Chris Tomlin is one of our great modern performers, and his songs are going to live on long past his career. His music is absolutely amazing.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Everybody ... now bleed a beetle?

Matt Chapman as
Strong Bad
From the Sbemailerized Entertainment version of the intro

No particular reason for the quote other than that it makes me smile. Everything on Homestar Runner makes me smile, for the most part. It manages to do so without offending me, though, which is awesome. I hope the Brothers Chaps are making fifty bajillion dollars off of that site, because they deserve every penny.

What does this have to do with anything? Nothing. Which is what I have to do this afternoon.

I was going to go to the Harp and Bowl training at the WVIHOP. Now, for those of you wondering what that is, exactly, it's where the guys at the WVIHOP teach you to worship like they do. As Marvin would say, you sing your prayers and you pray your songs, and the musicians all kind of riff off of one another for an hour or more at a time. It's awesome, and I was going to learn how to do it, but it got cancelled for today.

So, I got up and played some guitar of my own this morning. I can do a pretty passable rendition of "Praise You in this Storm" now, which makes me happy. I need to be able to sing along with it, but I think if I could ever do that with any song, it would be that one. It's woven into the fabric of my DNA, so I shouldn't have to think too much while I'm doing it.

I've had some breakfast, too, which is good, and I'll have a snack in a little while. I usually do a food fast on Saturdays, but I'm feeling like the Lord's saying that it's time to start fasting a couple of other things, instead, so I'm eating this weekend. Food makes me happy, too, so I've got a lot going for me today, even without the Harp and Bowl training.

I'm on the balcony as I write this, keeping an eye on the kids while they play. Well, just Brianna, at the moment, as Connor's on the self-imposed injured list with toe blisters. And she's not so much playing as she is riding her bike around. I'm going to continue my work on some psalm memorization here in a little while.

Yep. It's Saturday. Awesome.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Random Thoughts

I wanna know
Have you ever seen the rain?

Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain"
Pendulum (1970)

Stream of consciousness. Go!

  • I'm feeling better today. Just started tonight, actually. I'm fully caught up on the Daily Audio Bible. I'm fully caught up on my task list for clients. My task list for the business itself is getting kind of lean. I think I have a handle on the budget. God's given me some clear direction on a couple of things He wants me to be doing. It's like I'm getting to see a whole bunch of light in a whole bunch of things all at once.

  • I hate the last post I did with bullet points in it, because I didn't put a line with a non-breaking space at the end of each point to separate them clearly. I could go back and fix it, yeah, but I prefer to leave it in place as a monument to my own failure.

  • Guitar actually seems to be going well. I'm having a little trouble shifting to the F chord, but apparently that's something that sticks a lot of people. My teacher said I was in some way gifted rhythmically at my last lesson, though, so that's something.

  • Were it not for the stupid F chord, I'd be playing a passable rendition of "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by CCR. Perhaps you know it, and all of CCR's other music, from every freaking movie about the Vietnam war ever. It's also become one of Holli's least favorite songs ever, courtesy of my incessant practicing of it.

  • I've also been practicing "Cannons" by Phil Wickham, too, but just for me. Well, for God, also. I played it today and something just kind of clicked; I'm hitting most of the transitions, I've got the strumming patterns down, and it really sounds like the song. It just came out of nowhere, though. I must have leveled up at Wednesday's lesson.

  • The better I get at playing the guitar - and I'd still rate myself as quite the poor guitar player, mind you - the more rewarding it gets. When I played my first two chords (E and A) in a pattern that was kind of peacful and harmonious, that was fun. When I went from there and was able to, really slowly, strum a few simple patterns, that was better. When I could almost kind of play "Last Kiss," that was awesome. To be able to have a couple of songs that, barring a few missteps here and there, that I can actually play, though ... that's just awesome. I'm sorry I didn't pick up on this music thing earlier in life, because I absolutely love it.

  • You can shut up now, Matt. Matt will get this. If you are not Matt - the Matt, specifically, not just some random Matt - then this isn't for you. The rest of you can just move along.

  • The beefs are tender. I have no idea why that just popped into my head, but I'm laughing uproariously on the inside.

  • I played Battletech with Shannon tonight - a star of my Jade Falcons against a star of his Ghost Bears. The Falcons prevailed, but it was ... how do you say ... by the narrowest of margins. I'll probably write a report on it soon; not because I think any of you care, mind you, but because it'll be fun and that's how I roll.

  • I started doing the family books last night, because Holli needs a break. While doing the books, I summarily ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies. They were Tagalongs - known to me in my youth as Peanut Butter Sandwiches. They were delicious. I refuse to weigh myself until Monday now.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am

Casting Crowns
"Praise You in This Storm"
Lifesong (2005)

Am I in a storm? I dunno. I guess so. I haven't felt quite right for weeks now. There's just always something wrong, but I can never quite place my finger on it. I pray, but I'm not getting anywhere; I know He's there - somewhere - but I can't seem to find Him save for fleeting glances here and there. I'm happy on occasion, most notably when I'm doing something fun with the family, but otherwise, I've just been kind of down.

I sat down to work tonight, and I just could not get started. It's been a long, tough day, that I started off with a short night's sleep to get Connor to a massive dental appointment, which basically translated to me being an emotional wreck as I waited in the lobby. The day didn't really get worse from there, which I'd have almost preferred; I always seem to get a release when I bottom out. It just kind of maintained, though, so now I'm in this funk. Holli and I both think I should just do the little I absolutely have to do tonight and then go to bed early, but I can't even do that.

The one thing I really wanted to do tonight was play the guitar, and I did. I've been taking lessons for the past six weeks, and while I'm not anywhere even close to being good yet, I think I might be approaching poor, and mediocre is well in sight. The important part is that I can play something and actually hear what I'm trying to play, and whether or not anyone else can hear it, that's a victory for me.

I'd already practiced today, which means that Holli had long since gotten her fill of CCR for one day (hooray for beginner songs!), but despite that I had every intention of practicing it some more. It's my assignment for the week, and there's a transition passage that's really fun for me because it's right on the bleeding edge of my difficulty curve. I can do it, but just barely, so I feel like I've accomplished something every time I pull it off.

I didn't play it, though. I got it out and I started strumming through "Praise You in This Storm," which is one of my absolute favorite songs. I found a chording (is that even a word, Beth?) that is simple enough for me to play involving C, Em, D, G, and Am, and I've been playing it when I just want to mess around and have fun with the guitar.

So, I sat on the edge of the bed and I started to play. I might have actually touched poor with the quality of my performance, which is a good thing for me. What's more important, though, at least in terms of right now for me, is that I was able to touch Him, at least for a little while. It's like He smiled at me for a minute to remind me that He was still there and let me know that He liked what I was doing.

My guitar is safely tucked away in its bag until tomorrow. Holli is falling asleep on the bed. I am, once again, alone, looking for my Father and unable to find Him. I've talked with Holli quite a bit, and I think that's the point of where the two of us are right now: He's confident enough in us to stop just handing everything to us, so now it's time to make us work for our relationship with Him. I suppose it's good that He trusts me that much, butit's still kind of hard on me; it was nice to get to see Him, though, even if it was just for a moment.

Time to get to work. I've promised a client something by 5 AM, so I'm going to deliver on my promise and then get the crap to bed. Tomorrow holds promise, much as every morrow does.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Larry's Awesome Catchup Lightning Round

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain

You know, I've been doing the quote thing for as long as I've been blogging, and this one is way out ahead of any other quote in the race to win the coveted Slappy award for Most Frequently Used Quote. Probably because I take the blogging hiatuses far too often. No particular reason this time. I've been really busy, so if you want to find a culprit, that's probably it.

I will now give the basic rundown on what's going on in Larry's world to at least try to get back into the flow:

  • The guitar playing is coming along well. Transitioning between chords is getting easier and easier, and I can almost play my favorite Phil Wickham song, "Cannons," now. Just have to get the strumming down and iron out a couple of transitions, and I'll be good.
  • I can also almost play "Last Kiss" by Pearl Jam (yeah, I know it's a cover, but it's a Pearl Jam song now) and "Born Again" by Third Day, because they all use the same chords! When you take away all of the mysticism and secrecy around music, it's actually pretty simple. It's almost disappointing in its accessibility to someone as amusical as myself.
  • My iPhone is borked. It won't sync with iTunes, which means I can't download my new GPS app I bought for three bucks.
  • To answer the question some of you are asking: no, the iPhone doesn't come with GPS installed, not in the strictest of interpretations. It does come with a mapping program that can tell you where you are and track your position, which seems like GPS, but it's actually more of a navigation aid. Actual GPS tells you your longitude and latitude and stuff like that. That's what I'm going for.
  • To answer the question others of you are asking: I'm going for that because this week, the Swank family starts Geocaching! Holli finally listened to me when I talked about it and realized that it is, in fact, super ultra awesome cool. That is the bestest type of cool, in case you're wondering.
  • I'm not sure they're doing SBemails on Homestar Runner anymore. They're still making regular updates, but there hasn't been anything new from Strong Bad and his Lappy in a while. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I know for a fact I'd be upset if they hadn't given me 4 Gregs, the spinoff cartoon that nobody except me apparently wanted. But since they've introduced me to all four of the Gregs, I can't really be angry at them. Maybe I'll get some more Tenerence Love next week, too; that would make things peachy keen. The minor H*R characters are almost always my favorites.
  • For those of you keeping track, "peachy keen" is only the third best type of keen.
  • My best friend is trying to talk me into doing a podcast with him. He's pitching "Larry and Matt's Super Awesome Hour!" I'll keep you posted.
  • My Aunt Andy, whose name has either changed since I was little by replacing the "y" with an "i" or whose name I have always spelled incorrectly and just never been corrected about, came to church with us on Saturday. Contrary to her expectations, the roof did not fall in. As I told her there, though, if it had, it would only have been because I helped build things. I happen to think God was very happy to see her there.
  • I cut my hair. Pictures sometime this week, or now if you're on Facebook!