Tuesday, November 25, 2008


You know those adolescent crushes--the ones you get on famous people? My first celebrity crush was on Jonathan Brandis (R.I.P.). I had a huge poster of his face on my wall. That crush faded fairly quickly (although the poster remained on my wall for years). It was replaced by a crush that lasted longer than I'd like to admit . . . and evidently isn't quite gone yet. I say it isn't gone because as this page (sent to me by my considerate brother) loaded, and I saw the headline, I squealed. Yes, squealed. I guess Dean Cain still has the ability to make me revert to junior high.

Monday, November 24, 2008

really? you want me to buy your product?

Product placement on TV is getting ridiculous. I remember the days when sitcom families wouldn't have real brands of pop or potato chips. I found it distracting and fake. But now, it seems like every show is promoting a particular brand or five . . . which is just as distracting and fake.

Everyone knows the American Idol judges drink Coke. And anyone who watches The Amazing Race would be, well, as stupid as some of this season's teams if they didn't realize Travelocity sponsors the show. While reality shows have the most product placement, sitcoms, dramas, and tv movies aren't exempt.

Sometimes the placement works well, like when Michael gave away an iPod at The Office's Christmas party. I totally believe that's something Michael would do.

Sometimes it's not quite so seamless. On the current season of Psych, Steph and I started playing "who's today's Psych sponsor?" Dunkin' Donuts and Red Robin, for starters. The writers at least attempted to make it fit into the story, sometimes with better results than others.

And sometimes it's so blatant it's ridiculous. I was just watching this cheesy Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel. As they get to the big, climactic moment of the movie, the music swells, and the lead pulls a ring box out of his pocket. The camera zeroes in on the lid, which proclaims "Kay Jewelers." He opens the box, and the inside also screams "Kay Jewelers." I get that "every kiss begins with Kay," but seriously! Not that I have any reason to visit a jewelry store, but that placement made me less likely to consider Kay because it was just plain annoying.

majesty and glory

I love looking at the stars. I always have. When I was in lower elementary, my mom and I checked out this tape about constellations from the library. We took our little portable cassette player outside, played the tape, and looked at the stars. If I remember right, we weren't very successful in identifying the constellations; we may have only found the Big Dipper. In upper elementary, I discovered Orion, which quickly became my favorite constellation. To this day, seeing it fills me with wonder and joy.

Tonight, I looked up at the stars as I was leaving my parents' house. I couldn't see Orion, but I did find Cassiopeia. And as I looked into the sky, this song from high school choir began running through my head:
When I gaze into the night sky
And see the work of Your fingers
The moon and stars suspended in space
Oh what is man that you are mindful of him
You have given man a crown of glory and honor
And have made him a little lower than the angels
You have put him in charge of all creation
The beasts of the field
The birds of the air
The fish of the sea
But what is man, oh what is man that you are mindful of him?
Oh Lord, our God, the majesty and glory of Your name
Transcends the earth and fills the heavens
Oh Lord, our God, little children praise you perfectly
And so should we, and so should we
The majesty and glory of your name!
~Linda Lee Johnson (based on Psalm 8)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

fireproof, pt. 2

I finally saw Fireproof last weekend. I loved it! Our international students also saw it, and it certainly seemed to make a lasting impression on some of them. One of my students told me that it made him reexamine his view on divorce. Before seeing the movie, he thought divorce was OK as long as no kids were involved, but now he's not so sure. Then in chapel this week, my pastor spoke on real love, which dovetailed quite nicely with the message of Fireproof. I recommend the movie to anyone, and I'll probably get it on dvd. (As far as the acting goes, I thought the scene near the beginning with the wife and her friend at the hospital was kind of forced, but after that, I never thought about it again. It was also much funnier than I was expecting.)

Also, I thought this was very cool. Kirk Cameron, who played the main character, refuses to kiss anyone besides his wife. Check out the story here.

what's your reaction? pt. 2

Well, I only had one suggestion for what to call my reaction labels, so I went with it: insightful, diverting, and ridiculous. I figured those labels were more interesting than mine, so thanks thesisterval!

not dc Talk, but close

Steph and I went to tobyMac's Winter Wonder Slam concert in Lincoln on Thursday. I was way excited--I was never able to see dc Talk live, so I figured seeing tobyMac would be the next best thing. Plus, I really like tobyMac . . .

There were four acts. The first, B.Reith, was quite enjoyable. He sounds remarkably like Jason Mraz. Seriously. At least when he's not rapping. Check out his MySpace page.

Next came Family Force 5. I'm not even going to give you a link--that's how much I hated them. Steph compared their lead singer to a convulsing, dying lizard. The were so loud, and I couldn't understand much of what they were singing. They had this one guy who basically just danced--sometimes, he danced while banging a tambourine, but mainly he just danced. I never actually counted the people on stage, but I wondered if maybe they needed him in order to have five! I went into the concert knowing I probably wouldn't like them, but I had no idea just how much. We sat through their whole set, just like all the "old" people. I texted Melissa, who had seats on the other side of the auditorium, to commiserate. I was pretty sure she was hating them, too. Yup! She was actually standing in the hall, waiting for them to finish!

Relient K was awesome. You know how some bands are great in the studio but terrible live? Relient K is not one of those bands. They sounded exactly like they do on their cds, and they played their biggest hits, which was nice since I don't really know any of their new stuff. My favorite part of their set was when they sang about being on stage after Family Force 5 had to leave--to the tune of Subway's Five Dollar Footlong jingle.

tobyMac. Loud, of course--but I didn't mind so much since I knew all the songs! Have I ever mentioned how much I hate encores? What's their purpose? tobyMac left the stage without singing "Made to Love" . . . so obviously he was going to come back. And he did. Then he did "Jesus Freak," in a nice dc Talk shout out. That was the highlight of the concert for me :-)

I had to smile when the guy right behind us was explaining to his date that tobyMac might do some dc Talk songs because "he used to be in dc Talk." It also made me feel a tad old.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

what's your reaction?

Blogger has a new feature called "reactions." It's a way for me to gauge what you, my readers, think about my posts. The labels are totally customizable, and I had several to begin with, but for some reason, only three show up on my blog. So I need your help: do you have a better idea for what to call the reactions? Right now, I have funny, interesting, and boring. But if you can think of a better way to say those things, let me know!

Also, for those of you who read but don't comment (yes, I'm talking about you), this is a way for you to give me feedback without having to say anything! I won't know who is telling me I'm being boring, so click away!

To those of you who do comment, please keep commenting--but you can also click on the reaction buttons :-)

family resemblance?

At Singing Christmas Tree practice today, a guy thought Melissa and I were sisters. I've never thought we looked too much alike before, but my sister said she's had people ask her if Melissa and I were related. At least the guy didn't think I was her mother (yes, that's happened to me before . . . with a friend who is older than me!). What do you think? Could we be sisters?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

discovering treasures

A few months ago, my parents went wild cleaning their basement. The basement was my home for a year after I graduated from college, and when I moved out, I didn't exactly take all my things with me. So, while they were cleaning, my dad took the liberty of packing up two boxes of stuff and depositing the boxes in my car. I lugged them up the stairs to my apartment and promptly shoved them in a closet. About a week ago, I decided I should look through them. About half the stuff in the boxes isn't mine (and, therefore, will be returned to Dad's basement) . . . but the stuff that is mine is pretty interesting!

One box was full of books. Most of the books are rather boring--old grammar books, textbooks, etc. But I also found this book:

I read Shadows Along the Ice in junior high. My siblings mocked me mercilessly . . . and judging by the cover, I can see why! They called it Shadows Along the Joe, though, because Ice looks suspiciously like Joe.

Another box contained some of my college stuff--my honor and Alpha Chi cords, an issue of the Sounding Board (my college newspaper), and some financial aid papers.

And then I saw it--something that made me stop and reminisce. Before I tell you what it is, though, I need to give you a little background info. Jodi and I transferred to Grace at the same time, and we were roommates our first semester. Like any friends, we had our ups and downs, but Jodi got to know me better than anyone, save perhaps my sister. I think it's because we were so different. I've always been very surface-level (I credit it to my personality type, ISTJ--Jodi also introduced me to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator!), and Jodi pushed me to dig deeper. I had deeper conversations with her when we were in college than I've had with anyone else before or since . . . although she probably wouldn't call our conversations deep at all!

In the 4 1/2 years since we graduated, we've drifted apart. She's in Ohio; I'm in Nebraska. Our relationship now amounts to a Facebook message here and there. It's largely my fault, as I haven't made much of an effort to stay in touch. Most of the time, I don't really think about it. But then I go through a box of stuff, and our whole friendship comes flooding back. And I realize that I really do miss her.

This is what I found in the box: During the spring semester of our junior year, Jodi decided we needed to be creative. She had some water colors, and we spent a couple evenings painting. While she was being quite creative, I was painting Simba. I think I stayed in the lines very well! My journal tells me that the night I painted Simba, we stayed up talking until 5:30 a.m. I miss that, although I wouldn't be able to function if I stayed up that late now!

A few weeks later, we painted again. This time, I actually started with a blank paper. (I don't remember, but Jodi probably convinced me that painting Simba didn't count as creativity!) So here is my masterpiece; trust me, it's as artistic as I get!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

let's sing some hymns!

This afternoon, I found out that Covenant Life Church (Josh Harris' church) released a cd of 10 hymns they're learning as a church this year. I love hymns, so I went to the church's website to check out the cd. I literally began bouncing up and down in my office chair when I saw the familiar NoiseTrade widget. I've written about NoiceTrade before--I love how you can get free music simply by providing five email addresses. My family members have been inundated with NoiseTrade emails . . . because I know they'll still love me, even when I send them emails they don't want!

This time, though, I put more thought into the people I sent the notification email to. So if you got one, know that it's because I really think you'll enjoy the music. Check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

supporting our president

Kudos to the Wall Street Journal. They ran this opinion piece on the treatment of President Bush. The author makes some good points. It's a shame the way we treat the man we elected to be our president.

I have no trouble supporting President Bush. I've never understood why people seem to hate him so much--but then I've never been one of those "withdraw the troops now!" people, either. However, I may struggle in my support of President-elect Obama. With that in mind, here are a few tips from Justin Taylor on supporting our president.
No matter who you voted for--or whether you voted at all--it's important to remember that, as President, Barack Obama will have God-given authority to govern us, and that we should view him as a servant of God (Rom. 13:1, 4) to whom we should be subject (Rom. 13:1, 5; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).
I have begun praying for our new president; I encourage you to do so, as well!

yes, we were partisan

I came across this piece in the Washington Post. In it, Deborah Howell, the paper's ombudsman (sadly, I had to look it up) acknowledges that yes, the Post favored Obama.

I understand that everyone has his or her own bias to bring to the table, but this year, the media didn't seem to make any effort to conceal that bias. I'm glad that the Post is admitting its bias . . . even if it is after the fact. Hopefully, the media will attempt to be more neutral the next time around. (A girl can dream, can't she?)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

not laughing with the laugh track

I just got Sports Night from Netflix. Sports Night is another one of those shows that Andrew and I used to watch together in the basement--only Mom wouldn't have hated this one so much. I was about two minutes into the pilot when I heard it: laughter. At first, I thought there was something wrong with the dvd; then I realized it was a laugh track. I so rarely watch sitcoms anymore (and really, how many "traditional" sitcoms are left?)--the only comedy I regularly watch is The Office, which doesn't have a laugh track--that I'd almost forgotten laugh tracks existed. Frankly, I find the laugh track annoying. Can you imagine if a movie had a laugh track? I'd much rather have silence than hear people "coaching" me on when to laugh.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

the first snow

There's always something magical about the first snow of the season. It was raining when I walked to my car this morning. On my way to work, the rain became snow. As I walked to my classroom, I smiled at the feel of the flakes melting against my face.

One hour later, the wind had begun blowing. Hard. The snow had turned to sleet, and it stung as it whipped into my face. Suddenly, the weather didn't seem so magical anymore. (Especially since I was wearing a light jacket and sandals!)

Now it's windy and cold, but the precipitation has subsided. We've been blessed with amazing weather, even topping 70 degrees a few days ago. But still, I'm not ready for winter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I just learned that Fireproof has made its way to our local theater. The theater is only open Friday through Sunday, so I'm thinking about seeing it on Saturday night. I've heard very good things about this movie . . . I'll let you know what I think after I see it!

a momentary distraction

This afternoon, I stumbled across some news that made me forget about the election for a few minutes. Before I tell you the news, it's confession time: I was addicted to the last cycle of The Bachelorette. I have long mocked those "find your soulmate on TV" shows, but I somehow got sucked into the "who will DeAnna pick?" drama. I watched, speechless, as she eliminated Jeremy, the attorney who I'd picked to go all the way. The next week, I was rooting for Jesse, the snowboarder who she did end up with, simply because I decided she wasn't good enough for the other finalist, Jason.

Jason--who looks like the guy who played Danny on TNBC's Hang Time--will be the next Bachelor. No surprise there, as he was by far the most likeable person on The Bachelorette.

So on to the news I learned today. DeAnna and Jesse, who were supposed to get married in May in a ceremony televised by ABC (of course!), broke up. What a SHOCKER! But it gets even better: she broke up with him at the airport baggage claim!


This morning, I voted in my third presidential election. We are seriously so blessed to live in a nation where we can make our voices heard in the voting booth. I cannot understand why people would choose not to vote. It's such a privilege!

My senior year of high school, I was so jealous when several of my classmates got to vote. We weren't electing the president that year--it was 1998--but that didn't matter to me. What mattered was I was only 17, and I couldn't vote.

My first vote was in the 2000 primaries. I honestly don't remember much about it. Nebraska's primary is in May, so it's too late to have much (if any) affect on the presidential primaries. The only person I actually remember voting for is legendary Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne.

The November 2000 election is a different story. It was cold and icy, and I fishtailed while driving to the Community Room to vote. I slid into a parking space, miraculously stopping before hitting the car parked across from me. And I proudly cast my ballot for George W. Bush. I watched the returns late into the night. When the networks declared Bush the winner, I went to bed. That night, I dreamed that it was a mistake and Gore had really won. The next morning, I woke up to the nightmare that was the Florida recount.

That election ended up going "my" way, as did the 2004 election. I can't shake the feeling that this one won't end up as I'd like it to; however, dear friend Jen reminded me recently that we just have to trust that God is in control. And no matter what happens, I'm so grateful to have a voice!