Monday, December 29, 2008
So with no further ado, I'd like to present Mark's Random Musings Top 25 of 2008 List!!!!
25. Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics : I've heard this called the TV event of the year as well as the single greatest production in the history of mankind. Both things are probably true, it was absolutely incredible. It falls to the bottom of the best of list for one reason.. as impressive as the giant masses of people performing exactly choreographed movements was, it was sorta spooky for the very say reason. I'm still a little wigged.
24. Canon 40d - picked this bad boy up a couple weeks ago as a Christmas present for myself. Nice upgrade to my aging XTi. Low light ability is awesome.
23. Man in the Mirror - Rhymefest, Mark Ronson, Michael Jackson : Rapper Rhymefest and producer Mark Ronson got together for this "tribute" album to (pre-crazy) Michael Jackson. It's part mix-tape, part tribute, part parody - all unauthorized (read illegal). The best part is Rhymefest and Ronson broke the copyright laws so you don't have to. It's a free download (check out the link) but we forewarned, there's a bit of rough language in it (although generally positive messages - particularly for this kind of rap).
22. Mad Men - Ok, so this is the first of several things on my list that isn't exactly FROM 2008, but hey - sometimes I'm behind the times, so I just got into it in 2008. Best show on tv right now by FAR. And the look of it is the coolest thing going by far. It's way over my head, but I'd LOVE to homage to this with some stuff for R2.
21. The explosion of Billy Mays : Seriously, the man can sell anything. Honorable (albeit creepy) mention; this guy.
20. Wacom Tablet - quantum leap in my photoshop abilities with this thing overnight. skunks the mouse. now just to save up for this badboy.
19. Twitter : makes stalking and being stalked so much more convenient.
18. Av Club : Ken Wilson is Visual Director at NewSpring Church in Anderson SC. Quite simply, he's who I want to be when I grow up. His blog is funny, insightful, and above all else, inspirational. A daily read for me.
17. Sarah Palin / Tina Fey : I was in Wasilla the day Palin was announced as the VP nominee and even then people were looking forward to Fey playing her. The comedy that ensued (both intentional and otherwise) was the best of the year.
16. Lynda : online software training courses for well, anything. Recommended by Bean and the only thing I wanted for Christmas. Love it.
15. Mark's Random Musings : you're reading this, so you already know how awesome it is. (and I feel sorry for you if you clicked on the link in the header).
14. Jonathan Stewart meets Rhonde Barber
13. iPod Adapter : this little gem plugs my ipod into the factory deck in my truck, allowing me to control my ipod through the steering wheel controls and get great sound too.
12. Goal Line Blitz - call me a nerd, but this Football simulation role playing game is the most addictive thing on the interwebz. DEMON LLAMA!!!!!!!!!!!
11. Michael Phelps - yeah, that's him on the left. Still on the left. re-freakin-diculous.
10. Will's Elmo Costume
9. Barack Obama - Not to get political, but I still get goosebumps watching this.
8. Superhero Movies - Best year ever for them.
7. The return of this
6. Alaska: 17 days in the last frontier was by far the best vacation of my life. Special thanks to this big lady, these folks, this guy, this guy, that big ol thing and this old dude. Most importantly, this chick.
5. Chevy Avalanche - after years of good service, my trusty Silverado went down swinging in the blizzard of 08 (yeah, ok, so there were only 3/8 of an inch of snow on the ground). Fittingly enough, I replaced her with the new love of my life, a 2004 Avalanche. Lovely, ain't she?
4. Macbook Pro : My other Christmas present to me (I was a very good boy). it pains me to admit it, but I'm a Mac fanboy these days. :(
3. DeAngelo Williams : Set the Panthers Single season records for both rushing yardage and touchdowns. Led the NFL in overall touchdowns. 153 Carries for 993 yards, 6.5 yards/carry, 15 touchdowns... in the second half of the season!
2. Jillian and Selah : Seriously, it just doesn't really get any better than this.
1. Renaissance Road : I'll honestly never really be able to express how happy, blessed and humbled I am to be surrounded by something this meaningful and people this special. God is really moving in this region, and I'm so thrilled to be a part of it - and I'm so blessed to have met the wonderful people that make R2 happen. I can't wait to see what happens in 2009.
...well, most of the time.
After the service we all went out to lunch at Fatz Cafe (awesome, by the way). While we were there, my good buddy Jace played a little prank on me where he swiped my camera and hid it for a good little while. While meant to be all in good fun, some transgressions are simply too severe to go unavenged. Click here to see the revenge I have taken out upon Mr. Breeback.
Now I am the champion!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Sam Hassas is a Bay Area wedding photographer I found out about on Fred Miranda's photo site. I've never really wanted to be a wedding photographer, but I love his portrait work. What he does with light is absolutely incredible. He's the first photographer whose blog I read regularly.
Feel Good Inc. - The Gorillaz
Killing the Blues - Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
Babylon II - David Gray
Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Man In the Mirror - Rhymefest/Mark Ronson/Michael Jackson
Triple Skinny - TobyMac
SRV Shuffle - Various Artists
Amazing Grace - Willie Nelson
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sung to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" (Symphony #9, Opus 125, "Choral")
Breeback, Breeback, oh Jace Breeback!
You're the one who's oh, so right!
You know all the hobbled gymnasts,
name them in the dark o' night.
Oh, why did I ever doubt you?
Should have never been so smug.
Breeback, Breeback, wise one Breeback,
How'd you know that was Miss Strug?
Breeback, Breeback, oh Jace Breeback!
How I long to be like you!
You're my favorite Right-Wing champion
turning all states red from blue!
Blogspot, Twitter, even Lynda,
You're my hero always, Jace!
Breeback, Breeback, awesome Breeback!
Please don't punch me in the face.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I'll Be Home for Christmas - Michael Buble
Frosty the Snowman - Fiona Apple
Someday at Christmas - Jack johnson
Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
Carol of the Bells - BarlowGirl
Santa Claus is Comin to Town - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
O Holy Night - Faith Hill
Christmas in the Caribbean - Jimmy Buffet
The Countdown was "I Was Born to Love You" by Tobymac.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
pretty exciting announcement this morning at R2: Evolution is coming. Evolution will be the R2 theme for 2009, sort of a guiding idea throughout our sermon series. We're excited about the changes that are upcoming this year, for ourselves as individuals, for R2 as a whole, and for the community around us.
Above is the promo video we played this morning. This will play throughout the year (not at every service) but will also be supplemented by various other promos with live elements that feature Jason talking about the things to come. I'm really looking forward to putting this project together.
So This is Christmas - The Beatles
Baby It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles
You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McGlocklin
Merry Christmas From the Family - Robert Earl Keen
Feliz Navidad - Los Lonely Boys
All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
Oh Come Let Us Adore Him - TobyMac
For our countdown we're playing "Prime Audio Soup" by Meat Beat Manifesto.
Hope you enjoyed it!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Someone from the Former Winston-Salem Warthogs Minor League team must have been in attendance at R2 this weekend. They announced the new team name today, and clearly they ripped off Jason's "dash" illustration. Lame name? youbetcha. They got it from the dash in between "Winston" and "Salem". seriously. I mean if they wanted to play off the whole two names thing, at least call the team the Twins.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Today Jason spoke on the importance of leaving a legacy - that our dreams aren't realy God dreams, unless they continue on without us. It reminded me of the clip I had seen of Martin Luther King's last speech, given just hours before he was assasinated. Now this is a man who is most famously known for his dream, and who obviously had a firm grasp on his legacy.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
As you might have guessed from my previous entry about Barack Obama's election night speech, I'm a sucker for a powerful speaker. Whether it's Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men or Al Pacino in, well anything, I just can't get enough of it. With college basketball season starting up, here's a video of one of my all time favoites. Jimmy V wasn't the greatest coach in history, and frankly, wasn't always the most ethical coach either, but I grew up a State fan, which means I loved him. This one, given at the first ESPY awards when he knew he was just months away from death, still gives me goosebumps today.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Emotional rollercoaster this weekend in football. Always happy to see this. This was a little scary at first. This was AWESOME. This SUCKED - BAD.
Most importantly though, in the ugliest game of Goal Line Blitz EVER, the Demon Llamas were victorious (barely) over their fiercest rival, the Montevideo Storm Vermin.
Bricks from Pierre-Abraham Rochat on Vimeo.
I totally ganked this from my buddy Jace's blog (which you should totally be reading because it's awesome). I hate stealing from a guy, especially on this birthday, but this was just too cool not to share.
The thing that so impresses me is that the creaters had to invision the entire "world" around these "guys" to know where everything was and how it fit together. I'm simply amazed. Enjoy!
So Jason's message this morning was all about surounding yourself with the right kinds of friends. Not in the exclusive "don't hang out with THOSE kind of people" way, but more in the iron sharpens iron", have people that you can lean on sort of way. For me it was a really timely message, and one that really hit home.
I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about how blessed I am to be surrounded with the people that God has put me around. I'm the only child of a single mother and I don't have any cousins, so all my life my friends have been as close to me as my family. In a very literal sense, my friendships are responsible for where I am today. Let me give you an example:
In the summer before 8th grade, my mom and I moved from Morganton to Statesville and I started going to East Iredell Elementary (they called it elementary, but it was 3rd-8th). I went out for the football team, but since I hadnt played on that team the previous season, I didn't have the seniority of the other 8th graders, so I got last pick of the pads and helmets.
Now lemme tell ya, in 8th grade I was a big boy - the biggest on the team - and the biggest part of me was my GIANT melon. Kids, I'm tellin ya - I had a HUGE head. And to top if off - I had this funky bowl-cut/mullet combo of hair (yeah, I had hair once). I tell you this because by the time it came around for me to pick out a helmet, there werent any left big enough for me. For the first week of pactice I played in was essentially was a yamikah with a punter's facemast on it. It gave me migranes, my chin was getting blown up - I was miserable. It was so bad, I decided to quit the team. When I told my coach, Mr. Johnson, I was quitting he said - no son - you're my starting LT, and if you quit, Jamie Dew will get murdered. So he called up the dad of one of the other guys on our team for a favor. This guy's dad just happened to be Charlie Love, the head coach of North Iredell's football team, and he was kind enough to send down a helmet from the high school for me to wear that season. It was a white helmet (like everyone else's on the team), but it had a red facemask. I stood out, and I loved it.
Now, at that time, the house we were living in was in a kind of no man's land as far as school districts go, so when I graduated from East (pink painted toenails and all) I could choose whether I wanted to be a Greyhound at Statesville HS or a Raider at North Iredell HS. Don't know that I've ever really admitted this before, but I chose North based on one thing alone - that helmet with the red facemask. I felt like I was already a Raider.
Now, that's a long, drawn out (and likely boring) story that I just tell to show how random it was that I ended up meeting the people I did (or at least it seemed random at the time). At North I met people that for the first time were true friends (not just people to play or hang out with) - people I could confide in, have thir back and know they had mine, people I loved. People I still love and know I will love forever. And through these friends I've met other people that have become just as dear to me.
Looking back over the past 15 years or so (man, I'm old) I've had lots of "friends": co-workers, awuaintences, roommates, crushes, drinking buddies... but it's this core of true friends that has gotten me to where I am today. Their encouragement, love, compassion, nagging, help and support have guided me through some pretty rough times: times when I didn't deserve the love they showed me. Like I said, I've never had siblings, but I can't fathom that a person could love a sibling any more than I love these people. Don't get me wrong, I love my family so incredibly much, but I can honestly say that I have many friends that I love just as much.
One of those people I met my first year at North was Kelley Turner. When Kelley married Jason Goins, I gained another dear friend. One day Jason and Kelley decided to invite me to come to their church in High Point. I was in a place where I had fallen out of church and was honestly just wandering through life with no real purpose - but they didn't give up on me. After a few weeks of their asking, I finally gave in. Jason and Kelley were so excited about their youth group there, and one of the first few Sundays I was there, the pastor got up and told the congregation that they were looking for some volunteers. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I heard God's voice that day, and He told me to step up and help.
It was in those youth group meetings that I met some of the other great people who I now consider dear friends. And when Jason started telling me about his vision for a new church, I think it was my involvement with that youth group that got him to ask me to come along. Several months later on a Saturday night at the Chop House, I feel like I really became a part of something special. R2 is now nearing becoming a year old - and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful, strong, kind, giving and spiritual people that I can call friends. I'm at the same time humbled to be with them and supported by them. I feel like I truely am standing on the shoulders of giants.
The thing I love so much about surrounding yourself with these true, dear friends is that they always multiply. A few become many, and as these groups of friends become communities, everyone in them reaps the benefit. It gets better all the time.
I know this has been by far my most long winded entry, but it's probably because it's something that so important to me. I can't express enough how much God has blessed me by putting the network of friends around me that I have. The example I gave was the people at R2, but there are other networks of people I have the same level of love for: My dear friends from The Cullowhee Experience, the LA girls I met through Lisa and Carrie, and of course the girls of Davis 104, among others. I know I don't say it as much as I should, but I love you all more than I'll ever be able to show.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Been looking for a cool notebook to carry for a while - one that I'd actually use. I figure if I spend more than 99 cents on it, I might actually keep up with it (I lose all my cheap ones), but the last leather bound notebook I got set me back $20 and lasted about a week before the puppies at it. I found this bad boy here from Black N' Red last night at Target. Man, I'm in love. It's a great size (A4 - black n red is british) has great heavyweight paper and even the little ribbon thingy. At $8 it's cheap enough to not fee like a tool for buying a book with nothing written in it.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This is the Audi R8. I passed one on 311 in HP on Saturday morning - first time I had seen one in real life (Bruce Wayne drives one in The Dark Knight). Man, this thing looks great in person. Note, it's not painted silver - it all bare aluminum and carbon fiber. That's right boys and girls - aluminum and carbon fiber.... for the price of a small house or a large condo, she can be all yours.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Here's a special gift to anyone who's bored enough to be checking my blog at 12:20 am on Saturday Night. Here's a video we shot as a promo for our food drive for R2 in November. Nick, Marty, Jace and I went to a local Food Lion and went all guerilla sytle, so the rough cuts are intentional. hope you enjoy!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Sometimes I worry that I waste too much time in front of the computer. Between work, keeping up with friends, church stuff and this lame blog, I probably spend the majority of my waking hours in front of a keyboard. Sometimes I think I've really got a problem.....
Then I read stories like this, and I realize I'm really not that bad.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I posted some more pics from my Alaska trip last night. These are from probably my favorite day of the trip. We left Fairbanks and stopped by Nenana (for a second time) where I got some more creepy dried salmon pics. Then we went on down to the town of Denali and stayed at the McKinley Village Resort (where it's so cold even the phones are made of ice). Then we went into the park on the tundra tour for about 6 hours to chase bears and moose.
The first of the new pics start with #330.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
So I'm kicking back at the house of some friends from R2 and mom is talking to her child about what he learned in the children's ministry (Destiny Drive) this morning - and reading along with the handy dandy ciriculum "cheat sheet" that she got from the teacher. He said, "We learned about promises, and when people make promises, you can either choose to believe them or not. And God promises us that He loves us and that he'll give us eternal life, but we choose whether we want to believe that, too."
I know that a big criticism of people who don't believe is that Christians only believe because they were raised that way and have no choice. I think it's really really cool that even at such a young age that we're teaching our kids that believing is a choice that we make.
One of the many reasons I love R2.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."
I promise you, we as a people will get there."
To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope."
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.
This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America."
When I started this little corner of the bloggersphere I told myself I'd never write about politics - there are just simply too many other outlets on the 'net that I figure there's not really any more I can add. But after watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night (you can check it out here if you missed it) I felt compelled to say something. I really think this is the "uniter" we've been looking for in the Oval Office since probably the days of Reagan. Together America can accomplish great things, and as proven last night, anything really IS possible here.
God, please bless America and all the rest of world too.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Ok, maybe not.... I just stumbled across Converse's website where you can design your own Chucks (as well as other Cons). Don't know that I'd ever really do it, but it's a kinda fun toy to play with. Have fun!
Monday, October 27, 2008
I've got a surprise for all of you in R2 land tonight... we've got a little something special whipped up for this coming Sunday. We call it "Reflections". I won't tell you what it is, but I can assure you it's not to be missed. It's not like anything you've seen before at R2 (and certainly something I've never seen or heard of at another church).
Anyway, to celebrate, I'm going to give you a sneak peek at the logo we created for it. It's a smidge cliche, but we wanted something simpler that a lot of the things we've been doing recently. It's pretty "stripped down" (although not as stripped down as Jace was last sunday) while still being a little elegant.
Hope you enjoy, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
This is "Infamous", the show my friend Pharaba produces. Until it gets picked up by a TV network there are mini episodes being posted to youtube every week. It's the story of two struggling actors trying to make their big break in LA. The rub is, until they make it, they have to have a day job. In these guys' case, that day job is being contract killers.
OK, BIG disclaimer time here, boys and girls... This show's violent, a little sexist, and the language is rough to say the very least. If it were a movie, it's easily "R". That being said, it's smart and really genuinely hilarious. Think Entourage meets The Professional with a lot of Lethal Weapon thrown in for good measure. Anyway, enough talk, here it is. You've been warned, but you can thank me later.
Mike Singletary, former linebacker for the Chicago Bears and more importantly, one of my favorite football players when I was growing up, was named the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers tonight. Widely regarded as one of the "good guys" in the NFL, he's an ordained minister and USO Supporter. Here's a great video he shot for Willow Creek church on leadership.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I'm a little behind the times on this one, but I just downloaded Opera today. It's a free, open-source web-browser that advertises itself as the fastest available. I don't know about that, but I do know I like it better than IE, Firefox and certainly Safari. It's even got a mobile version for the iPhone that I will oneday own. The coolest thing is "Speed Dial" which is a welcome screen that shows you current views of your 9 (or so) favorite sites so you can go directly to them. Pretty awesome indeedy.
Tomorrow starts R2's new sermon series, "Beyond" which is all about dreams. Here's a sneak peak at the cover of the worship guide which uses the imagry of the open door, something we're using throughout the materials for this series.
Be sure to check it out in the morning and be sure to bring someone.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I just finished organizing all of R2's "digital assets" on a new external hard drive. By digital assets I mean all the images, videos, music, etc we've either created, assembled or bought to enhance the R2 worship experience. These things may end up being shown on the screens, printed as signs or worship guides or even end up as t-shirts (shameless plug time: visit the R2Online Merch Table ). No doubt there are churches out there with servers full of this kind of stuff, but since we're just getting started our assets take up a measly 22.4 GB. It'll be interesting one day in the future to look back and remember our humble beginnings.
Needless to say, Denton, NC isn't Pittsburgh.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I don't promise anything terribly insightful around here, and it may only be marginally entertaining, but hey - I'll give it a shot. I'll try to post regularly: maybe hourly, maybe daily, but at least weekly. I'm a long way from my English major days, so please ignore my horrendous spelling, plentiful typos, and erratic syntax. Fell free to comment on anything you like - I look forward to hearing from you.
'til the next installment..... -M