Okay, I am feel kinda silly today. Instead of reading a long blog, I thought I would just create a silly Christmas card. To all of those who read my blog, thank you. I hope you enjoy celebrating Christmas with your family next week. I llama wish you all a very Merry Christmas!! - Tim
The elf is watching you; he's watching to see if you are naughty or nice... He is also sabotaging your entire house and sneaking around at night creating all types of havoc while you sleep. Also, while you lie in bed he is standing over you, peering at you through his beady little Pinocchio eyes and wearing a sinister grin.
I must admit that the whole 'Elf on the Shelf' phenomenon seems more like it should be a part of Halloween than Christmas. Just re-brand it as 'Chucky on the Shelf' and you have a whole new classification of freaking out children. I know I'm in the minority here, but it just seems a little strange to me that someone actually came up with the idea of tricking kids into believing a toy elf becomes animated at night and watches them or 'completes projects' around the house. In many homes the elf is actually up to mischief at night which creates the question, how can Santa trust the elf to honestly report on a child's behavior if he can't trust the elf to be on good behavior him/herself? I sure wouldn't want a mischievous elf reporting on me, I would be concerned that he would make up some pretty sinister stories just to watch me suffer as I pull hot coals out of my stocking on Christmas morning.
We can always tell Christmas is near because we start hearing about elves, Santa and Holidays and we hear about how some people get all bent out of shape because others celebrate differently. There is no elf on my shelf and that is just the way it is in our house. Guess what though? I really don't have a problem if you have one in your house or if your kids believe in Santa or you opt to say Happy Holidays.
I admit that I am one of those strange people who tells his children about the reality of Santa Claus from the get go. I do tell them the history of St Nikolaus and how our modern day Santa is a mirror of the joy of giving to others. We do watch Christmas movies and my kid's sit on Santa's knee. They know it's just a guy dressed in a suit, but they respect what he represents. They don't think he is taking tabs on if they are naughty or nice and they know he doesn't give them gifts - their mother and father, who love them unconditionally, gives them gifts. That's how we celebrate Christmas! I'm sure you may do it differently and that's fine with me.
Despite whether you have an elf, dress as Santa or use a different seasonal greeting, don't forget that Christmas is about a baby in a manger that changed the world. Don't forget about the greatest gift ever - grace. Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas and my one request is that you not get so 'wrapped' up in the holiday that you forget to say happy birthday Jesus.
I sometimes wonder if I am in the right career. I keep hoping I one day see an opening for a position labeled something like, “looking for self starter who is great at generating vision, creating new endeavors, passionately leading others but lacks discipline in seeing the vision fully implemented.” I know, it sounds like I fit right in as a manager [poke, poke] but I think this is something that requires deeper explanation.
For starters, I am not saying that I am lazy, just a little absent minded. I am one of those people who loves daydreaming. I greatly enjoy coming up with all types of ideas. My biggest problem is that I often never put feet to them. Finishing my first book was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s not that the story wasn’t in my mind, it’s just that I am really, really, really good at not finishing. I’m like a sprinter in a marathon. I excel and starting the race with everything I have. I run hard and fast, but I exhaust myself long before the race is finished. This is why I need to find a job where I can create ideas but others can finish them.
I constantly have random stuff flying through my mind. It can really be exhausting to be me at times.
One area is movies. I’m not great at making movies but I constantly have new concepts – usually some type of farce on an existing popular project. Here are some examples of random thinks I thought about last night… while trying to go to sleep… A spoof on Justin Bieber's Baby, Baby, Baby called Money, Money, Money focusing on singing to make money… A spoof of Gangnam Style called Gomer Pyle... changing Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen’s Good Time to Bad Time and some other stuff that I can’t remember. I’ve had the idea of remaking The Amazing Spiderman but changing it to where Dr. Connors is studying the regenerative powers of the starfish instead of a lizard. Imagine Spiderman fighting a giant starfish…out of water.
I am also coming up with book ideas constantly. It is really hard to focus on my current book when I keep thinking of other great ideas.
I also think about changes I want to make to my cars, places I want to live, new business ideas, t-shirt designs (one was of a WANTED picture of a large soda – in New York, another is a shirt that says WARNING, CONCEALED GUNS with arrows pointing at the biceps on each arm – this one is political but a shirt that says “We should have known Obama would be re-elected, the Mayans predicted it,”) stuff I want to invent and on and on and on. My brain is like the energizer rabbit... and that has got to have some purpose… doesn’t it?
I don’t really have a point and I have been really thinking about not finishing today’s article because that would fit really well, but I do want you to see how my mind works. Maybe you have an idea about how I can use this gift to help society.
Wait a minute!! I have a great idea…
I have come to a conclusion, Facebook makes me feel old. Ever since they invented the ‘Timeline’ I have felt older. I see friends and family from years gone by and realize how much we have aged or how old their kids are. Just living life from day to day doesn’t remind me that I am aging so much but looking at my own personal history on Facebook brings that reality to light. I look at pictures of myself from years ago and think, ‘was it really that long ago?’ I’m not sure how I feel about the direction Facebook is going. It makes sense that it morphs into a greater type of ‘Face Book’ or ‘Year Book’ as time goes on; that’s kind of why it started. In tribute of this love/hate relationship we have with Facebook, I have created the following list.
Top Ten Ways Facebook Makes you Feel Old
10. You realize how much your hair has changed
9. You see a big life event and then realize how many years have passed since it happened
8. The bottom of your Timeline says ‘BC’
7. The oldest pictures of you are yellowed on the edges or black & white - Either way they were scanned, not uploaded
6. You remember when Facebook first started and there was no one you actually knew on it
5. Your friend’s status’ are about the chiropractor, back pain, hip pain and Icy Hot
4. Your status mentions the chiropractor, back pain or Icy Hot.
3. You are required to scroll down through countless pages to find your graduation date
2. You see a picture of yourself when you were younger and think, “Who is that?”
1. You don’t know what Facebook is and you have not joined because you don’t want to mess with "that new fangled technology."
I’m sure Pinterest and Twitter will also make us feel old before too long. I have decided that I will most definitely feel old when I am recounting Facebook and a whole new generation doesn’t even know what it is because it has become obsolete. Anyone remember Woolworth?
What do you prefer to call the season that is sandwiched between Summer and Winter? I usually go with Fall, but when I am feeling somewhat eclectic I go with Autumn. What does eclectic mean anyway? Did I use it correctly or did I just make myself look like an idiot? Using words improperly is somewhat embarrassing for a writer. I will confess that I sometimes feel the need to expand my vocabulary but tend to forget that I am primarily a simple person who prefers simple language.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Autumn and Fall. Why do we use those words anyway? Do we say Fall because of the falling leaves or is it something more complicated like the falling of the temperature? What does Autumn really mean? Is it some ancient word or just a pretty phrase someone decided to use to describe this time of year? If you are looking for the answers here, you will be disappointed. Try Wikipedia if you are in search of answers to these questions.
I will admit that I am not a big fan of Fall or Autumn for that matter. It's not that I despise the changing of the season. I actually really enjoy watching the leaves change color and I don't mind a crisp morning on occasion. The reason I don't care for Fall is because it leads up to Winter - my great adversary. You see I am one of those people who tends to enjoy tropical climates. 90 degrees and sunny = happiness in my book of mathematical equations. 0 degrees and cloudy = despair is another one. I love water and being outdoors but I hate to be cold. I sometimes which I could run into the girl from Brave and have her turn me into a bear during winter so I could just hibernate. That would be fun. I don't see that happening though, so I guess I will just keep wearing layers upon layers upon layers and hold myself inside so I can finish my next book. I guess I should like Winter than because it helps me finish my books and should therefore enjoy fall since I do like the changing of the seasons. I feel better now. Thanks for spending a couple minutes of your life observing how my brain works. Do you like Autumn or is it Fall?
There has been a lot of hype about Big Bird lately, but do you want to know who I think really gets overlooked? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway, it’s Oscar the Grouch. Oscar was one of my favs as a child. I’ve heard a rumor that I am too lazy to run on Snopes to check it’s validity that Elmo was originally designed as a replacement for Oscar. Was that a run-on sentence? Ah, who cares? Anyway, according to the rumor, PBS felt that Oscar was not a good role model for children and decided that an annoying red Muppet with a screechy voice and sadistic laugh would be a better fit. They also decided that it would be really cute if people tickled him.
My question is what is so bad about Oscar. He inspires children. Thanks to Oscar we view trash in a completely different way. It’s not just garbage, it’s a home, food, an a place to find useful objects. Oscar taught us that life is not always fair. Well, for Oscar life was pretty much never fair. He tended to be a grouch, but he did have things that he loved; did I mention trash? Oscar was rough around the edges, but we quickly learned that he was not perfect and it is alright to be different. Oscar didn’t act, talk or even smell like the rest of the Muppets on Sesame Street, but he was still loved by his peers.
Go ahead and buy your Big Bird dolls and write your Big Bird ‘tweets’ but as for me I will still stand in support of Oscar and his love of trash.
Disclaimer: This post is in no way written to offend fans of Big Bird. If you prefer Big Bird to Oscar, you are entitled to follow the crowd. Please do not read this blog as a way of disrespecting that right. The writer of this blog understands how people can prefer an enormous yellow talking canary over a green monster in a trash can. He also acknowledges the right of everyone to hold an opinion, even if it is the wrong one, in all things Sesame Street. The writer of this article also does not represent all contributors on Stratosphere Networking. Others represented by the aforementioned company may hold opinions that are contradictory to that of the writer of this article. Finally, this article was not written about any living person Named Oscar who happens to be grouchy and has a fascination with trash. If any such person exists it is merely a coincidence and not intentional.
I find it interesting that some of our leaders want to outlaw chainsaws. I know that chainsaws can be dangerous, especially if one is not trained in how to operate them, but removing them from society is an attack on our freedom. I am also aware that there are people who have destructive plans and will use chainsaws to hurt others. This is very sad, but the truth is that criminals will find access to chainsaws no matter what the law says. If they are criminals, they are law breakers. It also means that they will have access to chainsaws while law abiding citizens do not. If anything, these laws will make it easier for them to take advantage of others.
The United States of America has been through some trials in recent history. We have sat idle as many of our freedoms have been chipped away. One of our foundational rights constantly remains in jeopardy. In the U.S., losing our right to own chainsaws would symbolize the loss of freedom.
I am not sure what direction this year’s election will go, but I am pretty sure that if the current administration retains leadership of the Executive and Legislative branches, they will fight hard to take our chainsaws away. If you value having freedom in the U.S. Keep this in mind. You may not be a chainsaw owner but I imagine that you do like having freedom. I imagine you enjoy deciding where to eat and what to wear. I don’t think you want a government that will dictate where you live, what religion you should or should not practice, or where you work. Freedom is a very delicate commodity.
I am not in favor of violence, but I am in favor of freedom. I am a chainsaw owner and proud of it. I am responsible and trained in how to use a chainsaw. Please join me this November and vote to protect our freedom.
Now reread this article as I wrote it originally. Replace chainsaw with gun.
Have a stolen iPhone? There’s an app for that! Such is the story of Katy. In April, 2012 she opted to enjoy some downtime on a cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. The cruise was entertaining and fun, but one sad thing happened while she was aboard the ship. Katy’s iPhone disappeared. The phone was never located and she returned home without her beloved iPhone.
In May, 2012 something interesting happened. Katy’s photostream received an update with new pictures. Those pictures were taken with her iPhone aboard the Disney Wonder. What was interesting, however, was that she did not take the photographs. They were apparently taken by the person who lifted her iPhone. Her phone has in fact been stolen and according to the photo documentation, it was stolen by a staff member aboard the ship.
Katy’s iPhone was gone but it had found a way to communicate with her and plea for her help. She could not turn her back on her phone in its hour of need, so she decided to share the photos with others and caption them with a story. She humorously crafted a narrative about the thief, “Nelson” and his adventures with her phone. She was brilliant and creative in the way she constructed her story about her phone. I could actually envision some of the captions in an iPhone commercial promoting it as an app.
Here is my introduction and some of Katy’s photo comments. (Her comments are in quotes).
Have a stolen iPhone? There’s and app for that. Introducing the new Thief Capture iPhotolog. See it in action: “This is Nelson, Nelson has stolen my iPhone.” “This is Nelson’s girlfriend. Apparently she works at the spa.” “Nelson likes to take photos of buildings in Mexico with stolen phones.” “He also likes to take photos of Cabo San Lucas and his super cool friends.” “And here's a beautiful sunset Nelson had time to capture, all on my stolen iPhone.” Download the new iPhotolog and find a new way to enjoy having a stolen phone.
It seems that Katy has made the best of her situation and has proven yet again that modern technology can outwit a simple pick pocketing thief. To see the photographs that were captured on Katy’s iPhone, visit her photo album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4102695045342.2181863.1221948597&
It's April 2 and pushing 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so I can't help but reminisce about the fun I had as a child in the summers. A big part of my childhood revolved around summer camp. I have so many fond memories of those days. Here's a a blog about one of those memories.
When I was a teen, I attended a church camp known as Camp Hickory Hills near Dickson, Tennessee. Camp Hickory Hills was your average church camp with nice facilities. It had air conditioned / heated cabins, a spacious cafeteria, a gymnasium, a big chapel, an in-ground pool, and a creek. Sitting adjacent to the creek was the camp’s concession stand. In my opinion, too much money was spent on building facilities at the campground. They could have saved tons of money if they had just not built the cabins, cafeteria, gymnasium, chapel or even the in-ground pool. All they really needed to build was the concession stand by the creek. This was where everyone spent their time and where all the camp fun and shenanigans took place. We would all get hyped up on Mountain Dew and candy and head to the creek for some real fun.
I have a couple theories why the creek became such a popular hangout. The first is because the swimming pool was truly just a ruse. It was a long walk from the cabins, completely surrounded by a 10 foot wall and no coed swimming was allowed. One day of swimming with a bunch of guys and getting dunked or de-trunked was all it took to decide the pool was a dumb place to go. The smart guys skipped the pool time and hung out with the girls at the concession stand. The second theory is that the creek was really cold and there is nothing more fun to a boy than listening to a girl scream as she got soaked with ice cold water.
As I mentioned, the creek was the big draw. What do you do in a creek? You build a dam and begin conducting unofficial baptisms. One part of the creek that happened to be near the concession stand was wide and fairly deep. We would gather large rocks and form a team of dam builders. We could build a dam in minutes. Within a half hour, we would have a five foot deep pool of ice cold water. Someone would speak in his best ‘preacher’s voice’ and begin baptizing every camper that could be found. If a camper was unwilling to be baptized, they could easily be carried by two or three guys. Despite the camp rules, we found a way to institute coed swimming or eh dunking. I’m not sure if those baptisms counted since many of them were forced and none of them were official, but they sure were fun. As I look back on those times, I wonder, “Where were the adults?” -Tim
What did the man who had to sneeze say while waiting at the train crossing?
A CHOO CHOO TRAIN!
- By Caleb McSwain (Age 8)
I apologize for not writing a post yesterday. I believe it was the first day I missed since I started blogging. We had a family day yesterday and I literally didn’t have a chance to write nor was I near my computer or a wifi connection. Since I missed yesterday I decided to write a blog on a nontraditional blogging day for myself – Saturday. I am currently at home with the kids while Julie is at a choir rehearsal. Whenever I am home with the kids they like to contribute to the blog. Caleb, the aspiring comedian, always has a new joke on hand. I sometimes don’t understand the punch line but they are amusing just the same. Rachel just likes to contribute with whatever ideas she has. This should be entertaining so here we go.
A dog with hog – Rachel (Age 5)
What do you call a dog when it is sitting in the sun?
A hot dog – Caleb
What kind of sea creature do sea creatures like?
Ham and doggies – Rachel
What kind of instrument slams things?
A slamborine – Caleb
What Hello Kitty’s like stuff?
A lopa ceno tino – Rachel (your guess is as good as mine)
Caleb has informed me that he has no more material right now and Rachel has started speaking an indiscernible language. Thank you for sharing family time with me. Have a great day!! - Tim