Sunday, November 29, 2009

Half Life in Engrish?

I've never even played this game, but my friend showed me this video...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Great Cover: Pomplamoose covering MJ's "Beat It"

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Any of you do the crazy Black Friday thing? We went to the mall in the afternoon after we saw Wes Anderson's new movie, "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," based on the book by Roald Dahl (James and the Giant Peach; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; etc.), and it wasn't all that crazy.

I am determined to do all my Christmas shopping via the internet, and I'll try to do as much of it as I can on "Cyber Monday," the internet's equivalent to Black Friday. Most websites offer free shipping, along with special discounts. No traffic, no scrambling for parking, no long lines and pulsing masses of people. Isn't my Christmas cheer astounding?

Anyhoo, I wanted to post this video from that group Pomplamoose (I posted their cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies") because it's fascinating to watch, and it's pretty dang catchy. Thanks to my friend Tim Costine for alerting me to this video.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

3.5 Year Anniversary!

In three days, Jess and I will have been married for three and a half years! It has been non-stop action and adventure; similar to Die Hard. I'm not sure why I thought to post something about a half-anniversary, except that a friend of mine from church forwarded me an email with a bunch of kids' responses to various questions about marriage.


You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
-- Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with...
-- Kristen, age 10


Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
-- Camille, age 10


You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
-- Derrick, age 8


Both don't want any more kids.
-- Lori, age 8


Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough...
-- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure?)

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
-- Martin, age 10 (isn't he ready for the world of dating?)


I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
-- Craig, age 9


When they're rich.
-- Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.
-- Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them... It's the right thing to do.
-- Howard, age 8


It's better for girls to be single but not for boys.. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
-- Anita, age 9 (bless you child)


There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
-- Kelvin, age 8 (I like this kid)

And the #1 Favorite is ....


Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
-- Ricky, age 10

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Artist of the Day: Whitley

I heard this guy on KCRW as I was driving home the other night, and he got wedged into my brain. His first album "Submarines" is mellow acoustic folk music, but his second album adds a little more synth-pop-rock to his singer/songwriter sensibilities.

That all boils down to an uber-catchy sound that I've been playing all day long via his Myspace page which you can get to by CLICKING HERE.

He's originally from Australia, and for some reason, his newest album "Go Forth, Find Mammoth" is not yet available from the U.S. version of iTunes, but I think his single "Poison in our Pockets" can last me until whenever that happens...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Christopher Hitchens Has Learned From Debating Doug Wilson

Christopher Hitchens is a celebrity of sorts among the militant atheist movement. He extended an invitation to debate any person of faith back in 2007 and has had that invitation accepted on a number of occasions. Perhaps most notably, he toured across the nation debating with Protestant theologian Douglas Wilson filming a documentary that releases on DVD this week called "Collision." (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRAILER)

Check out his honest and interesting thoughts on the whole experience HERE.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The High Cost of Getting Directions

I generally will only use the "street view" option in Google Maps if I'm unfamiliar with the area to which I'm headed. I will use it differently now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn is Here!

The seasonal change from Summer to Fall is one of the greatest times of the year. As those Summer heat waves hang on through late September, we find ourselves wondering if global warming has left Southern California in a state of perpetual triple digits.

Then after fires leave our already brown state even more brown, and after we cringe one more time at the cost of our A/C inflated electricity bills, Autumn arrives.

It was pretty dramatic this year; the temperature plummeted and the wind took on a marvelous chill. "Brisk" and "crisp" are words I like to use when describing the new fall weather, and as the leaves change, and rain (or at least chances of rain) comes, it makes falling asleep at night or for an afternoon nap a glorious experience.

I will admit that I am a SUCKER for cold weather clothing (scarves, knit hats, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, etc.) and I fall prey to the materialism that comes along with Autumn; most recently Starbucks' "Pumkin Spice Latte." Seriously, it's like Fall in a cup, but at $3 a pop, I best try and enjoy the free outside version.

On top of the great season change, I have dubbed October "Concert Month" for four very good reasons. The first two reasons have already come and gone, but they were all that I hoped they would be:

1) Mutemath with As Tall as Lions at Club Nokia.

I had been a casual As Tall as Lions fan since their first album "Lafcadio" which I bought at Best Buy simply because of the sticker on the front that said they combined elements of some bands I really liked, and I was in the mood to try something new. They had disappeared for a few years before I heard from them again, in the form of a new self-titled album with a few cool tunes on it. They put on a good show, and their music is all very heavily textured and focuses more on a creating and sustaining a vibe throughout their entire set, rather than writing catchy hooks for singles.
Mutemath is a beast of a band. They write catchy, creative, experimental, energetic, electronic-influenced rock, and their live show is all those things turned up to 11. Each of the members of the band is an essential element, but their drummer, Darren King, steals the show (which is honestly saying a LOT!). I didn't bother trying to film any of the show myself, since I prefer to "live it, don't film it," but just search for any Mutemath video on YouTube and hopefully you'll catch a glimpse of what I'm talking about. I was there with a number of good friends, and ran into some friends from back in San Gabriel, so the whole night was an absolute blast.

2) Sunny Day Real Estate with The Jealous Sound and Dead Country at Henry Fonda Theater

I got into Sunny Day Real Estate after their first two albums (the only two the original band lineup released together) had been released, but as I explored their catalog, including later albums with slightly altered member lineups and different names, I always came back to their first two: Diary, and LP2.

It was the mid-90s and we young teens were confused musically. Kurt Cobain had offed himself not too long ago, and we weren't sure if grunge could continue without him. We were still kind of unsure about this "modern rock" which also included horrible offshoots such as Ska, and Nu Metal.

Sunny Day Real Estate picked up where grunge left off thematically, in that after we were done being angry at everything, we were left with a melancholy and disappointed view of life. This would later turn into the genre we know as "emo," but Sunny Day kept our spirits up for those few years in musical no-man's land. CLICK HERE to check out this short but informative article from LA Times for a good snapshot of what this reunion tour was all about.

So those two concerts have come and gone, but two remain.

1) Petty Crux at Dakota Music Lounge.

Okay, shameless plug. Petty Crux is a band I play the drums in. We're playing Wednesday night, October 21st at 10:30 at The Dakota Music Lounge in Santa Monica. I know it's a Wednesday night, and it's late, but it's a great way to celebrate the conquering of the dreaded "hump-day" and the short time remaining until the weekend! CLICK HERE to go to Petty Crux's web site, and CLICK HERE to go to Dakota Music Lounge's site. If you can make it, I'd love to see you. If you're planning to come, then leave me a comment so I know to look for you!

2) U2 at The Rose Bowl

Enough said. U2 is one of the bands I had hoped to see before they call it quits. What can I even say? Probably everyone who reads this has lived at least part of their life with U2 as the soundtrack. My friend Phil is taking me to this concert, and he has lived MOST of his life with U2 in the background, so I couldn't have a better concert-mate. The only thing that disappoints me is that for this leg of their tour they have The Black-Eyed Peas opening for them as opposed to previous openers Muse, Snow Patrol, Elbow, and The Kaiser Chiefs. Ah well, beggars can't be choosy, and don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and any other cliches that apply.

SO that's far!

Friday, October 9, 2009

One Million Frames Per Second

Some of these films were taken at the rate of 1,000,000 pictures per second!It's some beautiful film work showing the destructive magnificence of a bullet impact on various materials. Sometimes the bullet shoots right through, sometimes it wreaks havoc on the material as it pierces it, and sometimes the bullet shatters to pieces.

It's a ten minute video, so if you want to fast forward to the "highlights" then skip to about 4:00 and 6:20

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Lord's Prayer

I did this song in church a number of months ago, and I have had numerous requests to record the version I did (Alfred Malotte's classic arrangement with a few twists and a vibe similar to Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah").

So here you go!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Great Cover! Paramore -->Kings of Leon

I found this video of Paramore covering the Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" and it's fantastic! It's from the Kings of Leon's album "Only By The Night" which any fan of good rock and roll should own. I'd always been a marginal fan of them, but this album is stellar from start to finish!

I'm more and more impressed by Paramore as well. I have their album "Riot" which is definitely very catchy and energetic. I'm curious to see how they'll evolve as a band in the coming years. Their front-woman, Hayley is really good. Apparently she was only 17 when the band released their first album. Not bad.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bits of stuff: Catching Up...Fall '09

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of activity! Here's a few snippets:

1) My mom had to have pacemaker replacement surgery. She's had one for a number of years, and eventually you have to get it replaced; it wasn't a dangerous situation per se...

So she had the surgery, and it went well, but she couldn't seem to recover. She had shortness of breath and felt extremely weak. My dad took her to Urgent Care like four times, and finally they found out that she had some fluid in her heart (apparently caused by one of the parts of the pacemaker). So they drained that fluid, and went back and replaced the part that had caused it, and she recovered really fast after that. As of today, she's home and almost back to 100%.

2) Busy week of ministry at Crossroads! Yesterday we celebrated our third anniversary as a church. We had a great morning of worship and teaching (starting our new study "Sovereign Grace" from the book of Ephesians), a cool slideshow spanning our three year history, and burgers from the In-N-Out truck afterwards! We also gave out our new worship CD that I produced over the past four months or so. (If you want one, leave a comment...)
The same week we had a great Men's Breakfast with over 70 guys! Pastor Dave Hegg came over from Grace Baptist and preached from Psalm 15.
Also last week, I moved my office for the fourth time! We got a lease on the unit directly across the parking lot from our current unit in the Industrial Park. We'll put all our offices over there, and have space for more adult teaching rooms, as well as a dedicated youth room.
We also went over to the Master's College for their "Church Ministry Fair" which is an opportunity for new students to find out about local churches that they can attend while they're at the college.

3) Jess started school over at Village Christian last week. She's entering her third year as a high school English teacher there. She teaches 10th and 11th grade English with an honors class thrown in there somewhere.
This will be her first year teaching that she is NOT also in school herself! She's finished her Masters degree in English, and completed and cleared her California teaching credential, so she's completely done! (I give her a few more years before she wants to go back for a Doctorate, but we'll see...)
This year we're trying to save really carefully so that next year she can take the year off of teaching and give a really concerted effort to her writing. She'd like to try and write and get published in the young adult genre with an adventure story she's working on featuring a deadly virus, gang warfare, a daring rescue, and a world in chaos. I won't say anymore, but yeah, maybe she can get it out there!

Hopefully we get settled into the school year routine quickly, and life gets back to its normal pace (which seems to be increasingly chaotic as it is!).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Puppy Can't Roll Back Over

He's like a little turtle!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lost in Translation!

Happy September everyone!

Wanted to share this website with you that will translate up to 150 words at a time. You basically enter the text, and then select which language you're translating FROM and which language you're translating TO, and then it does it!

What I recommend is to then copy the new translation (I did "Chinese-simp") and then paste it into a fresh translation box, and then translate it BACK into English!

Here's what I put in:

Oh boy! How I love to sing songs and hang out with my friends! They are all very cool and fun to be around, and they will always be there when I need them.

Here's what I got back:

Oh boy! How do I like singing the song and killing time with the friend of mine same place! They are is cool and the pleasure, and they forever need them in there me.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Pujols is Legit

So Manny comes back to the Dodgers from his suspension, and his numbers cut in half. It seems as though his "fertility medication" had a little more to do with his slugging that he was aware of; or at least wanted to admit.

This is ridiculous. We should have tried to get Albert Pujols.

CLICK HERE to check out this great story on him from the LA Times. Pujols sounds like a pretty solid believer. Good stuff.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WorshipGod09 - Pt. 2

John Piper's second message at the WorshipGod conference was entitled "The Heart of Worship." CLICK HERE to go to Sovereign Grace's website and hear the message for yourself.

Piper dealt with the heart condition and experience of joining with all creation in the exaltation of God's glory. He made the point that this very act (exalting God's glory) is a desired end, and not just a means to something else, but it does have effects on us to move us to other God-glorifying acts.

In-and-of-themselves, when we sing, pray, preach, meditate, and study God's word, these things praise God's glory. The New Testament writers hardly ever used the word most normally used for "worship" in the O.T. because the process had now become internalized!

So what do these experiences mean? They mean that we are satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ. This has been Piper's message for 30 years and countless books. He's developed the idea of "Christian Hedonism" and the helpful motto: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." If you're not familiar with this idea, or want to find out more about it, check out Piper's book "Desiring God." I think this is a book every Christian should be REQUIRED to read; if only to help them think through the idea of God's glory, and our joy.

He went on to outline much of his familiar material as it relates to the worshiping heart; namely:

1) That the pursuit of joy is NOT an option...since God is and should be our greatest and most fulfilling joy. He also pointed out a common misconception people believe: that "to the degree you seek your own benefit in an act, that act is morally corrupted." It is not wrong to serve God, and to worship him, and to follow him because it will work out to our benefit; that's how God intended it!

2) That pursuing satisfaction in God makes worship extremely God-centered. Meaning, that to seek our own joy and fulfillment IN CHRIST is NOT self-centered. When we sing "I'm desperate for you," or "I could sing of Your love forever" we are not focusing on "I" but on God.

3) That being satisfied in God protects worship as an end, not a means. Contemporary Evangelicalism uses "worship" for all kinds of things: evangelism, to raise attendance, to be relevant, to make money, to make us feel good. Worship is its own end, and results in our greatest joy; it should not be used to manufacture something else.

4) Being satisfied in God explains why the worship service and all of life are BOTH worship. Because whether we are singing, praying, eating pizza, or playing video games, we are living in light of the gospel, and doing everything for the glory of God.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WorshipGod09 - Pt. 1

Oh man, what a week. It seems like a really daunting task to try and recap what I experienced without just referring you to someone else's blog who did a really good job.

I flew out Monday night and arrived at 5:30am at which point John Martin picked me up and we went back to the hotel for a bit. The rest of that day we went to the Arlington National Cemetary in Virginia, and saw all the big sights in Washington D.C. and had an amazing dinner at this place called Old Ebbits Grill. It was my first time having crab cakes, and I was all-out stuffed; but it was worth it.

Wednesday we made a quick trip to Baltimore (REALLY quick, like find a starbucks, stand outside for a while, visit Fort McHenry, run back to register for the conference!). We had a lovely dinner at Corner Bakery, and then headed to the first session with John Piper.

I'll just write about that first session for now, as it would be really boring to read my entire recap in one post. The worship at Sovereign Grace Churches is PASSIONATE. They foster such a gratitude for the gospel into their people, that when they sing about the grace they've received in the cross, they can't help but be ecstatic about it! The music is really simple and not too heavily influenced by any one particular style, but the musicians are solid and they make the most of the slim rehearsal times they had (that was part of the conference mentality, that they wanted to do things the way we did them at church, not with all kinds of extra luxury rehearsal).

John Piper talked about "The God of Worship" and basically said the same thing he has said in all of his books, but that is eternally relevant and helpful for us to be reminded of: that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. To this end, God's act of putting his son on the cross was primarily an act to preserve and proclaim his own glory; that because he had "passed over sins" for hundreds of years for millions of rebels, he needed to show that he was not simply turning a blind eye. Crushing his son showed that he did indeed require death as a payment for sin. As a secondary goal however, his act proved to be an act of infinite love, as he sacrificed his own son instead of US!

For Christians, the only true, eternal happiness is found in the perfect glory of God, and so God, in upholding that glory, is actually preserving our infinite source of happiness!

So while it is true that God loved US and sent his son... in reality, he loved himself MORE! Piper calls this the "God-Centeredness of God," and he said that many people get hung up on this idea, and it turns them off to the idea of God. They want a God who is concerned solely for them. Pretty interesting thought: that God's favorite thing is himself. That being true, he wants to share with us the greatest thing he has to give us: himself!!

AHHHHH, man, my head is exploding, so I'll pick this back up later!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Two Days

Well, the rest of today, plus tomorrow, and then I can pick it up Monday! My new 137.

So to pass the time, I've got lots of activities going on. Did I mention that Jess is in Kentucky visiting her dad and his family?? She left this past Sunday (7/5) and gets back Wednesday (7/22). Yeah, 18 days. I KNOW. I'm over it. But like I said, plenty going on to keep me busy.

Tonight I'm going with a buddy to watch some big UFC fight. Apparently this is a pretty big fight, and a couple people I've told have said "oh yeah, I'm watching it too!" Tomorrow will be normal church in the morning, but then we've got a "Summer Sizzling Spectacular" in the afternoon/evening that should take up a good chunk of time. Then Monday morning I'll roll down to Hollywood and pick up my new treasure. It was a used item, so they had to hold it for 20 days to make sure it wasn't stolen. It was well taken care of, and I got it for about $850 cheaper than a new one. I'm excited!

To close, here's video of an 11 year old Korean boy who learned guitarist Andy McKee's arrangement of Toto's "Africa" in just two days.

Here's McKee's performance of the piece.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Went To The Michael Jackson Memorial

I decided, just for fun, to try and enter the drawing for tickets to the memorial service at Staples Center this past Tuesday morning. I went to the website, but was disappointed to find that they had closed registrations. Bummer.

Then I get a call on Monday afternoon from my friend Jon. He says "I have probably the strangest question I've ever asked anyone..." And proceded to tell me that he actually HAD registered and actually HAD won tickets! He picked them up from Dodger stadium, and had gotten seats inside the Staples Center, and not next door at the Nokia.

So I left on the 6:08am metrolink train from Santa Clarita (with all the traffic closures and tight security, we were advised to be there really early), and arrived at Union Station at 7:03. I got a text from Jon at about 7:15 saying he was on his way (on the Gold Line), but was running late 'cause he overslept.

He got there eventually, and we jumped on the Red Line to 7th street and walked the rest of the way to the arena, passing all the bootleg memorabillia on the way (shirts, buttons, stickers, lanyards, other random junk).

I loved Michael's music growing up. His "Dangerous" album was one of the first albums I ever owned (on cassette tape!), along with "Totally Krossed Out" by rapper teens Kris Kross, and the soundtrack to the Disney Afternoon. My musical tastes have always been pretty varied. I recently acquired his "Off The Wall" album on original vinyl, and have always kept digital copies of his albums handy, even his "Invincible" album.

I would dress up like him, and attach keychains and various other metal items to black jackets, and practice my moonwalk in socks on the wood floor. I believe I may have even had some of my stuffed animal friends perform his songs in concert in our hallway (totally serious; just ask my brother)

The actual service got off to a little bit of a slow start when Smoky Robinson came up and read letters from Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela, and then nothing else happened for upwards of 10 minutes. The crowd was eerily quiet, as family and friends arrived most likely from the private service that had been held earlier that morning.

Once it got rolling, the transitions were pretty smooth, and the performers were tasteful and respectful of the occasion. My two favorite performances were John Mayer's instrumental version of "Human Nature" (on of my Jackson faves),
and Jennifer Hudson singing "Will You Be There" (the Free Willy song).
There were numerous testimonies and eulogies that were really appropriate for the setting. It was interesting to note that many people had a sort of god-esque faith in this man. I heard on more than one occasion that Michael Jackson "taught us how to love." He was also credited with giving the world hope, and breaking down racial and ethnic barriers. I suppose to some degree he did do those things through his art, and through his humanitarian efforts (Jackson is in the Guiness Book of World Records for Pop Star Who Supports the Most Charities), but did Michael Jackson really teach the world to love? REALLY???

I don't like to hold non-believers accountable to all of the same standards we try to hold to as believers (they aren't Christians, why should I expect them to act that way? That would only contribute to their sense of being "good enough" and earning a way into heaven...), but when there ARE references to a Judeo-Christian background, and belief that Michael is in heaven, then we gotta hold the line. I know Michael was a Jehovah's Witness growing up, but that later on in life, he became more pluralistic in his views of world religions. He was always a "spiritual" guy, but it seems like he became pretty religiously ambiguous. I obviously would have loved to have known that he was saved, but I don't, so I didn't pretend to agree by nodding my head or saying "amen" (as many did) when someone referenced God, or that Michael was looking down on us, or when Stevie Wonder said that as much as we needed him here with us, "God must have needed him far more." Yeah, like God NEEDS anything. I'm sure He was doing just fine...

I'm not going to waste time criticizing, but I will say what I was reminded of because of the service. I was reminded that I have a hope that is so much freakin' better than the hope that Michael Jackson gave to people. I was reminded that the one who taught ME how to love didn't spend useless years of his life mired in child molestation charges (whether he did or didn't do it isn't the point...). I was reminded that the one who "broke down racial and ethnic barriers" didn't try to alter himself through countless plastic surgeries to seemingly transform from a black man into a white woman (skin disease or not, how many noses has he gone through?).

My "Michael Jackson" lived over 2,000 years ago, and lived the perfect life that I could never live so that I could be reconciled to the holy God I'd infinitely offended in my sins. Hopefully, my very life is a memorial to Jesus every day. Then again, most memorials are for dead people, which he isn't, so...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

13 Days

So I have thirteen days to go before I can pick up the new ES.

Apparently "13 Days" is a phrase commonly used to refer to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. That year, Cuban and Soviet governments decided to place nuclear missiles on Cuba to protect it from US harassment. When the US discovered this, panic ensued as they tried to remove the missiles. This was one of the moments in during the cold war where we really came close to a nuclear war! CRAZY.

I just finished reading a book called "The Last Oracle" which had a large portion of its plot center around the ruins of the Soviet nuclear age, specifically the disaster at Chernobyl. It's really fascinating stuff; that we can manipulate nature to the point that it becomes highly toxic to our bodies, and that if we are exposed to radioactive materials for long enough, it can kill us!

The areas surrounding that nuclear disaster have suffered long term consequences of that horrible reality. I came across a fascinating, if very sad, photo journalism presentation on the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl which you can find by CLICKING HERE. CLICK HERE for another slide show of the abandoned town of Pripyat which was the little village built to house the workers of the nuclear plant.

In conclusion, here are some 13-day old Labrador puppies:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

20 Days To Go...

I'm counting down the days until I can pick up a recent acquisition...

These are some of the videos that come up when I searched for "20 Days" on YouTube:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Talking Animals?

It figures that this would only be in Candada...

This on the other hand is real!

Search YouTube for "talking animals" and you can easily waste a good half hour...

Patience - Pt 1

Usually I am a pretty patient person. I have to be patient for the next 22 days. July 13th is the day.

While I wait, I will remind myself that people who lose their patience and flip out are like the following guy in an elevator.

I suppose if I really wanted to make the time pass faster, I could try and sleep more. Remember when you were in the car for a long trip, and you were like "ugghhh, this stinks..." and then you fell asleep? Yep, when you woke up, you had that drool all over your face to be sure, but you were THERE! I don't know if I can justify all that extra napping though...I may have to get this mixed martial arts chick to do the same thing to me as she does to this interviewer guy at 4:30...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Resolved 2009 Is Over

I will try and write more about the conference, which was FANTASTIC, but for now...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Resolved 2009 is HERE

Jess and I are leaving today for Palm Springs! Looking forward to a spectacular week of relaxing, worshiping, and hearing some killer teaching.

Here's a video of Bob Kauflin's song "Let Your Kingdom Come" from last year's conference!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saved By The Bell Reunion

New late show host Jimmy Fallon is trying to get the entire original cast of Saved By The Bell to come on his show for a reunion in honor of their 20th anniversary! This was probably THE coolest show when I was growing up, and at various seasons, I swear you could watch it like five times a day between all the different channels on which it was syndicated.

To get caught up to speed, check out these links:

After you've seen those, go to and sign the online petition! This is too cool for school.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What a Canker - Part 2

So what I thought was a canker sore, actually ended up being something different! My sore had persevered for over two weeks, and it would alternate getting all puffy and red, and then white and shrively. I thought it best to visit Dr. Gururaja.

He gave me some antibiotics which were a spin off of good ol' Amoxicillin, and they were the size of your pointer finger from the tip to the first joint. Seriously. I was full after taking this pill.

Dr. Gururaja told me that the antibiotics should make this thing go away pretty quick, but he told me to come back the following week to make sure everything was kosher. As I took my horse pills, I noticed a little improvement, but not much. Then halfway through the week, I noticed that the dosage instructions were to take 1 pill TWICE A DAY. Oops. So I went back to the Dr. having not completed my medication, and still having this chunk of mleccchhh in my mouth. He said to finish the meds taking the appropriate dosage, but then he said that he was going to refer me to an ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat specialist), because he thought that I actually had a MUCOCELE!

Wikipedia said that a mucocele is a swelling of connective tissue due to a ruptured salivary gland duct usually caused by local trauma. I betcha biting my lip counts as trauma. Basically, I cut a saliva vein, and the mucous collected underneath the skin of my lower lip and just kept collecting and collecting. Every so often it would drain out but then it would just fill back up again.

Dr. Gururaja said that mucoceles weren't dangerous or contagious (my wife was very worried about this), but that they can keep on getting infected (YES then can!), so it's best to have them removed if they don't go away on their own (which they do some of the time). So I'd have to go to the ENT and have them snip it right out of my mouth. Sounds like fun...

It all ended up being a MOO-Point (you know, like a Cow's opinion: who cares?) since by the time I received Dr. Gururaja's referal in the mail, my trusty mucocele did indeed heal up on its own.

Just thought some of you might have needed closure on this whole episode...

Total Eclipse of the Heart (Literal Video)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bits of Stuff: May 29th, 2009

-Today I performed a medley of songs by the Jonas Brothers for Legacy Christian Academy's "Legacy's Got Talent" end-of-the-year assembly. Never even heard a Jonas Brothers song before, consciously, nor did I ever imagine playing their songs. We didn't even place in the top three.  We were beat out by two of the most popular teachers who did a great dance routine, a group of guys who performed "Don't Stop Believing" with Rock Band instruments and "chin faces" (if you don't know what that is, click HERE), and a very intelligent and handsome dog named Risky.

-I got lunch at Del Taco today, and walked in to the store while they were having like an all-employee meeting where they were going over some new Del Taco products. Despite it being a cheap fast-food joint, their training is very meticulous, and the dude leading the meeting was very thorough and detailed.  Did you know they have a target weight for every finished product?  It was strange, thinking of Del Taco as a career path for some, and aspiring to taco-greatness.

-I met with my buddy Rob the other day down at his new job in Panorama City.  He's doing graphic design stuff now, which he is perfect for.  When I arrived, he was working on artwork for the helmets that will be worn by the Canadian national bobsled team for the winter olympics. Pretty cool.

-Rehearsals for the Resolved Conference next month are going great.  Just a couple more and then we're off to Palm Springs.  3,500 college students; so cool.

I guess that's all for now!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Third Anniversary

Today is our 3rd wedding anniversary!  Three years ago, Jess and I committed to love, serve, honor, and respect, and bear with each other for the rest of our lives as we follow Christ as our head.  We fail at all that stuff pretty regularly, but God's grace is huge, and we learn to forgive as he forgives, and to be patient as he is patient with us.

So much has happened in those three years; it's crazy.  But it's still just the beginning and so we raise our glass to the future and God's plans and provisions for us.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Awkward Family Photos

Finally! A blog dedicated to this important cultural phenomenon! 

Check it out!

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Biggest Fan: Daniel Jo

There's this ultra cool family at our church: Phil and Rose Jo and their son Daniel.  Daniel is a youngster with the most unique little personality you've ever seen.  They are Korean, and so they all have a slight accent, which makes the following email even better (I received this from him today):

Paul ------- 

I need to share this with you…..Pretty funny man (at least to me).

It just happened…


Daniel was in bath tub, singing all his gospel songs as usual.

He goes “Dadda, Is today Friday?”

I told him “Yes, my son.”


He told me this exact sentence “Can you go to Pau Hooover’s Worship Blog?  I wanna listen to new Sunday songs.”

Pretty funny huh?  Or is it just me?


Well, have a great Friday evening my friend.


Father of Paul Hoover’s Biggest Fan,



Friday, May 1, 2009

Mice Attack

I swear this is like some low-budget horror film...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

YAM Retreat

Our Young Adult Ministry (YAM) had its first ever retreat back at the beginning of April up at Lake Arrowhead! We stayed in a house up there that belongs to the sister and brother-in-law of Jeff Tritt who heads up the ministry along with his wife, Denise, and Wes and Denise Toy.

It was beautiful weather for the weekend: sunny, and clear, but still crisp and cold. We studied through the theme "Lifting the Barriers" and were reminded that there is no one we can't forgive because we have received ultimate forgiveness in Christ Jesus.

Here are some pictures of the trip:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What a Canker

Every once in a while my body goes through a lapse of motor skill, and my mouth forgets the well tread boundaries of my teeth.  I'll be happily chomping away at some tasty morsel, and my lip will just fly with reckless abandon into the path of my oncoming incisors

The pain is horrendous, but what's worse is the frustration at the lack of coordination and common sense exhibited by my body.  I've been chewing stuff for over 26 years, one would THINK that my lips would know to stay out of the way of my teeth.  But no.  They apparently don't.

The following hours are wrought with residual sting from the bite, and swelling of the pulpy flesh into which I've ripped.  I don't bleed that often, I save that for the worst bites, but I do try to keep all foods and liquids from touching the bruised area.  Within the next couple of days, the wound begins to heal; but in most cases, I will almost certainly bite the area again due to its swollenness, and will not only perpetuate the healing process, but cause the wound to take more drastic measures to repair itself. 

Enter the Canker Sore.  These beauties are like those blisters you get on your hand that fill with puss so they look like little, white water balloons.  Wikipedia says that Cankers and "Cold Sores" aren't the same thing; that Cold Sores are caused by Herpes, which I DON'T have.  So these Canker sores just sorta go away on their own, if you can manage not to bite into them and puncture the little puss-jewel.

Amidst all the annoying and painful qualities of these babies, I do kinda start to enjoy the feeling of running my tongue over the small alien texture on the inside of my lower lip (where the current one happens to be, and come to think of it, where most of them show up).  It's like a little ramp for my tongue who gets to pretend he's a skateboard or BMX bike just for a second as he leaps off the sore's squishy surface.

Jess remarked to me the other day something about our bodies being "the ultimate luxury transportation device" like it's a BMW or something.  I understand the sentiment; that God created our bodies with such an amazing technical aspect, and we should utilize that more often; as in exercise.  But my Canker sore is definitely more characteristic of a Kia than a Rolls Royce.
NOTE: These are not MY canker sores! They are random images I found through Google.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo...

Those of you who know me well know that I derive a certain enjoyment from English as a spoken and written language. I love how imperfect it is, and how often we fail to communicate what we mean, despite (for some) an extensive vocabulary.

My buddy Peter showed me this Wikipedia article on this famous example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated sentence constructs.

Before you follow this link, let me encourage you to stick with this, and not give up if it seems complicated at first. I would definitely recommend you share this experience with someone in your near vicinity. I would also recommend that you read the article out loud (either one of you). Hopefully it will sink in and have you reeling at just how ridiculous the idea is, and at the same time, how much sense it makes. Just wait until you get to the examples from other languages!!!

CLICK TO EXPERIENCE "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Full Time!

As of last Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, I am now a full time employee at Crossroads Community Church! God's been great to this church, and we were able to stick to the plan of adding on five hours every six months.

I'm really grateful to the people at Crossroads, for how they've loved and accepted me from the beginning, and how much they've encouraged me along the way! I'm grateful to the leadership for being so transparent and up front in their communications, and for trusting me with this position.

So after 1.5 years here, things are going unbelievably great, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Recording: Legacy Christian Academy & Enfield

I feel like there has been no time to blog as of late, and for that I apologize, because its fun for me, even if no one else reads them, to look back over my posts and reminisce and see the cool ways God directs my paths.

Recently, I've been doing a lot of recording for a few very cool projects.  Many of you know I had the immense priviledge and pleasure of helping to lead worship at last year's Resolved Conference in Palm Springs, and the band of which I was a part, called Enfield, is recording a new album for this year's conference. 

I wasn't able to participate in the basic rhythm tracking, which the group did at the legendary Capitol Records, due to scheduling difficulties, but I have been able to lay some lead guitar tracks down on some of the tunes.  The album is being produced by Scott Frankfurt who is one of the coolest people I've ever met, and is fantastic to work with. The majority of the songs on the album were written by my college buddies Ryan Foglesong and David Zimmer, and they're chock full of solid theology and poetic beauty.  The conference is June 12th-15th so the album should be out by then!

The other project I'm working on is for one of the local private schools out here in Valencia: Legacy Christian Academy.  This is the first year that they are a "Christian" school, having been Legacy Private Academy before this.  They've instituted chapels two Fridays a month, and they wanted to record the chapel band to send home to the kids and their families over the summer break.  I'm helping produce the album for them, as well as playing the drums for the songs.  Ryan Foglesong plays bass, and my other college buddy Ryan Patterson plays the electric guitar, so it's a mini reunion of sorts.  

Anyhoo, that's some of the fun stuff I'm able to be a part of lately, and some of the reasons I haven't posted much.  I'll try and get on the ball a little more!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My First AA Meeting

My good friend Rob just celebrated his 30th day of sobriety after joining AA, and he invited me to go and see him "take his chip."  This means that he received a small "chip" key ring that has a big "30" on it, that he can keep on his key chain to remind him of how far he's come. They give chips out at various milestones, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 1 yr, etc. Some of Rob's other friends were there as well, and it was so great to see how excited he was to have us there to witness this milestone. 

Rob recently gave his life to the Lord, and he's been coming to Crossroads with his friend Cody.  Rob is 42 years old, and actually knew Pastor Todd when they were young, as they both attended Grace Community Church.  Rob is more than six feet tall, he sports a clean-shaven head that is covered in tattoos, much like the rest of his body.  He wears huge spacer gauges in his ears so that you could easily fit a quarter inside, and he's got a six inch long goatee.  He is an artist, and practices at the local tattoo shop, and is currently pursuing some options in T-shirt airbrushing.

Rob has been a great example to me of what the Holy Spirit can do when we let him have control of our lives.  Rob has completely changed his life around, and though he still has some issues to work through (we all do right?), he has shown that he is a new creature in Christ, and that he wants to use his life experience and hardships to minister to others in his same position.

Love you Rob!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dreaming Doggies

We've heard that dogs dream like humans do, but it's always a little strange when they start making noises or twitching when they're dreaming.

Maggie was with me at the office last week when she started having a little dream, and she started making some kind of noise. I couldn't figure out if she was excited or scared, but she was breathing really deeply, and it was almost like a long wheezing noise. I wanted to shoot a little video of her on my phone, but the annoying "beep" that the phone does when it starts recording was enough to wake her up enough where she stopped her dream noise.

Oh well.

This poor little guy however, didn't stop at making a little whimper noise...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mute Math "Typical" Backwards Video

In anticipation of a new album this summer from the wildly creative band Mute Math, here is their Grammy nominated video for the track "Typical" from their self-titled release.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Sad Guitar Story

Last Friday (2-20), I went over to World Music to pick up a few various musical accessories; nothing too exciting.

When I got there, I noticed they had a PRS SE Custom Semi Hollow guitar on the wall that was labeled as a "Consignment Item" meaning they were selling it for someone.  I know that PRS makes some really expensive guitars, so my attention was caught by the $359.00 price tag.  My friend Ryan works at World Music giving lessons, and we surmised (and later verified via the internet) that this guitar would normally go f
or around $600.00 or more.  So I'm thinking "Sweet, what a great deal, I should seriously consider getting this guitar!" I proceeded to play
 it in the store for around 20 minutes and thought it felt like a great guitar.

I asked the guy at the store how long it had been there, and he said a couple of months; that it had only received mild interest thus far.  I figured I'd decide over the weekend, talk with Jess and my dad, and come back Monday if I wanted it.

So I did: talked with my dad who read all the reviews on it, and said it's a lot of guitar for the money.  I talked with Jess who agreed that it was a great deal.  And by Sunday night, I had decided to go for it.  

But the Lord decided differently for me...

I called Monday, and wouldn't you know it, they had just sold it over the weekend.  Perfect.

I was bummed, but I decided that I would take some of the money I was planning on spending on the PRS, and give my little cherry-red Mexican Strat a m
akeover, so I could play it more consistently.  So I found some good parts on ebay, and am getting ready to paint it, so hopefully it should be a fun project, and I'll be excited about the guitar again (I've always liked the little guy, but I didn't always take pristine care of it, and there was lots of rust on stuff, and of course, it was cherry red...).

So here's the guitar I missed out on,

but hopefully I'll end up with one similar to the Strat shown here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Valentine's Day '09

I'm pretty proud of my husbandly planning skills for occasions like Valentine's day. I had the day planned well before the end of January, and had mapped out our day with a detailed itinerary like something my brother would do. I was worried that Jess would somehow find and interpret the itinerary so I had carefully cloaked the itinerary in complex code, such as calling each destination "A" "B" "C" or "D." I know, I'm awesome. I had four destinations, and we actually only ended up doing the first two, but that was by conscious choice and NOT because of poor planning on my part.

Our day went something like this:

We arrived in Reseda at 9:00 am for Valentine's day photos with Lukas Van Dyke, who, if you aren't familiar with his work, is a very gifted photographer, and who is an all-around cool guy. We took photos with him as a part of his "Portraits For Missions" promotion, in which he takes all your photos for free basically, and just asks that you make a donation to missions on your way out. He's uploaded some of the photos from that day (including ours) on his blog that you can find HERE. If you're crazy and want to see our full session (74 photos), click HERE.

After photos, we drove down to the Getty Villa museum. It's not the one off of the 405 on that hilltop coming out of the S.F. valley.  This one is on PCH in Pacific Palisades, basically right on the beach. It was actually there before the Getty Center (the one you thought of first), and it's all ancient Roman, Greek, and Etruscan sculptures; no paintings here, this is all the original "hard rock" sort of art.  My two favorites were these guys:
Did you read "The Odyssey" in high school? Do you remember when Odysseus and his men were hiding in the cave from the Cyclops ("Help, help, 'no one' poked my eye out!"), and after poking his eye out with a stake, Odysseus and his men escape the cave by hanging onto the bellies of sheep. See it now? 

This sculpture of Zeus (which stands about three feet tall or so) was lost at sea for around 2,000 years!  You'll notice the left (Zeus' left) side of his face and body is all sculpture-white, while the other side is blackened and full of holes.  The white side was all buried and extremely well preserved, while the black side was exposed and served as home to many a mollusk.  Cool.

Here are some other cool shots from the museum:
Me and the man: Hercules. He's naked.

The front entrance of the museum. It's modeled after a Roman country villa.

Special Valentine's day brownies from the cafe. Free is always good.

My pretty Valentine in the villa garden

I honestly can't remember who this statue is, but Jess is pretty
The closest thing to a painting in the whole place, it's painted directly on a piece of wall.

You can see the big, blue Pacific ocean from the cafe. It's really beautiful.

I had planned for us to go down to Santa Monica's 3rd Street for a bit after this, and then get happy hour appetizers at this cool French restaurant down there, and then see a movie, but we were so relaxed and content that we just stopped by Trader Joe's on the way home and had a relaxing dinner and evening at home.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Drugs and Kids

This is why drugs are bad...and funny...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keith Getty Quote

"The contemporary generation talks a lot about songs having to sound contemporary for the unchurched to listen to. In my experience of having non-Christian friends attend Christian events or church, they're much more warmed when everyone is singing passionately and confidently, rather than somewhere somebody's trying to do something half as well as it might be done on MTV, or where everybody in the congregation is standing around and staring. Nine times out of ten, they're acutally quite embarrassed by that.

If I've got non-Christian friends coming to church, I'd far rather give them four verses of comparatively heavy theology with some theological words which explain the gospel, than give them twenty repeated words that could be said about your pet horse or your girlfriend."

Bits of Stuff: Recent Arts Intake

Last Tuesday night Jess and I went to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages theater in Hollywood. My parents also went, along with my brother and his roommate Chad, and Jess' friend from work, Erica. We also found out that the Master's College had happened to buy a number of tickets for students to attend that same night. Weird.

If you know me well, you know I don't generally like what is stereotypically considered a "musical." All kinds of exaggerated choreography; insincere, half-witty dialogue; and vibratos so big you could drive a truck through them. Some musicals however, can cut through my cynicism, and Phantom of the Opera is one of them. The themes of Phantom are so dark and tragic, and the characters are rife with conflict, both internal and external. The musical themes are simple and memorable, and pop up with what seems like annoying frequency, but the end result is that they are seared in your memory for all time.

The other cool thing we saw was the stop-animation movie "Coraline" in 3-D. It's billed as a kid's movie, but there are some really dark plot elements. Overall, it's just a visually stunning movie, and the 3-D technology has really come a long way. Apparently though, the story of Coraline (the book that inspired the movie), is a hybrid rip-off of two stories: Grimbold's Other World, and The Button Boy (from some sort of gothic-horror story anthology).

In the movie, they refer to the villain as the "beldam" which is an old word meaning specifically an old or ugly woman, and can generally refer to a witch. As we were driving home, I asked Jess what it was they were calling her, and she proceeded to explain the literary examples of beldams, such as in Shakespeare and what not. After she finished, she said (half to herself) "I know a lot about literature." Apparently she just realized that she cross references everything she encounters in life back to literature. Funny.

Here's the trailer for Coraline

Monday, February 9, 2009

Radiohead @ the 2009 Grammys w/ USC Marching Band

I didn't get to watch this live, but thank the Lord for YouTube...

Gwyneth Paltrow is pretty, and she did a great intro:

In case you're wondering, here's what the original sounds like...

Resolved 2009 Trailer

The trailer for this year's Resolved Conference is out, and it is pretty awesome. My favorite part is at 2:29. ;)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Foundation Winter Retreat '09

This past weekend was our Youth Group's second annual winter retreat.  We drove up to Pine Mountain Club (a little bit West of Frazier Park), and rented out two cabins, and generally had a great time.  I drove up Friday night and came back Saturday, as I had to work Sunday morning, but it was a good time to hang out with the students and build relationships with them. Jordan Baker of Grace Brethren Church was the speaker, and he talked to the kids in the morning and evening on Saturday from the life of David.  During the day Saturday, we were able to hang out and play cards, go on hikes, play soccer, or just relax, and I even let a few of the girls take some flat irons to my hair.  It had been some time since I'd last done this, so it was interesting to see how long my hair had gotten.  "Wow, that's a look" was a common response.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the weekend.

Kyle and the boys play "Silent Football"

I'm still not sure how this game works...

Uno "Cutthroat" edition. These guys were intense.

Egyptian Rat-Screw = Anxiety attack.

Student Ministries Director
Stephen Barshaw and his wife Candace

Al in the kitchen with his beloved coffee

Hanging at the girls' cabin



Holly grabbing a quick nap after hiking

This is how Natalie plans to smile for her senior pictures

Alicia playing Uno; like I said: Cutthroat

The couch was a popular hangout 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

NPR on Microsoft's Songsmith

Apparently Microsoft has come out with some really advanced (if infinitely hokey) voice/pitch recognition software that builds an entire band's worth of music around a melody that you sing into the computer along with a simple drum track...

Trust me, you want to READ THIS, and check out the videos...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bits of stuff: January '09

Seems like a lot has been going on...

-The United States swore in its 44th President, its first of African American ethnicity, but it wasn't without a little bit of difficulty...

-Jess and I saw the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which I must say was one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen, and I'm not prone to exaggeration in this regard. If you haven't seen it, I won't give anything away, but its just one of those movies that really looks at the beauty of human life and relationship in the context of our certain mortality; make every moment count.

-I had a belated birthday party this past Saturday at my friend Clemente's house, and it was a bonified blast. Friends from San Gabriel and all over came by and we ate, drank, and played Rock Band together. We topped it off with a special performance by the band I'm playing in with Clemente, called Petty Crux.
(Click HERE to check out our MySpace)

-I just found out about the true story of Roe V. Wade, and I think you should click HERE to read it. Very sobering in light of this Sunday being "Sanctity of Human Life" Sunday.

-I got my second tattoo the other night from my friend Rob's shop. He is a new friend who has started coming to my church, and it works out that he just started working at Santa Clarita tattoo a few weeks ago! In case you are unfamiliar with my tattoo "plan" (I figured I needed a plan since everyone told me "once you get one you'll want more," and I didn't want to make any rash decisions), I want to get each of the Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. I want to get each one in a different language to symbolize the need that ALL people of ALL languages have for the gospel. I got my first one in the summer of 2006: the Japanese (Kanji) character for "Love." My second is the Hebrew word for "Joy" ("simcha") written in Hebrew. Maybe I'll post a picture soon...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Word Equation Quiz (Pt. 2)

Okay, here are the rest of the word equations from the quiz. I've talked with some of you who were working on the first half, and figured some out, but didn't post the answers, so go ahead and help those out who are stuck by posting your guesses.

13) 4= Q in a G

14) 24= H in a D

16) 1= W on a U

17) 11= P on a F T

18) 57= H V

19) 5= D in a Z C

20) 1,000= W that a P is W

21) 29= D in F in a L Y

22) 64= S on a C

23) 40= D and N of the G F

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Word Equation Quiz (part 1)

I got this from my boss at the Tutoring Club. It's a "quiz" that gives clues in the form of "word equations" which are well known phrases with numbers, in which key words have been replaced with their first letter only.

Here's an example:

26 = L of the A

The answer is: 26 Letters of the Alphabet. Make sense?

Supposedly in the three years since the test was developed, few people were able to solve more than half the 24 questions on the very first day. Many however, reported getting the answers long after the test had been set aside, particularly at unexpected moments when their minds were relaxed. In the following list, each answer is known to almost everybody. The promlem is to make the connection. Just remember, each answer is inside your head somewhere...

1) 26 = L of the A (Answer: 26 Letters of the Alphabet)

2) 7 = W of the W

3) 1,001 = A N (this was the only one out of the group I had to have the answer told to me)

4) 12 = S of the Z

5) 54 = C in a D (with the J)

6) 9 = P in the S S

7) 88 = P K

8) 32 = D F at which W F

9) 18 = H on a G C

10) 200 = D for P G in M

11) 8 = S on a S S

12) 3 = B M (SHTR)

---Alright, see how we do with the first half, and I'll post the second half later. Leave your guesses in the comments. DON'T TRY TO LOOK IT UP ON GOOGLE OR ANYTHING. If you can't figure one out and HAVE to look it up like a cheater, then don't post the answer!!