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Monday, June 25, 2007

2 Years Baby!

Melissa and I had an exciting week. We went with the MSM to Muirwood Park Wednesday for theEVENT. It was cold, but fun.
This weekend I filmed a wedding in Grass Valley. Melissa and I went to Rocklin to stay with Nick. I will write about it later this week and post some pictures.

Tomorrow is our 2 year anniversary which is nuts! We are going to go to Santa Cruz and to dinner and will do some sorta overnight thing later in August.

I can't believe that it has already been 2 years! We have had a lot of fun and I grow to love the girl more and more every day! It's also weird to think that we will have a 6 month old child by the time our 3 year anniversary rolls around. Crazy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Simple Way Fire

As I have stated before, I recently finished reading Shane Claiborne's book, The Irresistible Revolution. In his book, he talks about what it looks like to live as a disciple of Christ in our present age and society. He helped establish a community called "The Simple Way" in an extremely poor part of Philadelphia. The Simple way provides housing, education, food, and support for those living in the community. It is a hippy-ish community of Christians trying to learn what it looks like to live like Christ. The singer for mewithoutYou, who is from Philly, lived there for a while as well.

Last night around midnight a 7-alarm fire destroyed The Simple Way and much of the surrounding neighborhood. The fire started in an abandoned factory warehouse and spread to the neighboring houses. It took over 200 firefighters to extinguish the blaze. No one was hurt in the fire, however, The Simple Way was a beacon of hope and a place of refuge in an extremely impoverished place and the effects of this fire will be long lasting.

This is extremely weird timing, having just finished the book last month and having just seen mewithoutYou. There were a lot of really great things going on in that neighborhood (and some tragic things as well) and it will be interesting to see how the recovery process goes. God will work through all of this and more than likely, The Simple Way and the Christians in that community will grow stronger because of it.

For more information about the fire and The Simple Way, check out their website. Pray for the members of The Simple Way community and those that lost their homes in the fire.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Day Over 25 Years in the Making

Sunday was Father's Day. This day held special significance to me for a number of reasons. Number one: I got to spend time with my family which is always a treat. Number two: Sunday was my first Father's Day as an almost father. That has to be worth something. However, the number three reason of significance was by far, the most significant.
In 1980, Fuddruckers was established, Whole Foods was incorporated, the space shuttle was invented, and my dad began growing his mustache. All of these items are important and worthy of mention, however, in my household and in the homes of those I love, few inventions or landmarks hold a candle to my father's mustache. In fact, since my birth and the subsequent birth of my younger, olive-skinned, brother, a razor has never even skimmed the follicles secured north of my father's lip. He didn't want to shave it and, more importantly, my mom would not let him. All of this came to pass on Sunday.
The pressure came slowly. Gradually increasing in persistence and measure, my brother, my wife, and various friends and family, began encouraging my father to shave off the stash, insisting the time had come for a change. At first he was worried, cried even. Then, little by little, he began to break. I saw it first in his eyes. A little glimmer of hope. The chance to finally evade the Borat-impersonator persona. You could see a little thought bubble appear above his head each time he saw a razor, picturing a day without looking like a guy with one of those sunglasses/nose/mustache disguises on. He could have a fresh start, a younger, hipper, more dapper him. And then, all of a sudden, on the eve of his 5oth year on this planet (over half of which living with the mustache), he was ready for the shave. The documentary below depicts the monumental moment, and those leading up to it, in all its glory.

Mandie and Melissa giggled, cried, and screamed as he shaved it. It was like we were all sharing a sacred moment together. Justin and I are still adjusting to our new father. It feels like we don't even know him anymore. My mom wasn't too happy about the new look. She prefers her man to have a stash, but few can argue that the man looks a good (and I mean good) 10 years younger. His mom (my grandma) stood up, hooted, hollered, and clapped at her son's new look. She said, and I quote, "I have my son back." Oh the baggage that that facial hair carried. He said that he is going to keep it shaved until at least his 50th birthday, July 11th, at which point he will re-evaluate his new found self and decide what the future of his face will be. Let's hope he chooses well.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I've Been Promoted to Diamond Level

This weekend was memorable for many reasons. Some of which I will get in to now and some of which I will divulge later. On Saturday, Mel and I went to the A's game with Jen and sat in ridiculously good seats. Jen gets "Diamond Level" tickets from her work. The seats are literally on the field, right behind home plate. They are amazing! Not only do you get to sit directly behind home plate, on the field, you get all-you-can-eat food as well....FOR FREE! A fat kids fantasy-baseball and food. The girls were shown on Diamond Vision (the big jumbotron screens) twice and I managed to make it on once. We were also on TV quite a bit because each time they would show someone warming up on deck or a play at the plate, our sweet little faces were cheering in the background. Mel got a bunch of the A's player's autographs (Piazza, Kotsay, Ellis, Crosby, etc.) and I got a couple Cardinals' people (Rolen and LaRussa). We bought a couple balls before the game so that we could give them to our child someday, because he or she will undoubtedly be a huge baseball fun. Thanks for the tickets Jen!

Friday, June 15, 2007


I just figured out how to upload videos from my phone to YouTube. Sheer genius! I can now share the footage of our young child's heartbeat. It was really weird the first time I heard it. We both (Mel and I) looked at each other and thought, "wow, there's really something alive in there." The doctor then explained to me that babies don't actually grow inside of the mother's stomach and that the whole stork process is in fact fiction. Fascinating.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Baby name idea #12...

"Rikki Tikki Tem."

Our child is destined to be the source of many stories, legends, and mysteries for years to come, and as such, he or she should be named accordingly. Due to my (and Melissa's) fascination with Chinese folk stories, Rikki Tikki Tem is the perfect name.

The nickname for Rikki Tikki Tem would be Rikki Tikki Tem-bo. When Melissa or I get mad at our child we could shout, "Rikki Tikki Tem-bo Nosarembo Charrie Barrie Ruchi Pip-Perry Pembo!" That way our child would know that we were serious and seriously passionate about Chinese folk stories, ergo killing two birds with one stone.

I felt the baby kick pretty hard yesterday. That was the first "real" kick that I have felt. Up until now I have been a bit of a baby-kick skeptic, constantly telling Melissa that I am feeling her stomach muscles tensing rather than the kick of our strong-legged fetus. Turns out I was wrong. The baby is indeed in there, just kickin' it.

In other news, I inspired Eli Mayerson to have his head shaved. I am honored.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ooh Rah

Chris Clark, a good friend of my brother and I (and many of you), is a Marine Recon currently in Iraq. Last week his grandma passed away. He and his brother were pretty much raised by his grandparents. His parents were in to a lot of bad stuff and were incarcerated for a while, so his grandparents took him and his brother in. His grandpa (Hank) had no way of getting hold of Chris to give him the news. He called my mom to give her the news and to see if she had any contact with Chris. My mom and brother prayed that Chris would call in the next couple days so that they could get him in touch with his grandpa. Chris called Saturday at 5:00 am. Totally random. He told Justin that he is in Kuwait and about to begin a covert mission entering Iraq undercover. He told Justin that he was scared and asked him to have people pray for him. Justin then told him about his grandma. Chris then hung up and called his grandpa. Pray for the safety of Chris and his unit as they are probably doing this mission as you read this. Pray that he will be challenged to grow in the Lord as well and that people will be brought in to his life that know God and can encourage him.

Charlie requested that I post this ridiculous drama from last year's mission trip to the Rez. We were in charge of creating (no pun intended) a drama during our training sessions last summer and this is what we came up with. During the creative process we had no idea that I would be doped up on Hydrocodone when we actually performed the skit. It really brought the drama to a whole new level. My narrating, as you can see, was really top notch.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It's ALIVE!!!

In the past week or so, Melissa has began to be able to feel the baby moving. She is 17 weeks along now (is my math right Lo Jo?) and according to the mounds of baby books that we have, some women can feel the baby move as early as 14 weeks. If they're pregnant that is! I have also been able to feel the baby as well. Not inside of me so much but when I put my hand on her stomach. It is really weird to think about how fast this baby is growing. It seems like yesterday he-she was as small as a pea!

I was looking at the Panfilio's blog and stole one of their ideas. If you look on the right hand side of this page you will see an Expect Net banner thingy. If you click it you can enter in your name and guess when the baby will be born, sex, length, weight, etc. Fill out your guesses today! The winner will receive my child's instant respect when it is born.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Truth About Bauer & Chocolate is Bad for Dogs and Americans

I just got off the phone with Melissa who just had a conversation with one of her co-workers about their puppy. They (her co-worker and her husband) had recently gotten a Golden Retriever puppy from the same breeder that we got Bauer from. The couple had been trying for months now to get their dog's papers from the breeder. When Mel and I got Bauer I got a really weird vibe from the breeder. He was kinda creepy and all of his puppies smelled like pee. He wouldn't let us go in to his house or see the puppy's parents. Not to mention the fact that Bauer had worms and fleas, a lovely piece of information that we found out at his first vet appointment. Anyway, Mel's friends kept going to the guys house to get the papers and he kept saying they were in the mail. They even threatened to return the puppy to the breeder. That's when the breeder told the truth. He was in fact a puppy broker. Meaning, he gets puppies from a breeder (in this case, a lovely dog-hatchery in Oregon) and sells them on their behalf. This explains a lot about Bauer. As a young pup, born and bred in Oregon, he was taken from his parents, placed on and airplane, and sent to the flea-infested, worm-laden, pee-hole, that the dog broker called home. So sketchy. Anyway, we are returning Bauer for a full refund. I wish!

For Charlie: In other news, they are shutting down the Hershey factory in Oakdale and moving it to Monterey, Mexico. By 2010 the company will save $190 million but will lose over 10,000 American jobs. Pretty lame. Plus, as a pudgy child, I rather enjoyed touring the Hershey Factory, mainly due to the fact that I got free candy at the end.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

KIndergarten, not Kindersmarten (Trees, Trucks, and More!!!)

I helped out in Mel's class today. I like going in there. The kids are pretty funny and it sorta makes me feel like a celebrity when I show up. Kids clamor to sit next to me, stare at me, ask me random questions, and think pretty much everything I do is cool. I picture a similar relationship with my yet-to-be-born child. Mel asked her students to give suggestions for baby names. Some of the highlights included, Spiderman, Loop (Pakistani suggestion), Star Wars, Anakin, and Joe. No joke. Those were real suggestions. Classic. I worked at one of the tables in the room helping students fill out a paper about their dad for father's day. The questions were pretty basic (dad's age, favorite thing to do, food, etc.) but the answers were classic. Most kids assume their dad's age is in the 80-90 range. I am pretty sure that is not accurate. One of the kid's dad spends a lot of time at the tapioca shop apparently, and if given the choice to have anything in the world, his dad would choose tapioca. I believe him.

Last night at the church a tree fell down. It was exciting. A bunch of high school students placed the tree in the back of Rob Calame's truck. We then tried to put the tree in Deej's car but someone tipped him off and he came out and caught us in the act.

Here is the church segment of the Immanuel Mission Promo DVD. It features clips from their basic church service in addition to some footage from Christmas time. Oh the splendor of it all.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Digging For Gold (Babies and Boogers)

Unfortunately, due to a lack of sign-ups and student motivation, I had to cancel the Middle School Ministry's Canada Day Camping Spectacular. That's the bad news. The good news is the the college and young adult ministries @ VBC have taken over the trip. Melissa and I will still be going. We are sorta heading it up alongside the Moog's and Charlie. Rollins Lake is a pretty fun place and I am pretty excited to go there at the end of the month.

I finished editing the Immanuel Mission promo DVD and I will post the various segments on here in the coming days. Today I will treat you to an amazing bit of nose-picking footage that I captured while on the Rez. It's priceless.

Melissa is beginning to show a little which is pretty exciting. I enjoy talking to her stomach, informing the fetus about how cool his (or her!) father is and how lucky they are to have me, and how cool they are going to be, and other inspirational stuff like that. The kinda uplifting stuff that Dr.'s recommend.

Now it's time to go destroy Jake in tennis. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Last night I had the pleasure of attending the mewithoutYou show at Slim's with Tony and Jake. It was a treat. For starters, mewithoutYou aren't really like any other band out there right now. They are rather hippy-ish. They are all Christian dudes, and much in the spirit of Shane Claiborne and the like, are these communal, organic-eating, social justice-craving, Jesus loving, potluck enjoying, carrot devouring, spoken-word rocking, accordian and bell playing, weirdos. As complicated and lame as that description was, it is the best that I can do. The singer does this weird spoken word, dancing, stuttering, singing thing. They asked their fans (via their website) to bring food to the show to share as well as a non-guitar instrument if any of the fans would like to play with them on stage. Sadly no one brought any instruments. As you can see from the video below, people do bring instruments to their other shows.

Their bus (above) is powered using vegetable oil. No joke. Read an article here about veggie cars. There were 3 other bands as well (Manchester Orchestra, Piebald, and The Snake The Cross The Crown). I enjoyed all of them but Manchester was particularly good. The show was a lot of fun. We got back super late but it was worth it.

Mel went to the senior banquet at church. She said that it was a lot of fun. Before she was a middle school leader, she was a high school leader, and had been with this group of girls since they were freshman, so it was a good bit of closure for her. They had over 125 people at the banquet. What a splendid occasion!

Friday, June 01, 2007

100th Post (What a loser)

As the glorious title of this post suggests, this is the my 100th post ever. That is quite the landmark and to celebrate I am going to go play tennis. Tonight the VBC softball team attempts to raise our dubious record to 2-5. We are currently 1-5 but we try hard and that has to be worth something. The game is at 9pm. Be there!

Today also marks the beginning of Melissa's 16th week of pregnancy. As Lauren noted on a previous post, my math has been a bit off throughout this pregnancy but rest assured, it is accurate now. This is officially the 4-month marker.

Here is another segment from the Immanuel Mission Promo DVD. I have been doing a ton of editing lately and I will continue to post things as I finish them. I just finished filming a video for Tyler Moxley's real estate stuff. It is riveting cinema but you will have to wait to see it until I am finished editing it.

On Sunday I get to go see mewithoutYou at Slim's with Jake. It is going to be incredible. I will tell you all more about it later. They truly are one of the most unique bands out there right now. If you get a chance, go on their site and read the section entitled, "Potlucks + Play With Us on Stage." I really can't do the article justice by paraphrasing it. Enjoy.