Friday, July 31, 2009

Take a Hike

Here we are in the mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado hiking with the family, and by family I mean like 30 of us across four generations.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Whatever It Is, He's Against It

I have a friend, Mike B., who we joke is the youngest old man you'll ever meet. He's super-conservative, mostly in his resistance to any kind of change whatsoever.

In honor of Mike's steadfast opposition to change, here's a little Groucho Marx.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cave of the Winds

My precious family is having a wonderful time in Colorado. I'm actually blogging this from the observation deck at the Cave of the Winds.

Another Medal of Honor in Afghanistan

Here's a few links regarding SFC Jared Monti, the latest hero to be honored with the Medal of Honor. Sergeant Monti was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006.

Pundit Review Radio (recommended–listen to the radio clip)

Monday, July 27, 2009

KU Mondays

The NCAA basketball schedules were released last week and the television schedule heavily favors the Kansas Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks will be on ESPN's Big Monday four out of five weeks from late January through February. The games are vs. Missouri, at Texas, at Texas A&M, and vs Oklahoma.

Virtually all of the games are nationally televised, with six games on ESPN, three on ESPN2, two on CBS and twice on ESPNU (which I don't get). The other games are on local TV and available nationwide if you have ESPN Full Court.

KU plays the evil Tigers from the state of Misery on January 25 and March 6.

Off to Colorado

We're off to Colorado for a week, all seven of us in the van.

Thanks again to Kyle D. for house-sitting. No parties, no subletting. If it's in the fridge and out-of-date, eat it.

Cat Caption Contest

Who has the best line for the photo below?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Random RedBox Thoughts

  • Redbox DVD rental kiosks are everywhere: Walmart, McDonald's, Walgreens, etc.
  • $1 per day. That's a lot cheaper than the $4.99 pay-per-view on my DirecTV, which is now trying to entice me with a buy two, get one free (still over three bucks per movie).
  • Free rental codes can be had at websites like
  • I'm not impressed with greasy, sticky DVD cases. Yuck. I need to stop renting from McDonald's.
  • I also don't care for the limited selection.
  • Is it just me, or are all of the DVD's the bare-bones version with almost no extra features at all?
  • In the end, I still like the cheap, quick rental of a DVD. Redbox (along with Netflix and digital distribution) is going to kill brick-and-mortar stores like Blockbuster.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random Thoughts 7/25/09

  • Have you seen my cute little girl?
  • It's good that "Chuck" is coming back for another season. What a silly, fun show.
  • We're getting ready to leave for Colorado in just over 24 hours. Thank you, Kyle, for house-sitting and watching the dogs for us. Remember, Kyle, no parties and don't let the cat sleep in the bed with/on you. We know you're allergic.
  • Our President's gut reaction is just a bit racist, I think. That's too bad… because tens of millions of people were not very racist when they voted for him.
  • I'm also eager to see the new Stargate show, "Stargate: Universe," on October 2 as well as the second season of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." If I had HBO, I'd watch the upcoming series, "The Pacific," which is a companion series to "Band of Brothers."
  • Another Medal of Honor is going to be awarded (more on that at a later time) but again there was something like a three year delay and, again, it is posthumous.
  • I know the swine flu should be a bigger deal to me… but so far it's kind of underwhelming as "pandemics" go. After all the fuss, a few hundred people have died world wide. Do you how many more people have died of things like malaria. In fact, about the same number of people get struck by lightning each year as die from the swine flu. I hope it doesn't get more serious, but it's going to be difficult for the general population to care much when there's so little impact.
  • The President has continued to slip from his astronomically high approval ratings. Actually, he's tracking worse than Jimmy Carter.

We Survived the New Floor

After having our damaged kitchen floors replaced, we are back in working order at the Altic household. Except for the actual installation of the floors, we did everything else ourselves: tearing out the old floor, removing appliances and cabinets and furniture, etc. and replacing the same. Dad and Shannon each did a tremendous share of the work, for which I'm eternally grateful (I spent most of my week stuck in the office making up for time away at camp and preparing for time away on vacation).

Overall, this project went much better than most home improvement projects.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Change is Hard on Little Guys

My five year old stood in my office door, looked at the neighboring office where our new youth minister has moved in and asked, "When [my friends] come back, can their daddy have his office back?"

"No honey, they're not coming back."

"[My friend] said they're coming back for Brennan's birthday."

"They might come for a visit, but they're not coming to stay. They have a new home now, far away."

His big brown eyes searched the ceiling for understanding, "Oh."

My heart broke at the defeated, lonely sound of his little voice. How do you help a five year old understand that friends move away and don't come back? That's just life, isn't it?

Random Thoughts 7/23/09

  • We had a great event last night at the church for the kids. We had 113 people (children and parents) for a premiere of the new VeggieTales video. Our new youth minister, Chris put it together and did a great job, especially with being so well organized.
  • "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free."
  • Our house is 95% back together after the floors were redone. Now that the inconvenience of storing our kitchen in the living room and hallway is over, it's easier to enjoy the wonderful new flooring. Thanks Dad for all your help!
  • I just can't wait until going to the doctor is like going to Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • We're getting ready to leave for Colorado. It's incredible how many loose ends you have to tie up to get a family of seven out the door for seven days. House-sitter? Car-top carrier? Diversions for the ride? Hotel reservations? Route planning? Plans for the animals back home? It keeps adding up.
  • "If we change our health care system to be like the Canadian's, then where will Canadians go for health care?"
  • I stopped worrying about pending retirement/possible comeback of future Hall of Famer Brett Favre a long time ago.
  • "Health care isn't broken in America. It's too expensive. So remove the lawyers and bureaucracy and you'll reduce costs to doctors and hospitals, lowering the price of health care."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not That It'll Make a Difference

I realize that the true believer conspiracy theorists will never be persuaded that we actually landed on the moon forty years ago this week.

But we did. And there's a ton of information and countless tens of thousands of individuals and witnesses. There are even new photographs of the lunar landers on the surface of the moon, taken just this month.

You Rock

The best gifts are ones that have deep, sentimental value.

Yesterday I received a small, 1000 pound gift. Dad and Kennie delivered a small boulder to my house, thanks to our friend Pat B.

The rock is the same rock that sat out in front of my house growing up, and though its just a rock, it figures into lots of childhood memories for me. I've sat on that rock, jumped off it, bled on it, and cried on it. I stepped off that rock to climb on to my first 10-speed bicycle and once stood there to throw a cat at a blacksnake (but that's a different story). Everytime I came or went from my house growing up, I walked past that little boulder. Now it's sitting outside my front door in here in KCK.

It only took seconds for my boys to start clamoring all over it. They'll be leaping off of it for years to come, and once in a while I'll sit down on that little boulder and watch them play.

Thank you guys! Thanks to Pat, Kennie, and Dad and whomever else was involved.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Preacher's Kid

Tanner to Eli in the back of the minivan:

"You haff to buckle up or you shall perish."

I don't think we actually talk like that… but he's getting it from somewhere.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Funny T-Shirts Quotes

I found a bunch of nerd/geek-oriented t-shirts on line. These were some of the wittier sayings:

  • America: Designed by geniuses to be run by idiots
  • Food Chain Winner
  • Power corrupts, absolute power is kinda neat
  • Oh, No… You're going to try to cheer me up aren't you?
  • Real Goths don't wear black, they sack Rome
  • Geek Orthodox
  • Ask me about my vow of silence
  • Soylent Green tastes different from person to person
  • Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup
  • I keep hitting the escape key but I'm still here
  • The floggings will continue until morale improves

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Random Thoughts 7/18/09

  • 10 things you shouldn't be eating in the car. Not that I ever eat or drink anything in the car!
  • We are having our floors redone in our kitchen and dining room. Our dishwasher died and flooded under our flooring. Now it's being redone, which mean major upheaval for the family. But it will be nice to have new floors; that's the silver lining here, I guess.
  • Weirdest shoe ever. These five-toed sock/shoe thingies simulate barefoot running without the pain of stepping on gravel or sharp objects. Interesting.
  • Everyone should get a free subscription to Imprimis. I've been reading it for almost 10 years now and I often keep a copy or two in the car, just in case I get a chance to read while I'm out. Here's a great article from earlier this year, Mark Steyn on giving away our liberty.
  • District 9 is a new movie from Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), based on the excellent short film Alive in Joburg. For all you sci-fi geeks out there, this looks fantastic. Here's a movie trailer and a website for District 9.

96,000 Hits

We passed 96,000 hits recently, now if only I can get back into the blogging chair again.

It seems like every time I turn around there's something happening in my life or in the news that I want to point out, but there's no time! With church camp, getting ready for vacation, replacing our floors, writing sermons, working with a new minister, etc., etc., it just seems like I never have the time to blog.

Nevertheless, I try to keep bringing you all the interesting things I hear and see, as well as keeping a record for my boys (and daughter) of what life was like for us.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back From Camp

I'm finally back from church camp; it seems like I've been gone for weeks (instead of a less than five days).

But that said, it was a fantastic week! We had a tremendous staff (thanks, Mike) and about 100 campers (which is close to our maximum capacity). We had great weather, a fantastic missionary, wonderful teachers and speakers, etc. It was just a great week all around!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thanks for Mowing Details

The announcement slide at church on Sunday had a couple of pictures that I thought I'd share up close. I used Kennie's tractor all morning (foreground) while Jerad, Dean, and Craig (not pictured) were on the other mowers. J stood around all morning waiting to ride the pink four-wheeler (just kidding). J and Sheldon were trimming while Kennie was our foreman/cook.

While we mowed, my nieces, Hannah and Grace, rode their four-wheelers around the campus. The stunt-women had a great time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fantasy Football 2009

We are tentatively planning our Fantasy Football Draft for Monday night, August 31. Please try to make this date work (it's seven weeks from tonight).

If you have questions, please text or email me (I'm out of town this week until Thursday pm).

I'm also trying to get solid confirmations on who'll play this year. If you're a past participant, please confirm this year asap.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Totally A Teetotaler

I was surprised to see the number of teetotalers in this USA Today graphic:

One out of four people don't drink at all? I would of that it was one in ten, or maybe it just feels that way when you're the only one not drinking at a neighborhood party. I wonder how much this perception and the accompanying peer pressure affects people?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Off to Camp (GroundHog Day Version)

I went to Church Camp this early this morning to mow, along with a crew from our church. It takes about an hour and twenty minutes to get to camp, so the guys who went up there gave most of their Saturday to go. Thanks, guys!

That said, I can't vouch for everybody. Some guy's choice of transportation, as you can see, is somewhat questionable. J said he was "weed-eating," but he sure looked like he was having fun.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to camp again (fourth trip in as many weeks), this time to stay the week. I'm glad I'm going and looking forward to the week, but I'm already dreading how drained I know I'll be by the end of the week. Nevertheless, church camp is totally worth it. It's fun, it's fulfilling, it's worthwhile in every way.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Poker Report

This year's World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been a good year for professionals. I'd mentioned before that the event needed professionals to do well, or at least better than the statistical average.

Overall, that's what happened. Phil Ivy, one of the best players out there, made three final tables and won two more bracelets (for a total of seven). John Juanda, one of my favorites, made four final tables. Daniel Negreanu "cashed," i.e. placed high enough to be paid, 8 times this year earning over $333,000.

Most impressive was Jeff Lisandro, a poker professional from Australia, who won three bracelets this year, one in each of the different types of seven-card stud. Lisandro could easily be described as the best seven-card stud poker player in the world (his other bracelet is also from seven-card stud, in 2007).

Finally, an iPhone

Since January 9, 2007, over two and half years ago, I've wanted an iPhone.

This week, after countless hours of research, Shannon and I switched to AT&T and got iPhones. I'm really happy about it all. The camera, address book, calendar, threaded messaging, maps, etc. combined with the phone itself is all really impressive.

I'm not as concerned with the games and what not, but the super-PDA, blackberry-ish quality to the iPhone seems irreplaceable once you start using it. So far my favorite app, and the only one I've spent money on, is Grocery Gadget. It builds a grocery list that updates live on both phones. So if I'm at the store, purchasing items at the list, then the list changes on Shannon's phone. Very nice.

My only hesitation with the iPhones is that some people place too much importance on them as status symbols. I don't want to draw attention to it, or brag or boast. I just think the iPhone is a neat, useful gadget, not an attention-getting device. I've been reluctant to even blog about the iPhones, even though they're really cool and we're really enjoying them.

I almost feel apologetic about having an iPhone, even though we planned and waited for so long. Am I crazy or does anyone else feel like this?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Staying Up Late or Getting Up Early?

Tonight at six seconds after 4:05 AM, the date and time will be 04:05:06, 7/08/09.

Isn't that great? Uh… how about interesting? Trivial maybe?

[Thanks Jim R. for the heads up]

Monday, July 06, 2009

Random Thoughts 7/6/09

  • I sold my car today on Craig's List; I turned my car into a cold hard cash. That's cool. I wonder what else I can sell?
  • Speaking of buying and selling, I believe we're getting increasingly closer to purchasing iPhones. There are a lot of factors and a mountain of research that we're doing, but to my surprise, this may happen sooner rather than later. Yay!
  • The College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center here in Kansas City was named one of the "5 Great Interactive Museums to Visit this Summer" by Wired magazine. I haven't been there yet but I highly recommend the World War 1 museum at the Liberty Memorial. It's a very high-tech, immersive, multi-media kind of museum.
  • NBC is stupid. The loosely Bible-based drama "Kings" has been really good. Well written, well acted, a modern take on the story of King David (and Saul, Jonathan, Abner, Michel, et al.). Naturally they canceled it. The morons.
  • Well, Jon & Kate will be off the air for a month while the production team regroups. The question is whether audiences will still want to watch Jon & Kate's joint custody?
  • I'm going to work at church camp again next week. Once again, I've got a horribly divided feeling about it all. Part of me can't wait, because I enjoy the work and people. But part of me is dreading the departure from my regular schedule and lack of sleep.

Bad Game but Good Fun

Tanner (left) and Brennan had a lot of fun at the ball game last Friday. They didn't watch any baseball, which wasn't very watchable anyway, but they enjoyed the experience, especially the fireworks at the end. Thanks John P.! More pics here.

The Royals were awful, getting shut out by the White Sox. At one point KC actually loaded the bases with only one out (shown below)… but then hit into a double play and left the inning scoreless. Way to go, Royals. That's the definition of "sorrow" here in KC, "Same Old Rotten Royals, Only Worse."

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th

Happy 4th of July everybody!

May God bless our nation and those who protect it.

Friday, July 03, 2009

For the Pyro in All of Us

All week my hands have smelled of gunpowder… it's a beautiful thing.

Here's a few more ways to get yourself sent to the ER:

  • Exploding sparklers. I've actually done this. Duct tape + sparklers = terrifying explosion.
  • Hand sanitizer is flammable. Clean your hands or set it ablaze.
  • The exploding gas bag. I have a friend who fills trash bags with acetylene and explodes it with an electric detonator. Kind of like this. Or this.
  • How about oxy-acetylene powered supersonic golf balls?
  • 8,500 bottle rockets in 30 seconds.

Royals and Fireworks

We were given four tickets to the Royals game tonight (Buck Night!). Shannon and I will take our older boys, Brennan and Tanner, and stay for the fireworks afterward.

We're not huge baseball fans (it would certainly come after football and basketball, and maybe the seniors' semi-pro curling league). But getting to go the Stadium and have the stadium experience is something that everyone can enjoy. I'll bring the boys up to speed on the game of baseball and which team to root for (the blue ones right?).

Joking aside, this is a really great treat. We've been looking forward to this for weeks!

Carnivores Don't Need Support Groups


Thursday, July 02, 2009

95,000 Hits

We passed 95,000 hits sometime yesterday. Thanks for reading!

Most of my hits are friends and family, so I really appreciate your taking time to read my ramblings.

The Funniest Canadians are on the Interweb

Now I've seen a few episodes of "Corner Gas" on YouTube. That's funny!

Between YouTube, WGN, and the DVDs, I'm trying to watch these episodes in order (episode guides are available all over). The show ran six seasons (ending earlier this year), so I'd like to follow the narrative in the correct order if possible.

Has anybody else out there seen this show?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Michael Bay Has Trouble Completing a Sentence

Here's a great review of Transformers 2, listing the top ten plot holes in Michael Bay's latest cinematic effort.

[Thanks Mike B.]

Random Thoughts 7/1/09

  • This week is the 30th anniversary of the Walkman cassette tape player. This would be one of the progenitors of the iPhone: from transistor radios to Walkmans to portable CD players to MP3 players to the multifunction iPhone.
  • It has been recommended that I ought to start watching the award-winning Canadian comedy "Corner Gas." I haven't seen it yet, but I have begun recording episodes.
  • Here's some info on the 6th Cavalry, specifically the 28th Reconnaissance Squadron, which was the unit my grandfather was in during World War 2. The 6th Cav was decorated as a unit with the Presidential Unit Citation. The rampant unicorn at right is the symbol for the 6th Cav; on my grandfather's uniform it would have been worn as a lapel pin.
  • There's something in my brain that prevents me from easily saying the word "cavalry." Part of it is that the Bible word "Calvary" just rolls off my tongue more effortlessly. But in order to spit out the word cavalry, I have to consciously think "say cav not cal."
  • I could easily become a fan of Redbox video kiosks. The selection is limited but the cost and simplicity of it all can't be beat. $1 for one day is all we pay for most Redbox movies. Where Blockbuster is about $5 per rental and DirecTV pay per views are $5 ($6 for HD). Add options like Netflix, and I don't see how brick-and-mortar stores like Blockbuster can possibly survive. Oh, and did I mention that the local library offers a wide selection of DVD's for free?
  • I bought a Dell laptop yesterday. Not for me, mind you, but for Chris, our new youth minister, using the church card. Nevertheless, I still felt all dirty inside after spending money on a Windows machine. Yuck!
  • Graham (3-years-old) is perhaps our most musical and certainly our most witty child. He's always singing and this morning he was singing the church song, "I am a Friend of God." One line says, "he calls me friend," but Graham was changing the line to "he calls me Graham," or "he calls me stupid," which upset Elijah, who tattled on him. But Graham is laughing all the time, just seeing if he can get a reaction out of us.