Friday, February 09, 2007

Top 5 Coolest Things of 2006

Next year, when I do the Top 100 Coolest Things of 2007, I plan on starting at the end of December, and have it all written out just so I can post it in like, ten consecutive days. Anyway, here’s the Five Coolest Things About 2006:

5. “Everybody to the Limit”
“Come on fhqwhgads… I see you jockin’ me. Trying to play like, U No Me.”

Do you know who Homestar Runner is? Better yet, do you know who Strong Bad is? Well, you should. Homestar Runner is a Flash website full of computer animated cartoons, featuring such goofy characters as Homestar, an armless lisp talking nice guy, Bubs, the owner of the concession stand who’s always awesome, Marzipan, a broom-like chick who is Homestar’s girlfriend and Strong Bad, who is a rebel cool guy.

On the website, Strong Bad answers emails, but sometimes does other things, like do music videos… like the fifth coolest thing in 2006, “Everybody to the Limit”.

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Strong Bad, conferring with The Cheat

It makes no sense. Absolutely none. It starts out with the words “Come on fhqwhgads, come on fhqwhgads… everybody to the limit, everybody to the limit, everybody come on fhqwhgads…”
Through the video we see various random items, including the New York Subway, Strong Bad enjoying a bottle of wine, both John F and Bobby Kennedy (or at least portraits), a monster whiffle ball, plus The Cheat (another character) with gold crunk teeth.

And honestly… its one of the funniest freakin’ things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’ve watched it a few dozen times by now, including twice while typing this. You owe it to yourself to get in a very, very silly mood (the kind that makes you laugh hysterically at Napoleon Dynamite and Dodgeball) and check this video out immediately.

Man, fhqwhgads… you’re just making yourself look worse. I mean, everybody’s just gonna feel sorry for you. I mean, I do.

4. Senator Rick Green’s 4th of July Sermon
On the weekend of Independence Day, 2006, we attending Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) were treated to a phenomenal sermon. Our regular pastor was on sabbatical for the summer, and we’d been given the pleasure of listening to Antjuan Marsh, Wade Morris and others… but on this day, we were given Rick Green, a senator from Texas.

Rick Green is what you would call a Biblical Declaration of Independence scholar, I guess. And his sermon was all about the brave men who put forth their name on the document that stated, among other things, we were to be free of British rule. And his sermon was all about the faith, the love of God and the holiness of those said men.

A painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence went on the big screen in the church. And there, he began to go one by one, naming the men featured, telling a little of their back stories, everything from blacksmiths to lawyers to politicians to Bible scholars and more… all connected by the fact they signed the Declaration. And, of course, all connected by the fact they were solid Christ-followers and believers in a one true God.

He told us that even the least of the believers, Benjamin Franklin, a guy who didn’t necessarily consist of the Christ-like tendencies of the others, still believed in one true God, still believed in God’s son Jesus. It was more knowledge put forth about the Declaration of Independence that I had ever heard, including multiple viewings of National Treasure.

And his point? To dispel any myth that might come along that this nation wasn’t founded on a belief in God. To discard any lie tossed out there that says that men like Jefferson, Hancock and so on weren’t really Christians, weren’t really followers of the Bible and of Jesus, but just monotheists who were just eager to worship whoever they wanted—they did want that freedom, the freedom to all worship God alone. And that is cool.

3. “Black Horse & the Cherry Tree”
How great is this song? From the moment it starts with the “two three four!” to the memorable “whoo hoo”… (Steph and I saw a comedian talking about this song, and he just mumbled some unintelligible words, then shouted out Whoo Hoo!, to which Steph laughed and said “Yeah, that’s how I feel!”)… the song had me hooked.

KT Tunstall is a British singer/songwriter, singing about a tussle between her and her heart, something about a horse, a cherry tree tossed in there, lots of Whoo Hoos, several No No Nos, a couple of “not the one for me!” yelled out and whatever else… what does it all mean? You know, I’m not quite sure. But, I never fully understood the true meaning of “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears, yet that song has remained #5 on my all time favorite song list for over seven years.

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KT, with her guitar and her recording-floor-thingy

Anyway, what really gets me about this song is not just the video, but seeing her do it live on Letterman & Leno. This chick is TALENTED. She stands alone with a guitar, a drum and some sort of recording contraption on the floor in front of her. She beats on the drum to get a rhythm going, then sings “Whoo Hoo” a few times. When she sings the “Whoo Hoo”, she presses a button on the recording-floor-thingy, and suddenly, you hear the “Whoo Hoo” in the background. Then she does the same thing with the drum, then the tambourine. When the “Whoo Hoo” and the drum and the tambourine are all going in the background, she starts playing the guitar and singing the song. It’s amazing… (I’m actually listening to it right now, kinda getting’ into it…)

By the end of the song, she’s got a drum beat, a tambourine, a hand clap, a mouth harp, a bunch of “Whoo Hoo”ing, background vocals, some “no no no”ing… all playing in rhythm behind her while she plays guitar and sings, by herself on stage. That is cool.

2. The Family Festival in Stamford, CT
When I was in NYC, most of you know I blogged the entire mission trip, including one pivotal day when we helped host a family festival for Encounter Church, in a park in Stamford, CT. You can read about the whole day here, but following is what I wrote specifically about that on event:
Landon was already down there, as was Alan, his wife, and the stairstep children. Landon was driving a big U-Haul truck, with a trailer attached to it, and Alan had his van, all full of stuff. We began setting up little by little, putting up collapsable tents, setting up tables for food, unloading all the food, the grill, hauling out the moonwalky things (they're called bouncies or bounce-houses, which actually makes more sense than "moonwalk") and all the other fun things needed to put on a festival.
It took well over an hour to set up, and we still weren't quite done when 4pm--the start time--came around. Give you the picture... we've got two big tarp/metal frame tents side by side, with three tables running across the front, and one on each side. BBQ grill in the corner. About twenty yards to the right and up of the tents is another tent, our "registration tent". Directly in front of the two big tents, about twenty yards, is a row of chairs, each with supplies for games set up in them... games like "ring toss" and "hula hoop challenge" and other stuff. On the left side of the tents is the two bounce houses, laying flat on the ground.
I grabbed a hand truck and walked around the main field--and this is a huge, huge field, mind you--and gathered garbage cans to place around the perimeter. Though its good to be safe, apparently the health department had given Landon and Encounter Church a big list of stuff they had to abide by, like no food sitting on the ground, even in its packaging, coolers had to be drained of melted ice water at all times, that water itself had to be dumped in bathroom sinks and not just on the pavement or grass, people couldn't get any food for themselves, we had to hand them the hot dog and bun on a plate and so on.
We set up the food stuff under the two big tents, and Tim took over the grill. I was elected to do popcorn, because somehow I slightly remembered how to do it a year ago, while Cindy was doing sno-cones. J-Bo, Mama Faith and G-Ann were manning the hot dog buns next to Coach Tim's grill, and Gary, Margie and Abby Lohan were going to do registration to begin with. Kid Sister was doing chips and Natedawg was doing the Oreo cookies (we had to serve people both of these normally accessible items). Landon wanted everything done by the book because we wanted no room for anyone to say anything.
Across the field, there is a guy who runs the Cove Cafe, which sells drinks, hot dogs, burgers and other beach type foods, and he's not happy. You can imagine, because he makes his money selling $3 dogs, and here's this bunch of church folk giving food away for free. Landon talks to him for a while, and he seems to disappear for a while.
So, 4pm rolls around, and we've got a problem. The bounce houses are still flat on the ground. The generator provided for us isn't working, and not only can we not inflate the inflatables, we can't run the sno-cone or popcorn machine. I look around, and we have maybe a dozen or so people who have shown up. Truth be told, I'm praying for 100. We'll see.
Another generator arrives, they hook it up, they still can't get it to work. I walk over and watch what's happening, then I take a step back and utter these exact words: "Father God... I pray you bless this afternoon and everything that walks within our sight. In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I banish any of Satan's demons from this area, that these generators will work." And when I said the word "work", instantaneously, I saw Landon leap up with his hands in the air, I hear Mark yell "Yeah!!" and I hear the roar of a generator engine. It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my life. God rocks my face off.
So we got the extension cords stretched, plugged in the sno-cone and popcorn machine, and we were off. I poured in the oil and kernals and waited for it to pop... then the plug came unplugged. So we plugged it back in, and a few minutes later, the generator somehow was switched off (Cindy was yelling across the field for Chuck or Mark, as you could see one of the inflatibles come uninflated with kids in it... it was kind of funny), and when it was switched back on, I finally, FINALLY, had my popcorn. And we rolled.
And the people started coming. And coming. And coming. And coming. And coming. And coming. Then, more came. It was absolutely unbelievable. G-Ann and Mama Faith are trucking out buns as fast as they could go, Coach Tim was putting on dogs by the dozen, J-Bo was over there helping, Kid Sister and Natedawg were tossing those chips and Oreos, I was filling popcorn bags like crazy, and Cindy was throwing down on the sno-cones. She had a line like you'd see at a movie theater concession stand, about ten kids deep, for about ten or twenty minutes... it stopped when we just ran out of ice. So a few guys went to get ice.
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Here's the field from a distance... I had to walk back a bit to get everything in. Right about now is when the people really started pouring in.
It was amazing just watching this area just fill up. Even things that seemed to be bumps in the road, like when the Cove Cafe guy came back, ended up working out for God's glory. The guy said that he normally makes 300 to 400 in a typical afternoon, but he had made $15 since 4pm (it was around 630ish when he came back). Landon told him he'd write him a check for the difference. The guy said that wasn't necessary, but Landon said "Look, man... we want to come back, and we want to keep favor with you, so whatever we can do to establish and maintain a good working relationship, we want to do it." They talked for a while, and seemingly came to an agreement that they would work out when Encounter came back. Landon said later that he plans on sending the guy a $500 check.
I finally took a break, leaving the popcorn in the capable hands of Natedawg, and had a dog myself... actually, two. I went and sat in the middle of the field, looking all around me, and had tears in my eyes. It was so amazing, all of our prayers, all of your prayers, God's plan, God's wonderful, beautiful plan to give us a gorgeous day with the breeze blowing, a team that was put here for a purpose one by one, it was so joyous and beautiful to see it all come together.
In order to eat, all people & families had to do was fill out a registration card, sort of like a communication information card that Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) has. They got a green Encounter Church rubber wristband and were free to do whatever. Around 7pm, Gary said they had a stack of cards several inches thick, and Landon told us later he estimated at least 300 cards with about 500 or 600 names on them.
What's more, all through the evening, I could overhear people asking about the church, where it met, what it was all about, the location and so on. Remember Julissa? She was in the prayer requests yesterday--she lit up with a smile when we told her we prayed for her. And tonight, she ended up helping run some of the games and such, and later ended up serving popcorn.
This is the food tent... at around 745pm, when were running out of just about everything.
I helped Landon's wife Christy do some face painting, but not for long. My hand was too shaky, I felt too jumpy and excited to sit still. Besides, I've face painted before... the early requests are "stars" and "hearts" and "rainbows"... by the end of the night, its "can I get a puma perched on a bedrock of slate, waiting to pounce on a gazelle, with ravens flying in the background?"
Through the course of the evening, we all switched places doing different jobs, though Coach Tim stayed with the hot dogs on the grill and Mama Faith and G-Ann kept with the buns and condiments.
If I can be personal for a minute... I needed to see this happen. Not that my faith was lacking a miracle to make it click, but I am so revitilized by tonight! I teared up three different times, first in the field, then talking to Todd and Sharon and Kid Sister, then later talking to Coach Tim, just at the amazing blessings God was pouring out on us. All of our work passing out fliers, which most of us didn't even want to do, all of our prayers we gave to Him for this one night to go decent came to frution in dozens of connections made by Encounter Church to the community, tons of good will built up with the people there, further connections made by us to some of the VBS kids and other adults, hundreds and hundreds of information cards, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and more names that Landon now has to work with... I just smiled for hours and hours on end.
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Me and Kid Sister (named so because everyone else on the trip has family, so I claimed her as my own)... We're both wearing smiles we can't get rid of.

By 7pm, we were already out of ice, and had to send someone else for more--making this the second time we were out. We loaded up all three coolers full of the last drinks we had, that being a few cases of bottled water, a few cases of Cokes and some Diet Coke, and by 730ish, before they even had time to get cold in the little ice we had, they were gone. At 740, the mustard was all gone. The ice arrived, but the drinks, save for a few Diet Cokes, were all gone. I spent much time running all over the field trying to gather garbage cans with a hand truck, because all the ones I had gathered were overflowing. People were still registering at 8pm, when we were shutting things down. I saw one family sitting in the grass, eating hot dogs and sipping watered down sno-cones... as I passed by, I smiled, and both said "Thank you for doing this. Thank you so much."

Of course, then we had the fun part--the tear-down process. Didn't matter... I was so happy and overjoyed, I could have loaded that truck by myself... it might have taken a while, and eventually stolen some of my joy, but it was awesome anyway. Across the bike trail, in another field with a covered area, they were having a clambake (I know this because when Courtney the Stairstep Child and I took water that was draining from the coolers to the bathrooms there, I saw the clams). I was so thirsty, I just walked over there in the middle of their party and asked for water. Saw a granny shaking her jelly and throwing down on the dance floor. If you still can move it, then do so, I guess. They gave me a bottle of water.
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Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty for Jesus, as Abby Lohan, Cindy and Justin the Stairstep Child found out... notice the big red stain on Cindy's shirt as well... it's all sno-cone syrup.

1. The iPod
Back in 2005, I knew I was going to get an iPod, it was just a matter of the money. Steph bought me a 4 gig Lyra mp3 player, and while I liked it, 750 songs just wasn’t enough to satisfy my “gotta-have-every-freakin-song-at-my-disposal-at-any-given-moment” appetite. So, I saved. I added money every few weeks to a Best Buy card (because I knew if I just tried to save up the cash, I’d never get it saved). I also had a Wal-Mart card that I had added money to, I priced shopped, I compared iPods vs. the-then-coming-Zune to Creative to others… I looked at 30 gigs. I looked at 60 gigs. Did I want to wait for 80? In preparation, I started loading up CDs into my computer, awaiting the day I would come home with a Apple iPod. And soon enough, I did. Heck, I didn’t even open it for the first two weeks I had it… I wanted to finish loading CDs.

It took well over 12 hours to load all the music I had in the computer in my iPod, and it was a territory I had never walked upon… I mean, I knew nothing about iTunes. But I slowly began to figure it out…

Suddenly, I had play lists at my disposal at all times, including:
“Happy Music Fo My Thugs”… my favorite Hip Hop, like Ludacris, Eminem, R. Kelly and Justin. “The Best Soy Latte That You Ever Had and Me”… rock stuff like Train, Foo Fighters, Vertical Horizon, Sheryl Crow and John Mayer
“The Melancholy Circus”… my favorite music for a dreary day, like Edwin McCain, some Hootie, a few choice Celine selections (early stuff, none of the pantywaste stuff now)
“The Buzzbin”… harder rock like Nirvana, Nada Surf, Fiona Apple, Oasis, Soundgarden and STP “Welcome to Delaware”… all the Christian music that has changed my Walk considerably, including Watermark, Steven Curtis Chapman, Rich Mullins, dcTalk, Jennifer Knapp, etc.

Then I discovered the downloading of videos (I’ve currently got “Behind These Hazel Eyes” playing on my iPod)… then I discovered the renting of audio books and CDs at the library… I’ve got podcasting for Rush Limbaugh, so I can get the real news before its filtered through the Left Wing Extremist Machine for broadcast on CNN… I’ve also got CarTalk on podcast, I get the best Strong Bad emails and even more…

Bottom line, is, the iPod has revolutionized the way I listen to music, completely, in every way. Even when I was in New York this past summer…

Finally, in case your curious, and I know you are, Paula, Tyler and NYC Jenni, here’s the Top 10 Most Played Songs on Dave’s iPod in 2006:
1) Wildwood Flower by Reese Witherspoon
2) Trinity by Jennifer Knapp
3) Crazy by Gnarls Barkley
4) Lift My Eyes by Jill Paquette
5) Taylor the Latte Boy by Kristen Chenoweth
6) Smile by Lily Allen
7-tie) Hush by LL Cool J
7-tie) Gone Like Yesterday by Jill Paquette
8) Feeling Good by Nina Simone
9) Chains by Tina Arena
10) Blowin’ Me Up With Her Love by JC Chasez (I’m going to go do something manly now, like burn something or watch wrestling or make out with my wife, just to feel better about myself.)

And that, ladies & gentlemen, is the Top 100 Coolest Things of 2006.

In case you missed it:
100 - 91... Brand New Heavies, Michelle Malkin, Chris Daughtry, Desperate Networks, Arby's, Bowl, Casino Royal, The Devil Wears Prada, Justin Long, Ice Cafe Con Leche
90 - 81... Jo Dee Messina, Snakes on a Plane, Taylor Hicks, Heroes, Wordjong, Nelly Furtado, Taylor Swift, Deal or No Deal, John Tucker Must Die, Thelma & Norma
80 - 71... Courtney the Stairstep Child, Little Black Book, Lex Luthor, Evan Mallard, Cingular ads, Carly Simon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin & Kandice, Night at the Museum, Dinner Theater
70 - 61... Grey's Anatomy, Survivor: Cook Islands, Studio 60, Zaxby's, The DFC VII, Rozerem, The Fray, Sandra Oh, Monster House, Coke Blak
60 - 51... My Girl McPhee's Black Horse, John C. Reilly, X-Men: The Last Stand, I Heart Wendy, Facebook, Lisa Taylor, Hem, Pickles, Cars, The Marine
50 - 41... Andrew Mann, Brooke Smith, AttackTix, Ashlyn Latta, J-Bo, The McLeod House, Mackey & the Boyz, Coney Island Cyclone, Brad McGuffey, Wintersong
40 - 31... Launi Larrabee, The Purple Onion, $1 Movies, Texas wins, reconnecting, the Geico Caveman, financial testimony, Margie & Gary, Ambre Lake, NYC Jenni
30 - 21... Blue on Blue, My Girl McPhee, Wildwood Flower, Ashley Spell, Greek Wedding, Cafe Lalo, Baby Wookiee, MySpace, 2 Hawbakers, 12 Angry Men
20 - 11... Little sisters' graduation, I May Hate Myself in the Morning, The Death of the WCW, United 93, WalkAbout, Emily Taylor, White & Nerdy, Hoover Public Library, Rammer Jammer Blog, Starbucks
10 - 6... Marvel Civil War, paying off the car, K-Swiss, Harry Potter audio, Now I Can Die in Peace
Ten More Things.... 2006's crappiest things, biggest disappointments, favorite videos, what barely missed the list and what I'm looking forward to in 2007.

1 comment:

  1. haha... you crack me up david



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