Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 100 Coolest Things of 2008... 30 thru 21

So, if you are on Facebook, the numerous videos are not going to show up. Click on over to Clouds in My Coffee, then bookmark the page. Then check it daily. You never know what might pop up.

The Introduction and Recap
The 100th thru 91st Coolest Things of 2008
The 90th thru 81st Coolest Things of 2008
The 80th thru 71st Coolest Things of 2008
The 70th thru 61st Coolest Things of 2008
The 60th thru 51st Coolest Things of 2008
The 50th thru 41st Coolest Things of 2008
The 40th thru 31st Coolest Things of 2008

30. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
As this movie approached, I heard lots and lots of people, mostly churchy folk and older friends of mine, excited about seeing it. I, however, didn't care. Seriously. I went to see "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe", and it was great. This one, though, I wasn't too excited about.

So, when it was released, I went to see it which I probably wouldn't have done unless it was with a group. And... I loved it. I absolutely loved it. "Prince Caspian" is an amazing film... its full of the action that the first one had, its got a great story line (I believe it combines a couple of the Narnia books) and who knew that Susan Pevensie would get so hot?

The first 9 minutes of the film, courtesy of YouTube.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people felt like I did about the movie, at least initially, but they never went to see it. Made for about $180 million, it only brought in about $135. The differential was great enough that Disney took a step back, reviewed the deal and decided they were done with Narnia movies. Walden Media has been shopping around for a deal to make the next one, though nothing has been settled.

I have this button on my facebook page, somewhere, with Anna Popplewell's picture on it, and the caption reads "Archers Are Hot!".

That's right, Disney. Get rid of great family fare like Narnia, so hopefully we can have Space Buddies 2, or perhaps Bevery Hills Chihuahua 2: Chihuahuaier.

29. Samantha Brown
I am all about me some Samantha Brown. She's one of the hosts on TLC, and typically the only reason I watch TLC. Usually when I'm flipping channels, I check the programs on several different ones, and if Samantha Brown is on TLC, that's where I go.


Right now, I'm watching her on "Passports to Great Weekends" where she's in Austin, TX. Up next, she'll be in Cabo, and you know that means? Samantha Brown in a swimsuit. Um, I mean, uh, it means we'll see the beautiful landscape that God has created and... well...

She's got a job that I can only envy. She gets paid to travel the world, spending days, nights and weekends in places like Rio, Boston, Berlin, Wyoming and everywhere in between, plus, she's done at least half a dozen Disney specials. Two words: Dream. Job.

Here's a video combining three of my favorite things not named The Lovely Steph Leann... Disney World and Samantha Brown and Christmas!

Anyway, I'm hoping one day she'll do "Passports to Great Weekend: The Cabana".

28. My Nintendo DS
My Christmas list wasn't extremely long, at least by other years standards, but on my list was a Nintendo DS, a small handheld game system. I wanted to have this with me to help pass the time when I'm... waiting in a lobby for my/her car to be fixed... waiting in traffic with the prospects of going nowhere... sitting in the back seat on a long car trip... sitting in a cramped airplane seat on a long flight... wherever I might need to pass the time.

I'm a natural fidgeter. I cannot just sit still, unlike The Lovely Steph Leann, who, if she has a book, she can actually be motionless for up to 38 hours, with only her fingers turning a page every few minutes. Its almost scary.

Anyway, imagine my happiness to peel back some wrapping paper and see the logo for Nintendo. Its bright blue, in a carrying case that looks like a purse, and came with the game Brain Age. My first Brain Age? 72. However, a day later, I got down to 33, so I chalk up that first one as an anomaly of not knowing exactly what I was doing. Currently, my brain is 21 years old, and getting younger. I rule.

27. Getting a Wii
After we moved in The Cabana, I asked The Lovely Steph Leann if we could get a Wii. After all, she got furniture, she got to paint, she got shutters--and while she'll say, "We both got those things!" you understand that as a guy, I'm not fazed either way. So, she relented, and the hunt for a Wii was on.

I went to Wal-Mart around midnight one night, knowing this was the time to get them. They had been delivered the night before, and sold out. There was a worker though who told me that there was a guy who worked there who had a Wii, practically new, and five games to go with it, and was on sale for $350. She gave me his number.

The next day--well, actually, about 12 hours later on that same Saturday--I called up J Rob and asked if he wanted to join me. He did, so J Rob and I called this guy and we agreed to meet him in a Wal-Mart parking lot to view his merchandise. I felt like I was on a drug deal.

We did meet him. The old guy rolled up in a beat up pick up truck, and seeing a modern device like a Wii in a truck like that, in the possession of a guy like that, would be like watching your mom on Facebook--its just weird. J Rob gave good advice, being a Wii owner himself. The guy had all the necessary cords and such, and the games, though none struck my interest, could be sold for extra money. I told the guy we'd let him know, so J Rob and I began to tour Targets, Best Buys, Circuit Citys and Wal-Marts all over Birmingham.

We even visited the mall's game stores, and we were given the same response at all the above places... "You won't find one."

I finally called the guy, left a message and said, "I've made a decision. Call me back."

J Rob had mentioned that it was getting later in the afternoon, and his woman, KT, was expecting him home, so I said, "Let's go to Game Stop here, by Target, then I'll take you back." He said he was going to wait in the car and make a quick phone call, so I went into Game Stop and asked the question, "Do you have a Wii?". As I asked the question, I was already turning around, ready to leave, knowing the answer was "no."

"Yeah, we have two."


I froze, then finally said, "Hold one for me, for the next twenty seconds." I dashed outside, knocked on the window to get J Rob's attention, and when he looked at me, I exclaimed, "They've got a Wii!" Quickly, the decision was made to purchase the brand new one, not the one from the Old Guy at Wal-Mart, and we were both ecstatic. I purchased the system, an extra controller, a couple of games and went home to play my little games. It ruled.

26. Rick Burgess
I received a phone call last January from The Rev'rn Ty Coffey. He informed me that Speedy, the producer from the Rick & Bubba Radio Show, went to his church, and had called him earlier to tell him that Bronner, the toddler son of Rick--half of the Rick & Bubba show hosts--had just died in a terrible drowning accident in their pool.

What followed in the days to come was one of the most amazing displays of faith I've ever seen.

The show the next day, and several days after, was very subdued. They took callers who shared their sympathy and cried along with Bubba and Speedy, while they talked to Rick a few times here and there. It was just... surreal... when James Spann, noted weatherman here in Birmingham, was on the air and broke down in tears on the show.

And after all this, here's where the "cool" part came in. The faith gloves came off. Instead of Rick and his family asking, "Why us, God? Why did you do this to us?" they completely turned it around. Rick began to speak openly--even more openly--about his own faith in Jesus Christ. He began to challenge every Christ Follower out there to be more visible in their faith, and essentially told those who sit and whine "Is there really a God? If there is, He doesn't love me because this happened!" to sit and shut up. It was awesome.

It was revealed that the guy who put in the pool was a Christ Follower (he called in, also in tears) and the Burgess family had prayed with him that the pool would be used for God's glory, not just for a good time. And who knew that this is what would happen.

Rick, speaking at Bronner's memorial service. You can see part two here, and part three here. Don't watch any of this unless you want to be challenged.

Bronner's death is a tragedy. However, what The Enemy thinks is going to be bad is always turned around for God's glory--and this case is no different. Thousands of people heard the message of Christ, thousands more were challenged in their faith and really, its about as cool as you get.

25. Melanie Zarzaur
Melanie is a local mom of three, married for 20 years to a CPA, living in a humble home in Hoover. I met Melanie when she was a customer at Cahaba Heights Starbucks (grande raspberry white mocha) and we became friends. I told her all about The Lovely Steph Leann, my love of Disney, and life at Starbucks, I learned about her family, her kids and so on.

A year later, in the middle of 2008, I was considering leaving Starbucks. I called a few people to get their perspectives on things--she was one I called. I finally left to go to The Happiest Place in the Mall, and later on, I got her a job there. It was great--I had already gotten Jennifer Smith hired, as my plan was to hire all my friends there, so in case I wanted to stage a coup, I would have loyalists.

Melanie also joined the Starbucks team down at the 280/119 store, so that gave us two jobs in common. I enjoy chatting with this chick, and we became good buddies, sharing two working fields. Anyway, I think she's great. So, she's on the coolest list.

24. Survivor: Fans vs Favorites.
Several years ago, "Survivor" did an "All Star" edition... favorite castaways came back to go one-on-one, including Bahstan Rob, Amber, Jerri, Rupert, Ethan and so on. It made for an excellent season, which can't be said for many seasons--like the most recent edition, in Gabon, Africa. I actually just woke up from that. The fact that it had the hottest Survivor--Sugar--since Elisabeth in Season 2's Outback only mildly helped.

Anyway, in early 2008, we had "Fans vs Favorites", which brought back Jonny Fairplay, Yau-Man, Ami the Lesbian Barista (also very hot), Penner, Ozzy, Parvati, Amanda, Eliza, Big James and Cirie, and put them against newbies who, for some, idolized the former Survivors. And the season was brilliant. Jonny Fairplay bowed out early, which was fine by Jeff Probst who had gone on record and said he didn't like him, and didn't agree with Fairplay being on the show. A let down was when Jonathan Penner, another likable villain, was injured and had to be carted out of the game. But overall...

The reward/immunity challenge from Episode 2. Note the brilliance of Chet. And the Manimal that is Ozzy.

"Blindside" is the word of the year in this show, as one blindside after another felled former champs and Survivor hopefuls... Ami the Lesbian Barista? Blindsided. Ozzy? Blindsided. James? Blindsided. Stupid Stupid Erik? Blindsided. It was awesome.

And, as far as the upcoming season is concerned, I found out that a guy I know... well, the little brother of a girl who I graduated with, will be on Survivor: Tocantins, in Brazil. So, let's root for JT.

23. "Hey, I Read the Blog!"
Nothing thrills me more, or makes me smile bigger, unless it has something to do with The Lovely Steph Leann, than to hear someone tell me they read my blog. Especially when its someone that I didn't even think would know I had one. The day Emmy Turnbow told me "I read the blog the other day", I was like "...really...?" I was thrilled.

I was talking to my friend Staceyfran the other day, and we were discussing blogging. I told her, who had just started a blog not too long ago, that she should write to be read. My point, essentially, is why put in on the interweb if you don't want people to read it? You would just be journaling in a book if it was private. Granted, there are people who blog who feel it doesn't matter if alot of people read what they write, but they still would like people to read their thoughts. That's why you post it.

But Clouds in My Coffee has grown over the last two years, especially in the last 12 months. I do keep an eye on visitors, and I enjoy looking at stats to see not only where people are viewing it from (over a hundred people have the site bookmarked) but also what keywords are used to find my site, plus how many countries stop by. Its kinda cool.

I have discovered that there's a link to this blog on several different sites that I didn't even know existed. And I appreciate it.

Yeah, maybe its a pat on my own back, but I work hard on Clouds, and I'm glad people are enjoying it. And if you are reading this and have never mentioned to me you read it, let me know. I'd like to hear that.

22. Antjuan Marsh
He's a minister and a speaker, and I consider him not only a friend, but a friend from way back, having attended Troy State U with him. Yep, "I knew him when."

He is a member of Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship), and I list his website link alongside my other favorite ministry links on the right side (facebook readers will not see this). Along the same lines as #23 above, here is what he sent me that makes this list at #22:


I’ve been meaning to tell you thanks for your support. A guy who played football at Troy for a short time called me out of the blue. At the time, he was not a believer. Now a believer, he wanted to contact me. He was able to locate me after viewing your website. During our phone conversation, he mentioned I was listed as a top ministry site for Dave Ramsey. Well he meant David Dollar. After seeing what he was talking about, I was highly encouraged. Thanks for that posting and of course your kind words both spoken and written.

How 'bout that? I feel like I was used for something good. Always a good feeling.

21. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
I loved this movie. From front to back, top to bottom, all 3 hours of it, I thought this film was amazing. Brad Pitt has a disadvantage of being such a "pretty boy" because it sometimes takes away from what a great actor he has morphed into. He's funny in films like "Oceans 11-13", he's crazy in "12 Monkeys" and "The Fight Club" and he's just great in "Se7en", and in this movie, he shines.

You probably know the plot, where Benjamin was born as an old man, and progressively grew younger and younger. The film makes no attempt to explain this phenomena, it just uses it and tells the story of Benjamin's adventures.


As his love interest, Daisy, Cate Blanchett is bee-yoo-tee-ful (say it slow to appreciate how gorgeous she is in this film). Daisy is a little girl when Benjamin meets her, and over time, they end up "meeting in the middle". Its a movie I want to see again, I can hopefully pick up on Blu-Ray when it comes out, and I'm hoping it will stand the test of time and become a classic. Loved it.

The film's website is here, but its a little arduous to navigate.

Coming in a few days.... the 20 Coolest Things of 2008... What's the best movie of the year? What's the best song of the year? What was the best trip of the year? Find out.


  1. I was happy to see Antjuan Marsh on the list. I'd already checked out his site from your blog, which I likely wouldn't have found otherwise.

  2. I was happy to see Antjuan Marsh too. You do know he was the speaker the day I accepted Christ right? I hold a special place in my heart for him. I was excited to know that you guys were friends from way back. It's only right for two awesome people to know each other!

  3. Antjuan's awesome... and he was in college just like his is now. Same guy, same character, same bald head, same goofy, quiet smile.


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