So You're Going To Be a Dad - Guest Post by Kathy Richards

I first ran into Kathy Richards when Jon Acuff's Stuff Christians Like blog was taking off a couple years ago. She dominated the comments with her hilarious snark and wit. Since then, we've connected on Twitter, each other's blogs, and Words With Friends.

I don't really know what Kathy does. She's an artist, a writer, a literary agent, a webmaster, and probably a convict and/or international spy.

Check out her blog, but wait until after you read her post. It's kinda rude otherwise. Easter Egg: hunt around for the cheese butler post and leave a comment.

During a recent game of Words with Friends, the following conversation took place with Ricky, aka Bob, aka Arthur, aka Ricky Bobby:

1357bob: Nice start.

Katdish10: I’m gonna beat you someday.

1357bob: Yes you will. Wanna write a guest post beforehand?

Katdish10: That was very subtle.
The rest of the conversation involved me asking him what he wanted me to write about and him telling me he was about to be a first time dad looking for some sound, deeply intellectual advice from me. Or something like that…

This was followed by me suffering yet another crushing defeat at the hands of 1357bob. But true to my word, the following are some insights into first time parenting seldom found in that dog-eared copy of “What to Expect the First Year.”


Get it while you can: now. Before the baby is born. Of all the things I was unprepared for when my son was born, the lack of adequate sleep was numero uno. Prolonged periods without a good night’s rest does things to a person. It’s a seldom shared Hollywood secret that all those extras in zombie movies are not heavily made-up actors and actresses but are, in fact, first time parents. The first year my husband and I were parents, our conversations about lack of sleep can be summed in four four-word phrases:

“Now we are family” (We were so blissfully ignorant at the hospital.)

“This kid never sleeps.”

“What have we done?”

and most importantly…

“This too shall pass.”

I would also recommend stocking up on DVDs of your favorite movies and/or television series to watch at 4:00 in the morning lest you become addicted to the late night infomercial.

Baby Products:

You have no doubt already either purchased or received as gifts a few baby products. Many are quite useful, others not so much. When I checked the Babies R’ Us website for the most requested registry items, the Diaper Genie was among the most popular. I had one. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. You probably have one sitting in a giant pile of baby stuff. Save yourself some time and money. Take that thing back and use plastic grocery bags instead. Have you ever seen sausage being made? The Diaper Genie works much like that only instead of ground pork or beef the casings are filled with stinky diapers. It’s really quite disgusting.

Unloading the Diaper Genie

Most helpful baby products: An endless supply of diapers and wipes, Lavender Bed-Time Baby Wash, burp cloths and Infant Gas Drops.


You may have had deep, philosophical conversations with your wife during pregnancy about what it means to bring another human being into this uncertain world and the miracle of childbirth, but after the baby is born much of your daily conversations will probably center around baby poop: how often, how much, what color it was and its consistency. I’m going to stop talking about this now because I just threw up in my mouth a little, but trust me when I tell you this is perfectly normal. Okay, maybe not normal, but certainly typical of new parents.

I hope this advice has been helpful. I’ll save the most important gem of wisdom for last:

Your wife is a beautiful woman made more beautiful in motherhood, but there will be days when she doesn’t feel that way. Days when she’s too exhausted to take a shower or even change out of her pajamas. Your most important role as a new father is to be her knight in shining armor. Never let a day go by without showing her how much she is cherished. Congratulations to you both. Your lives will never be the same, and I mean that in the best possible way.
What other tips do you have? It's almost go time!

Messin' With the Nielsen Ratings

I love the Nielsen ratings.

They're the folks who report how many Americans are watching all those shows every night.

The future of all the TV shows and the careers of their actors live and die by these ratings.

So you would think it would be important to get accurate ratings, right?

Those lovable old folks at Nielsen!  They're so cute.

Wanna know how they compile the ratings?

They mail you a booklet.  You fill it out.  You mail it back.  They read the booklet.  They report the numbers.

We've been a Nielsen ratings home once before.  We got our booklet, complete with the $30 cash 'thank-you gift', during last year's Olympics.  That was an easy week to fill out!

Here's what it looked like:

Day 1:  Olympics
Day 2:  Olympics
Day 3:  Olympics
Day 4:  Olympics
Day 5:  Olympics
Day 6:  Olympics
Day 7:  Olympics

I think that week is when they decided to cancel The Unit.  Sorry about that!  I'm sure Dennis Haysbert will find something to do soon, besides Allstate ads.  At least he's in good hands.

Yesterday, the lovable old folks at Nielsen called me again.  Turns out we did such a good job last time, they'd like to pay us to do it again.  $30 to log what I watch?  I'm in!

I did, however, have a few questions for them.  Last time the instructions were clear on how to mark which shows and DVDs you watched, but didn't say anything about online television, such as Netflix or Hulu.  I asked the nice lady if she would like us to mark these items down as well.

"Oh, no", she replied.  "We only want you to mark down anything you're watching through your television screen."

I replied that while the signal originated on our laptop, we watched it on our television screen.

"Like a Tevo?"

No, not like a Tevo.  Like a laptop.  With a cable connected to our TV.

"Like cable TV?"

Kinda, but completely different.

"I'll have to ask my manager."

I could hear her muffled voice as she explained the situation to her manager in the background:

"Like a Tevo?"

"No, like a laptop."

"Then we don't want it."

"Like a laptop that's on his television."

"Ooh, that's fancy."

Finally, she came back on the line.

"Would you call it a 'Media Center'?

"Honey, for $30, I'd call it Sheila!  Sure, you could say it's a 'Media Center'."

"Oh, then it's OK.  We just didn't want that Internet stuff."

I think they're going to be very confused when they see our results, since nothing we watch is available on regular television.  Our log will probably look like this:

Day 1:  The IT Crowd / The Unit / How to Train Your Dragon
Day 2:  The IT Crowd / The Unit / The Office
Day 3:  The IT Crowd / The Unit / Hot Fuzz
Day 4:  No TV
Day 5:  The IT Crowd / The Unit / Mr. Bean
Day 6:  No TV
Day 7:  The Unit / The Unit / I Really Wish You Hadn't Canceled The Unit

I hope I can make it up to you someday, Mr. Haysbert.

What would your Nielsen ratings log look like?

Breakfast Foods: The Movie - Guest Post by Tyler Tarver

Today is the day we've (me) all been waiting for. 6 months ago, Tyler Tarver agreed to write a guest post for me.

Then he went and got himself on a magazine cover, accepted into a film festival, and wrote a book. I figured I'd never get The Tarve over here now.

Then I checked my spam filter.

Take it away, Tyler!

When I asked oh-Ricky-you-so-fine-you-blow-my-mind-hey-Ricky what he wanted me to write about, his first instinct was Why unicorns hate pancakes.

Obviously I couldn’t, because Unicorns love pancakes. They like cylindrical breakfast foods and the syrup gives their uni-horn that glittery sheen like a vampire’s belly.  C’mon Rick, everyone know dat on da streets.

So, I thought I’d give him the cast to the next movie in the works by the Cohen Brothers. A little bit of inside info from a guy who used to date the Cohen Daughters*. 

*Statement based in false.

Breakfast Foods: The Movie: The Cast: For Realz

Bacon: While Kevin B. seemed the obvious candidate (cause of his hair), the role went to John Hamm. Not only does he delight the ladies, but even guys gotta talk about how pleasing he is on the eyes. If that doesn’t describe bacon, then it isn’t. Catchphrase: “Looks like you’re the one that’s goin crispy” pshew pshew.

Eggs: Who’s the only person that can like up with John A. Bacon and take on the evil villain Pancaker? Ryan Reynolds? Too handsome. Will Smith? Too Big Willie. The Rock? Too goatee-ie. Throw away that 87 gasoline, we’re goin with the Diesel, Vin Diesel. He’s got more protein than a GNC on performance enhancers. Weapon of Choice: The High Cholesterol Handgrenade.

Milk: Y’all remember that movie Milk Money where you got to pretend you were gonna get a hot woman to come to your show and tell but instead you brought that clip of your hair from when you were two? Just me? Longest sentence ever? You’re leaving me? Who’s gonna play hot milk chick? No, not Diaz, she’s like 50. We’re going with Rachel McAdams. You always go with McAdams. You hear me Gosling? Attire: All black leather bodysuit with Dharma logo.

Pancakes: Who is going to play the most evil villain ever created? One who can make you feel so good about yourself, think you’re cool, you’re friends….and then BAM, you’re feeling like you just ate a normal meal for Buddy from Elf. Who can shake your hand while stealing your wallet/girlfriend/low-calorie-diet? Justin Bieber of course. He seems nice and sweet, but then you look up and he’s the President…or just really rich or something. Famous Villain Last Line Before Blowing Something Up: You’re standing on a land mine, IHOP over it.

It’ll be the top grossing Romantic Comedy of All-Time.

Thanks Ricky, let’s name a pet together.

What did Tyler miss about breakfast burritos?
Tyler Tarver is younger than you but older than your mom. You can check out his creatively named website, subscribe to it here, follow him real good on Twitter at his code name @tylertarver, or just buy his brand new toilet book he won’t shutup about titled Words&Sentences that 4 people have said is “funnier than sliced bread.” He’s not as attractive as you, but he sure does love you.

Things I Can't Wait For

Remember Christmas Eve as a kid?

How you couldn't sleep in the midst of the anticipation and excitement?

That's how I feel about a few things:

  • Our kiddo. We're due August 31. When this site goes dark for a bit, you'll know why.
    • We're waiting to find out the gender.
    • I bought our kid's first baseball outfit last week. I can't wait to teach my kid how to play.
    • I'm daunted and excited about the responsibility of molding our child's faith in God. I'm fully aware and completely scared of the fact that I can do this mostly by example, and very little by words.
    • I plan on messing with our kid's head. I already do this with my nephews and nieces. One of my nieces thinks that you have to put one hand in the air and say "Beep, Beep!" whenever you cross the street.
  • Robots. I will own one of these in my lifetime. I may have to sell a kidney at some point, but it. will. happen.
  • Time Machines - As a history buff, this would be awesome. As an unscrupulous businessman, this would be stupendous. Unfortunately, I am a history buff.

What are you excited about? Beep, beep!

Things I Won't Miss

Sometimes I reminisce of the old days. Days when things were simpler and not made of plastic. The older I get, the better things were.

But not everything. Some things have gone the way of the dinosaur, and I'm glad to see them go.

Here's a few:

  • Station wagons - Need more space, but hate easy parking? This stretch sedan is for you! And since it's not ugly enough, we'll put fake wood paneling on the side. That stuff will last, trust us!
  • Homework - Some people miss being in school. Not me. I haven't missed it for one single day. For me, school was more about playing the game for the teachers than learning. I only finished my degree because it was easier to go to school for two more years than to have that discussion with my mom. She's a teacher. Thanks for keeping me in school, Mom!
  • Dialup - Oh, the pain. I had an external 14.4kbps modem. I had to wait until my folks went to bed, and then I could use the phone line. And if I was downloading a program larger than a couple megabytes, I had to start the download and go to bed. I was using a 386 with 4MB of RAM.
    • If that last sentence confused you, then try this - I was driving a tricycle on the information superhighway. Wheeee!
  • Remote Control-less TVs - My kid's going to blown away by what I had to do in order to watch TV. Oh, the effort!
  • CDs - I don't even know where my CDs are anymore. It really doesn't matter, either.

What don't you miss?

Fone It In Friday

I made some changes to the blog. You probably didn't notice because you were busy starring in a movie about yourself.

Some Guy informed me my blogroll had rolled away to parts unknown. It's back, and none the worse for wear.

You may have noticed it's shorter. Don't worry; I didn't kill anybody (that you know). There's a ton of folks in my blogroll, but now only the ten most recently posted bloggers show up on the feed. That keeps the feed fresh and encourages folks to post more.

How many blogs do you read regularly? I have 50ish feeds in Google Reader.

I want to know who you read. Give me a link to:

Your favorite blog
The blog you're most embarrassed to admit you read
The blog you think I would like the most, based on as much or as little as you know about me.


Evolution Of An IT Guy

Oi. Windows Vista is slow and buggy. I need 64GB of RAM just to boot the darn thing. Think I'll look for something else.

Hey, this computer is really pretty. I think I'll buy it. Cool, the guy who's selling it to me has a turtleneck and beatnik glasses. I bet he's a vegetarian and recycles. Such a nice guy!

This thing was easy to set up! 30 seconds after getting it home, and I'm already on the Internet. Let's check the news sites. What's this? My brand new computer is OUT-OF-DATE?!? It was so pretty when I bought it, but now it looks like a chunk of old concrete compared to the new model! I can't believe it - I spent my kid's college fund on this thing! I think I'll look for something else.

Now this is really cool. Unlike Macs, Linux is free. Take that, fan boys!

Ok, I think I've got it installed. I'm not sure - there were a lot of options. But that's one of the greatest things about open source software - it's endlessly customizable!

All right, let's work on our budget. I think there's a spreadsheet program on here somewhere.

Hmmm, can't find it. Let's go visit the user forums and get some help. I love a community!

Oh, that was a quick response. Some guy named "h@CK3rh3@d" says I should 'RTFM'. I wonder what that means. Probably 'Read The Fun Manual'. I'll ask him...

Okay, I was close, but it turns out the 'F' doesn't stand for 'Fun'. That HackerHead guy is a jerk. So were the other 28 lonely basement dwellers who responded. I'd RTFM, but it's not WIFE (Written In Fun English). I think I'll try something else.

Ooh, this Windows 7 is nice. It's fast and does what it says on the tin. I think I'll just stick with this.

It's what Vista should have been.

What do you like/dislike about the various operating systems out there?

Who's On First?

I saw something at the Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox game last night that I'd never seen before.

I'll bet you haven't, either.

One of the Royals' batters swung hard at strike three. The catcher dropped the ball, but immediately snatched it up and tagged the batter. The ump called the out and everyone in the stadium was disappointed, but ready for the guy on deck to step up to the plate.

The batter wasn't ready, though. He started arguing with the ump. Fans started shouting at him to move on and get over it. He kept at it. He went back and forth with the ump for about a full minute. The ump even walked away from him at one point.

Suddenly, the ump walked back to home plate and signaled 'Safe'. Turns out the batter had foul-tipped the ball, and since the catcher dropped it, the batter had not struck out.

I have never seen an umpire reverse his call after an argument from the player or a coach.

They didn't show us the reply on the JumboTron, so we don't know if the ump made the right call or not.

What they did show on the JumboTron was me.

That's right - thousands of people there, and I notice the chump on the screen looks an awful lot like I made a face at him, and he made one back. It was like looking into the world's biggest mirror.

Sorry, autographs.

What's the strangest thing you've seen at a sporting event? Have you ever been in the spotlight unexpectedly?

The Pinball Game That Is My Mind When It Doesn't Have Any Sleep I'm Tired Mary Had A Lotta Lambs

Going to the Kansas City Royals / Chicago White Sox game tomorrow. Tickets are only $10 each! So is parking! And there's a convenience fee for buying the tickets! And there's a convenience fee for the inconvenience of having to pay for parking! When our group divided the true cost up, the $10 tickets are $16 a piece. Still cheap for a major league game, but I'm feeling a bit gypped. Oh, well...there's free t-shirts (with $16 admission).

I used the word 'vroom' twice in my expense report to The Boss tonight. I'm starting to question my judgement. The strange thing is I submitted it quickly because I knew I'd question my judgement, and I didn't want to be able to back out of it. Kinda like Tyler Durden in Fight Club. Dangit! I broke Rule #1.

I may have broken the RSS feed in your feed reader. I changed the blog over to a dedicated URL (looky up there!). There's supposed to be a magic box of voodoo in the settings that combines the two feeds into one, but it appears to have broken both of them. It's like having a not-magic box of grits instead. Not awesome.

How do you get to this site? Do you have a feed reader, or do you simply bookmark it? I'd love to know how many of you I lost!

Kids Aren’t Funny - Guest Post by Amanda Bast

Amanda Bast and I are swapping posts today. Amanda is yet another funny Canadian. They seem to be infiltrating the Internets as of late. You can follow her on Twitter, and read her funny blog.

After reading Amanda's post here, head on over to her blog to read my post, Weird Crap That Freaks Ricky Out.

I work with children. I have nieces and a nephew. My friends have kids. I generally find myself surrounded by children. One thing that I have noticed is this: kids are not funny. At all.

They don’t understand comedic timing. They don’t understand how to craft a joke, with a set up and a punch line. I’ve never seen a kid do stand up. If they did, it would be safe to say they wouldn’t do a very good job. I’ve never seen a child make a living by being funny. It just doesn’t happen. Why? Because kids aren’t funny.

Near the end of the school year, I found myself in a class of Kindergarteners and exceptionally bored. I asked them if they had heard any good jokes recently. I was flocked by admirers wanting to tell me – the greatest comedian of this generation – a few knee slappers. I was looking forward to it, but was horribly disappointed with what I heard:

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Banana who?
I forgot to eat my giraffe!

I think I missed something. What happened to the banana? What would make you forget to eat something as big and noticeable as a giraffe? Do you own this giraffe? Is the giraffe made of chocolate? Is this a real giraffe we’re talking about? Because if it’s a real giraffe then I think you’ve got some grievances to settle with PETA or something. Five years old and eating safari animals? Dude, you need help.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Ice cream banana.
Ice cream banana who?
I didn’t eat my banana before I ate my ice cream!

First of all, I’m impressed that you have this sophisticated joke structure all figured out. That is more than I can say about some kids I know. But really? You think it’s funny to not eat fruit? Do you know what happened to sailors who didn’t eat fruit? They got scurvy and their teeth fell out. And they probably died. Want to tell me again why exactly it’s hilarious to eat your dessert first?

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Banana who?
I like to sign your fritters off.

And we’re back to bananas and not understanding the format of this joke or how to form a coherent sentence. If you’re a parent, please ask yourself what you are teaching your children. Judging by this evidence, it’s clearly not enough. As far as I can tell, all these kids learn is that bananas are a real riot and that fritters can in fact be signed off. And rules? Who needs ‘em!

Why did the cow fall on the floor?
I don’t know, why?
Because he was made of CAAAAARDboard!

Thanks for telling me that joke like I’m an idiot who doesn’t understand jokes. That was a real self confidence boost. I’m obviously an idiot because I fail to see how being made of cardboard is a logical reason for a cow to fall on the floor. If I were a cow made out of cardboard, maybe I’d like to hang out on the floor. Maybe falling on the floor isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe I’m better off on the floor. You don’t know that. Please stop 
including illogical reasoning in your comedic material.

Mashed potato said I have a pony head!

Are you done? I think you’re done. Oh. Are you telling on someone? I really hope there isn’t a kid named Mashed Potato in this class and I really hope he didn’t say you had a pony head. Although I kind of see where he’s coming from. Can you imagine? Mr. and Mrs. Potato naming their firstborn Mashed. If I was teased for being called Mashed Potato, it would really get me boiling. Steamed, even. I bet his self esteem has been squashed. If there isn’t a kid named Mashed Potato in your class, then why are you sharing this information with me? It kind of sounds like a punch line. I don’t know to what joke it belongs, but it could perhaps be a punch line.

I’ll tell you what. You’re not eating zoo animals or obsessed with bananas and you’re not talking to me like I’m an idiot or disregarding important rules. Sure you forgot the joke set up and you have a horse face. But do you know what? I can work with that. You may just be the exception to the “kids aren’t funny” rule.

What's the worst kid joke you've ever heard? Monkey on your head!

How To Be a Movie Star

I think most kids grow up to work dead-end jobs simply because they didn't know how to get to their dream ones.

So this one's for the kids. Every kid has dreamed at one point in their lives of being a movie star.

Beach houses, private jets, rehab. What's not to like?

Things You Can Do Now To Prepare For Your Future As A Movie Star
  • Be the center of attention. All the world's a stage - start practicing! Get in front of every camera you can. The tourists will forgive you.
  • Meet a lot of people. In show biz, it's not what you know - it's who you know. So you'd better start getting friendly with everyone!
  • Practice your scenes. Regularly repeat your conversations with friends and family. Come back into the room and say, "Take 2!" Ask them to help you memorize your lines and hit your marks.
  • Get a stunt double. That physical stuff looks way to dangerous! You'll have to have your hired gun do it.
  • Dodge the paparazzi. Practice by getting away from people you know. Coworkers, friends, family - pretend they're out to get you. If you really want to hone your skills in this game, try to outrun the ice cream truck the next time it's jingling down your street.
    • You should probably do this anyway. Ice cream trucks are creepy.
      • It's like some weirdo is fishing for children.
  • Get an agent. You can't handle this alone, and thanks to your new mega-paycheck, you won't have to!
What tips do you have for the kids?

Stuff I've Never Experienced and Rarely Admit to Until Now - Yes, You're That Special

I often get made fun of for the bits of pop culture I know nothing about. Sometimes I'm proud to be ignorant of something, and other times I'm embarrassed. When I get embarrassed, I just smile like I'm an insider.

So to break my cycle of pop culture dishonesty, here's a few things I've never seen, read, heard, smelled, etc....

  • Ghostbusters
    • Never saw the point.
  • Justin Bieber
    • I can honestly say I have never heard a single song of his.
      • And I aim to keep it that way.
  • Sushi
    • I don't like fish, and yet I have friends who tell me I'll enjoy sushi and it's not that fishy.
      • When they say that, this is what I hear in my head: "You'll enjoy poop. It's not that poopy."
        • No thanks.
          • Without the thanks.
  • Motorcycles
    • I owned a motorcycle once. For about a day and a half. I sold it before I got off the crutches.
      • I am completely baffled by people who would rather travel long distances on a motorcycle than in a car or a plane. You can explain it all you want; I will never understand.
What's something you've resisted over the years?

Concession Speech

They said it couldn't be done.

They said we'd never make it.

They said we'd get our teeth kicked in.

Boy, were they right.

Congratulations to Rob Shepherd and the rest of his well-paid team - You guys are the 2011 Blogging All-Star Champions!

Would you relish some mustard on that hot dog?

Count Your Blessings Before They Hatch

I remember the days of yore. Yesterday, the Internet in our corporate apartment was slower than a two-legged dog crawling and yipping it's way through fields of dial-up molasses.

Today the Internet is deader than a used pigeon in a Monty Python sketch, but with less voom. I am writing this post from my phone. Yes, I am that dedicated/can't sleep.

The good news is the smoke detectiveator thingy no go Chirp! no more. Couldn't find a 9 volt at Wal-Mart, but they do happen to stock baseball bats. Handy!

The Tarve came out with a book today. It's the most awesome thing ever I assume since I haven't read it yet. I would give you a link but that seems like work on a phone, even if Steve iCreate Jobs made it. Go to

Have you read Jon Acuff's book, Quitter? I'm on my second time through. Doing the audio book this time since he adds extra stuff to the audio versions of his books. It's what I read when I want to feel like I could change the world and actually accomplish something. Usually I just accomplish reading the book, but I feel like a champ while doing so.

This is the part of the post where I end by asking a question that makes you want to leave a comment. Tell me stuff!



  • You may have to read this post slowly. I'm traveling on business, so it's coming to you long distance...and at dial-up speeds, for some reason. It's quite painful going back in time.
    • I wonder how much it would hurt to go back and visit the dinosaurs.
      • Especially if they ate me.
  • My wife and I each have hand soap by our sinks. We replaced them at the same time. I triumphantly pointed out to my wife that I had run out of mine before she did and therefore washed my hands more than she did. Without missing a beat, she said, "You poop more."
  • Team Ricky is getting it's butt whipped over at Rob Shepherd's blog o' pain. You can either go give us some votes, or you can help me rename the team. I'm really dragging us down. If you've already voted, then thanks! Oh, and get to work! I assume you have neighbors and/or coworkers. BADGER THEM!
  • Chirp! The fire alarm Chirp! in my room Chirp! is in need of Chirp! a new battery. Chirp! I'm not going to Chirp! get any sleep tonight. Chirp!
Stuff and stuff pancakes and stuff how did you sleep Chirp!?

Writing Influences

I was thinking about some of my favorite writing influences the other day, so I put together a short list of just a few of them.

Dave Barry - In tenth grade English class, we had an assignment to write about foods of the world. I forgot about the assignment until 2 AM the morning it was due. I sat on my bedroom floor and floundered for a topic. I decided nachos qualified. So I wrote about some nasty microwaveable nachos I had earlier that day. The paper came back with an A and this note - "You should be the next Dave Barry!" Since I had no idea who that was, I looked him up and got hooked. I even went and saw him in person when he came through town. Sometimes lying to bolster a kid's self esteem has its benefits.

Patrick F. McManus - I consider Pat McManus to be the new Mark Twain. He tells stories of camping, hunting and growing up in Idaho. He can craft a tall tale better than most. I would recommend any of his books, but start with his first - "A Fine and Pleasant Misery". But don't get it at the bookstore. Call the number on his web page and order it. His daughter will answer the phone and tell you, "Honey, do you just want his autograph inside, or do you want it personalized? 'Cause if'n you want it personalized, you'll have to wait till he gets back from campin' again. Ha! He calls it 'research'!"

Terry Pratchett - Pratchett is a master at creating vivid scenes without becoming too wordy. He uses symbolism, parody and satire to great effect. He's well known for using footnotes and witty one liners. In addition to any of his Discworld novels, I recommend the The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld, a collection of his best quips from these novels.

What are some of your writing influences? If you're not a writer, what are some of your favorite authors?

You're Not Done

Every time I hear him speak, I'm reminded why I love Donald Miller so much.

I was watching a snippet from his Catalyst session, and was floored when I heard him say:
"There's a good chance that you blew it so bad that the Church can no longer use you.
God can. And God will."
This is a great reminder that God's grace isn't a one-time, use-it-or-lose-it deal. And yet we lose sight of this and think we're finished.

I remember one time a friend had messed up royally. We're not talking small beans here. We're talking - "Hey, I know that guy...why's his mug shot on the news?!?"

He called me the next morning. He was bawling his eyes out, and kept repeating, "It's all over. I've let Him down. It's all over."

I reminded him of David's story.
He was done.

But God wasn't.

God restored David. Renewed His covenant with him. Then He called him a "man after My own heart".

As I told my friend that day...

It's not over until He says it is.

When has God restored you?


Blogging Dream Team Competition

Rob Shepherd and I are squaring off in the first annual Blogging Dream Team Competition today.

It was supposed to be Friday, but he chickened out.

Then it was supposed to be yesterday, but he took a holiday.

Today, Rob has finally gathered the courage to face his peers.

Head on over to Rob's site, and vote for Team Ricky!


Independence Day

If you've called me twelve times in one day...

If you've left four notes on my desk...

If you've knocked on the server room door twice...

If you've interrupted me while I'm helping the man with his name on the front door...

...all in the same day, then you're too needy.

Go practice some independence!

How To Be A Ninja

I think most kids grow up to work dead-end jobs simply because they didn't know how to get to their dream ones.

So this one's for the kids. Every kid has dreamed at one point in their lives of being a ninja.

Fearsome weapons, precision agility, superior debating skills. What's not to like?

Things You Can Do Now To Prepare For Your Future As A Ninja
  • Practice stealth. Quiet cunning is what sets ninjas apart from other dangerous men in bathrobes.
    • One of my younger brothers was great at this. We'd find him in odd places, sitting quietly. Usually tall places, like on top of bookshelves. He was a climber.
      • He also had a knack for disappearing after dinner, but before dishes.
        • He still doesn't do dishes.
  • Take ballet lessons. This will help you be light on your feet and get used to spinning for all those roundhouse kicks. It will also help you start your list of people you're going to visit once you're a bona fide ninja. They won't be making fun of you then!
  • Learn martial arts. I'm not sure which ones, but I hear martial arts are part of this complete ninja.
  • Scream at folks unexpectedly. Practice on your parents. Wait until your dad comes home from work. When he leans over to set down his briefcase, jump out from behind the door and yell "Aaiii!" If this doesn't work, try "hiii-ya!"
What tips do you have for the kids?