The kind of fasting I want calls you too free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat ten fairly and give them what they earn. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. If you do those things your salvation will come like the dawn…stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors. Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. – Isaiah 58
Look at that little guy. Cute, right? That’s Silby, my father-in-law’s dog. Silby looks like someone took a shrinkray to a lab and created a perpetual lab puppy. What he lacks for in raw intelligence, he makes up for with his abundance of optimism and zeal.
Early last Sunday morning, after spending some time reading Scripture, I decided to step outside and take a look at the beautiful West Texas view.
It was nice to see Texas finally get some rain, and to see Creation enjoy it. I was so focused on that, I didn’t notice the flash of mischief in Silby’s eye.
The little dog, in his infinite wisdom, decided to sprint off the porch and run directly at the cows grazing across the street.
I don’t mean that Silby ran towards the cows or near the cows. I mean that he ran directly in the middle of all the cows. Aggressively. Silby decided the best possible thing that he could do as a twenty pound bird dog would be to attack cows. My heart sank. He was going to get killed.
Despite my awareness that Silby is a dog, I verbally referred to him as a donkey, and then I ran across the street to the fence and weighed my options. Do I jump the fence and try to snag him? Do I yell? What would the best action be? Silby chased a cow in a giant circle. The cow then realized that he was a cow and started chasing Silby. I was running out of time.
After envisioning my father-in-law’s little dog getting punted over the fence like a wayward field goal, I decided I had to act. I ran up and down the fence like an idiot, yelling and waving. This did not impact Silby in the least. Even though a cow was half-heartedly chasing him, he was busy sniffing the dirt. I did manage to make around two dozen cows very confused.
Finally, Silby looked up and noticed me sprinting parallel to him. He trotted through the fence and started running in the street. I sprinted behind him down the middle of the country road, chasing him back to the house.
As I put Silby on his leash, I was flooded with a mix of gratitude, relief, and unmitigated rage. The little dog seemed largely uninterested in the events of the previous five minutes, although I did see a bit of irritation in his eyes. This beast would not be tamed.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how the events of that morning ended. Silby was ok, I didn’t have to explain to my father-in-law why his dog had a black eye, and I even got some high-intensity cardio done before 8am. So did some cows.
Remember last year’s Austin Comic-Con wrap-up? It was successful enough that Wizard World returned again this year with a bigger, better con. Nate and I were excited to check it out this year, and we even brought a friend. And my brave, brave wife.
Overall, I felt like the quality of this year’s convention was higher than last year’s. There weren’t quite as many big-named (relatively) guests, but the size and selection of booths was impressive. There was a fun mix of merch, art, steampunk, indie publishers, fan groups, and comic vendors.
This year, I was excited to see the number of fan groups raising money for charity. The Austin Browncoats raised money for groups including Equality Now, SafePlace, and Kids Need to Read. (If you aren’t familiar with “Browncoats”, it’s a term associated with fans of the tv show Firefly.) Another group that stood our for their charitable work was the 501st Garrison/Central TX Squad, which let you take photos with Storm Troopers for a small donation.
Some of the highlights this year included talking to some nerd icons and meeting people who put a lot of time and effort into making their own costumes:
That’s Adam Baldwin. You might recognize him from Chuck, Firefly, or Full Metal Jacket, or the Halo games. In addition to being an actor, he’s also a prolific conservative blogger. I think he’s around 50 years old, which really does a number on my self-esteem. I need to hit the gym.
That’s me with Nicki Clyne, aka Cally from Battlestar Galactica. It was great to get to talk with her about the show, what Edward James Olmos is like, her character arc, etc. For the record, she was easily one of the nicer people I got to meet.
Nate and I also talked with the Million Dollar Man, Ted DeBiase. He’s a pro-wrestling icon, and one of the great heels of the 1980s. Now, he’s focused on Christian ministry. We mainly talked about that.
Next, we toured lots of people from the Buffyverse, including Spike and Charisma Carpenter. In real life, Spike has dark hair. He’s also American. Kind of shocking. Charisma Carpenter is in her forties, and she provided me with further proof that I need to get in the gym.
We also saw Kevin Sorbo. Hercules. Ryan Atwood’s dad. He is a handsome giant. Samantha and Kayla’s reaction to Kevin Sorbo was very much like George’s reaction to food cooking in the kitchen. They both trotted around his booth and watched him out of the corners of their eyes. Lots of walking back and forth. Lots of jittery energy. For the record, he seemed really cool, and he has also aged very well. And I need to do some pushups.
As we made our way through the crowd, our friend Kayla decided to get Simpsonized by Phil Ortiz. The artist has worked on a lot of shows, most notably The Simpsons. For a very reasonable price, he draws Comic-Con attendees as a Simpsons character. Since Phil is such a nice guy and spends so much time with each fan, the wait was about two hours. I think it was worth the wait, though.
While Kayla and Sam waited in line, Nate and I made the rounds to meet and greet costumed con attendees.
This guy was really cool. I have no idea how long his costume took, but it looked great in person. Also, he had a Southern accent, which was very different than Christian Bale’s growl.
The best part of this photo might be the animated conversations and stares in the background.
Assassin’s Creed. Didn’t catch this guy’s name, but he was really friendly and informative. You can’t really tell in the photo, but the material he used was thick and textured, like it is in the game.
The Defuser won Stan Lee’s “Who Wants to Be a Superhero” tv show in season two. In real life, Defuser is a cop from Austin. He’s used his fame to raise money for local cancer charities. You can learn more here.
I’m not positive, but I think these guys were with The Steam Engine Intrepid. They were pretty funny, and Nicki Clyne loved the guy on stilts. Some of the steampunk outfits were amazing.
These were the guys I mentioned earlier that let you take photos for charity.
That’s Nate, loving his Jayne hat from Austin browncoats. A curious Joker and Harley Quinn are right behind him. What a day.
That’s Austin Comic-Con 2011. Lots of costumes, nerd heroes, and good causes. See you next year.
We’re playing with house money, and it’s all a game, and we’re all ok. If you love someone, if you really love them, then of course of you tell them, because that’s what we’re here for. Singing should be done at a high volume and with low self-regard. Dancing is the same. Even if it’s never in front of anyone but you and your dog. If your heart and your soul are telling you something, then you better damn well listen, because that’s why God made you. Love your God and love the people around you, and do it with your whole heart. Don’t sell yourself short. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking place, and you owe it to everyone around you to man up and really be there. Enjoy your work, your play, and most of all, the ones that you love. That’s your blessing from God.
Let me break it down: I love food, and food don’t love me back.
The more I enjoy a food, the more likely it is that food will have me rolling around on the kitchen floor. Crying, clutching my gurgling stomach, and asking the heavens why my fat pants are now tight. I don’t even have muffin top anymore, I have mushroom cloud.
You know, me, I’m a guy who likes to get to the bottom of things. Especially plates of nachos, but more on that later. In an effort to understand why most of the food I love hurts so good, I’ve kept a running, categorized diary of everything I eat. Here are the categories:
American Gladiator: I’m probably a couple of pushups away from being cast in The Avengers.
Good: Satiated, perhaps a little “full”.
Hmm: Did I eat too much? Maybe? My teeth feel weird, and I’m a little sluggish. If you try to tickle me, you might get a “sound byte”.
Gross: I feel like I need to take a nap and a shower. And my jeans may need to be unbuttoned if I’m sitting. And leave me alone.
Nuclear Apocalypse: Pray!
And now, let’s see what goes where:
American Gladiator: Vegetarian taco salad, boring (Kashi) cereal with almond milk, Veggie Delight sub from Subway, Amy’s burrito, water, Avocado sandwich
Good: Banana, Veggie Delight sub from Thundercloud, jalapeno cheese kolaches
Hmm: Dos Equis beer, Chili cheese garlic fries, Shipley donut, Miss Vicky’s jalapeno chips, crackers, instant oatmeal
Gross:Dark beer, candy, Apple Jacks, cake, Whoppers (I only had three!), Pumpkin bread + a saad, grilled cheese + chips + candy, cake balls, generic Oreos
Nuclear Apocalypse: Chicken strips and french fries from IHOP.
What does it all mean? How do jalapeno cheese kolaches not make me feel gross? Why was I eating fried chicken from IHOP? I welcome any and all advice from you amateur nutritionists out there.
As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut! – 5:1