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Thursday, July 24, 2008

And that's all folks...

It's officially 3:52 pm. And I'm closing the MacBook.

I've got a couple of appointments this afternoon and there's a chance that I'll send out a couple of emails later on tonight (newsletters for Students). But as far as I'm concerned, I'm on vacation.

And I'm outta the office. If I don't get a chance to post again later, this post may suffice as a pre-vacation alert. If you are looking for something to read while I'm gone, check out Josh's blog, Nate's blog and Chris Genders' blog (all of which are linked to your left).

Enjoy!

And if I don't see you before ("Good afternoon, good evening and goodnight"), I'll see you on August 1st.

Jim

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weird... plus Vacation...

It's been kinda weird the last couple of days. I realize that the last post was on Sunday and now it's Wednesday. But each day this week, I've look at my blog and thought to myself "............" and then I moved on to something else.

It's nothing personal. Just haven't felt compelled to write anything.

And that's bad because on Friday, I go out of town for a week on personal vacation. The vacation will be good. I'm really looking forward to unplugging for a while... at least week... I'll keep my phone charged up... but my plan is that except for watching movies, to do nothing on my computer. So, the vacation will be good. But for those of you who are faithful readers, that's bad because you'll have nothing to read. So I guess I'll have to get busy tomorrow evening and find you something nice to read while I'm gone... or at least some nice links to nice places where you can find nice things to read.

But for now... I'll have to get back to you.

Jim

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mac vs. PC... pic...

I like this... I found it HERE.

Jim

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Update on Kenya in the morning and August 3rd

So... recently some folks in my church and one of my high school juniors journeyed to Kenya. It was an amazing trip... You can check it out HERE and HERE.

Tomorrow morning (July 20th), the Olers are going to be updated FVCC as to the trip, showing some pictures and telling some stories. I can't wait. It will be great.

Then on August 3rd, they are having an open house at their place from 2-5 pm. That will be a fun time to hear some more stories and see some more pictures. (I'm just glad they picked Aug 3rd... I'm out of town the 27th.)

Can't wait!!!

The Dark Knight Final Trailer

Check out the video HERE.


Jackie and I went and saw Dark Knight yesterday afternoon... a 3:40 pm show that was packed!!


And it was incredible. It was long... but it didn't feel long. There were a couple of times when I thought they were going to wrap it up and then it took off again. Since we went to Cedar Point on Thursday, it was kinda like riding a roller coaster. Just when you think the ride is over... you drop over another hill!

I thought that this was definitely Heath Ledger's best performance. I really liked "A Knight's Tale" and "The Patriot" that he starred in. But I thought he played the part of the "Joker" to a whole new level. My only regret was that he didn't use the classic joker line from the first Batman... but that just would have made it all the more incredible.

Over course... Christian Bale was amazing as Batman/Bruce Wayne. He is the perfect mix of both Batman (he's got the jaw line...) and the sophistication of Bruce Wayne (he just looks like a billionaire).

But it is definitely a must-see. It is the best movie that I've seen in quite some time... far better than anything I've seen this year. Go and see it. I'm hoping to see it again and I'm hoping to see the IMAX this time. I've heard it's even better!


Jim

Busy couple of days... today... NOTHING!!!

Man... It's been a busy couple of days around here.
  • Tuesday night high school summer study... had to move it last minute because of a 'green pool.' Ewwww...
  • Wednesday night middle school summer study... good time, but low numbers
  • Thursday Cedar Point. Up and out the door by 5:30 am, drove 6 hours to Cedar Point. Did all the major roller coasters except "Top Thrill Dragster." (Basically my stomach was turning from several other rides and I needed a break... and we never got to ride it again.) But I had an incredible time with the 7 high school students that went along. It was the perfect size group because we all hung out together and rode rides all day together. Landed in bed at Camp Sandusky a little after midnight EDT.
  • Yesterday... Up at 8 am EDT and on the road by 9 am. Drove 6 hours home.
  • (Yesterday...) Went to "Dark Knight" with my wife... watch for a later post on that... that movie was way too incredible for a short little line here.
  • Last night... Grabbed a quick shower and some Texas Roadhouse with my hot wife... it was our post-CIY date.
  • We were literally in bed by 10 pm last night.
Good couple of days. But I'm totally wiped today. And I'm just looking forward to doing nothing all day. Maybe I'll read. Maybe I'll watch some TV. Maybe I'll play some XBox. I'll definitely watch the Cubs tonight. I'll definitely go for a walk (once the rain stops). But it is going to be a relaxing Saturday... just like the doctor ordered...

Jim

Monday, July 14, 2008

Magic Eraser + Macbook = Cleaner Macbook


Thanks for a tip from a friend (S.O. and a tip from his friend J.M.), I found out that a "Magic Eraser" from "Mr. Clean" is a great way to take off smudges and dirt from my white MacBook 13".

At first I was skeptical... who isn't... but then I tried it tonight. And it took off the dirt and scuff marks, as well as the grimmy places where my hands rest when I use my MacBook. It's great!!!

If you've got a white MacBook, give it a shot. Mine looks newer now and will look brand new tomorrow when I get it in some more "white" light.

Jim

1 Million iPhone 3G's... in the first weekend!!


Wow!!

Despite activation problems, they were still able to sell 1 million in the first weekend. It took 74 days last year with the first generation. But not this year.

Check out a full article HERE.

"Despite widespread activation problems, Apple said Monday that it sold its one millionth iPhone 3G on Sunday, just three days after the new handset launched worldwide on Friday, July 11. "iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. Last year, Apple managed to sell just 270,000 iPhones during the first two days. Although the Cupertino-based electronics maker did not release a three day tally for first-generation iPhone sales, it would take the company nearly two and a half months to sell its one millionth unit."

Rock Band 2 Playlist... Can't Wait!!!


Now that I've got my XBox 360... and I'm getting closer to paying it off... (not nearly close, but I'm working on it). Next will be getting up and running online on XBox Live. Then... Rock Band 2 is on my hit list. Today, I saw a list of the proposed songs for this game. They look awesome. Here are a few of notables...

Rock Band 2 On-Disc Track List:
Artist Song Title Decade
3. Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” 1990’s
5. Allman Brothers “Ramblin’ Man” 1970’s
8. Beastie Boys “So Whatcha Want” 1990’s
11. Billy Idol “White Wedding Pt. I” 1980’s
12. Blondie “One Way or Another” 1970’s
13. Bob Dylan “Tangled Up in Blue” 1970’s
14. Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer” 1980’s
15. Cheap Trick “Hello There” 1970’s
19. Dream Theater “Panic Attack” 2000’s
20. Duran Duran “Hungry Like the Wolf” 1980’s
22. Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way” 1970’s
23. Foo Fighters “Everlong” 1990’s
24. Guns N’ Roses “Shackler’s Revenge” 2000’s
29. Joan Jett “Bad Reputation” 1980’s
30. Journey “Anyway You Want It” 1970’s
32. Kansas “Carry On Wayward Son” 1970’s
36. Lit “My Own Worst Enemy” 1990’s
48. Pearl Jam “Alive” 1990’s
49. Presidents of the USA “Lump” 1990’s
50. Rage Against the Machine “Testify” 1990’s
51. Ratt “Round & Round” 1980’s
52. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give it Away” 1990’s
56. Smashing Pumpkins “Today” 1990’s
62. Steve Miller Band “Rock’n Me” 1970’s
63. Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” 1980’s
69. The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat” 1980’s
73. The Offspring “Come Out & Play (Keep ‘em Separated)” 1990’s

The numbers that are listed are the order on the game. It will be out in September... I'm already counting my pennies. For a full listing, click HERE.

Jim

Today... Monday...

Today is...

...going to be a very relaxing day. The only thing that I have scheduled is a phone call with one of FVCC's missionaries. I switched my day off this week from Friday to Monday because we're taking our high school students to Cedar Point (17 roller coasters!!!!)! Plus, last week I was supposed to have Monday (July 4th) and Friday off (regular day) but neither happened because I was at camp.

So, I'm having a well deserved day off. I slept in until 9:30 this morning. I'm drinking some coffee right now... surfing the Internet and watching SportsCenter. Next I'll have some breakfast then when Jackie gets off work at 1:30 pm, we're going to go out and go shopping... somewhere... Just a fun and relaxing day off.

Jim

Believe 08-09 - Theme for Leaders

Man... I love Believe. It's hard to imagine that they are getting ready to start another tour. We'll be taking our middle schoolers to Anderson, IN in April.

If you aren't taking your middle schoolers to this event, you are truly missing out. It's incredible.

Jim

Check out the video HERE

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Puzzle Farter Game


So, I just got off a week of middle school camp. And when I saw this on Marko's blog, it totally cracked me up.

The object is to move the little guy around the map by running, ducking and of course, farting. In fact, the farting is what makes him fly. Of course, the appropriate sound effects are included. Hours of fun I'm sure... plus plenty of giggles as well.

Check it out HERE.

Jim

iPhone 2.0!!!


Well, you had to know that a post would be coming with the release of the new iPhone 3G and the new firmware 2.0 for current iPhone users.

In fact, I have to admit, that being at camp all last week (HERE, HERE and HERE), I was a little out of the loop. And until a phone call from an Apple-lovin' friend (S.O.), I forgot that the release was yesterday (Friday). But I was glad that I got the call. With all the problems that Apple/AT&T were having yesterday, I didn't need to try to update my phone, only to have it turn into an iBrick.

But I took the plunge today and upgraded. This morning I broke out the laptop and began to browse the new apps for downloading. Quickly I began to pile up a group of apps just waiting to meet my phone. And the more I looked, the more I downloaded. All together, I have (5:40 pm, Saturday, July 12) downloaded 18 apps. Most of them have been free (weight track, Bible, mobile news, livesportz, YPmobile, Jott, eBay, Movies, Travelocity, AIM, Twitterfic, Myspace, Facebook, Cube Runner) but I've also spent a couple of iTunes bucks on a few (Steps, EC, MLB at bat).

At this point, after having played with it for about two hours, I'm impressed. Cube Runner is a free game that uses the built in gyro in the iPhone as you try to navigate through oncoming cubes as if you were riding a motorcycle. It's pretty darn sweet. Most of the apps are really clean and fast. I've had a couple that have given me problems. But overall, I'm really impressed.

I will be watching over the next few weeks as more are available (hopefully). But I didn't want this monumentous occassion to pass without an official post!!! 2.0 rules!!!

Jim

Back from Middle School Camp

I have to admit, I had a great week at camp.

For some reason, about 5 months ago I began to get the feeling that God wanted me at Middle School Camp at Rock River Christian Camp. I can't really explain it... it was just this feeling that I needed to be there. And my hope was, that I would come away with a clear sense of why that was. But I didn't. So, maybe God's got something in the works that I'm still unaware of or maybe He used me to do something in the life of a student that I was unaware of, no matter. I'm just trying to be faithful... emphasis the word "trying."

But it was a good week. I lead so much. I lead so much among our students (trips, retreats, events, weekend stuff, small group stuff...) and I lead so much among my adult leaders (meetings, planning, training...) that it was good to just relax and follow. I had no responsibilities other than the guys in my dorm (and I shared that responsibility with two others) and the students in my family (which I shared with another incredible teenager Makayla from the dean's church). It was great to just play, without worrying about what was next and worship without worrying about the message.

I did have a couple of opportunities to participate. I played the "Prodigal Son" in a little monologue deal on Tuesday night. I always gave a communion meditation of sorts on Psalm 24 before we sang the song "Clean Hands." Which was good.

But it was also great to have students ask me what was next and my response was, "I don't know." And I really didn't. I can get so wrapped up in leading that it's tough for me to relax and just be present. And I really felt that Sunday night and into Monday. Both days, I spent some time thinking to myself, "I would have do it that way... or that would have been better this way..." and then God kinda said, "You know what, you don't have to worry about it. So just relax."

And that was what I did.

It was a long week. It was a busy week. It was a tiring week. And anything but vacation. But I feel refreshed nonetheless. It was a good week.

Jim

Friday, July 11, 2008

Middle school camp pic!!

My lovely pic of my lovely family!!

Middle school camp was...

Great!!! I can't wait to get home and I'll be there shortly...

Jim Clark
Student Minister

Sent from my iPhone... 630.306.1599

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

MS camp...

Is in full swing... Its Wednesday... Man, am I tired!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Middle school camp

Hey all you faithful blog readers...

My apologies first off. I had planned a more... intentional... posting
about bring gone.

But nonetheless... I'm at camp all week. So there won't be much on my
blog this week. But I'll be home on Friday.

So check out the link if you're really looking for something to read.
Nate's blog is excellent as well as Chris Gender's blog.


Jim Clark
Student Minister

Sent from my iPhone...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July

It's a good day to relax... Happy 4th of July...

Right now, I'm kicking back with my feet up.

It's a good day to relax. Jackie and I got up this morning, worked out (it's a long story... maybe for another time) and then walked. Now, I've showered, eaten breakfast and I'm working on some coffee. A little later I'll have some lunch and some Guitar Hero 2. Then a party at a friends and some fireworks in Oswego. It's a good day to relax.

The only downside is that Jackie has to go to work in a couple of hours and she's closing (yuck!). It's nice... because she gets time and half for working on a holiday... that will be nice. But it's a bummer to work on this holiday. But I guess someone needs a latte or a americano today.

Still... It will be a good day to relax. Happy 4th of July!

Jim

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Book #6.5... "A Life With Purpose... Rev. Rick Warren"


Recently, a member of FVCC handed me this book... "A Life With Purpose - Reverend Rick Warren: The Most Inspiring Pastor of our Time" by George Mair.

There were already several books on my "waiting to be read list" (books like "Speaking to Teenagers" by Doug Fields and "3:16" by Max Lucado). But since someone handed it to me, it jumped to the top of the list.

It's actually a pretty good book. I had read it before, but it had been some time. The main reason that I read it, aside from the fact that someone gave it to me, was that the person who handed it to me said that when they saw it, "It reminded them of me"!!!!!

Now, that's a pretty big compliment. To be reading or thinking about Rick Warren (the founder of one of the most influential churches in the US... Saddleback) and think or be reminded of me. Wow!

So, I took some time and read it. I enjoyed it. The one major problem with the book, outside of a few typos (like calling the book of Revelation from the Bible "Revelations..." and a few others that were annoying) was that it was completely lacking any footnoting. Many places along the lines, he quotes Rick or his books or others and makes no reference as to where this material comes from. Maybe I'm just spoiled or jaded a little by LCS, but when you quote someone or something, you need to site your source or you run the risk of plagiarism.

Overall, it was a good book. The first half focused on Rick's life, high school life, seminary life and getting the church started and up to speed. The second half spent some time talking about what happens now and the thought and thinking behind Rick's work (i.e.: The Purpose Driven Life book, the Purpose Driven concepts of baseball diamonds and concentric circles and the P.E.A.C.E. Plan that Saddleback is currently working on). All in all, it was a good and easy read.

Thanks to the one who handed it to me. I appreciate the read and the compliment.

Jim

Book #5.5... Completion of "The Sermon on the Mount"


Back on March 21st, I blogged about having caught up with my Thursday morning Men's Bible Study Group in reading James Montgomery Boice's "The Sermon on the Mount."

This morning, I finished it. Next week, I'm going to be at middle school camp at Rock River all week and won't be able to attend men's Bible study as they wrap up chapter 44. So I decided to go ahead and finish it myself today.

So, if you're keeping track, this is half of the next book that I have to read... so, so far I've read 5 1/2 books this year (outside of school reading). And I'm about to knock off another in about the next 30 minutes.

I really need to pick up the pace before school begins in about 6 weeks.

Jim

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Texting Championships??!!

I didn't know that they had such a thing. But I guess they do. THERE is a text message championship.

"On Saturday, 13-year-old Morgan Pozgar was crowned the first ever National Texting Champion, and awarded $25,000 for her blazing thumbs.

300 competitors vied for the prize, being tested for both speed and accuracy.

Contestants were shown phrases on overhead plasma screens and asked to type them on their handsets exactly as they appeared without typos or abbreviations.

Pozgar's winning phrase was, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocios! Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious."

The only thing about this that surprised me was that they didn't televise it on ESPN right after the Spelling Bee Championships.

Jim

ABC Family and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager"

I have to admit, I groaned both audibly and inwardly last night when my wife asked me to record (sorry... we still have redneck TiVo... also known as VCR) a new show debuting on ABC Family last night called "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Mostly I groaned because the majority of the shows on ABC Family are sappy and not very interesting (in my opinion)(and I really don't like ABC Family... there's nothing much family orientated about ABC Family). But this show in particular is getting some buzz this morning on the Internet among Christian circles. Mostly because of several main characters being "Christians."

I have not had a chance to watch the first episode myself. But I plan to (maybe before I publish this post). Maybe even this afternoon. [Edit: I have watched it now, as I finalize this post for publishing.] But I did notice that Walt Mueller posted some really great thoughts this morning about the show. (You can find those HERE.) If there is something going on in culture (movies, TV, music, video games, etc), Walt is an expert. I read what he writes and it's right on target.

He says: "So do we watch next Tuesday at 8pm (the airtime for this new show)? Or do we find a good book and lay in the hammock? It all depends on who else will be watching. If it catches on with the kids – and I think it’s destined to do just that – then we should be watching too. Then, we need to do some talking as this is one show that will help open doors for discussion on a variety of real-life issues, each of which the Scriptures speak to in liberating and life-giving ways."

I will take a look at it and potentially spend some time watching it over the next couple of weeks and months... not for its incredible plot-line (as my guess is that since it's from the creators of Seventh Heaven, that it will follow in their ultra-sappy, ultra-predictable plot development) or it's believable characters (because they are almost always one dimensional and stereotypical). But because it seems poised to follow in the path of "Seventh Heaven," "Gilmore [Edit: My bad on the spelling... I often forget that there are multiple spellings of Gilmour/Gilmore and I chose incorrectly... My bad.) Girls" and "One Tree Hill" in their attempt to reflect teen culture, especially among teen girls.

So, my advice to you is that maybe you should take in an episode if you have any kind of connection with students... especially if you have students in your house... as chances are, they are watching it or have friends who are watching it.

Once I've taken a look for myself, I will post some more thoughts about it. [Edit: I have watched it now. There is a great deal of "sex" talk in this TV show... more than is comfortable for a casual viewer. And I was somewhat surprised to see a warning at the beginning about offensive content. But I do think it's unrealistic in many cases.]

But please note... I am in no way endorsing this TV show. If your student isn't watching this show, don't encourage them to. I am simply commenting on what is happening in student culture and encouraging parents to be aware of what their students may be watching.


Jim