A friend of mine just wrote a post about creative people (Jon Varner's Blog). His bottom line was that not everyone is creative and he wanted to know how the brain of a creative person works. I thought I'd share a bit about how my brain functions when I get a creative idea.

My brain has three creative settings: modify, visual, and event.

Since I was a kid, I always had this tendency to see things as potential to be something else. For example, you might see an empty can of Monster energy drink and think it's trash (or recyclable). I see it as a mini-sculpture of an actual monster.
When I see something, I can't help but imagine what else it could be. I have a habit of taking things apart :)

I am a very visual person. I'm able to close my eyes and picture a design in full detail... before it's made. When I have a basic idea of something that I need to make in photoshop, I'm able to close my eyes, add/change/remove elements of the image in my head, and have the final product laid out in detail in my mind. From there, I just get on Photoshop and copy what I have stored in my noggin.
The same goes for video. I already know exactly what the movie is going to look like way before I even start a script. Sometimes I'll listen to music that we're planning on using. I just close my eyes, listen to the same score over and over, and I produce the movie in my head, one shot at a time. Then, I just make the movie match what I thought of.

Event creativity can be many things. For example, what happens on a flash site that I make? Or how can this game be more fun? Basically, making an experience fun/better.
I'll typically see something that gives me a very basic idea of something fun. I'll close my eyes and imagine, "What would it be like "A B and C?" From there, ideas just start flowing. "After C, it would awesome if D E F!" And so on. Whenever I see an event or have an idea, my primary thought is, "How can this be added to/tweaked/improved."

So, basically, my creativity comes to me when I'm able to relax, close my eyes, and visualize all the great possible outcomes. That doesn't mean that everything I come up with is gold. The bacon belt was a huge failure! <--- but that's where my creativity comes in. Now I'm going to make a bacon belt and link it to this post. Why? Because it's funny. So look out for that.

I have absolutely no musical talent! Musicians are extremely talented and creative. I'm also colorblind, so I'm never really paying attention to color and lighting... just shapes :)

And that's the mind of my creative personality. What about you? How does your brain work? Are you creative? Leave a comment!


Retro Rotary Phone iPhone Dock

I couldn't come up with a cool name for it, but the Retro Rotary Phone iPhone Dock was something I made/built/created/invented a little while back. I saw a retro phone at Target and instantly saw its potential as an iPhone dock! It took me a few days of intense labor, but it was worth it!

So basically, it's awesome. The dock will fit almost any iPhone/iPod comfortablly. The bluetooth handset sits on top and can easily be linked to the iPhone via bluetooth. Just under the handset is a dock for the Apple Bluetooth headset. The headset slides easily into the dock and begins charging.
On the back of the dock is a 5 port powered USB hub. 3 Ports are easily accessable in the back. The other two ports are internal, one of which has a cable that comes nicely out the back and plugs into the bluetooth handset for charging (leaving the front three open). The other is connected to the headset dock internally.

Well, I decided to put it on eBay to see what happens. I'm excited! I hope people like it! Here's the link if you want to bid and help a guy out :) I priced it at the price that I did because it comes with two different bluetooth devices and a powered USB hub.


Oh, and it's on Digg:

6 Personalities In Your High School Small Group

While waiting for my flight in the airport over the weekend, I struck a conversation with a really nice guy named Steve. Steve is a Long Beach police officer and his stories were amazing and funny! We had about 5 hours on our hands and eventually got on the topic of high school small groups. To my surprise, Steve was a small group leader for a group of students in Long Beach! In fact, he had been leading his group for four years. I asked him for any advice and he began telling me about the six types of student personalities in a typical small group.

I decided that I was going to blog about it and began writing the first three. At one point, I had to look something up and came across a church in Lakewood, CO called Bear Valley Church. They had a document linked to their site with tips on small groups. It was exactly what Steve was telling me about. I'm sure this is nothing new to veterans, but for new guys like myself, it's really interesting. So, I simply did a copy & paste into my blog because I didn't want to write it myself. Thank you Bear Valley Church!

The Talker
Description: This is the student in your small group who never stops talking, who always has a comment for everything. You’re tempted to apply duct tape, but don’t -- there are more productive ways to handle this student.

Possible Solutions: First, position the Talker next to you when you begin your group, which reduces eye contact with her when you ask a question -- and when she interrupts someone, lets you reach over and touch her arm (usually a silent but effective cue). If you have a whole group of Talkers, you may want to try the ground rule that stipulates that the small group must circulate an object -- a stuffed animal, Nerf Ball, spit wad, whatever -- and that a student must possess it before speaking. This will help Talkers wait their turn.

Chances are, the Talker has some natural leadership ability that you should encourage. So let her lead the small group now and then. This can help her appreciate what you endure as a leader, and she just may become more supportive when you lead.

If the problem persists, get some time alone with her and talk with her about giving others a chance to answer the questions. Help her feel that she’s on your team, and that the two of you need to work together to encourage the other students to respond.

The Thinker
This student is quieter (and usually shier) than the others, with a tendency to get drowned out by the louder personalities in your group. So bring him out more by positioning him across from you, to increase the chances of eye contact with you. You can also use the tried-and-true method of occasionally directing questions to specific students, thereby eliciting responses from the Thinker.

If the Thinker is particularly shy, spend one-on-one time with him to discover what he’s interested in -- and so you can create the kinds of questions that will bring him into the discussion. Use the positive reinforcement of affirming him on those occasions when he actually does respond publicly. And when he lapses back into silence, don’t interpret that silence as something that needs to be fixed. Some kids just learn by listening and watching -- and there’s a good chance he’s one of them.

The Church Kid
This kid has already spent more hours in this church than you probably have. She’s progressed from the church nursery to the high school room in the course of her 14 or 15 years there. She consequently knows more about the Bible than any other kid in youth group, not to mention her small group. Of course, her knowledge may or may not indicate spiritual depth.

Church Kids can be the hardest to reach because they’ve heard it all, and therefore feel they have nothing to learn. One way to challenge them is by not being satisfied with pat answers. Always ask why. Or play devil’s advocate by countering her squeaky-clean, correct answers with provocative arguments from the “wrong” side of the issue. Such strategies usually work for a Church Kid to think more deeply about her answers instead of just rattling them off.

Ask her to help you create questions for a Bible Study -- or even let her lead the small group once in a while. In any case, avoid asking questions that invite a “right” answer. Opt instead for question that leave room for a variety of valid responses.

The Distracter
This is the student who can’t sit still and ends up distracting everyone in your small group -- including you. Rather than constantly stifling him, direct his energy toward productive ends: ask him to help you pass out Bibles, set up chairs, serve refreshments. Or (and this is good advice for all small groups, with or without Distracters) do some active-learning experiences with your small group -- like object lessons or field trips -- instead of just sitting and talking week after week.

You may better understand this student (and where his energy comes from) if you get together with him outside of your small group. Even a Distracter can be good for your small group. Even a Distracter can be good for your small group, if only because he doesn’t let you get by with boring Bible studies. (Remember that when you’re tempted to quit.) Really -- your leadership skills will be sharpened as you find ways to engage him as well as the tranquil students in your lesson.

The Debater
She irritates you by challenging every point you (or anyone else) tries to make. Sure she brings a creative energy to the group sometimes -- but she often stifles the other kids by making them feel too threatened to voice their opinions or feelings.

Deal with the Debater by establishing ground rules for you small group, (the first and perhaps the only) being: It’s okay to disagree with
opinions, but it is inappropriate to attack or put down other small-group members if their opinions differ from yours. A second ground rule
may be that only one person may talk at a time. Ground rules like these help make a Debater’s criticism less caustic and restrains her from interrupting others in order to make her point.
The good news: once Debaters understand and abide by such rules, their input can actually enliven your discussion. Just remember that your goal is to direct, not stifle, their participation.

The Crisis Producer
This student is in perpetual crisis -- and lets your small group know about it every meeting. He’s often self-absorbed and therefore unable to participate in the discussion, except when it’s focused on him. So get together with him before your small group begins in order to talk through his problems with just you instead of bringing them to the small group. (Lucky you.) Or begin your small-group discussion with the assurance that everyone will have a chance to share problems, prayer requests, etc., at the end of the group. This helps members -- and especially Crisis Producers -- stay focused on your bible study.

Whatever your strategy with your Crisis Producer, your long goal is to help him see past his crises to some solutions, and then to participate in you small group without having to constantly bring the focus back to himself.

What about a student who raises a legitimate crisis during the discussion? Be flexible enough to postpone your study and deal with the issue at hand.

Here's their link to the full deal (it's a word document): Small Group Leader Skills


5 Things: First Night at HSM

Here are 5 things I observed, experienced, or thought about while volunteering on my first night at HSM (High School Ministry at Saddleback Church).

1. Students are very cool and confident among their peers.

2. I am very uncool and uncoordinated among students. My voice cracked multiple times that night... I'm 23.

3. While standing on a chair in the front row of the theater... I slipped and fell. My leg got caught between the seat and backing as I descended, forcing me into the splits. Oh, did I mention that this was in front of 300 students on my first night?

4. A group of student were not paying attention during the message. However, during worship, they were on fire. Works for me!

5. Students have a habit of scanning the room while standing around talking to their friends. What are they scanning for? Other people looking at them of course! Once they notice someone looking at them, they act like they didn't notice and smile while continuing the conversation they momentarily left for scanning purposes. The funny thing is that the person who they noticed looking at them was actually just scanning as well!




Face Demo

Here's a quick demo of the interactive face that I created in flash for HSM. I'll put up a version that you can play with soon!


My Wife After Back to the Future III

She didn't cry at the end of Back to the Future II because it was a cliff hanger. I made sure I had our camera ready for the end of Back to the Future III. Those tears start flowing like clockwork! Just keep in mind that she's crying because of Back to the Future!

Disclaimer: Hollie wants me to make it clear that she only cries like this at the end of happy movies. She never cries like this in other situations. She is a very emotionally stable person... cough... cough :) But seriously, she's only a baby after happy movies and that's why I have no problem sharing it with the world! And yes, I do get in trouble for uploaded these videos :P


My Wife After Back to the Future!

Okay! If you haven't seen my wife cry at the end of Star Wars, you have to watch it first. We just finished watching the first Back the the Future and sure enough...

Watch how she reacts after:


My Wife Crying After Movies

My wife (Hollie) is amazing! I love her to death. She has one of the funniest tendencies I've ever seen. After we see a movie with a happy ending, she can't help but turn on the waterworks! It's hysterical! She's very adorable.

Recently, I grabbed our camera and began capturing these classic moments! I guarantee that these are 100% genuine tears! Keep checking here for updates! Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: Hollie is completely aware that I post these on youtube. She thinks it's funny. The crying is real, but afterwards, she's laughing. She's adorable and it's funny to watch her get so worked up over something like a SciFi movie!

A Flash of Genius

Lord of the Rings

Back to the Future III

Back to the Future

Star Wars Trilogy

Keep checking for updates!


Annoying Type #1

The "Legally" Guy

Who is he?

This is the guy who knows everything about the law, even though he has absolutely no formal education on the subject. He can tell you anything from the legality of carrying a switchblade on government property, to the amount of jurisdiction an off duty officer has while in a different city. If you have a legal question, he's the first share is knowledge of loopholes and did-you-knows to all ears within hearing range. He will aways use the word, "legally" somewhere within his first sentence.

Most common sayings:

"Legally, he can't do that."
"I legally have the right to defend myself under any circumstances."
"As long as the blade is less than 3 inches, legally, you can carry it anywhere."

Why this person is annoying:

He has no idea what he's talking about! This guy gets all of his "knowledge" from a mixture of word-of-mouth, wikipedia, and his own desire to sound smart. Most of the time, he's just making it up as he goes because it sounds like it should be a law. If you're ever in a fender-bender, he'll instantly become your legal advisor. It doesn't matter what you say, he'll chime in with some obscure legal fact that makes the rest of the room question his sources.

When challenged:

He'll either claim the law may actually only apply in Mississippi, then throw out a similar, yet unverifiable law factoid from another country like Italy, or he'll claim that he has family or a neighbor in law enforcement and that's what they told him. He'll then tell you that he'll check with them to confirm what he had just told you. Just don't expect him to come back to you with an answer any time soon. Unless, of course, he's able to print something out on Wikipedia that quasi-supports his earlier statement.

How to deal with this guy:

Just let him talk. Take nothing he says seriously. When he offers to help because he has a friend/family member/neighbor who is in law enforcement, just let him know that your neighbor is a highly respect judge in the area. Other than that, he's harmless. Plus, legally, you have the right to remain silent when you're around him... legally.


My Wife After Return of the Jedi

As I said in my last post, my wife and I decided to watch all 6 Star Wars movies, in chronological order, over a period of 6 days. She had never seen Star Wars before this marathon.

Another thing to note is that Hollie, my wife, cries at the end of almost every movie we see together. She's super adorable. I grabbed our camera to capture this classic moment after we finished, "Return of the Jedi". Keep in mind that she's crying because of Star Wars :)

I love Hollie to death. She was okay after about 25 minutes :)

Watch how she reacts after:


Star Wars + My Wife = ???

I've been a fan of Star Wars since I was 12. My wife, however, didn't even know who Yoda was. We decided to watch all 6 episodes in chronological order, over a period of one week. We succeeded :) Most people said that we should have watched 4-6, then 1-3, but I assured them that it would be better if we watched them 1-6. Trust me. You'll understand why in a minute.

Each episode took about 3 1/2 hours watch because I had to constantly pause the movie to explain what was going on. She actually loved all of them and now considers herself a fan! She's a very cute girly-girl, so here are some of my favorite quotes/conversations while watching Star Wars:

1. (While watching a battle in space)
Hollie: "Oh! That's so pretty! They should all have different colored lasers so it will look like a rainbow!"

2. (Attack on Hoth, referencing the AT-AT Walkers)
Hollie: "Those look like elephants without noses!"
Me: "They actually studied elephants to get the motion correct."
Hollie: "Baby elephants are so cute!"

3. (Mace Windu's light saber)
Hollie: "Why is his sword purple?"
Me: "Because Samuel L. Jackson said he wanted that color."
Hollie: "I thought his name was Mase Wodu?"
Me: "It's Mace Windu and the actor's name is Samuel L. Jackson."
Hollie: "Purple's a girl color."

4. (When we first meet Lando)
Me: "Did you know that he was the first African American to play a major role in a sci-fi movie?"
Hollie: "What about Mase Wodu?"
Me: "It's Mace Windu and he was in Episodes 1-3 which were filmed later."
Hollie: "But I thought that Mase knew Darth Vader when he was a kid."
Me: "Never-mind."

5. (When we first see the Death Star)
Hollie: "Is that the Death Star?"
Me: "Yes."
Hollie: "They did a good job."

She wasn't talking about the special effects department. She was talking about the actual Empire construction crew.

6. (Episodes 1-3)
Hollie: "I don't like Anakin. He's too whiny."

7. (Episodes 4-6)
Hollie: "I don't like Luke. He's too whiny."

8. (When Palpatine tells Anakin to kill Dooku)
Hollie: "Wait! I thought they were the same guy?"
Me: "Who? Palpatine and Dooku?"
Hollie: "Yeah, don't they work for the Sith Lord guy?"
Me: "Palpatine is the Sith Lord."
Hollie: "But he just got his head cut off?"
Me: "That was Dooku!"
Hollie: "Oh... who's the Sith Lord then?"

9. (I'm trying to remind her who Darth Maul was, literally the day after watching Episode I)
Me: "He's the guy with the double bladed light saber."
Hollie: "I don't remember him or that light saber."
Me: "He was red and black with horns on his head."
Hollie: "There was a red and black guy with horns?"
Me: "He was the main bad guy who killed Qui Gon Jinn."
Hollie: "Qui Gon who?"
Me: "Never-mind."

10. (She knew Luke and Leia were twins because of E3)
Hollie: "Right there! They just kissed!"
Hollie: "There! Rewind that! They totally kissed! Gross!"
Hollie: "Does he know that she's his sister?"
Hollie: "What's wrong with the director?"
Hollie: "Did you see that! He just gave her a look!"
Hollie: "Please tell me they find out before it's too late!"
Hollie: "Why can't she just get with the Indiana Jones guy?"
Me: "I saw. I know. Not yet. Don't know. No he didn't. They do. She does."

I love my wife :)