Monday, March 16, 2009

The End

Like I said earlier, blogging was fun and enjoyable. When I say, "was," I mean, "is." It still is enjoyable, I like sharing what I find interesting with others and I would encourage anyone to blog.

But today marks the end of my blog.

The end has arrived

What? Paul, what are you saying?

Hmm, what's that? Was I too melodramatic?

Who told you to shut it down?

No one.

Who asked you?

No one.

Who suggested it?

No one.

Are you feeling discouraged for some reason?

Umm... not that I know of.

Is your blog audience gradually shrinking?

No, on the contrary it's larger than ever before.

Blog stats for the past yearClick for larger image.

Did you endure an emotionally traumatic experience over the weekend?

No, unless you count judging LD.

Have you become emotionally imbalanced?

If I was do you think I would actually admit it?

Is your thinking impaired?

I think it's always been.

Then why did you decide this on the spur of the moment?

I didn't.


This is something I chose to do almost 3 months ago.

Pray tell.

Make your confession
There are various reasons, but the best way to sum them up is that 3 months ago I realized that certain things needed to be done that I would only have the opportunity to do for a short time, after that my opportunity would vanish. So I decided to keep blogging until the 1 year mark was reached. Sure, I could blog less frequently, perhaps weekly, or monthly. Many of my friends do exactly that and I enjoy reading their blogs.

Seriously Paul, that excuse sounds so lame. Someone told you to stop, didn't they?


They hinted?

No, stop asking me that, you're aggravating me.

You have a guilt complex?


Are you in denial?

Forget it.

Then what's the issue?

Um, I feel like I need a hiatus.

Paul, you're over-reacting, just blog once a week instead of every day, okay?

Maybe I am, but for now I feel that I need to finish what I can, while I can.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not turning my back on the world of social media. To all of you who've thought about blogging or already are bloggers, I encourage you to remain connected with the blogosphere. In hindsight, if I was given the opportunity that I had a year ago to start a blog all over again I would.

Maybe a year from now I'll come back, buy my own domain, and blog with a Wordpress installation. Maybe I'll Twitter, maybe I'll get a Facebook... or maybe not.

What to do now?
I'm still keeping my fingers in different websites, but for now my blogging is completed.

Before I make my exit I want to give you a short glimpse into what I may (or may not) be doing over the next few months for those who're interested.
  • This Saturday, Alex and I will be attending a Special Effects Workshop. Rumor has it that our class will be playing with squibs (basically exploding packets of movie blood) and making a fireball.
  • The following day I'll be leaving for a week with some men from my church for an entrepreneurial camp in Tennessee.
  • On the way back to Texas I might be dropped off for a tournament in Arkansas where "For Honor" might be played.
  • My family might go to the NCFCA National Tournament.
  • This summer Jeremy will be traveling to Iraq, but Caleb and I might return to Camp Wilderness Ridge to lead worship on the closing night of each boys camp.
  • This summer Alex and I might shoot another film. We're still thinking and praying about it.
  • This fall I might travel to Maine to work on a film project for a director I met at the Film Festival.
  • All throughout this and the next several semesters I hope to begin/continue working on CLEP, DANTES, and TECEP tests for a degree from Thomas Edison State College.

But at this point in time most of these are "maybe's," rather than "probably's". Now, more than ever, I feel at a crossroads of... of... I don't know what, but I feel that I'm at it... whatever it is.

At a crossroads sign

I mention all of this to ask that you would pray that God would make His Will clear to me and that at this crossroads I would take the road of the cross. A lot of stuff is happening in my life that is new to me and that frankly I don't understand.

I thank God for being merciful to me and allowing me to live this long. I thank my parents for letting me share with the world a little part of their upbringing. I thank my siblings, Pat and Christina, for entering the blogosphere with me and giving me food for thought. I thank the 5 authors from ARC who were a part of this blog and brought a different twist to things.

I thank "Paul Hastings", the law firm for reading my posts daily, if I ever visit New York I'd love to come by the PR office for a coffee mug or something. I thank my friends who've read what I've had to say and sympathized or disagreed with me, without you this whole enterprise would have been much duller.

But last of all I thank, you, the reader, for putting up with me for the last year. Thanks for reading and traveling with me.

Looking back one year I see all that happened that I never dreamed of. It makes me that much more excited to think of what may occur in this coming year.


The Hastings Family

The Middle

Having a blog was fun. I could tell the world what I had eaten that day, relate the latest adventure I or my friends had experienced, prognosticate doom over the economy, rant about politics, and more or less speak about what was on my mind. I suppose that to some extent I did all of those.

Essentially, my life was on the web for one year. Over the last 365 days this blog saw and heard about many things in Paul's life.

Paul and ToniFinal Year of NCFCA

Paul, Caleb, Mr. Ramsey, and DrewHigh School Graduation

Paul at the 2008 NCFCA National Tournament2008 NCFCA Nationals

Paul and TimEagle Scout Court of Honor

Caleb, Jeremy, and PaulMaking and Playing Music

Paul at Patriot AcademyPatriot Academy

Thomas, Paul, and JoelSummer Camp Counselor

Cynthia, Mr. Umstattd, Brian, Paul, Thomas, and BenARC History

Paul and AlexMovie Making

Family CampoutCamping

ARC at the AlamoCoaching

In retrospect, I'm slightly amazed that all of that happened in such a relatively short amount of time. When I first began this blog I had only the foggiest clues that some things, like graduation, might occur. But other events, like the movie, were completely unforeseen.

I can't take credit for anything that happened this past year. Credit belongs to where credit is due, and that's to God. He alone, and nothing else.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Beginning

One year ago I was cleaning a facility (very typical) and thinking (very untypical). I was thinking about robots... because robots are cool. More specifically I was thinking about a robot that I had made with Anderson High School over the past few weeks.

Team 2158 ausTIN CANS robot for FIRST 2008
Isn't it beautiful? 14 feet, 120 pounds, 25 miles per hour... (sigh).

We were taking our robot to the Lone Star FIRST Robotics Regional competition in Houston later that week and I wanted to share pictures with other people.

So I started a blog. Since I couldn't think of anything intelligent to say to announce my arrival in the blogosphere I resorted to "The Ten Commandments" for inspiration.

We're Home

We arrived back home a few moments ago. The tournament was very tiring but rewarding. Throughout the week ARC performed amazingly well. More later...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mock Trial Team Gets Third

All of us at the tournament are faring well and anxiously anticipating the breaks tonight.

I received an update from Zack Reynolds that their Mock Trial team placed 3rd out of 24 at the State Tournament. Only the 1st place team advances to Nationals, but nevertheless Zack won the most Outstanding Advocate award out of about 100 student attorneys.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Peter Goes to Virginia


Peter Thelen is en route to Virgina for the National Homeschool Basketball Championship.

ARC Goes to San Antonio


Starting today ARC will be competing in San Antonio for the Texas State Championship.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009



I finally got around to watching Fireproof as of a few moments ago. It was way cool.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Caleb Szajner

Posted from ARC Blogs
Caleb has passed away. Please visit Caleb's website and sign the guest book! Please continue to pray for the Szajner family and the Ingrams!

Here's the site: Caleb has passed away. Please visit Caleb's website and sign the guest book! Please continue to pray for the Szajner family and the Ingrams!

Here's the site:

Update on Caleb

Rebekah called again. The hospital just performed a brain-scan on Caleb about an hour ago and they're awaiting the results. If there is no brain activity then the family will make a decision today.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Prayer Request

I just got a phone call from Rebekah Ingram... posted from ARC Blogs:

Hey there…Bekah here, i have a prayer request.

My friend, Hannah’s, older brother, Caleb, was snowboarding yesterday and fell.

He knocked himself unconscious. They took him to the hospital and now he is in a drug induced coma. His vital signs are not stable. There has been some activity on the right side of his brain, but if there is no change between now and midnight, they will have to decide if they are going to let him go. To the best of my knowledge he is not breathing on his own.

I’m asking you all to join with myself, my family, the ALERT men, and all of his family and friends in prayer for this young man.

Caleb is 21 (i think), going to college, and loving life. Please pray that the Lord’s will be done, grace to know what to do, and peace about the decision that they have to make. I’ll be posting what happens tonight. If you want to email them encouragement, then email me and i’ll send it on,

firefly4jesus [att]

Please also pray for me, I’m having a hard time with it all.
Thanks so much!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Insight From Calvin and Hobbes

Without a doubt, Calvin and Hobbes is one of my favorite cartoon strips of all time, not only for it's zany energy and colorful imagination, but also for it's profound insight. The below panel was drawn over 15 years ago. Click for enlarged image.

Calvin and Hobbes: Insight into America's failing auto industry
Did that spell out "Auto Industry" or what?

Did You See?

If you visit the front page of former State Representative Rick Green's website and wait for a moment, you might see some familiar faces.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One-Man Star Wars

Three poses of Charlie Ross, the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy performer
This is the ultimate interp... or close to it.

Charlie Ross, the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy.

Charlie Ross, the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy performer, in his Luke Skywalker pose
This is how it works. Imagine cutting the entire 300+ minute storyline into a single performance. I'd like to see this guy live someday.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

C++ Trivia

I've been catching up on my C++ class over the last few days and decided to share some trivia with you from my text-book (yeah, I'm plagiarizing).

Binary code
  • - Windows 2000 and Red Hat Linux both are estimated to have over 30 million lines of code.

  • - Debian Linux has more than 50 million lines.

  • - General Motors had to check and repair over 2 billion lines in preparation for Y2K.

  • - In 1999 the Mars Climate Orbiter crashed into the red planet instead of orbiting. A study revealed that the programmers failed to convert from English units to metric.

  • - In 1996 an unmanned rocket built by the European Space agency at a cost of $7 billion exploded 37 seconds after lift-off. It was caused by a 64-bit floating-point number that was converted to a 16-bit integer.

  • - In 1991, during the Gulf War, 28 US soldiers were killed and another 89 were injured by a Scud missile that should have been intercepted by a Patriot Defense Missile System rocket. The error came from inexact binary representations of real numbers. Sadly, the corrected software arrived on February 26... the next day.

The moral of the story is to do whatever you do well. Something as seemingly mundane as programming incorrectly can be embarrasing, costly, or tragic.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Laser Tag and Bowling

I went to a friend's 16th birthday party this evening at Main Event where we played a round of laser tag and a couple rounds of bowling. We had a blast, but it was also then that I realized that I'm not good at any type of party game.

Out of 15 laser tag participants I ranked 14th, defeating a 10-year-old girl. Everyone else, younger, older, male, female, beat me. Bowling was just as futile, scoring a 70 and then a 51-ish.

Sigh... I guess I won't make either of the Olympic laser tag or bowling teams.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Piano Repair by Josh

Joshua Hammond came by this morning and hung out for a couple of hours while his family ran errands in town. While here he fixed 3 broken strings on our piano. Paul volunteered as his lovely assistant.

Joshua Hammond repairing broken strings on the Hastings' piano
Carefully turning the tuning hammer
He did a great job. I hadn't heard those notes for several months so it feels good to have them back. Following the tradition of home-schooling (yes, he is), Josh is a self-taught piano tuner; he also performs piano repair and restoration. For more information email him at: fromnightintoday att

Monday, March 2, 2009

Attic Film Festival Website

The Grace Arts Project updated the Attic Film Fesitval website over the weekend. Included are the synopses for the 13 films that will be shown on March 28. The schedule lists "For Honor" to play at 7:00pm.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Back Home


We're back from Houston. Thomas Umstattd arrived safely in Russia.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maple Leaf Rag - Or Not

We're leaving today for another tournament in Houston this weekend, so I thought I would upload this before we left.

I was bored one day and decided to see how fast I could play "Maple Leaf Rag". This ragtime piano classic (Maple Leaf Rag) was written by Scott Joplin in 1897 and was published in 1899 after being rejected by 2 publishers. For more information regarding the history of this song see the Wikipedia page.

This recording was performed under 2 minutes even though an extra repetition of the second section was accidentally played. I would guesstimate that I had around 85% correct note accuracy. This is not intended by any stretch of the imagination to represent how the song should sound or be performed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wall-E Gets an Oscar

In case you didn't know, I'm a big Wall-E fan. Big.

So it's not without a little excitement that I announce that one of the world's coolest, little robots scored an Oscar last night. Read more.

Jack Youngblood, Peter Thelen

This Sunday was a very special day on 2 counts.

1. Our church installed our 3rd elder, Jack Youngblood (no, he didn't play for the Rams).

Jack Youngblood
We've enjoyed the privilege of getting to know the Youngblood family over the last 5 years. From Michoacan, Mexico, to Austin, Texas, I've personally seen Mr. Youngblood work hard as a manual laborer and lead as an instinctive administrator.

2. My mom and I, along with several friends attended Peter Thelen's baptism this afternoon.

Peter Thelen
I think I first met Peter 2 years ago at an ARC meeting. He accepted Christ as his Lord almost a year ago this month.

As you might deduce from his photo, Peter's a serious basketball player. If you visit the Texas Christian Athletic League website, you'll see that he's listed as the athlete of the month. He's a senior this year, and just got accepted into Liberty University.

I look forward to what God will do in the lives of the Youngbloods and Peter as they embark upon their new journeys.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Olly Hicks is Rowing

Olly Hicks is doing an undone. The 26-year-old departed from Australia last month on a 2-year quest to become the first human to row solo around the world. His craft, The Flying Carrot, is fitted with the latest satellite technology that allows him access to millions of books, videos, and songs via the web.

Image of 'The Flying Carrot'
The The Flying Carrot was made specifically for this voyage. Virgin and Google are 2 of the most notable sponsors.

Olly is an adventurer, or at least, of the modern-day sort. Achievements include:
    The first person to row solo from America to the United Kingdom.
    The youngest person ever to row an ocean solo.
    The Marathon Des Sables. (Running six marathons back to back across the Sahara)
    The Yukon Canoe Race. (The longest canoe race in the world)

Image of Olly Hicks
Olly will be blogging and posting videos of his voyage for the next 2 years on the voyage's website. A map is also available showing progress made thus far.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Normal Life

Life has been full of "normal-ness" again which is relatively nice. I'll be taking another CLEP test this Monday: English Composition with Essay.

The first copies of "For Honor" were shipped in the mail to sundry locations: Washington, Illinois, West Virginia, Canada, and France. So I guess I can say it's going to the corners of the Earth.

ARC is still strewn between Austin and New Mexico. They're returning weary yet triumphant, taking 7 1st places at the tournament. Right now I'm tackling the At-Large points.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beyond Region 4

It's always cool to see NCFCAers excel in areas beyond NCFCA, so I thought I might share a little with you.

On January 31, Zach Reynolds (front, gray suit), Stephen Muldrow (second from right, standing), Paige Toppert (girl from right), Melanie Muldrow (second girl from right), Truett Whitt, Lael Lawless, and Philip Schultz won their Regional Tournament in the National High School Mock Trial Competition.

Adam Muldrow, Lael Lawless, Zach Reynolds, Stephen Muldrow, Melanie Muldrow, Truett Whitt, Philip Schultz, and Paige Toppert
The first 5 of the 7 students mentioned above currently are or have been competitors in NCFCA. Ironically, the region they represent in their new league is... region 4. Their coach, Adam Muldrow (seated, far left) is an NCFCA alumni as well. The State Championship will be in Dallas from March 5-7.

The same day on a university level, Patrick Henry College (PHC) hosted their first National Forensics Association (NFA) tournament. Of the 16 National Qualifying slots available, PHC took 12. Alan Carrillo took 2nd debater and 3rd speaker while Ian Reid placed 14th debater and 11th speaker. Both are alumni from NCFCA Region 4.

And if you didn't hear, a sizable contingent of ARCers is in New Mexico this week for a qualifying tournament. Check out ARC Blogs later tonight for breaks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Facebook Song

This video is dedicated to those of you who use Facebook.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Paul Gulley and Tyler Farver

The premiere was exciting and something will be written up shortly. In the meantime, things have been happening around me while I've been out of the loop for the last 5 days getting ready for the premiere.

I learned this morning that my cousin Paul Gulley who lives in San Antonio has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Yesterday he began 6 weeks of daily radiation treatment. He is a believer and has already expressed a readiness to die.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my friend Tyler, here's an email that my family sent to our church yesterday:
    The young man from the Fort Worth area, Tyler Farver, has been making gradual progress in recovery from the multiple injuries from his accident. After 24 days, this past Tuesday he was moved out of ICU, only to be moved back to ICU the following day after going into shock twice and a renewed level of internal infection being discovered.

    Because his pancreas continues to leak fluid, he is hovering on the borderline of needing a third surgery on it. His family and friends are praying that he might be spared from yet another surgery. Here is an excerpt from his sister's web page at

    "The doctors are unsure what to think about his pancreas because they have never heard of a trauma patient sustaining Tyler's surgery and surviving from it. They have no other case to compare it with. We're praying that the doctors will have God-given wisdom, and that Tyler's pancreas will heal and seal."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Almost There

Sigh... we're still having issues with the DVD. I'm in the midst of my 3rd all-nighter in a row. Alex is on his 2nd. Man, we feel tired. We may sleep through our film tonight... assuming we get it working.

It's not all bad though... just tough.

Thursday, February 12, 2009



My grandmother went home to Jesus one year ago from today.

Staying Up


Well, we're in the midst of another all-nighter again. It's getting slow. We could do with some prayer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Attic Film Festival Acceptance

We just received an email about 30 minutes ago informing us that we've been accepted into the Attic Film Festival. The festival will be held on March 28, at Grace Covenant Church in Austin.

The official selection includes:
    Binding Faith - (the 2008 festival winner)
    Dear Francis
    For Honor
    Hearing Everett
    Just A Desert Boy
    Pendragon: Sword of His Father
    Picture of Hope
    Still Waiting
    The Gift
    The Sower's Grace
    Throw A Few Things On the Ground
Two other films are still being reviewed by the judges.

Actually, a large percentage of the accepted films were shown at the SAICFF. It's like a miniature reunion.

I hope this doesn't sound like a bunch of hype, once you see our film you'll remember that it's a student film. But still, it's kind of cool to be accepted again.

All Night.

We're feeling the heat. We've got some technical issues that we're going to call Adobe Support about. I just pulled my first all-nighter for the year. Alex has been sleeping for the last few hours so I guess I must have been doing the night shift.

We've finished most of the subtitles now. Alex is going to work on some final editing and engineering the DVD. I'll be working on labels. We're hoping to begin burning DVD's by tonight.

But first, I think I'm going to go crash in about 30 minutes. Oh, and KVUE is cool.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today's work

DVD production is still moving along. We've got cases, filmed a few more special features, and made some more subtitles. Really, I should start calling them "gist-titles". But most of what we're doing is editing and compiling the actual "brains" of the DVD.

Alex's ACC class is taking a field trip to KVUE, a local television station, later today. I may get the chance to tag along, but we'll see.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Film Subtitles

We're having a hoot with foreign language subtitles, or at least I am. We're not making any promises on the quality of our foreign grammar... but it's definitely foreign.

If you want to request that a certain language to be subtitled onto the film this is your chance. Speak up now or forever hold your peace.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Film Premiere

I'm at Alex's working on the DVD again and won't be leaving until we finish. If you didn't receive an invitation to the Austin premiere of "For Honor" then this is it:

Dear Friends,

The Hastings and Lerma families would like to extend an invitation to you to watch the Austin premiere of the short film, "For Honor", that Paul and Alex entered at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, beginning at 8:00pm on Friday, February 13 in the Hope Chapel Sanctuary. It will be followed by a short question/answer period with the cast and crew.

For more information about the premiere contact the Hastings at:

Home: (512) 267-2020
Email: paul att

Also, please note that prior to the film premiere there will be a joint pot-luck in the Hope Chapel Family Room for the film premiere

To help with the pot-luck or for more information on David Umstattd's Eagle Court of Honor please call Ginger Umstattd (email Paul for her number):

Directions to Hope Chapel:

Coming from the south on I-35: and for the Eagle Scout Court of Honor of David Umstattd. The Court of Honor will begin at 6:00pm and all are welcomed to attend as well. The pot-luck will begin at approximately 7:00pm. You are welcome to arrive at 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, or 8:00 pm -- or whenever works best for you.
  • Head North on I-35.
  • Take exit 238A (RM 2222 WEST).
  • Turn LEFT onto RM 2222.
  • RM 2222 becomes KOENIG LN.
  • Continue straight across Airport Blvd and Lamar Blvd.
  • TURN RIGHT on ARROYO SECO (just past lights for Grover and Woodrow) and the church is half a mile down on the right.

Coming from MOPAC:
  • From MOPAC (Loop 1), take the RM 2222/NORTHLAND DR exit and head EAST.
  • Drive STRAIGHT on this road - it changes names from Northland Dr. to Allandale Rd., and later KOENIG LN.
  • Continue straight across Burnet Rd.
  • Before you reach the light for Grover, TURN LEFT (north) on ARROYO SECO. The church is half a mile down on the right.

Hope Chapel
6701 Arroyo Seco
Austin, TX 78757

See map

We hope to see you there!

So come. Be there or be square. It's not the most amazing film in the world, but we had fun making it and we hope you'll enjoy watching it. Better yet, come and be the first to get your own DVD.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Viral Videos and Boy Scouts

Last night I crashed at the Umstattd's house with Thomas to think, talk, tinker with movie equipment, watch viral videos, and reminisce.

Really quick, to be a viral video your clip needs to be 1 of 3 things: funny, clever/talented, or inappropriate (in a major way). Forget the last one.

Trends that we saw are:
  • Quick Cuts. Cutting every 5-10 seconds seems popular.
  • Short. Around 4 minutes is pushing the envelope.
  • Celebrity Status. If you're a big deal online you tend to remain a big deal.
  • Preview Frame has a Human. Generally it's a female too.
Movie BoxMusic videos are a different animal. But they tend to either invoke emotion or inspiration. We stayed up way too late talking. But it was cool, things may come about that otherwise may not have.

This morning I was helping at a friend's Eagle Scout Project driving rebar through chopped-up telephone poles on a trail. It seems that every time you hang out with Scouts you can always see a vast range of human nature. Some guys are hard workers, while others hardly work at all.

Not to stereotype or anything (well actually, yeah), but you can make a pretty good guess about a guy's general character by watching the way he works. The harder he physically works, the better he tends to be at other activities. He maybe not be wildly successful at them, but he's engaged by what he does.

This is to say that there was an ample handful of "workers" and "non-workers".

Eagle Scout Logo
At one point today I was working with a teenager who had something similar to cerebral palsy. He really wanted to be there to help and even volunteered to drill holes.

At first we were skeptical about his physical ability to even operate the drill. This kid had trouble walking and would fall over occasionally, his hands were malformed and he couldn't change a drill bit without assistance. His back was perpetually tilted, he tired easily, and for ordinary activities such as walking up steps he needed to steady himself on one of us.

But he was determined not to let anything stop him. After a couple of tries we realized that he could manage, so we let him run the drill the rest of the day.

Scouting friends
It was thought-provoking. Here's a kid who really has every excuse not to be there. This guy should be at home watching cartoons and taking care of his body.

Guys who should have been helping the most... weren't.
And a kid who shouldn't have been able to help... was.

Like I said, thought-provoking.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sick Sister


Christina's out today with a 102ºF fever. She could do with some encouragement.

Going Where?

My boss is leaving the country. Or at least my ex-boss is.

Russian architecture
Thomas Umstattd is taking a leave of absence from the States at the end of February for a little over a month. Read more at his blog.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl Sunday came and went, another team was crowned the champion of body pummelation, and basketball season revs up. But for many Americans, the real high-light of the Super Bowl has nothing to do with football. They tune in to watch the commercials.

Moon Rockers

The 1st game in 1967 brought in somewhere around 27 million television fans. This year's event drew a record-breaking 98.7 million viewers.

Super Bowl viewers from 1967 through 2008
The cost of advertising has risen with the viewership. In 1967 a 30 second ad cost $42,000. A tv-spot this year for the same amount of time was right around $3,000,000. Do the math, and each 30-second ad was spending about 3 cents just for your pleasure.

You can watch and vote for your favorite Super Bowl commercials on YouTube. Voting ends today and no YouTube account is necessary to vote. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Norm Wakefield - Relationships

The Hastings just returned from a talk by Norm Wakefield about relationships. While there I ran into Mrs. Exley from the Houston debate tournament, and Brayden Boyd from Camp Wilderness Ridge. Small world.

To be honest, I thought Norm's talk would be the type of thing that I would fall asleep at. Come on, it's about "relationships"... typical Christian conference material. So I was preparing to fight to stay awake.

Norm Wakfield
On the contrary, it was a talk that made me do a lot of thinking. Norm had so much to say, and now I'm kicking myself that I didn't bring something to write notes on. The brain dump was enormous, but the thing that struck me from the start was a thought he posed.
    As sinful humans we make relationships with people that we can use.
But what does Romans 3:12 tell us about when Christ came to us?
    "All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one."
Did you see the terminology of use and useless? Jesus came to save us when He had nothing to gain. Yeah, yeah, I know we've heard it all. But this was a fresh look. If we want to love, we have to love like God, which is to love with nothing expected in return.

We have to love those who are of no use to us, those who are useless. How often does a kid go to school and say, "I'm going to be friends with someone useless?" Huh? When was the last time you did that? When was the last time Paul Hastings did that?

Pretty convicting. I've got to check this guy out more.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We're Home


We got home about 30 minutes ago.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Debate Goodies

Well, here we are in Lago Vista, just 10 hours before the 1st official NCFCA tournament for Region 4 begins. Most ARCers have already left the Austin metro-area although there are a few, such as the Hastings, who'll be leaving in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

To pass the time I began a new pastime. Hmm... I just got it, "pass time" and "pastime"... how convenient. Anyway, the debate bag that I've used since... the beginning has been falling apart. More specifically, the handle has been slowly ripping off the main body over the last 2 years.

Armed with a needle, thimble, thread, and my mother's sage advice, I tackled the task at hand and only jabbed myself twice.

Paul's debate bag handle, sewed halfwayActually, that's how the bag appears now. I only sewed one half of it together again. But hey, it works.

Underside of Paul's debate bag handleLook at that amazing stitching! Doesn't it make you envious?

I probably won't be blogging in Houston but fellow ARCers will be blogging away at ARC Blogs. They've already struck once, and the tournament hasn't even begun.

We'll also be updating the Region 4 At-Large Points site soon after the tournament ends. I'm sure the site is full of typos and grammatical errors, so if you spot any let me know.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Flute Beatboxing

Beatboxing flutist (or flautist if you like). My initial reaction was probably the same as yours... "What?"

If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it.

Amazing. Greg Pattillo plays the flute better than me. He beatboxes better than me. And he does both at the same time... better than me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fireproof Trivia

Tomorrow, DVD copies of "Fireproof" will hit the shelves at your local Walmart. At the San Antonio Christian Filmmakers Academy we had the opportunity to hear directly from Steven Kendrick, the producer of Fireproof, as he related the story of how Fireproof came into existence.

Fireproof movie poster
I'm sure that the majority of this audience has seen or soon will see the film so I'll spare you the story plot. Instead I'm sure that you'll all want to read the technical aspects of the film, right? What... no? Well too bad, because that's all that I wrote down.

I'm looking at the notes I took during his talk and it's like trying to decipher cuneiform... but blindfolded. From what I can interpret, and from what I can remember here are 10 odd facts about Fireproof:
  1. It was filmed with a Panasonic Varicam. Just 3 weeks into shooting the cameraman died in a sudden car wreck on his way to the set. The project temporarily halted as the crew ministered to his family.
  2. Fireproof used 16 locations, all free.
  3. When the crew learned that the local fire department had just gotten new fire trucks they asked if they could film with the old vehicles. The fire department refused, instead giving them full use of the brand new trucks.
  4. The wrecked cars and train were all used for free. The train scenes themselves were shot with a truck borrowed from the electric company.
  5. The film needed a house to burn down so a local church mentioned that they had an entire house that could be roasted. Not your everyday commodity.
  6. At the end of "Fireproof" a wedding arch (a very high dollar item) is incorporated in the shot. A man called to thank them for creating "Facing the Giants", and as he finished the conversation he mentioned that he made wedding arches for a living.
  7. As the shooting for Fireproof began a local Dollar General employ revealed that he was a professional makeup artist and that he would love to volunteer.
  8. During the confrontation between Kirk Cameron and his rival, the actual difference in height is 9 inches. Kirk is 5'9", the other is 6'6".
  9. All the scenes in the film that take place in a house were actually filmed in 1 home. Someone donated the house and the crew painted and decorated each of the rooms differently.
  10. The cafeteria scene was actually shot inside the hospital. Someone simply bought a lattice at Home Depot and spread cloth over the tables.
So what are you waiting for? Go impress your friends with your amazing knowledge of Fireproof trivia.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Texas Rally For Life

Yesterday afternoon the Macdonald and Hastings families attended the Texas Rally for Life at the Texas State Capitol along with several members from our respective churches. Mr. Macdonald commented that it was by far the largest Texas Rally for Life that he's been to.

2009 Texas Rally for Life crowdThe crowd gathered beforehand to march up Congress Avenue. About 20-30 hecklers were present, and while they were certainly loud and abrasive, nothing violent broke out.

A sign read, 'Abortion: One heart stops, another heart breaks'Signs and posters were in abundance.

Governor Rick Perry at the 2009 Texas Rally for LifeGovernor Rick Perry addressed the crowd.

Ana, Alex, Paul, and ChristinaIt was a great day and a cool experience that I wish more people had the chance to participate in.

Friday, January 23, 2009

JellyTelly Out of Beta

JellyTelly launched their new site in the wee hours of the morning last night. There's still a few bugs to be ironed out, but the new site has been fleshed out significantly more than the beta site.

As before, JellyTelly caters primarily to younger kids. But like Veggie Tales, all ages can get a kick out of it. Odds are that if you like talking vegetables, then a lot of things will entertain you.

But what's even cooler than the new site is... it's free. No sign up, no trial subscriptions, just... free.

So after viewing the site for the 1st time in over a month, lo and behold, guess what I see on JellyTelly? Or more appropriately, what question do I hear? Huh?

I'm not telling, except that you have to watch it yourself. The link dies this Sunday at 11:59pm, so watch it before then. Better yet, watch it now in case you run out of time later. It's within the first 2 minutes (although you can watch the rest of the show if you want to).

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Tyler's been diagnosed with a fractured hip, but all of his vital organs are functioning. He was released from the ICU this morning. It's incredible to think, this time last week he was perfectly fine, two days later he was in a life-threatening condition, and today he's on the mend. Our bodies are fickle, but our God is good.

I survived all 78 questions of my first CLEP test without incident. The exam was Analyzing and Interpreting Literature, which supposedly is one of the easier ones. But halfway through the test I began worrying that I really didn't know the answers and that I would run out of time. In the end I answered the last question with 45 seconds to spare and passed the exam.

This evening saw the closing ceremonies of CFC Masters. Below are photos from last night's masquerade banquet.

The Maisano sisters and BenThe Maisano sisters and Ben exhibited their musical gifts during the talent show.

'What's that Alcalde?'Zorro (aka David) came to save the day, or should I say the night?

'I'm not the Jedi you're looking for...'Obi Two (aka Brian).... complete with automated light-saber.


I grabbed this clip from my brother's blog. A timely reflection on life and it's value.

The Texas Rally for Life will be held at the State Capitol this Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

Pertinent to the topic of life, Tyler's pancreas has begun functioning today. Thanks for all the prayers. Speaking of prayer, I'll be taking my 1st CLEP test tomorrow afternoon at 2:30.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Update on Tyler

Tyler is still in the ICU but his condition appears to be slowly improving. Hannah asks a specific prayer request that there would be no infections and no pneumonia.

Tyler's friend, Chris, who was also in the accident is now resting at home. His leg was broken in 3 places.

Both of these young men would greatly appreciate your continued prayers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Out With the Old, In With the New

Tomorrow, President George W. Bush will step down as President-elect Barack Obama becomes the 1st African-American President of the United States.

President George BushGeorge Bush

This evening, I read a New York Times article from 1903 (click for PDF) and a current news article about odd Presidential inaugural facts. Below are 10 of the more entertaining.

1. Only the Oath of Office is required by the Constitution (Article II, section 1).

2. In 1829, Andrew Jackson's inaugural party at the White House became so rowdy that a miniature riot broke out and the President ended up spending the night at a hotel.

3. William Henry Harrison delivered his 1st inaugural speech in March of 1841. The day was cold, the wind was strong, he spoke 90 minutes, and then got caught in the rain afterwards. He promptly fell sick, developed pneumonia, and died 1 month after becoming President.

4. In 1853, due to a religious objection based on Matthew 5:34, Franklin Pierce became the 1st President to substitute "swear" with "affirm".

5. Grover Cleveland delivered both of his inaugural addresses (in 1885 and 1893) memorized, a feat that the 1903 article asserts that no other President had ever done at the time of publication.

6. The inauguration of William McKinley in 1897 was the first to be captured on film. It can be seen on YouTube here.

7. Franklin D. Roosevelt became the 1st President in 1937 to be inaugurated on January 20th.

8. The shortest inaugural address was 135 words by George Washington at the beginning of his 2nd term. The longest address was 8444 words in 1841 from William Henry Harrison.

9. Abraham Lincoln used 588 words in his 2nd inaugural address and Chester Arthur used 431 in his. Both of them only used the pronoun "I" once in their speech.

10. Millard Fillmore chose to make no address at his inauguration at all.

Sigh, if only more politicians had followed his example...

President Barack ObamaBarack Obama

The inauguration day schedule for tomorrow shows the actual inauguration and address at around 11:00am CST.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Update on Tyler

Part of Tyler's pancreas was removed last night and he underwent a blood transfusion.

From Hannah at 2:04pm:

Hey everyone. I'm on the hospital computer, but I just want to thank you all for your prayers. We're holding up and trusting in God's sovereignty, but Tyler is so encouraged by your prayers. He can't quite comprehend what has happened yet. He's off the ventilator right now, but we are praying that his organs will accept the surgery. Pretty much everything–stomach, pancreas, liver, kidneys, intestines, and spleen– were either ruptured or disconnected. Please pray his body will accept the operation and begin to heal.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tyler Farver

I just learned that earlier this morning my friend Tyler Farver from Dallas was involved in a serious 4-wheeler accident. He was airlifted to a hospital and placed in the ICU for emergency surgery. His condition is very grave including internal bleeding and damage to several organs. His sister will be posting further developments here.

Please keep Tyler and his family in your prayers.

Update January 23, 2009: Tyler has been recovering smoothly.

CFC Masters, Speech Banquet

I swung by CFC Masters today to judge and see everybody. Through the course of the evening there was a banquet.

For more photos and commentary from ARCers, visit the arcblogs site.