March Winds & April Showers

Things slowed down a little bit after the NYC trip …for me at least. Laura had to hit the ground running to prepare for a double-header Easter weekend at IBC. Easter Sunday is already a big thing to prepare for (the spike in attendance and the importance of the day’s curriculum) and when you throw in the big to-do of an Easter picnic the day before, it makes for some high stress weeks in the run-up. Honestly, I don’t know how Laura does her job. We’ve
joked before that if the two of us were to ever trade jobs for a week
she would come home crying everyday because of my middle schoolers and
I would basically cause the church to implode, personally offending at least 83% of the Adventure Zone’s parents and volunteers in the process. She juggles so many things at once; I’m lucky if I show up to work with a belt that matches my shoes.

There will be a lot of pictures to come…the egg hunt, carnival games, petting zoo, clowns…tons of stuff! It was awesome!

Just before the big weekend really kicked off, we both had Good Friday off from work so we went in to Dallas for a little day-date. We started off with a nice lunch at Patrizio, a great Italian place that we recommend you try out next time you’re in the area (the spinach & artichoke ravioli is a good bet).

Afterwards, we went a few miles up to the Inwood to see Pans Labyrinth. The Inwood is the coolest little theatre and I wish we went there more often. It’s got the old, main street theatre feel but with updated seating and sound, and reasonable ticket prices to boot! At the very beginning of the movie, there was a slight (and I mean practically unnoticeable) technical problem and on our way out the manager was there with a free pass to “make up for it”. Score! The movie itself was incredible; we both loved it. The story was great and it was visually fantastic, although, we thought there would be a lot more of the fantasy scenes that it’s been recognized for, of which there were only a few. But still, great, great movie!

From there, we went to an art installation of the Twelve Stations of the Cross at City Church. Shaun told us about it and Laura and I are very grateful that we had a chance to experience it. Shaun has a great photo album with brief explanations of each station here…it’s a better walkthrough than any verbal description I could give
you, so take a look. We left the art gallery (which is where they have
church on Sunday) feeling more connected to Christ and his cross through the art than any sermon or song could have done. That’s not meant as a knock against sermons or songs because there is a place for that, but it’s just meant as an affirmation of this type of worship that seems to be becoming more common. I’ll leave it to Shaun and Russ to keep us all in the loop on this emerging conversation, but I will say that if not for these books, all written by two guys associated with Emergent, I’m not sure if I would still be a Christian: “How (Not) to Speak of God”, “The Secret Message of Jesus” and “A New Kind of Christian”. If anyone out there is questioning or uncertain about their faith, I cannot recommend these three books highly enough.

Also, we’ve been getting our house prepared to go on the market because we are looking in to moving over to Grapevine! A couple weekends ago we spent a lot of time in the front yard working on curb appeal and the “Going Above & Beyond Award” goes to Laura’s sister Kristi (who used to have a funny blog that I would love to be able to link to…hint hint) for spending hours and hours picking out and planting some flowers that really make the house look better. They’re begonias and petunias and they’re doing really well. The extra color and attention as you walk up to the house makes a big difference! Thanks again Kristi! But, as longtime readers and close friends will know, our never-ending struggle in the home ownership arena has been the grass, or more accurately, the complete lack thereof. Well, thanks to bags and bags of seed and fertilizer along with some perfectly-timed storms…we actually have a lawn! It’s kind of weird. I’ll walk out to get the mail and it’ll be like, “Oh yeah, I don’t have to hang my head in shame or pretend not to notice the neighbors.”

Well, that’s it for now! We hope you’re all doing well!

Thoughts on the Rangers

Laura and
I went to our first game of the season last night and watched the Rangers’ 6th
inning rally fall just short of the Devil Rays, giving us a record of 4-5. We’re
only nine games in, but I’m going to put a couple of thoughts and predictions
out there to see how true or false they prove to be.

1. Ditch Brad
Wilkerson

I will
freely admit that I resented him from the start since he was in the trade with Washington when we lost Soriano, but he has
done absolutely nothing to win me (or anyone else) over since he’s been here. He
is the strike-out king of the universe and as The Ranger Rundown points out here, he is also
the 0-2 count king of the universe as well. We went to a game last year and when
Brad came up to the plate at a key moment a guy a few rows back said, “Here
comes a strikeout.” I turned around and we had a chat about how inevitable it
was and what the heck is he still doing in the lineup. Sure enough, Brad
whiffed. At last night’s game, in the top of the 8th I looked up and
realized that if we went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 8th, then the
third hitter due up in the 9th would be none other than Brad
Wilkerson himself. It was a crushing realization…one of those things that you
just sort of “feel” that it is going to happen. Sure enough, 1-2-3 in the eighth and the first two
hitters in the 9th were retired, leaving us one run behind with two
outs in the bottom of the 9th and the game effectively over. After
being gifted a 3-0 count by a closer trying to get Brad to chase bad pitches,
he quickly ran the count up to 3-2. He then grounded out to second to end the
game.

We’ve
already got four other lefties in the lineup, so replacing him with either
Nelson Cruz or Jerry Hairston (both right-handed hitters) doesn’t hurt us.
Pulling Jason Botts (switch hitter) up from AAA Oklahoma City is also an
option.

Prediction:
Wilkerson will lose more and more playing time to Cruz, eventually being
replaced completely on the active roster by Botts. Brad will be the first
Ranger to lose his spot on the active roster, sooner than Sosa, because unlike
Slammin’ Sammy, he doesn’t bring anyone to the Ballpark.

2. Put
Kinsler in the Five (or Two) Spot

Ian
Kinsler is my favorite player on the team right now. I said on April 3rd
of last year
, “Laura and I miss Fonzee (Soriano) already, but hopefully the new
kid will be full of surprises. He wears #5 (mine and Larr’s number back in the
day) so that’s a good sign.” A good sign, indeed. He had a stellar year in ’06 and
is currently leading the team in HR, AVG, OBP and he’s just one behind Young in
RBI…and he’s hitting 9th! I say move him up to five and slide
everybody else down one position, or bat him 2nd and put Catalanotto
in the 5th.

3. “The
Ballpark” is Back

Ameriquest
(a sub-prime, predatory lender)
bought the naming rights in ’04 and The Ballpark in Arlington became Ameriquest Field. Boooo. In
March of this year, the Rangers announced that Ameriquest was giving up the
rights and the park would now be called The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Hooray!
I’ve heard some people say that this is temporary and that as soon as someone
else offers the club a couple million dollars a year to put their name on the
stadium then it’ll happen. As much as my cynicism towards the
over-commercialization of everything tends to believe this is true, I’d much
rather believe the front office when they say that the new (old) name is here
to stay.

MSAT Episode #6 – April 7, 2007

Lesson Share : Masters Grid Drawing & Painting

     

Tales from the Classroom : Flippin’ the Bird

That’s News to Me : Trotting Out Globes

That’s News to Me : Choice Based Art Education

>> Download File >> Listen

A Public Apology

When I miss a call or have a new voice mail, my cell phone pops up with this "Event" screen and it lists everything I’ve missed: "Missed Call: Laura", "New Text Message: Barker" etc. This morning, my cell phone was blinking which means there was a new event, so I flip it open and there were two events:

* New Voicemail
* Missed Call : Jay Asp

Obviously, I’d missed a call from Jay and he’d left a v-mail. So, I clicked "Ok" to listen to the message and then…"Mhelo?" It was Jay. I’d accidentally selected "Call" instead of "Listen to v-mail". Normally, this is no big deal. We’ve all been there.

"Oops. Sorry man, I hit the wrong button."
"No sweat."
"Later."

Except, I meet Shaun & Richard for breakfast on Tuesday mornings. At 6:30. Sooo…this little accidental phone call came at 6:07 in the morning. I apologized profusely and Jay played it off, but I feel really bad. Jay, feel free to call me at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning to pay me back.

Actually, scratch that. Just trip me or something instead.

Play Ball!

Rangerslogo

Alright…after spending the last couple hours doing our taxes I am now anxiously awaiting the first pitch of the Rangers baseball season! Last night on the drive home from church, the Mets / Cards game was on 103.3 and just listening to the play-by-play was wonderful. It felt like coming home.

There is something about baseball.

Ok, Kenny Lofton is stepping up to the plate…Play Ball!

Update: Gary Matthews Jr. going to the Angels is already hurting us and Vlad G. continues to have his way with Rangers pitching.

My favorite Rangers blog predicts the Rangers going 81-81…let’s hope he’s wrong, but this guy knows his stuff.