Month: October 2008

Technical Difficulties

So we’re coasting along, have a great ol’ show today on The Catholics Next Door when suddenly *BAM!* the ISDN line died.

We were talking about the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, getting ready to speak with Tim Drake and then later on Fr. Dwight Longenecker, and then without warning, we were left hanging out in space, with callers on the line who were hoping to win a copy of That Catholic Show on DVD.

At least our dog stuck by us as we suffered this senseless disruption of the ISDN line.

This is the first time we’ve had to deal with complete and total ISDN disruption.  Hopefully it’ll be the last!

Sorry for the inconvenience, folks!  If we can get the line working again, we’ll be back on the air shortly.  Otherwise, we’ll be back tomorrow!

My coffee has eyeballs and my livingroom is now portable!

Does this ever happen to you? Perhaps it’s just a senseo thing.

Here’s the model I made of our livingroom.  It’s collapsable so that it would fit in my purse.  I went on to tape pieces of transparency film over each “wall” so that I could draw different art concepts on the walls and then wipe them away without actually drawing on the photo itself.  I might not be able to decorate, but I can at least do things like this!

Loopholes – The Official Cereal of The Catholics Next Door

Ever looking for a quick excuse to get out of something? Need to quickly avoid following Church teaching? Well now there’s a delicious new Loopholes (TM) Cereal! The Official Cereal of The Catholics Next Door!*

Mmm, mmm…tasty!

Thanks to our guests from the past couple of days:

*DISCLAIMER: Confessions not included. The Catholics Next Door take no responsibility if you do something stupid to avoid doing what you’re supposed to. Because this is a ridiculous day and age where some people take things too seriously, this is a complete joke and we highly recommend you don’t bother looking for loopholes to get out of Catholic teachings. Those teachings are good for you. Get used to it.

Why we need to be recycling.

These are all of our show notes that have been printed since we started broadcasting on The Catholic Channel on September 3rd. That’s a whole lotta paper.

Anyone Up For a Game of Tetris?

We got a new dishwasher a couple months ago when the other one died.

After it was installed, the dishwasher leaked, was repaired, and then leaked some more.

The result?

Water damage.

After two months, the floor boards have started to separate and we now have something that looks like a giant Tetris game on our kitchen floor.

We’ve filed a claim with the dishwasher company. These were the photos we sent.

There were a few others we sent, as well, as the areas near the sink and stove were also affected.

We got three damage estimates from different flooring companies, all of whom said they can’t just repair this area, but will instead have to replace the entire floor, including the dining room and the laundry room.

So our construction woes are far from over.

Can’t Believe We Got So Excited Over a Coat Rack

In the midst of our home renovations of the past three months (yes, it’s been going on that long), we removed a small coat-rack we had in our foyer. It was a gift from somebody (I thought it was Jennifer’s mom, but then my sister made me think it was her). It looked like a circus train, and had three colorful pegs on it.

The pegs did not last long.

In fact, our boys worked those pegs so hard by hanging coats and book bags and such that I’m surprised the coat rack lasted as long as it did.

Furthermore, with four boys now in school, we were short a peg for somebody’s jacket and bag.

Now that we got the entire 2-story foyer painted for the first time in something other than builder’s white, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head of a new and stronger coat-rack that could handle more, and also look more like the rest of our furniture.

So a week ago I’m at Lowe’s looking at the coat racks, and they had the color wood I wanted, but not the kind of hardware that would match all of our doorknobs and such.

So I called Dad.

He had a piece of hardwood my brother Paul acquired, and Dad thought it would work for a rack.

So I picked up hardware on Friday night, Dad came over on Saturday and we measured and measured until we thought we had it figured out, and then Dad showed up yesterday with this beauty of a coat rack.

Once it was on the wall, I was even more blown away.

Dad makes awesomely beautiful bowls and vases out of wood using his lathe, but I think this simple coat rack is my favorite thing yet. It couldn’t look more perfect, and finally we won’t have to deal with book bags scattered all over the foyer.

Best yet, each boy has two hooks, there is a hook for me and Jennifer, a hook for the new baby, and still a hook left over should someone stop by.

I’m looking forward to hanging my jacket on it for years to come.

Strikes (and all sorts of random stuff)!

For some reason, I just couldn’t get a blog post completed last week, so here’s another mammoth posting with tons of completely unrelated pictures and links.

For starters, here is what our fancy-schmancy new strike sheet looks like. We talked about this on “The Catholics Next Door” last week, but basically, we’ve allotted the four boys, as a group, 30 strikes a week. Anyone can contribute a strike. They can get a strike for whining, talking back, not finishing a chore, or basically doing anything Jennifer and I don’t approve of. If they get 30 strikes in one week, then Family Fun Night is cancelled.

They’ve been getting Family Fun Night for no reason whatsoever for years now, so the threat of losing it has been a tremendous motivator. This has been working far beyond how we ever imagined it would.

Next up is a little experiment, courtesy of Dina Cheney, tasting expert and author of the Tasting Club.

When she was on our program this week, she told us about roasted grapes, which I thought was too weird not to try.

Basically, I put red and green grapes in a bowl, added salt and pepper, tossed them in olive oil, and then roasted them in a pan at 400-degrees for about 10 minutes.

It was very odd to be roasting grapes, but it made for a very mild and interesting warm salad of sorts. It got even better when I sprinkled walnuts into the mix.

I made far more than I should have, though. Just 10 grapes each for me and Jennifer would have been plenty.

Below is another picture of the grapes. In the big colander are grapes prior to roasting. In the bowl are what they look like after.

Dina was a ton of fun, though, as always, and lead us through another chocolate tasting on the air.

Apparently, when you do a chocolate tasting, the first steps are to break off the chocolate into small pieces, then cup your hands around the chocolate and smell it.

From my side of the studio desk, it looked like Jennifer was snorting her chocolate like some sort of drug addict.

After she snorted it, then we tasted the chocolate and let it roll around in our mouths like wine.

Eating it slowly like that was definitely a change in pace for someone like me who typically follows the chocolate eating process of:

1) Open Chocolate
2) Dip Chocolate in Peanut Butter
3) Eat and Rapidly Repeat.

Okay, so there will be another photo of the chocolate tasting at the bottom of the post. As a warning, this is one of the most unflattering photos of Jennifer that you’ll ever see. As she said on the air the other day, she looks like a big doofus.

But you’ll have to wait for that one.

It’s at the bottom

Don’t skip ahead.

As promised (multiple times), here are links to all the links we talked about during last week’s shows:

OK, finally, here’s the incriminating photo of Jennifer, with chocolate evidence smeared all over her fingers from the snorting incident.

New Couch, Jennifer’s Drink, and Links a Lot

This morning I’m sitting on our brand new sectional sofa. We’re loving this thing. We actually have enough room now that the whole family can have a seat in the living room. It’s quite comfortable.

While I’m working away, Jennifer comes in carrying a cup of froo-froo coffee.

She’s quite proud.

She took a normal cup of coffee, sprayed whipped cream on the top, and then sprinkled cinnamon on it. Cinnamon in coffee just doesn’t sound right to me.

She was so happy with her creation she wanted a picture of it. From the angle I took the photo, it looks like Jody is sitting on top of her drink.

Since we had the camera out, Jennifer took a picture of me working on show prep while sitting on our new sectional sofa. Did I mention we’re loving this thing? Pretty sure I did, but again, we’re loving this thing.

As evidenced in the next picture, plenty of room, even when a guy like me is taking up a considerable amount of space.

And lastly, this photo was for Jackie, our phone screener/board operator/and occasional producer. She’s producing our show while Adam Hamway, our regular producer, is traipsing around Syria (yes, Syria) for the next couple of weeks.

During the program today, Jody our dog kept whimpering, begging for attention. Jackie wanted to see what Jody looked like, so here’s the picture I took and sent to her.

Shortly after the program, Jody puked up grass on our carpet.

Also, in case you didn’t write down some of the recent links to stuff we’ve talked about, here are some recent things we’ve mentioned on The Catholics Next Door:

I gave blood and voted all in one week!

Yesterday our parish was doing a blood drive. I’m trying to get back in the habit of donating. I have no idea how many times I’ve looked through this booklet:

And I have no idea how many times I’ve filled out this form. I’m still 6’5″.

This is the worst part. I HATE getting the finger prick. I can handle a needle in my arm better than the finger prick:

Waiting in the chair with my lap full of blood bags and vials:

The iodine being wiped on:

And *POKE!* there goes the needle! I am usually a very fast bleeder, and as usual, I filled up my bag while others who started before me only were at the half-way mark.

The best part (and really, my main motivation) of donating – FREE ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT NUTTER BUTTERS!

And this time they sweetened the pot by also offering a free waffle. All this, and helping to save lives. Good way to spend the morning, I’d say.

Rosary Army Podcast on uStream

Tonight we needed to record a promo for The Catholics Next Door, so we figured it would also be a great opportunity to finally get out a new episode of the Rosary Army Podcast.

We’ll post the podcast in our regular Rosary Army Catholic Podcast feed tomorrow, but for now, here’s a the recording of the live uStream we did of both the recording of the promo, as well as the podcast. Enjoy!
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This Made Me Feel Better

The day after the last Presidential debate, this video made me feel better.

The story behind it is this guy, Matt Harding, had a silly dance he does. I have a silly dance I do that only Jennifer or our kids see when they’re in a bad mood. No one can resist my silly dance.

But this dude took it one step further.

He was a video game programmer who didn’t like a task he was given: create a video game where the goal is to kill every human.

So he quit. And he traveled. In fact, he traveled to Vietnam. There he did his silly dance. On video.

Long story short, Stride Gum saw the video and hired him to go around the world and dance his silly dance. Other people soon wanted to dance with him so Stride Gum sent him back around the world.

The resulting video, to me, is a reminder that this world ain’t so bad as it feels sometimes, especially on mornings after a presidential debate for a presidential campaign that I’m just plain sick of.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Moose TV, Greg’s Write-In Vote, and Tons O’Links

Victorious.

After three weeks, there’s no other word for how it felt to finally be mounting our television on our living room wall.

Such a ridiculously good feeling. Things are coming together, at last.

After seeing the photo to the left, I realized I was past due for a haircut, as well. I look like St. Francis of Assisi in disguise or something.

And the next picture is just moments after hanging the television, checking to make sure the all important video games still work.

To show my appreciation to our good friend Moose, he of Kaiteur Coffeehouse (best coffee drinks in the world – plug, plug, plug), I even wrote his name in when I voted early yesterday.

No joke.

Check out the last picture as proof.

Vote Moose for U.S. Representative in the 111th Congress From the 4th Congressional District of Georgia!

Okay, all kidding aside, we’ve been promising you a boat load of links from the last few broadcasts of The Catholics Next Door. Thanks in advance for your patience. Be sure to check these out!

First off, thanks to Dina Cheney, author of The Tasting Club for introducing us to some incredible new dark chocolates! She’ll be back on our program on October 22 to introduce us to the last dark chocolate. Can’t wait! Dina also recommended that we check out Chocosphere.com for access to tons of great chocolate. Caution to you chocoholics before clicking that link – it’s got some mighty, mighty good stuff there!

Also, Fr. Leo Patalinghug stopped by the program again last week. Be sure to check out his awesome Grace Before Meals webisodes over on his website.

After eating all that chocolate and food from Fr. Leo, if you want to get in shape, here’s a link to the USA Today Article about the new federal exercise guidelines. There are also a lot of other links in that USA Today article about eating right and other important guidelines.

From Monday, here is the link of all of the Scripture references found throughout the typical Catholic Mass. Pretty cool read!

And lastly, here is the website of Berke Breathed, creator of Opus and Bloom County. He’s killing Opus. May the poor penguin rest in peace.

Carpet Not Included

The contractors finished the conversion today of turning our screened-in porch into a new room for our first daughter (due in late January).

It’s been a difficult week juggling so many things, and also painting so many rooms.

There is still a lot to do in the next few weeks, plus the one thing the builders didn’t do was put in carpet.  We’ll try to get that finished next week.  Once that’s done, we’ll have a nice little extra room for about three months.  Maybe we’ll put the Christmas tree in there this year, just because we can.

Of course, it may look funny in a lavender colored room.  At least, I’m told it’s lavender.  It looks pink to me.

Below is the chronological building of the room.  Once all the changes are complete, I think Jennifer is going to post a huge before and after gallery of all the changes we’ve made to the house since August.

This last one is the outside view.  This is going to take a long time to get used to, and we desperately need some bushes around this area now.  It was nice having a screened-in porch, but the only view we had was of our fence, and it was also full of cobwebs, so it didn’t get used nearly as much as it should have.