All Posts by Greg

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.

Posted by Greg
October 23, 2008

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:

Posted by Greg
October 20, 2008

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.

Posted by Greg
October 19, 2008

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!
Continue reading

Posted by Greg
October 16, 2008

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.

Posted by Greg
October 16, 2008

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


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 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.

Posted by Greg
October 14, 2008

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.

Posted by Greg
October 11, 2008

Waiting for Batman

It’s been a busy day for us.

This morning the Archdiocese held its annual Rosary Rally and Jennifer and I had been invited to lead the first decade or praying the Rosary in English.  Other decades were recited in French, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

It was a pretty neat event and both Archbishop Gregory and Archbishop Emeritus Donahue were there.

Afterward we snuck away and took the boys to a local mall where reports were saying that Batman had been sighted in the vicinity!

Tommy, our 4-year-old superhero freak, was particularly excited about this.

Ben, however, wanted to have nothing to do with the Dark Knight.  He wouldn’t even look at Batman.

Can’t say I blame the kid, even though I have to say we were totally impressed by the dude in the Bat-suit.  He was so incredibly good with the kids.  I’d say he was having a 99% success rate connecting with the kids, and when I took the other three boys up on the stage to meet him, and Ben stayed behind with Jennifer as she took pictures, Batman noticed Ben and went to the edge of the stage to try to connect with him.

Alas, Ben went fetal.

But still, kudos to the dude in the Bat-suit.  He’d make Gotham proud.

Below is a picture of us with Batman.  It was pretty cool when I was shaking Batman’s hand to hear him tell my boys, “Your dad’s a big guy.”

I intimidated Batman!  All is right with the world.

Posted by Greg
October 11, 2008

Extreme Makeover: Catholics Next Door Edition

First off, thanks to Janice Givens for joining us on the program yesterday. If you’re interested in getting involved in incredibly meaningful mission work, please be sure to check out Mustard Seed Communities. Janice has been encouraging us to go on a trip to help out with Mustard Seed, and the more I hear about it, the more I think I’d like to do this some day.

Thanks also to Fr. Phillip Chavez for joining us on the program today (Thursday).

And if you’re curious about some of the stuff we talked about today:

And as promised, here are some pictures showing the progress on the house. Slowly but surely it’s all coming together. This first picture is our living room wall, taken yesterday morning. Below the living room walls have received their final coats.

Last night we put the first coat of paint on the dining room wall. Tonight, Jennifer wants to put down primer everywhere we possibly can.

Below is the part we’re really, really excited about. I still can’t believe that after 10 years we finally bit the bullet and we’re having our screened in porch converted into a room. They did all of this in about 3 hours yesterday:

This morning they started putting up the walls:

By the time our show was over, all the walls were up and the window had been installed (below). There’s a very good chance that the entire room will be finished tomorrow, with the exception of carpet. We still need to figure that one out.

Once this is done, we just need to finish painting, finalize our choice of a new couch, and get the TV hung and we’re ready for the baby!

Posted by Greg
October 9, 2008

The Project That Ate The Kitchen

Two weeks ago last night our friend Moose can over and we started a simple project to extend a cable in our living room wall from Point A to Point B.

Should have been simple enough.

Alas, two weeks later what was a simple job in the living room now includes almost all of the furniture in our living room having been given away, painters taking over the house, wallpaper being ripped from walls in two bathrooms and the kitchen, and in the next few days, a new room being finished off where currently stands our screened-in porch.

When we started today’s program, we had full wallpaper in the kitchen. As you can see from the picture above (taken right after the show) and below-right (actually taken during one of breaks at the top of the hour), significantly more progress has been made than we expected.

Got to say, it’ll be really interesting having paint in the kitchen and bathrooms.

It was also a lot of fun to have Moose stop by the studio and join us for today’s program. Great guy, this coffee-man. And he can get away with wearing yellow shirts quite well (see below)!

Thanks, also, to Fr. Bill Kessler for being our regular Monday guest again. Be sure to check out Fr. Bill’s Technopriest podcast over at SQPN!

And lastly, the picture all the way at the bottom shows just how long Jennifer’s hair is getting. Very, very long.

I cannot relate to long hair.

Posted by Greg
October 6, 2008

Too. Stinkin’. Funny.

We have a bunch of Star Wars fans in this house, so we’re looking forward to the premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network tonight.

While looking for a preview to play on today’s The Catholics Next Door, I came across this teaser for the show that just cracked me up.

Posted by Greg
October 3, 2008

Failed Family Photos and Send Your Pic to the Pope

Want to send your family photo to Pope Benedict XVI? To have it included in a mural including 7,000 other photos, send your photo to [email protected] or [email protected] Make sure it is less than 4MB in size and in JPG or GIF format. No cell phone pictures!

To the left is one of our attempted Christmas picture photo shoots. The final version ended up being a combination of these that were all photoshopped together, but I wasn’t able to find the final version.

But this series of shots pretty much sums up a typical photo shoot with our boys!

Thanks to Father Frank Pravone from Priests For Life for stopping by the program today. Be sure to check out his new website at

Thanks also to Harald Stuckle from Beck’s Brewery in Germany for being on today’s The Catholics Next Door.

Harald successfully made me very, very thirsty for some Beck’s!

And below is the family photo that was in our parish directory, complete with Hawaiian shirts. We trimmed this particular photo so unfortunately you don’t see the full effect of the ugly black square the photographer made Tommy sit on, but it was fully in view in the final directory.

Got a great family photo story? Share it!

Posted by Greg
October 1, 2008

Run, Fatboy, Run!

Last night we watched Run Fatboy Run (Rated PG-13 for some rude and sexual humor, nudity, language, and smoking) and have to admit to laughing quite hard several times during the movie.

Watching it, of course, got us thinking about my first (and so far only) marathon that I ran last Thanksgiving. I’m sad that I didn’t get to keep up with training to run the race again next month, but I think after watching the movie last night that I do want to start training again.

There were definitely some problematic elements with the movie, but overall we enjoyed it. It had been a long time since a movie made me laugh so hard I had to wipe my eyes, but this happened one time while watching. Maybe it was just because I could relate to being out of shape and still training for a marathon.

If you haven’t seen it, check out the video below that our friend Father Roderick filmed while I was running the race last year.

Posted by Greg
October 1, 2008