These days, everyone knows about the Trojan Horse (a mythical giant wooden horse used by the Greeks during the siege of Troy). But, apparently, not everyone has learned from history: here’s a modern recreation, done by The Chaser’s War on Everything (an Australian television show) to test that very theory. Enjoy! ... [video]
I, however, spent most of the day indoors drawing (I'm in the midst of another round of custom portraits), but by evening, I went for a walk to take care of a few errands. It's a little sad knowing that before long, these warmer autumn temperatures (50-60 degrees) will turn cold, and it will be snow falling, not rain. Don't get me wrong, I love the beauty of a fresh snowfall, but if I had to choose, I'd probably take the warm rain anyday.
Despite the rain, though, I did find my walk to be rather enjoyable. I had a package to mail at the post office, and then, after that, I decided to walk across town (my nearby "small town" Milwaukee suburb) to one of two local grocery stores. As I walked along the downtown main street shortly after dusk, I started to see all the brightly-lit Christmas displays. Lamp posts were decorated with Christmas wreaths and holiday banners, a massive Christmas tree (fully lit) stood regally in front of town hall, and occassionally, I heard one of the local church bell towers playing Christmas carols.
It was only 6:00pm or so, downtown was still very much awake with traffic and pedestrians. But it was a pleasant reminder to me that I really should get out and visit this part of town more often. Usually, when I'm on foot, I only go as far as the post office. I rarely have time to meander down the rest of main street.
See, this is one of the things I love so much about where I live. Technically I still reside within the Milwaukee city limits, although I am 40 minutes away (by bus) from the major metropolitan downtown. On the contrary, however, I am within walking distance of two of the oldest "small town" Milwaukee suburbs -- both of which still have distinctive downtown main streets of their own.
When I was younger, I spent the greater part of my childhood growing up in the country. I came to love the small town environment. My dad preached at a small Lutheran church, I spent my days playing in the massive yard next door, and going to town meant visiting the shops on main street half a mile up the road. When my family moved to Minneapolis, I came to appreciate the finer things of living in the big city. And now, years later, I live in both places... a big city, AND two small towns. It really doesn't get any better than this!
Milwaukee (and it's surrounding suburbs) is a city that prides itself on it's history. And it has a very vibrant and culturally significant history at that. When I lived in Minneapolis, I didn't quite really feel the same way. Up there, it's a very modern city. Very progressive, very future-driven. Here in Milwaukee... well, let's put it this way, for a while (back in the early 1800's) we were the "Chicago of the Midwest" -- very ethnically-diverse, traditional, a major manufacuring center growing at an astonishing rate, and yes, much larger than Chicago!
Obviously, in the past 100 years, Chicago has outstriped Milwaukee in size -- due mostly to geographic location. But despite that, my home city remains just as culturally diverse as it used to be. And I can't really imagine myself living anywhere else and loving it as much as I do here. I live in a great neighborhood, but not a crowded one. I live within walking distance of nearly everything I need, yet it's not a heavily commercialized area. And I live in the big city, but yet also in a small town. It's the best of both worlds.... and it makes a rainy day walk like today, one of the most enjoyable I've had.
Life is good when you stop to enjoy it. It really is. But you have to make the time. There are always new places to go just beyond your doorstep, new things to learn and discover beyond your street, and an endless array of history just a few blocks away. But you'll never be able to appreciate them from your living room couch. Get out there and enjoy your surroundings. Appreciate where you live. And don't be afraid to explore it in the process.
Have a wonderful evening all, and until next time,
Those of you that know me well, or have been reading my blog for some time, know that I am an actor and an artist. That's my passion. That's what I do. But I am also a Christian -- and I stand tall in that conviction. I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I choose to live my life in thanks for His sacrifice on what should have been my cross.
I'm also a church-going person. Granted, I don't make it every Sunday, but, I am blessed to go to a Milwaukee church where the sermon is recorded and broadcast on national television as part of the growing Time of Grace Ministry. Perhaps you've already seen it?
Well, today's message was a rather poignant one, and a wonderful reminder to me -- personally. And, since it applies to all of us, I thought I'd share part of it with you. Now, I understand not everyone shares the same faith as I do, and I accept that. But, regardless of where you come from, or what you believe, you are still invited.
So, as follows is part of today's Time of Grace message by my pastor, Mark Jeske. Enjoy.
The Ultimate Expression of Love (Source: Pastor Jeske's Nov. 26, 2006 Time of Grace message.)
When it comes to the comparison between showing a message by saying it with words or showing it with actions, obviously which one shouts louder? Actions. Actions always shout louder than words.
If a guy kisses his kids goodbye and kisses his wife goodbye before going off to work, and he says, "I love you all; I just love being with you. You are my family, I love you with all my heart and I love my home; I can’t wait to see you again," except after work he goes out with his buddies, drinks up all his paycheck, gets totally bombed, risks losing his job, and staggers home at 2:30 a.m. in a foul, angry mood -- what do you think those kids are going to remember about that particular Tuesday of their lives? Are they going to think, "That was the day I was sure Daddy loves me?" No. That’s going to be the day they remember, "Maybe he doesn’t love me at all."
Actions always trump words. And if Jesus had just come to say, "God loves you" and "I will be with you always," that would be wonderful and we’d have to go on his word. But really, what gives us such incredible power behind those words is that he showed his love. He allowed himself to be arrested, meekly submitted to the abuse that unworthy human beings dished out to him, and then he allowed himself to have a crown of thorns beaten into his head, hung up on an instrument, the rack of torture, nailed down and left to hang there to expire a slow, miserable, painful death.
Infection set in, and his head was broiling in the sun as the life slowly seeped out of his body. And on top of that, he got to suffer rejection from everybody around him, including his friends, and including his Father, who turned on him also. And in absolute loneliness, alone and in misery, he hung there to die for you and for me. That’s how much he loves you.
He spread his arms wide -- wide enough to hug the whole world, and he showed, "I love you." For he did all those things -- not for himself in any way -- that was purely in order to give you a gift.
That assigns such worth to you and to me. There he paid a price to take away all of your and my unworthiness. There he paid a price to give value to the worthless like you and me. There he stooped down to our world. He didn’t set the bar up high and say, "Jump." He knew we couldn’t. He came down to our world and lived it to the full.
He breathed our poisoned air. He listened to our bitter, hate-filled conversations and endured the same kind of abuse that you and I often have to take and see dished out. And he suffered the ultimate human consequence of human sin, though he had never sinned. He voluntarily took the blame and allowed himself to be put to death.
That is how much he cares.
Christ came down from heaven, left all his glory behind, and became human like the rest of us. Then he became a willing sacrifice for you and for me. He volunteered to die in our place -- in one of the most humiliating forms of death possible -- just so that our sins would be washed away... and we would be able to join Him in the glory of heaven.
THAT, my friends, is the ultimate expression of love... And one heck of a gift to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and Christmas season!
So, as you start this new week, don't forget the real reason we give thanks this time of year. "We love, because He first loved us!" (1 John 4:19)
In keeping with the theme of today's two-part post, I'd like to share a song with you... a song not only about sacrifice in the military sense, but also mirroring what Christ did for us on the cross.
It's from the 2002 film, "We Were Soldiers", and is sung by Johnny Cash and Dave Matthews. It's titled, "For You", and remains one of my favorite songs -- from one of my favorite movies.
Here are the lyrics:
"For You" by Johnny Cash & Dave Matthews
I will drink the cup The poison overflowing I will lift you up Watch over where you're going The first one in The last one gone I'll be the rock To stand upon For you, for you
My spirit aches And I can't stop this river flowing In fear I take Each labored breath I draw in knowing That this could be my life My final hour But faith and hope and love Give me the power For you, for you
Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me you are with me
I'll be your salvation Though the storm surrounding There are no conditions Lay my body down In the wake abandon Willing sacrifice I'll walk through the canyon Bring the shadows light For you, for you
I will drink the cup The poison overflowing I will lift you up Watch over where you're going The first one in The last one gone I'll be the rock to stand upon The first one in The last one gone I'll be the rock to stand upon For you For you For you For you
What a wonderful song. The struggles and sacrifices we are asked to make in life often weigh so heavily upon our hearts and minds, that we need a rock to support us when they become too great to bear. But we forget, Christ was human too. He carried that same load, and he did so willingly (something I still can't fully fathom). He knows EXACTLY what we're going through, and because of His boundless love for us, he wants nothing more than to be that rock in OUR time of trouble.
How cool is that! We truely do have an awesome God... (and "awesome" is by far an understatement!). Never forget that ultimate expression of love. We live it every day.
If you're interested, this song, "For You", also happens to be my current musical choice on MySpace. If you'd like to hear an audio version of it, please feel free to link here.
Have a blessed new week, "Remember the Sacrifice", and until next time,
For those of you Trek fans out there, you'll be happy to know that there's some good news. Two of the big fan film projects have new releases out. Star Trek: New Voyages has the long-awaited full episode of "To Serve All My Days", featuring Walter Keonig and written by Trek vet, DC Fontana. And the web mini-series, "Of Gods and Men" now has an extended five minute trailer available.
It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially, and therefore do not need a raise. If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you can buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise. If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.
Today, for Thanksgiving, I traveled to small-town Wisconsin, and spent part of the day with my aunt (my mother's sister), uncle (Lutheran pastor), and their army of kids (aka, my younger cousins). Most of my own family (minus my Air Force sister in Texas, my Marine brother in Iraq, and my actress sister up in Northern Wisconsin) were also able to make it. Then, add in two of my uncle's brothers, their mother, two teenage daughters (second cousins?), and two very patient cats, and it made for a very busy household! -- (roughly 18 people!)
But the food was great (two huge turkeys -- which were pretty much picked clean -- all the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes, and about half a dozen pies baked by my aunt), the company was enjoyable, and it was a great way to share thanks for the blessing of family. It's the little things like this in life that create the greatest of memories. And for all of them I am abundantly thankful.
Thanksgiving may be a one-day affair, but in all honesty, thanks giving should be every day of the year. No matter what your station in life may be, there is never a shortage of things to be grateful for. But life isn't just about tangible things... no, it's about the intangible too: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
How Products Are Made explains and details the manufacturing process of a wide variety of products, from daily household items to complicated electronic equipment and heavy machinery. The site provides step by step descriptions of the assembly and the manufacturing process (complemented with illustrations and diagrams).
Each product also has related information such as the background, how the item works, who invented the product, raw materials that were used, product applications, by-products that are generated, possible future developments, quality control procedures, etc.
Hmm. Very interesting stuff, if I do say so myself. Enjoy!
Bah. Today (Monday overnight) was one of those days/nights where my smaller projects took priority. Things like correspondence, getting caught up on a few long-term tasks, a little brainstorming, etc. Nothing too significant mind you, but still still nonetheless important. From time to time, there just need to be days where the large projects take a backseat for a while... and the smaller ones get caught up so they don't fall too far behind.
Today was one of those days.
But tomorrow -- (Tues/Wed overnight) -- I'll be back at the drawing board again, and starting another commissioned art project. In fact, as of late, most of those projects have been custom Star Trek portraits. In short, I obtain personal photos from a client, combine them with elements from Star Trek image sources, and create a realistic graphite portrait as if that person (in the portrait) looked like a Klingon, alien, or Starfleet officer (in the uniform of their choice) straight out of the Star Trek universe. It's become quite a unique collectable lately!
But, then again, leave it to me to find something creative to work on, right? I love Star Trek. I love to draw realistic portraits. Put the two together, and, well, you end up with one of my largest, most popular projects at the moment. Not bad, eh? :)
At some point in the near future, I'll be writing about this project in more detail, and I'm hoping to get a gallery of some of these finished portraits online, but for the time-being... consider this a brief teaser into what I've been doing lately. Very brief.
And, if you still need that one-of-a-kind Christmas gift for the Star Trek fan in your life... you know who to call. I'd love to tell you more about it. Drop me an email, and I'll hook you up. ... [wink]
For the present, though, I think I'm heading off to bed. It's been a long day/night... Time to catch some "Z's". So, to all of you, have a wonderful Tuesday, and until the morrow,
At just 10-years old, Florida native, Lily Capehart, is gaining international acclaim for her unique ability to catch and "hypnotize" the wild South Florida anole lizards.
Unlike most girls her age, instead of playing with dolls, Lily plays with lizards. With her uncanny ability to "relax" and "hypnotize" them, she began dressing the lizards in costumes and creating whimsical scenes. Lily’s photographer father, Lucien, immortalized the colorful creations.
Earlier this morning, I helped set out big blue barrels of rock salt, and placed individual tupperware bins by each doorstep. For those of you unfamiliar with this Midwestern tradition, it means just one thing -- winter is around the corner, and we're preparing ourselves for ice and snow.
Earlier this evening, I went with some friends to see a theatre show (at the local WELS Lutheran high school) titled, "Flowers For Algernon" -- adapted from the 1960 Hugo-winning short story by the same name. It's a Science Fiction plot, which, honestly, you don't see too much of on the live stage these days. In the end, though, it turned out to be a far more though-provoking and skillfully acted performance than I had expected.
In fact, so much so, that I (the actor) may have found a challenging new role I'd like play some day -- the lead, Charlie Gordon. In short, he's a young mentally retarded janitor who volunteers to take part in an experimental intelligence-enhancing procedure, only to learn that being smart isn't all it's cracked up to be. The levels at which this character grows and changes over the course of the play are brilliant! And watching him go through those changes had me glued to the stage.
In the theatre world, most male actors consider Shakespeare's Hamlet to be the career-defining role, but not me. I'm a contemporary actor. In fact, I'm not even interested in Hamlet. Or acting Shakespeare for that matter. But to find a 100% Sci-Fi role... for the stage(!) -- now that's priceless!
Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm showing my true geek colors here. But seriously, combining my love of Science Fiction, and dramatic stage acting into the same thing? -- I didn't think that kind of opportunity even existed!
I guess you really do learn something new every day!
You know, I wish I had checked my wall calendar this morning, rather than the mail box throughout the day. It might have saved me some trouble. Silly little me couldn't figure out why there wasn't any mail, and it was driving me nuts!
Then, it occured to me... today is Veteran's Day. The Post Office is closed.
Well, today was a slow news day. Not much worth posting -- links included. Tomorrow, however, might have some more interesting, and far more noteworthy bits and bobs. We'll see. So, stay tuned, and until then, have a wonderful end of the week!
Now, I'm not really a "car guy", never have been, never will be. To me, a car is just a vehicle that gets you from point "A" to point "B", does it efficiently, and doesn't look like a scrap heap getting there. However, as an artist, I'm absolutely in love with good design! So, when I came across this list of the ten coolest concept cars, I just had to share.
Beautiful, sleek, and well-designed. Now that's what I call, "modern art"!
The basic idea of the following webpage is quite simple: Take a vintage black and white photo, find an identical modern-day photo of the same exact site (taken as if the camera never moved), and overlay the two. Line them both up, and voila, you've got a visual history from a place long forgotten about.
What a great idea! I've always loved exploring old places, and learning about the history that has preceeded our own. Then-and-now photos, like these, are an amazing way to do that.
Phatterism is a web site created by Luis Santi Jr. The design is 100% unique, and it makes my little corner of the web look like an old black and white photo found in someone's dusty attic. But, nevertheless, in the spirit of supporting genius design, I thought I'd share the site with you.
A lot can happen in four years. Back in 2002, I had just graduated from college, and wasn't sure what to do next. I had my degree, but now I was out in the "real world". No more college life. No more tests to take. No more transition from student to professional. I was out there -- in the great unknown -- wondering what to do next.
Back then, I had already been out of college for a few months. I had a new apartment, a new roomate, and, like everyone else, needed a paying job to support myself. So, I started working at a local Barnes and Noble Bookstore in August. About the only thing I had in common with the job was my interest in books and reading. But, I took the opportunity -- and until it sapped me dry -- did the old "nine-to-five".
It wasn't glamorous, and it was rarely exciting, but it was a learning experience, and it did set me up for the major successess that would follow in the next four years. It also gave me the motivation to go into business for myself as the actor, artist, and entrepreneur that I am today.
So, with that said, I thought I would try something different, and revist this blog -- exactly four years ago. Take a short trip with me back to my blog post of November 5, 2002, and see just how much can change in four years.
Feel free to read some of the posts before and after that date too. It may not be the most exciting time in my life, but it does go to show how -- no matter who we are -- we all start somewhere. And when we actually choose to follow our own passions in life, the limits just melt away.
Enjoy, and have a wonderful start to the new week!
Today I did more work for my landlord. Only, this time, we re-striped the parking lot at my apartment building (aka, painted all new parking spots), completely replaced the florescent light fixtures in two of the stairwells, and, upgraded the standard overhead lights in the two bedrooms of my apartment with brand new ceiling fans.
In other words, I now have a classy new ceiling fan/light in my bedroom. How cool is that! Looks great... and circulates the air far more efficiently too!
Yep, I'm getting pretty handy around here these days. :)
Recently, I came across the pilot episode for a new TV sitcom that, as yet, remains unaired. It was originally developed for the WB, but network executives passed on it for the 2005 schedule. In June 2006, however, the pilot was leaked onto YouTube, and quickly gained a following. NBC took an interest, and at the the present time, the show is waiting to find out whether it will be picked up.
It's called, "Nobody's Watching", and centers around two friends, Derrick and Will, who send in a home video of themselves to every television network, claiming that they can produce a better sitcom than the ones already being broadcast. When one of the studios takes them up on their offer, the guys find themselves living on soundstage sets -- with cameras and a live audience following their every move -- while working together to come up with ideas for a fresh new sitcom. All the while, not realizing that their efforts are that fresh new sitcom.
Personally, I found it rather entertaining, and different. And, as such, I thought I'd share it with all of you, so you can judge for yourself. It's a 30-minute episode, and available on YouTube in three parts. All three are linked (in order) below.