Monday, December 12

Top 11 of '11 Songs & Albums

Top 11 of '11 - Songs
These are my favorite songs in or around the year 2011.

1. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People
(I know, I know, this is the cliche song of 2011... also why it is number 1)

2. Live Those Days Tonight - Friendly Fires

(Need a good song for groovin'? This is it. Great tune.)

3. C'mon Talk (Live) - Bernhoft

(This song will blow you away. Very talented singer.)

4. Usual Suspect - Ha Ha Tonka

(Band out of Missouri, love the feel of the entire album)

5. Paradise - Coldplay

(A great song with some unexpected moments. Good song to cruise to.)

6. Darling Buds of May - Viva Brother

(Maybe my most surprising song choice, fun song from a EuroPop band)

7. On The Ocean - Guster

(This song never gets old. Neither does this band.)

8. Jaques Cousteau - Swimming With Dolphins

(Electro-pop vibe. Been liking this song since it came out in May)

9. Heaven Come My Way - Abandon Kansas

(Great tune. Great lyrics. Great band. Great guys.)

10. Barton Hollow - The Civil Wars

(Another country-ish song snuck on here. And for good reason, this song is fantastic)

11. Monte Carlo - U.S. Royalty

(Amazing guitar riffs and catchy tune. Good song to get lost in.)

Honorable Mention
This Is Why We Fight - Decemberists
Every Drop A Waterfall - Coldplay
The Canyon - From Indian Lakes
Windows Are Rolled Down - Amos Lee

Top 11 of '11 - Albums

1. Coldplay - Myloto Xyloto - Easy choice for the number 1 album. Fun album to listen to over and over.
2. Friendly Fires - Pala - Great album to groove to. Catchy rhythms and fun lyrics.
3. Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera - Outstanding album. Looking forward to what these guys have in store for 2012.
4. Cut Copy - Zonoscope - Another good groovin' album that got a fair share of play time this year.
5. Adele - 21 - Album of the year on everybody's charts. And for good reason. It was the 'Year of Adele'. However, I got burned out on this album overall. Great singing, but whiny lyrics.
6. Hyland - Weights & Measures - Excellent album. Awesome lyrics and great rock songs.
7. Mutemath - Odd Soul - Love this band. Not overly impressed with this album, felt like it was over-produced. Still some good tunes.
8. Animals as Leaders - Weightless - Instrumental rock? Youbetchya! One of my favorite finds of 2011.
9. Guster - Easy Wonderful - Just a fun album. This band's music never gets old.
10. Swimming With Dolphins - Water Colours - Anticipated this album since this time last year and was not disappointed.
11. Hugh Laurie - Let Them Talk - Must surprising album award goes to... Hugh Laurie. Known for playing Dr. House on TV, this guy can lay it down. He put together a great country-ish album full of good knee-slappin' tunes fit for a hootenanny.

Honorable Mention:
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Viva Brothers - Famous First Words
Boy & Bear - Moonfire
Foster The People - Torches
Childish Gambino - CAMP
Fang Island - Fang Island

Tuesday, February 22

My Life List - 100 Goals

So, I've had this list since I was 18 and I haven't put it online yet. I do update it every now and again with new goals or removing goals I think I may not want to pursue any longer. The top 10 are in order of how I want to complete them, beyond that it is a free-for-all.

100 things I want to do before I die:

1. Learn to play the guitar, and be able to play it well.
2. Read the whole Bible
3. Travel to Australia
4. Be published (magazine or book)
5. Meet George Brett (1-15-10 Shook his hand at Royals Fan Fest)
6. Take a cruise
7. Go fly fishing
8. Become a volunteer firefighter
9. Ride in a limo
10. Ride in a hot air balloon
11. Visit all 50 states (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT,

12. Write a book
13. Be a missionary
14. Meet a celebrity (other than George Brett)
15. Go skydiving
16. See the Northern Lights
17. Type 60 words a minute
18. Camp in the Grand Canyon a few nights
19. See a tiger, elephant, bear, or lion in the wild
20. Spend the night in a haunted house
21. Teach a college course
22. Learn how to ride a unicycle
23. Go to the Olympics
24. Go to the World Series
25. Go to the Super Bowl
26. Eat fruit from a tree I planted
27. Sit in the audience of a live TV show
28. See the stone heads of Easter Island
29. Go snorkeling or scuba diving
30. Smoke a cigar (with Brian Scheideman in San Diego CA, 6-13-08)
31. Fly in a helicopter
32. Visit Canada
33. Bury a time capsule
34. Visit England (Big Ben, Stonehenge, etc.)
35. Milk a cow
36. Take a ride on the tallest roller coaster in the US (Kingda Ka, Six Flags - Jackson, NJ)
37. Visit Israel and the Dead Sea
38. Spend the night in a log cabin the woods
39. Visit the Red Wood Forest in CA
40. Pick up a hitch-hiker
41. Own a kayak and use it frequently
42. Try frog's legs
43. Stay up long enough to watch the sun set and rise
44. Take a spontaneous trip on a plane, just because
45. Hike for a week straight
46. Go to Disney World or Land
47. Build a fire without matches
48. Buy stocks in the NYSE
49. Help a homeless person
50. Send a message in a bottle
51. Fire a gun
52. Experience zero gravity
53. Take a taxi in NYC and get a hot dog from a vendor (October 18, 2007 on trip with KSU AIGA)
54. Ride a bicycle built for two
55. Buy an expensive bottle of wine (at least $100)
56. Fall asleep in a hammock on the beach
57. Start a family tradition
58. Go deep-sea fishing
59. See Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge (June 19, 2008 on trip with Abandon Kansas)
60. Have an all-out food fight
61. Dive in a submarine
62. Participate in a murder-mystery dinner party
63. Start and own my own business
64. Climb a mountain over 14,000ft.
65. Run and complete a half marathon
66. Go to all of the MLB ballparks - doesn't have to be in the same season (KC, Detroit, Houston, ChiCubs)
67. Visit a castle in Scotland or Ireland (and Loch Lomond)
68. Travel to Jamaica
69. Ride an elephant or camel
70. Own and operate a bed & breakfast
71. Learn to drive a stick-shift
72. Build the deck and/or porch of my house
73. Go to the World Cup
74. Learn how to swing dance
75. Go to a Broadway play (5-25-05 "Phantom of the Opera" with Shilah Pyeatt and her uncle Dave Muller)
76. Get something patented
77. Start a place where bands can come and play, like the Main Street Cafe in KC
78. Learn shorthand
79. Learn to play the harmonica
80. Own a piece of land that can be my own and my little get away
81. Roast chestnuts over a fire
82. Ride a bull
83. Go to a English Premiere League soccer game (KC Wizards vs Manchester United 7-25-10 Arrowhead Stadium - with Sam)
84. Take classes from a Christian College
85. Ride on a train
86. Coach a kid's soccer team (my own or not)
87. Have a standing Ovation
88. Read the complete works of CS Lewis
89. Be a regular at a restaurant
90. Support a child overseas (8-6-07 Antony Miguel Cardenes Cortez - Peru - thru Compassion International)
91. Go to Cooperstown
92. Swim in a shark cage
93. Take a real road trip and live on the road - (20 days, June 6 - 26, 2008 with Abandon Kansas)
94. Go gambling at least once (8-17-07 Harrah's in Kansas City - $10 on Black Jack - went with KSU roomie Chase Higgins - first and only time I've been)
95. Go hunting (deer, pheasants, quail, etc.)
96. Stomp grapes, then drink the wine
97. Drive across the Seven Mile Bridge - Florida Keys
98. See Garrison Keillor live (McCain Auditorium - KSU - 9-22-08 with Paige Hartman)
99. Marry the girl of my dreams (8-7-10, Wichita KS, Central Christian church to the beautiful miss Paige Marie Hartman)
100. Complete this whole list

Thursday, January 6

Rad Tad

I received one of the coolest Christmas presents this season from a guy I have met in person only once, but whose work I have been enthralled with for quite awhile. His name is Tad Carpenter and he is an outstanding illustrator from KC. Also Tad is 1/2 of the amazingly awesome Vallhalla Studios.

Almost every Tuesday on his twitter, Tad does a giveaway of some of his design work. I am a sucker for freebies (especially awesome freebies) and had been trying and trying to win one of his giveaways - but to no avail.

One day in December after Mr Tad had posted an awesome campaign he did for Macy's I noticed my name (3rd on the list) in one of his illustrations

I tweeted about it

He messaged back

In the end, I emailed him my address and he very graciously provided me with the following:

Now we are BFFs!

Big thanks to Tad for being so gracious and taking the time to mail me such an awesome gift!

Tuesday, January 4

A Salute to the NCAA

In regards to the Pinstripe Bowl that was held in NYC on Dec 30, my beloved K-State Wildcats looked to seize their first bowl victory in 6 years, but 11 players and 1 referee had other ideas. In my 12 part series entitled: "The 'N' in NCAA stands for Inconsistent", we take a look at "Operation Pinstripe Bowl:2010"

(This is a re-post straight from ESPN's "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" (TMQ) but was too good not to re-post)

Only the NCAA Could Think One Person Is "Themselves". In the Kansas State-Syracuse bowl game, Adrian Hilburn scored a touchdown with a minute remaining to pull Kansas State to within two points. Hilburn briefly saluted the Kansas State cheering section behind that end zone where he scored; zebras called that unsportsmanlike conduct, marching the Wildcats' 2-point try back to the 18. Syracuse stopped the deuce and won. Thus the penalty essentially handed the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl to Syracuse. The game was being played in New York City, see? Syracuse is a New York team, see? The mob put the fix in to make sure the New York team won, see? The whole game was fixed by the mob, see?

There you go, tabloids -- "ESPN says game was 'fixed by the mob.'" Obviously I don't mean this. The trouble is, it's a better explanation than that NCAA officials think a three-second salute by a guy who just scored a touchdown is a reason to throw a flag that in effect awards the game to the other team.

TMQ hates the celebration penalty. As long as there is no taunting, and there was none by Kansas State, why shouldn't players dance happily after a touchdown? Nearly all football fans, players and coaches hate the celebration penalty -- why does it exist? The current NCAA stance seems to be that football players not graduating is a minor matter, athletes who break rules will be overlooked whenever bowl revenue is involved, but don't you dare act happy! Especially bizarre is the NCAA notion that celebration fouls should be a "point of emphasis." Punishing players for jumping around happily is a point of emphasis, while helmet-to-helmet hits are rarely flagged? Even considering the NCAA's reputation for hypocrisy, this is a bit much. The celebration rule (at the high school and NFL levels, too) needs a serious revamping.

The officiating crew from the Pinstripe Bowl (via HBO).

After the game, referee Todd Geerlings said the penalty was justified because officials judged Hilburn "to be drawing attention to themselves, and that's what the flag was for." Set aside that your kindergarten teacher would flunk that sentence. Here's the NCAA rule: Unsportsmanlike celebration is "Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player attempts to focus attention on himself (or themselves)." What Hilburn did was not delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed -- although he did draw attention to himself. The rule doesn't forbid drawing attention to yourself. It forbids "any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act." Hilburn did not violate the wording of the rule. Even an NCAA official who doesn't know the difference between "himself" and "themselves" should understand the wording of rules.

Along comes the next bowl, North Carolina at Tennessee. On one Volunteers touchdown, the receiver did a choreographed dance as a teammate leapfrogged him; on another, the receiver danced elaborately, then a teammate lifted him into the air. No flag in either case. Rules are supposed to be consistent. The NCAA celebration rule seems enforced entirely according to the whim of whoever is working the game.

Reader Chris Gillard of Atlanta adds that "drawing attention" happens constantly in football and is almost never flagged: "If celebration is bad, shouldn't there be an excessive celebration penalty for the defensive player who gets a sack and then runs 10 yards jumping around, thumping his chest and gesturing to the fans?" I watched the South Carolina-Florida State second half with this in mind, and counted 14 instances of a player who had just made a sack or big tackle or had a big gain dancing wildly on the field, flexing his biceps, chest-bumping with a teammate or doing a bit or choreography. No flags. How come celebrating a touchdown is a grievous offense but celebrating a tackle is unregulated? Fix this embarrassing rule.

Wednesday, December 15

Top Songs + Albums of 2010


1. Minus The Bear - Hold Me Down

2. Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

3. Brandon Flowers - Crossfire

4. Freelance Whales - Second Floor Generator

5. Anberlin - To The Wolves

6. The Daylights - Weapons

7. Icon Parade - Jukebox Collective

8. Five Finger Death Punch - Bad Company

9. Jónsi - Go Do

10. Young The Giant - My Body

11. Michael Franti - Sound of Sunshine

12. Two Door Cinema Club - Something Good Can Work



1. Jónsi - Go

2. Brandon Flowers - Flamingo

3. Freelance Whales - Weathervanes

4. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

5. Queens Club - Young Giant

6. Anberlin - Dark is the Way, Light is the Place

7. Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History

8. Timid Tigers - Electric Island

9. House of Heroes - Suburbia

10. Ivoryline - Vessels

11. American Bang - American Bang

12. Tallest Man On Earth - Wild Hunt

13. Band of Horses - Infinate Arms

14. Hammock - Chasing After Shadows...Living With The Ghosts

Sunday, September 26

Moving On Up. . .To Downs

About 15 miles west of Kansas's famed "World's Largest Ball of Twine" is a sign that announces, "Welcome to Downs, Population 824". In this town that boasts two gas stations, one stop light, and an abandoned swimming pool, lies a graphic design company who thrives and has been listed multiple times in Inc. Magazine's "Top 500 Companies" list. For years the Brush Art Corporation has found itself steadily growing in an industry that has been pretty unstable over the last decade. Their secret is that their client base is primarily large agricultural and industrial corporations: John Deere, Caterpillar, Cargill, The Discovery Channel, etc.

Seven weeks into our brand spanking' new marriage, Paige and I found ourselves faced with a tough situation: I had received news that my current employer would be releasing me at the end of October. Our task? Find a job. Stat. And that is just what we did. However, we found it in the most unlikely of places: Downs, KS. One of my groomsmen from our wedding, Ryan Barten, is currently one of the 35 individuals employed at Brush Art and told me some inside information regarding an opening out west.

Beginning October 4, 2010, that small town's population will increase by 1 as I will be moving to Downs. But don't worry, a few weeks later, after she has wrapped up a few things in Overland Park, Paige will be joining me out west in a small town on the edge of Waconda Lake.

We are excited to begin our new adventure together in a place where we know 1 person. But most of all, we are thankful to have been so blessed by God to be able to have this opportunity to work for a company willing to give us an opportunity to not have to live paycheck to paycheck. We also ask for your continued prayers and support on our marriage as we embark upon this new chapter in our lives. Our phone numbers will remain the same, and our current address is still a valid one for about 4 more weeks but then should be able to forward to our new address for the next year or so. Once we have determined our new residence, we will make sure to pass it along. If you are curious (and we know you are) here is a website on Downs. Have a look (it'll only take a minute):

Feel free to look us up and stop on by if you ever find yourself on the West side of a National Landmark made of twine or need a place to bed down on your way to Denver. There's always room for one more in Downs.

Friday, February 5

Hairy & Scary - January

For every work day in January (21), I took about 30 seconds to sketch out a monster that was both hairy and scary on a blue post-it note, then posted them on a board next to my desk. Here is what I came up with (click on image for a larger view):

Hairy & Scary Monsters! Boo!

Hairy & Scary Monster

Hairy & Scary Monster

Hairy & Scary Monster