Can I join the Justice League?

Many superheroes gain their powers through some random accident or mishap.

Peter Parker "gets bitten by a radioactive spider during a science demonstration" and becomes Spiderman. Bruce Wayne "[witnessed] the murder of his parents as a child [leading] him to train himself to physical and intellectual perfection and don a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime" as Batman. Dr. Robert Bruce Banner "was caught in the blast of a gamma bomb he created" and was transformed into the Incredible Hulk. (Source: Wikipedia)

Therefore, I had my hopes up on Saturday night that perhaps it would be my turn.

You see, I was undergoing a sleep study at Global Sleep to see if I have any sleeping disorders. Rumor has had it for quite some time that I snore. That's been the urban legend within Summit Ministries and among my friends for many years. It seems like each retreat, ski trip, or mission trip stirs up the rumors once again. Now that I have a permanent roommate, it was time to solve the mystery once and for all. (Her cell phone recording of my snoring gave some degree of proof to the myth, but that is not scientific data, thank you very much!)

So there I was -- asleep in a poorly decorated room on the 6th floor of a six-story office building in the Town & Country area. I tried to convince myself that I was in a penthouse suite. (That's how I like to think I roll.) But the reality is, I've never stayed in a place that hooks you up with wires and sensors to monitor your eye movement, jaw movement, leg movement, brainwaves, breathing, oxygen level and more. At least not that I know of.

At some point in the wee hours of the night, I was awakened by a low rumbling sound. Was it one of the machines monitoring my every breath and movement? Was it a delivery truck or garbage collector making their late night run?


The lightning revealed the source of my premature awakening. A thunderstorm was rolling in to town.

"This is my chance," I thought. "It's my turn now!"

A bolt of lightning hitting just the right place on the building would send an electrical surge through the steel beams, through the electrical socket, into the monitoring devices and down the wires connected to my body. In that split-second -- before anybody knew what happened -- I would become the next great American superhero . . .


Oh, yes! As The Snorator, I could make people drowsy or put them into a deep sleep at the snap of my fingers (as opposed to at the writing of a boring blog entry). Imagine the good this could do for the world!

  • Crying babies would no longer annoy audiences at movies the infant's parents shouldn't have brought them to in the first place!

  • Long-winded politicians and pundits would never finish their rants on cable news programs!

  • Whoever the Astros are playing in the post-season playoffs would never be quite alert enough to put up a fight!

  • Nobody would tune in to watch Oprah taking a nap!

The possibilities are endless!

But alas, the lightning never struck. My opportunity was lost. I am not the next great American superhero. That means I cannot save the world as I had hoped -- and it means I have to put Braden's twin-size sheet back on his bed.

I won't need a cape after all.


Like finding hay in a haystack

Nice product placement, Abercrombie & Fitch. How did you pull that off?

Oh, wait ... that's right. It's hard to find any three random frat guys standing next to each other who are NOT wearing your self-promoting, over-priced t-shirts.

Personally, I prefer my self-promoting, over-priced Polo shirts. They aren't as obvious.

Shame on you, inbound commuters on the west side of Houston

What would you do if you saw this on the way in to work?

Well, apparently all of the thousands of inbound commuters on the west side of Houston either (1) cannot read, (2) don't have working horns, or (3) are stick-in-the-mud fuddy-duddies. We turned the radio down and had the windows cracked so we would be sure not to miss any birthday honks. But we got nothin'. Nada.

"Why aren't they honking for me, daddy?"

After I picked my heart up off the floorboards, I replied with an attempt to lighten the moment.

"Well, buddy, maybe they don't know how to read. Maybe they didn't practice their sight word books like you do!"

"Maybe they're old and don't know how to read," Braden reasoned with his newly acquired five-year old logic.

After a few more blocks of honk-free silence, he chimed in with his assessment of the situation.

"I think this was a bad idea."

That was the last straw. I was determined to solicit some honks one way or another. For a second, I thought about fashioning some sort of "Please honk!" sign that I could flash out my driver's side window. Instead, I decided to "lead by example" and honk myself, thus showing my fellow commuters that it is OK to honk for no good reason other than to bring joy to a 5 year old.


Immediately, the driver of a 99-cent store 18-wheeler in the lane next to us followed my lead.


I quickly turned around to see Braden's face light up with a big ol' grin. ("Whew!" I thought.)

"Hey buddy! Did you hear that? Mack honked for you!"

Right about then, we hopped on the HOV lane in order to make it to school on time. There aren't many opportunities for other vehicles to read your rear window on the HOV lane, so it was quiet from that point on. But, as only a father would foolishly do, I promised him that the day wasn't over yet and that people may honk tonight on the way to soccer practice.

So, if you're on the west side of town tonight and you see the car above, for the love of God -- HONK!


What's In A Name?

Soccer season kicked off last night with our first practice and parents' meeting. One of the items on the agenda: choosing a team name.

This crucial decision was left in the hands of the kids (under the guidance of the coach's wife) while the coach conducted the parents' meeting. She took suggestions from the two girls and four boys assembled in a huddle on the field. One boy offered "tornadoes" and one girl threw out "Strawberry Shortcake" (the character) as possible names.

With a 2-to-1 ratio of boys to girls, you would think that Braden would be playing for the "tornadoes" in his first adventure with team sports. Right?


Turns out, one of the boys loves him some strawberry shortcake for dessert -- so that's how he cast his vote. The results were tied: 3 for tornadoes, 3 for Strawberry Shortcake.

In her wisdom, the coach's wife offered up a compromise. The kids accepted her idea, and thus became the Strawberry Tornadoes.

When we talked about his new team later that night and referred to it by name, Braden advised us to simply refer to them as the "Tornadoes" when we're at home.


(By the way, another boy showed up late and missed the vote. I would like to think that he, too, would have voted for the "tornadoes" thus preventing the need for a compromise. Instead, we'll let this serve as an example to our future voters that every vote counts.)


Reactions to the new 'do

Three years after I first started growing my hair long, I finally decided I was over it. The number of out-of-control-flying-in-my-face bad hair days were beginning to outnumber the good ones. Plus, since I am now responsible for getting our son to school on time, I could benefit from shaving a few minutes off my prep time in the morning.

Amanda opted to try out a new hair place near our house before I went there. In her words, "I'll sacrifice my hair at the altar in search of a good stylist for you." So sweet! She went on Wednesday and really liked the lady, so we went together on Thursday for my turn. I needed Amanda there for emotional support and to talk the lingo. I don't speak hairdresser.

Here are some before, during and after pictures ... plus a shot of the aftermath. It was too short for Locks of Love. Amanda turned down my offer to put them in a lovely vase on the mantle.

Reactions to the new hair:
  • "I like that look ... for you."
  • "Braden's daddy got a haircut! That's funny."
  • "You look 10 years younger."
  • "The longer hair gave you more personality." (um, thanks!)
  • "Dude ... what happened?"
  • "Sir, may I help you?" (from someone who didn't recognize me at FBA)
  • "That's different."
  • "Honey, you look hot ... er."
  • "You look like a guy in Spy Kids 2."
  • "You have a relevant haircut and a community with your new family ... now you just need to be godly."
  • "He looks younger and THINNER!" (thanks, Amanda's co-workers!)
  • "WOW!"
  • "Whoa!"
  • "Congrats, old, married man - now you look the part! : )"
  • "Ooooooh! You are so cute! You are so adorable! It's so cute!"
  • "You look so baby-faced." (a follow-up comment from the person who said the long hair gave me more personality)
  • "Oh, Mylanta!"
  • "LOVE THE HAIR!! Lookin' really studly : ) "

More will be added as the day goes on . . .