Welcome to my blog, updated whenever something of interest happens in my life (for the most part). Complete with pictures and video, you're sure to have a great time (although I can't promise you that). Anyway, thanks for visiting!
(pictures expandable by clicking)
New Puzzle / Surgery / Videos / Pictures
January 25, 2007
It's that very special time again, boys and girls!
Ok, ummm, this one's easier, but it does take some thinking. Once again, I have taken the time to put together a lovely graphic so you can better picture the dilemma in your head. You have to admit, I'm getting pretty artistic with these. Those inmates from the last one were amazingly detailed.
You have three boxes of fruit. One contains just apples, one contains just oranges, and one contains a mixture of both. Each box is labeled -- one says "apples," one says "oranges," and one says "apples and oranges." However, it is known that none of the boxes are labeled correctly. How can you label the boxes correctly if you are only allowed to take and look at just one piece of fruit from just one of the boxes?
Choose ... wisely ...
As of now, I have surgery scheduled at UCI on the 27th of February. This time it will seemingly be the real deal. No backing out, and no alternative procedures. The procedure that will be performed is called reinnervation, where they cut the dead nerve that is attached to the vocal cord and attach a different one with better amplitude. They'll also inject the cord as before, and over the months, as the injection wears off, the cord should still stay thick due to the better nerve attached to it. As always, I covet your prayers. You know, some people come out of anesthesia totally drunk and whacked (right, Jer Tiss? :), but I was completely coherent and normal when I came out of it back in August. Admittedly, I did blow a kiss to the nurse when I left, but I couldn't talk, and was just showing my gratitude (fine, don't believe me, and who cares if she happened to be cute?). ;-)
Anyway, looks like I'll also again be going to Nathan Daher's afterwards for roughly 10 days. Believe it or not, we may try to put some kind of 2-minute trailer together for this year's San Antonio Film Festival. I've basically put it all in Nathan's hands for him to come up with something, and that something could possibly include the return of Austin Crowe. :-) Maybe, maybe not. We'll see. Man, whatever the case, making a 2-minute trailer will be a lot more easy (and fun) then putting together a 55-minute feature film! Woohooo!!!
I'm confused. I have no idea how this older video of Cody and I sledding got on AOL Television. Did any of you put it up there? It's the bottom one called "Christmas in the Hills." I suppose it could have just been picked up automatically.
Anyway, a video from the week, and some pictures.
While I was practicing the piano, Kalea kept bringing out my water bottle from in my room, showing it to me, obviously enamored with the fact that she was doing something sneaky. After about the 5th time, I finally got my camera, and filmed her doing it twice. She's so hilarious with those little legs and all that golden hair as she runs. She wants me to chase her, but when I do, she freaks out and cries, "No!" Second video is a typical day for me in the Ozarks ... driving down the road to get an oil change while listening to tunes. Last video is the beginning of a basketball montage I'm putting together for Cody and I (and his mom in Kansas). Mom (my mom) was sick this week, so couldn't come to film, so I had to simply set the camera up to show one end of the court. Unfortunately, I didn't get that many shots of Jeremy and Cody. lol, and that's not implying I did better. I just happened to score when the camera was recording at the right time and place. Cody's in red (and sometimes no shirt), I'm in black, and Jer's in white. Forgive me if the music is too ... uppity. "Walk of Life" is a classic I've grown up with in our horribly secular family. :-)
Driving to Theodosia. Amazing how natural I can make myself look despite the fact that I'm the one taking the picture.
Uh oh. The water's above the bridge. Can I make it across? Should I risk my life for an oil change? Is it worth it? After 3 seconds of intense deliberation, I decide it is. Remember, when going across a submerged bridge, take off your seatbelt, roll down the windows, and be ready to hold your breath.
So far so good. You know, being serious here for a moment, it was really stupid of me to take pictures as I did this. At one point I forgot about the road and found myself veering to the left. Take my advice ... don't take photographs as you cross narrow, submerged bridges. Duh.
I'm across safe and sound. Thank you, Lord.
There's something surreal and artistic about this photograph that I carelessly snapped. Maybe the position of the trees ... maybe the shadows ... maybe the fact that I took it.
How's that for your side-window view.
Getting pretty cheap (relatively). What's the price of gas in your neck of the woods?
Yes, I think Jeremy and Danielle have enough bumper stickers on their vehicle.
For months I've been saving up for this. Isn't she gorgeous?
No, that is not me ordering at McDonalds. "I'll take a number three, please."
Cody, I hate to tell you this, but this photo actually makes you look fat.
Thanks for stopping by. Remember, no cheating by clicking comments! :-D
Of Puzzles, Brain Types, & Birthdays
January 19, 2007
Well, that was certainly fun! I'm surprised how many of you actually enjoyed that riddle/puzzle. There is a certain satisfaction you feel when you finally get something, isn't there? It's a sweet feeling. I'll definitely put one up again. I think maybe every 2nd or 3rd blog entry I'll try to put up some sort of brain teaser. Congrats to all of you who got it. When I first heard it, I wasn't told that inmate #2 and #3 could see the inmate(s) in front of them, or that #2 had any knowledge that #3 had given up, or that #1 finally guessed last, AFTER the first two had given up. That made it extremely frustrating.
So yeah, in a nutshell, #3 saw that #2 and #1 weren't both wearing red hats, otherwise he would have known his own hat. #2 realized this, and would have guessed his own hat was black if he saw that #1 was wearing a red hat, for they both couldn't be red, otherwise #1 would have guessed. So #2 couldn't guess his own hat because, alas, #1 was wearing a black hat. #1 took all this into account, and realized that he MUST be wearing a black hat. lol, but can you imagine if this happened in real life? You'd have to assume that inmate #2 and #3 were smart enough (and being in jail, they're likely not) in order to know for sure what color hat you're wearing. In real life, I would have just gone back to jail.
In other news, I'm still working on our upcoming DVD with Jer that will have about 5-10 examples of every Brain Type. Here's a short video showing five people of five different Types. Each is pretty typical for their design, and are pretty much your stereotypical examples (except for the ENTP ... they come in a variety of shapes and sizes).
This first guy, Matt, is an ESTP. I love the fervor and zeal for life ESTPs have. As I see it, that's one of the main purposes of Brain Typing ... to endeavor to be your opposite. Then there's Harry, the ISTP, who looks like Michael Jordan (and shares the same Type). Then there's an ENFP gal who reminds me so much of a girl I used to know back in school (who was also ENFP).The fourth guy is a somewhat typical ENTP. And the fifth guy ... man, he's your stereotypical ... I'm talking your run-of-the-mill poster boy INFP. Talk about a major geek!
Anyway, just a few pictures here. Danielle celebrated her 27th birthday on Tuesday, and we had a small party at our house and then went to theirs for popcorn and a movie. Saw "The Count of Monte Cristo" starring Jim Caveziel. I had seen it before years back, but had pretty much forgotten most of it. A very emotional, fascinating film. Finally, you'll see some of the devastation the ice incurred on Springfield last week when the cold front moved in. Just tragic. The pictures were taken around the Schraders home. They haven't had power for days, so please keep them and many of those in Springfield in your prayers. The weight of the ice just destroyed so many trees throughout the city. We were fortunate here (I hate to use that word ... perhaps "blessed" is better, but I don't mean to imply that God blessed us and didn't bless them). Our house is located just south enough to where the ice turned to rain, so no damage for us. But man, down in Texas they got blasted too! Just crazy.
Jer and Danni. Married now for over four years.
The Danielle birthday game! We make this game for all types of occasions. You just put letters vertically down the page, then pick a topic, such as "What Danielle Likes," and then you have to think of words that start with those letters and try to fill them all out in under 4 minutes. Lovely drawing by my mom.
Can you believe it? Looks like a hurricane went through. Jer took these pictures.
Another look. Those pines have shallow root systems, and can be the first to fall.
A look down their street.
It almost doesn't look real. Beautiful, but terrible.
Thanks for stopping by.
Riddles, Movies, Websites, Oh My ...
January 15, 2007
All right, I have a logical deducer quiz thingamajig for all my 'NT' blog readers here. No actually, it's for anyone, but I have a feeling the NTs will take more of an interest (not to mention that nearly all my guy friends are NTs). Anyway, my dad was talking to a fellow the other night who used to be the former head basketball coach of LSU and now writes inspirational books, when he posed this curious mathmatical-type logical-type riddle of sorts (though it's not a riddle) to my dad. According to this fellow, no one that he had yet posed it to had been able to answer it. Funny enough, my dad did eventually figure it out, and after about 20 minutes, I figured it out myself! I can't tell you how thrilled I was. I'm usually not good at things like this, so I forced myself to go at it like a wild banshee. Of our family, only dad and I answered it.
Now, I've made this little graph below to help you out a little bit, and I've explained it a lot more understandably than both my dad or that guy did. Let me make something clear. This is not a riddle. This is not a trick question. All you need in order to figure this out is the information given below. I repeat, there are no hidden tricks to this. As long as you read the paragraphs below carefully, you'll have all the information you need to come to an answer. If you do figure it out, explain your answer on the comments page. Don't cheat and go there first, all you ENTPs. ;-) (jk)
Three inmates are taken out into a courtyard by the prison guard, and are told to stand, single file, in a line, all facing forward, 5 yards apart from one another. A box is placed before them containing 5 hats, 3 of them black, and 2 of them red. The inmates are then blindfolded, and one hat is placed on the head of each inmate. Their blindfolds are then taken off. Each inmate cannot see the hat he is wearing on top of his own head. Inmate #3, however, can see the hats inmate #2 and #1 are wearing, while inmate #2 can only see the hat inmate #1 is wearing, and inmate #1 cannot see anyone's hat.
The prison guard steps before them. "If you can guess what color hat you, yourself, are wearing, we'll let you go free. If you guess wrong, however, you will be executed. If you would rather remain in jail and not take the risk by guessing at all, simply remain quiet.
After a few minutes, inmate #3 gives up, and then inmate #2 gives up, both deciding not to guess. Suddenly, inmate #1 leaps for joy, yelling out what color hat he is wearing, and being right, he is set free.
Question: What color hat is inmate #1 wearing, and why does he know for sure what it is?
Choose ... wisely ... (from Indiana Jones)
Anyway, the other day I was cleaning out folders and files and such on my computer, when I came across the "Fellowship" folder. Yes, this is what started it all ... the first time Nathan and I took a camera and together became Brad Steele and Kyle Shields. Here's just one segment from our interviews for those who either have never seen it or haven't seen it in a long time.
Watching this the other day was like watching it for the first time. We had way too much fun. Who knew this would eventually lead to the creation of an hour-long "serious" film to be entered in a film festival.
In other news, I'm nearing completion on a website for a new venture Jeremy is pursuing. It would take too long to explain, so if you're interested just click the link below and find out for yourself.
Let's just say he's promoting the opposite of pre-nuptial agreements. I have no idea what the response will be, or if anyone will be interested, but he kindly paid me to do it, so I obliged. :-) Suggestions, praises, or derogatory rants are always welcome.
Just a few pictures here..
Kalea hangs out in my room every so often. She took a santa hat from off my stuffed bear and put it on herself, asking for a picture. Tell me that isn't a good smile.
70 degrees ... balmy ... but the cold weather is coming! Every year I bring wood up from the yard and pile it under our overhang. This year I didn't have to do it till January 12th! I look pretty intense here. Almost like a scene from Rocky where he's in training (just had to put that music in the expandable window). Anyway, my back wasn't feeling the greatest afterwards.
Mother dearest as we take a walk in the evening.
Jane, the wonder dog, accompanies us. I call her that cause everyone wonders what kind of dog she is.
Ok, so earlier in the day I see Jane and Duchess chase down and kill a squirrel. Jane was the one who actually killed it, and took it away to be buried. Then, a few hours later, Duchess walks by mom and I with this squirrel in her mouth, seemingly showing off. She'd like us to believe she's the one who killed it, but I'm pretty sure she just stole it from Jane. See, even animals are lying, thieving sinners (sorry, not the most appetizing photograph).
That's it. Thanks for stopping by.
And The New Year Begins
January 8, 2007
What did you do for New Year's Eve? Had Cody over and we spent most of the evening at Jeremy's house, and then came back and played Tiger Woods Golf 2007 on Sony Playstation II till about 2 in the morning (and watched various cities on TV ring in the near year). Lynn Hertado from TX came a week ago and will be spending about another week with Jeremy and Danielle. So, it was a good new years with family and friends.
Two new changes for my blog in 2007. Pictures when expanded will now be 800 pixels by whatever, instead of 600 (was doing it to save space, but the difference is minimal), and videos will now have an image with a windows media logo at the bottom (example below with my movie intro). I know, it's all so incredible. Please try to contain yourself and not get carried away. When it comes to my blog, I spare no expense.
You'll see below that we went and saw Facing The Giants. If only you had been there ... it was during a scene where the husband and wife are crying because they can't have children, and Kalea is sitting on Danielle's lap quietly weeping like an adult. It was the cutest, saddest thing you've ever seen. It was like she understood what was going on, and felt sorry for the husband and wife. It's amazing to watch such an incredibly observant ESTJ like herself growing up.
A few weeks ago I also went with Isaac Deatherage and Marcus Schrader to see Apocalypto. Wow. You know, it's sort of like The Passion ... a movie you may want to see once or twice ever ... or maybe once every couple years or something. It was such a reality check, and made me thankful to be living in a country that still has some moral, Christian values. A few days afterwards I saw Doug Philips' talk on the Mayans in his History of the World DVD series, and I wish I had seen that first before the movie so I could have better understood their culture and beliefs. In any case, I can't say that I recommend seeing the film (mainly the violence), but for me personally it gave a new perspective on things.
Anyway, some pictures from the last week or so.
Monday, January 1st, 2007, 12:00 o'clock am central standard time. I can't believe I wasn't in mid air. I thought I had timed it perfectly. Cody, on the other hand, got some serious air. At least I'm wearing the hippest pajama pants.
You're late to go visit a friend for the day ... you get in the car, and this is your view. Course, if I had grown up in Missouri, I'd have planned ahead. Being a native southern Californian, I hadn't. So, I drove for awhile with my head out the window in the freezing wind (ala Ace Ventura).
I snap a few pics of the countryside on the way.
After about 15 minutes of driving toward Isaac's house it gets real hilly and beautiful. I love the pines. If ever I get my own property someday (and I'm in MO), I want to plant these everywhere. So much better then the bland scrub oaks.
We chill on Isaac's computer ... listening to songs, looking at pictures, etc. He took a picture of ourselves from a few weeks ago and doctored it to give us both sideburns and me an open shirt with a hairy chest. Quite hilarious. Wait a minute, how do you know I don't really have a hairy chest?
Yes, the game that never ends. I hadn't played 'Risk" in about 3-4 years. Took on Isaac and his two sisters, and amazingly came out victorious in the end (I'm green). I find when I play against brothers and sisters that I usually end up winning cause they try so desperately hard to murder one another.
On the way to basketball on Wednesday night I passed by this bunny on the road. "Don't think about it ... keep driving ... you have no feelings," I stoically told myself. Got to Ava, had a hot night bombing three pointers left and right (I usually don't brag, so forgive me, but I just was the man), went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things, and then while driving back ... there it was, still there, looking at me. I stopped, put my head on the steering wheel, slowly got out of the car, and wrapped it in a blanket and brought it home. It was badly injured, and I figured it would likely die the next day. It was cold and rainy out, and I couldn't just leave it. Cute little thing, and yes, it died the next day on my bed, within just a few minutes after I held it. At least it passed away in warmth and comfort.
The next day it was off to Springfield with Jeremy to meet up with the Schraders, Danielle, Lynn Hertado and mom for some dinner at Tasia (Taste of Asia) and a movie. I'm ... uhh ... at a gas station getting gas in this picture. Don't ask me why I look so paranoid.
Tasia. Very awesome restaurant, and no MSG in their food (most of it).
Down at the end is Jennifer Schrader, then Lilly, then Ann, then mom, then Jenna, Marcus, Jeremy on the left, and Danielle and Lynn next to Jeremy out of the picture.
And across from me is Andrew, the precocious ENTJ. Actually made me laugh a lot that night.
And I snap yet another photograph while in the theater. Yep, Facing The Giants. I really, really enjoyed it, and was very impressed overall. Sure, the acting had its moments, but it wasn't terrible. Man, though, what surprised me was how "preachy" it was. Had no idea the Christian message was so overt and constant throughout the whole film. Totally not criticizing it for that. Talk about refreshing. Perhaps it could have been toned down a tad in parts, but no, it was good. Only real critique I have is the slight message conveyed that if you trust God everything will turn out fine and dandy in the end. You get the car, your wife gives birth to your first son, and you win the state championship. They maybe should have had one of those things not turn out in the end, but whatever. Good movie. Just don't want it to be taken as a "Prayer of Jabez" type thing, if you know what I mean.
On the 7th the Dahers held a showing for the Book of Being in a nice museum theater in San Diego. Not sure at this point how many came, but they anticipated somewhere around 50 people. We've sold and distributed more copies of the film than I originally anticipated a few months ago, so that's exciting.
I felt bad that I couldn't be in San Diego for the showing, so I sent Nathan this quick introduction for him to play before the movie starts (course if you really did play it, I'll kill you, Nathan). Here is your typical sappy, heartless, fake steward or stewardess spiel.
Thanks for stopping by.
Don't Give Up
January 3, 2007
Those who know me know that I love the music of Josh Groban. I don't know exactly why I appreciate his music so much (not all, but most). Besides his powerful voice, I think it's the fact that many of his songs can seemingly be spoken to God or from God, and I believe he does this on purpose. Whether it's "You Raise Me Up" (on the main page of niednagel.com), or his rendition of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," or even "To Where You Are," he seems to really strike a chord in my heart. His latest album "Awake," has a song that particularly speaks to me at this time in my life, and maybe to you as well, called "Don't Give Up." This song, to me, falls under the "from God" category. That is, I imagine the Lord speaking the words, and it would be difficult for me to fully describe to you how it touches my emotions.
Don't give up, it's just the weight of the world.
When your heart's heavy, I will lift it for you.
Don't give up, because you want to be heard.
If silence keeps you, I will break it for you.
Everybody wants to be understood. Well I can hear you.
Everybody wants to be loved. Don't give up, because you are loved.
God has truly placed in every person's heart an intense desire to be loved, heard, and understood. We search the world over to find such fulfillment, and in the end come up completely empty. The people and things of this world bring temporary fulfillment, not everlasting, for only in Christ can such be found.
I feel that 2007 will be the biggest year of my life in terms of direction. I feel as though I walk on a narrow bridge, with thin air on either side. The moment I deviate to the left or to the right will be the moment I fall headlong into complete emptiness. This sounds overly dramatic, I know, but it's not. I believe and am convinced that the Lord is saying to me, and to all of us who feel their strength is at an end, "Don't give up. You are loved. Though you're lost inside, I will find you." That's my prayer for this year. To not give up, to be a man, to walk straight forward, and to fight the battles that are given me.
Some may argue that there are no redeeming values to The Lord of the Rings, and while I certainly do not condone it as a whole, it incapsulates the essence of not giving up. Frodo is faced with overwhelming odds, with the fate of the entire world resting upon his shoulders. And what is he? A mere hobbit. The lowest of the low. Yet, he is entrusted with a task that not even the greatest warrior could seemingly accomplish. Only after watching Frodo for three films do you fully feel the weight he carries and the pain he endures, yet all with the help of his one true friend, Sam. Sam is the unsung hero of the film, and only by pushing each other forward do they in the end accomplish what no one thought they ever could.
Truly, it's the same with us as Christians. We can't do it alone. We push each other forward to accomplish the impossible. The video clip below is near the end of the trilogy when Frodo says goodbye to his three friends who have been there for him throughout the entire journey. Not a word is spoken, yet everything is said with the look in each character's eyes. I think when we get to heaven, it will be much like this ... we'll have completed the epic of life, having fought for and been there for one another, and we'll then embrace each other for a new life in eternity, where sorrows and trials are a forgotten memory. Only, we won't be saying goodbye. We'll be saying hello.
I want to sincerely thank all of you who have been there for me throughout the years of my life, especially this last one. Your encouragement and friendship have meant more to me than you know. May you all have a blessed 2007, filled with God's mercy, grace, and direction, and whatever trials or temptations face you this new year, don't give up. I will try to do the same, by God's grace.