Monday, November 19, 2007

My Robot has 10,000 Views!

Well, I know it's small change for some, but I was pretty excited to see that my Gibson Robot Guitar Video has over 10,000 views. For those of you who are wondering, I did the animation with Blender. Which is an open source 3d package. Well, Thanks to all who have watched and I'll let you know when you can go vote :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Accepting Undeserved Gifts

I recently received a gift. Now mind you, I like gifts, a lot. Who doesn't really? But this was one of those take your breath away sorts of gifts. A gift I did not want to touch in case it was some sort of mistake. But soon it sank in that this brand new guitar in front of me was in fact sent to me by...anonymous. There was no card or tag or from or anything. It did not say who paid the bill or ordered it. It was just sitting there waiting to be picked up, plugged in and played. Being the inquisitive person I am, I immediately called my parents, neither knew a thing about it and so I started trying to figure out who would have done this and WHY! I have ideas of who may have been invovled in this, but I came to a realization. Finding out who sent this gift is not the point. If they wanted a phone call saying thanks, they would have put in a note or called to make sure it arrived intact. Instead, I think the sender of this gift wants me to do what the gift calls for, to be pulled from it's case, tuned up, turned up and played on. To be used in worship is the type of thanks this type of anonymous gift calls for.

Now why has this hit me so hard? I do not deserve this kind of gift. Sure there I days when I feel like I deserve everything I want and then there are days when I know what I have coming and know I deserve every bit of it. Usually the latter is true. But I think that this gift I have received outlines something important. Christ came to earth to die in our place as the biggest undeserved gift ever. We spend so much time trying to figure out why or wrestle with the nuts and bolts of Christian life and forget to just pick up the gift with a greatful heart and use it to the best of our ability. Does Christ expect our thanks? Yes, but I think the thanks he wants is not the thanks that we generally say in our bedtime prayers, but instead using of his gift to glorify his name.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gibson Robot Guitar

Gibson is releasing a self-tuning guitar called the Gibson Robot Guitar. They are having a make your own video contest to win one. So here is my entry....

Hopefully they will add my video to their site soon for voting. I already have over 1000 views on YouTube so at least some people have seen it :) Enjoy.

The Gibson page is here

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Out with the Old...

So my effects rack of 13 years finally decided to die on me. It was an ART SGX2000 and it just started flaking out. So I have started from the ground up. I have a BOSS volume pedal from many years back that still works great so to that I added a DS-1 Distortion and BD-2 Blues Driver. Also today I got in a CH-1 Chorus pedal. I built a temporary board for them and this is what it looks like. I got the 1-spot 8 pedal power kit and the CoreX2 solderless cable kit. So far I am very happy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Wishbook

I used to love making wishlists. As a kid I would circle so many things in the Sears "Wishbook", or I would find something I wanted and work hard to save my pennies to get it.

I have kinda gotten out of the habit in recent years, because as a father of 4 I usually do not have any extra cash to spend on myself. But as I go along I have found that day to day life has actually made me stop wishing for things. I don't spend time dreaming of the what ifs. I am not talking about being materialistic, sitting around being jealous of those who have what we want is very unproductive. But I think that wishing for things can be a great motivator for us to tackle new goals, expand our horizons and go after things that may, in our current circumstance, seem unattainable. Things can certainly own us and there ARE wrong reasons for wanting things. To outdo someone or to hoard something, these are not good. On the other hand things can be symbols. Symbols are so important. Take a look at company logos. It is not enough just to have a name, you need a symbol. If we wish for things in our life that are representative symbols of who we want to become, they can not only aid us once we have them, but can motivate us to become that person who 'deserves' that thing, and perhaps help us take our lives in a new direction that we may have only dreamed or wished about.

Recently (as you can see in another blog post of mine) I entered a contest. First place prize is $57,000. I made a decent entry and so I thought "What if I won?" At first my thoughts went to how much debt I could pay off, but then for the first time in a long time I did a little dreaming. My guitar and rig are old, an old rig for a tired guitarist, but then I thought, what if I could spend $$$ on a real setup. So in the spirit of wishing, here is a link to my wishlist of choice.

Guitar Center Wishlist

As you can see, johnnyGizmo wishes to break out of his cubicle and pursue something more. I have a new excitement in my life. I realize that I very well may not win this contest, but the wishing it prompted has given me something that I needed just as much.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Heinz Ketchup Commercial Entry

I made an entry for the the Heinz "Top This TV Challenge". Check it out. First prize in the contest is $57,000!!! Let me know what you think :)

Download All the Videos from A Given YouTube User with a Simple Script.

I wrote a little Perl script that takes a YouTube username and with the help of FFMPEG, downloads and converts all the public videos that user has posted and converts them to any format FFMPEG supports like mpg or mov.

read more | digg story

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Update and an Observation

Well, its been a while since my last post. We are now very close to completing our paperwork. We have a couple more documents to get and then a lot of photocopying and notorization to get done. The a big chunk of $$$ will get us into the "waiting phase" of the adoption. At that point things will be out of our hands until we get our referal. We are getting closer all the time and it feels like it is taking for ever. I also want to thank the people who have dontated funds either through Chipin or directly to my Paypal account. Your donations certainly have helped us with the costs of this process.

On a different note, I noticed something that I do lately. When I am around my kids, I talk about myself in the 3rd person. Why do I do this? It's not like my kids don't understand the concept of the word "I". But apparently phrases like "Daddy has to go to work" are now how I talk. Well anyway, talk to you all later because Johnny is going crazy :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Our First Donation!!!

Well we had our first donation through ChipIn recently, in response to the getCals program (which is hosted here getCals if you need it) So thanks to your donation (you know who you are!) you have paid for one of our passport photos.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Home Study and Ranting about the Child Shopping Network

I am not much of a ranter, but after this short update, I have to vent...

Well, we have made it through the bulk of the dreaded "home study". We have a little more online training to do as well as some infant CPR classes, but it is pretty much done. So now we prepare our final documentation to be notarized, translated, etc. and send off our next big payments to our adoption agency. We were very happy to work with Baptist Children's Home in Mt. Vernon, IL. They were a great organization to work with and were very friendly and helpful.


We are hoping within the next few weeks to have our dossier completed and ready to go. Then we wait and save as much money as possible. Visiting El Salvador will not be cheap. We are probably somewhere in the range of $7k - $9k still in fees and travel costs before we can bring our daughter home. It will also take about 10 months for all the paperwork to be processed. It is a long way to go and it really makes me sick when I read about celebrities who jet over to some country pick out a kid and those countries grease the wheels for them like in this case of Angelina Jolie's Vietnam adoption which will only take 3 months. Friends of ours who are adopting from Vietnam who have all their paperwork submitted still plan to wait another full year before they can bring home their child.

These people (Madonna, Angelina, etc) make me sick. They throw their money around, have their lawyers get all their paperwork together, and go get their kid. Then try to look like some sort of humanitarian by bringing home a child that their nanny can take care of. Then there are many people that I know who spend 1-2 years of paperwork, tens of thousands of hard earned dollars, emotionally taxing ages of waiting to do the same process. Do I have sour grapes? Sure. Would I prefer to have millions of dollars to just slap down and bring our little Miley home? Absolutely. But I don't. I just wish more people would be able to see how difficult it is to adopt a child if you are not a 'super-star'. That you have to invest a lot of your time, money, effort, heart and life into bringing this child home. It is certainly not the child-shopping-network that the super-rich get to use when it strikes them that they want a baby without the hassle of that whole getting pregnant thing.

---END RANT---

So anyway, thanks for reading. If you want to make a contribution to our adoption you can of course use the chipin widget on my sidebar.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack

After the most recent Lost episode "Flashes before your eyes" I called into the Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack and they put my call on the show. Check it out Here and you can check out their website here.

Jay and Jack do 2 podcasts a week, one right after each new episode where they do a rundown of the episode and play listener calls and then a recap show on the following monday. They do give out some spoiler type information, but usually give a good warning to skip ahead when they do. Give them a listen if you like the show Lost on ABC.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

getCals Getting Hosted

I recently got an email offering to host getCals since Google decided I broke their EULA somehow on googlepages. Once I have a new link available, I'll post it here. Also if you have used getCals in the past or get it in the future and want to show your appreciation, you can always use the chipIn box here to make a donation towards our family's adoption of a little girl from El Salvador.


Well, here it is. Thanks Nick for hosting it for me!


Adoption Fund Raiser

We have all heard the Internet stories about people posting websites asking for money for this or that, or trading paperclips for mansions or whatever. Well I guess I thought that I would see if I can tap into some of that love to assist in our adoption story. Using a site called, I have set up a fund raiser for our adoption. I put in the most $ we will probably need and gave it a year. If you would like to donate to our cause, please feel free. We will find the funds one way or another to bring little Miley home. Perhaps you can help.

As an update on our process, we are getting done with our paperwork phase and are in the process of doing our 'home study'. Things are moving along. It is hard to think though that we will have to wait for so long after we get the paper and money sent in before we can bring her home.

Thanks for reading