Archive for June, 2010


My World Cup Predictions

Last week was a busy one.  With E3 2010, the World Cup, and, of course, my girlfriend being in town, I just couldn’t manage to update as often as I normally do.  I need to hire some contributors.

With that said, Monday marks the end of round 2 of the group stage of the World Cup.  I love this part because, now that every team has played twice, you can determine the requirements and success chances for each time to make it into the knockout stage.  Two teams, Cameroon and North Korea, have already been officially eliminated and are now just playing their last match for the fun of playing, but for everyone else the stakes are still present.  Hit the jump to see my predictions for Round 3 of the group stage. Continue reading

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God blessed the Gold Lions on Sunday, June 13th with 42 riders.  On Sunday, June 20th, God blessed our bus with 40 riders.  We’ve been having a pretty good summer (which technically starts today, mind you).  In our bus ministry, there is always that summer slump when kids inevitably find a myriad of things to do other than riding the church bus.  In this aspect, God has blessed us with many faithful riders.  Right now I have on my mind several kids that I know and whose parents I know.  Those kids love our ministry and what we have to offer.  Those parents respect our ministry and what we are trying to accomplish.  Almost without fail, I can count on those kids to ride the bus on Sunday.

We’ve had some new riders in the last couple of weeks.  One of them was reached as a result of the soulwinning efforts of our church.  They enjoyed our church, and I’m looking forward to seeing them back next week.

One of the things I discussed with my girlfriend on Sunday is that, as a captain and sole male worker (outside the bus driver), one of the things I’m no longer able to do that I absolutely loved doing as a worker is to spend time with the kids while on the bus.  Everyone loves the attention, especially kids.  It burns me when workers (not speaking necessarily of my own) sit down and stare out the window while we still have kids on the bus.  We play an important role in the lives of these kids, and the bus ride is a crucial time as we try to form brotherly relationships with them.  I loved asking the kids about their weeks and hearing their silly stories.  Usually, I have to do the role of a runner, so I stay at the front of the bus and can’t usually talk more than a minute with anyone, so I depend on my workers to fill this need.

Speaking of my girlfriend, I was absolutely thrilled that she was able to ride the bus these last two Sundays.  Her name is Lydia, and she lives in San Antonio, so our time together is usually short, but she was with me all day both Sundays.  It made me feel all awesome to have her see me in action as a captain.

On the 13th, we had ice cream sandwiches, which Sarah was kind enough to get for me while I preached for the 5th and 6th graders.  On the 20th, we tried freezer pops again.  The kids were excited that they were actually frozen this time around!  I was also missing two workers that day, one being sick and the other one at work, and it was felt as I couldn’t particularly deal with a couple of rowdy kids AND walk the rest of the kids home at the same time.  Those moments of frustration, thankfully, are brief and are overshadowed by a good sense of accomplishment after they are all home.

I mentioned in another post about the idea of getting a water cooler for our bus to counter this summer Texas heat.  I got a message today from Jessica Lundy, who told me she and her mom were going to help us out by buying our bus a water cooler!  That is a great blessing!  She was already one of my favorite people because of her love for retro videogames, but this is just very awesome.

Please leave your comments on the section below and share this post with your friends!

~My Two Cents

World Cup Memories

I love soccer, and I love the World Cup.  I was born in ’86, the year the World Cup took place in Mexico.  I have no memories of Italy ’90 or USA ’94, other than watching a rerun of Sport Goofy in Soccermania (originally airing in 1987, of all years).

FIFA World Cup France 1998 logo

Having said that, the FIFA World Cup France ’98 is my favorite, even to this day.  I don’t recall paying as close attention to any other as I did with this one.  I kept up with all 8 groups.  I saw Mexico progress through the first stage admirably (for once) against South Korea, the Netherlands, and Belgium, only to blow it in the knockout stage against Germany.

But even while you are watching your favorite team play, you watch the others ones to see who would advance to the top of the ladder and who to watch out for.  There were always the fan favorites: the European teams that always mop the floor with everyone else, and, of course, the ever-powerful, always-feared Brazil.  Croatia participated for the first time, having not too long before become its own nation.  That team was clearly the surprise of the event and climbed all the way to 3rd place.  I remember seeing that final match and the upset that was the host nation France defeating champion Brazil.

Footix, France '98 mascot

But I not only became familiar with the teams.  I became familiar with the things outside the field.  I knew what Marsielle was, and Toulouse, and the other cities, and Parc de Princes Stadium in Paris.  I loved listening to Ricky Martin’s The Cup of Life (in 1998, I was not a Christian, and Ricky Martin was not out of the closet yet, so you are just going to have to forgive me for that).  I even rented World Cup ’98 for my Nintendo 64.  I loved popping that in and listening to the intro music “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba (“I get knocked down, but I get up again.  You’re never going to keep me down”) while watching Footix, the mastcot, run on a soccer ball.

Despite all of this, I failed to follow Korea/Japan ’02 properly (if I remember correctly, ABC was showing the games… at 3 am) and practically ignored Germany ’06.  I’m not letting that happen again.

FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 logo

Of course, at  the time of this writing, I already missed the first two matches (Group A): South Africa vs. Mexico and Uruguay vs. France.  I was quite frankly expecting Mexico to lose against the host nation, but I think I was giving South Africa too much credit there, and they ended in a 1-1 draw.  Meanwhile, powerhouses Uruguay and France either were equally strong or equally weak today, and they also ended in a draw, 0-0.  It’s too early to tell which two will make it to the next stage.

Meanwhile, Team USA (Group C) plays tomorrow against England.  They are also stuck with Algeria (I’ve never heard of Algeria being any good) and Slovenia (new nation, new team, European).  Of course, the team to watch out for is England, so we’ll see how we fare tomorrow morning.

Leave your comments in the section below and share!

~My Two Cents

Welcome to a new edition of 5 Games I’ve Beat.  Today, we’ll take a look at 5 games I’ve beat from the Donkey Kong series.  I’m actually a little hesitant to call it his series, since in two of the games being showcased you don’t even play as DK, but you fight him!  And you gotta rescue him in the other two!  But anyway, they all featured him in some way.

Donkey Kong as he appeared before Donkey Kong Country

The original Donkey Kong was an immensely popular arcade game in the ’80s.  You were actually a carpenter known as Jumpman (who would switch careers to plumbing and be later known as Mario).  Donkey Kong abducted Jumpman’s girlfriend Pauline, and the man in overalls would climb up 100 meters of construction zones to rescue her.  Mario went on to become a hero of the Mushroom Kingdom and an international star, but what about his rival?  Hit the jump to see the games that feature the stupid primate and his shenanigans (because, according to his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, he was going for that meaning when he came up with “Donkey Kong”): Continue reading

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update – 06/09/10

God blessed the Gold Lions bus with 38 riders.  We had a great day.  I honestly did not expect to have that many kids, and it was evidenced by the fact that I had to have someone get some more pop-sickles because we didn’t have enough! Speaking of pop-sickles, those silly things failed to freeze in time.  We’ll get it right next time.

I was very happy to see some former riders get on the bus on Sunday, namely two girls that we stopped visiting because they didn’t show any interest in coming back.  It was their friends that encouraged them to do so.  I’m glad for kids that do their part in the Great Commission by encouraging their friends to ride the bus.  Their efforts will not go unrewarded.

I had the privilege of preaching to the teenagers again (been doing so every other week lately).  I’m glad my own bus kids like to hear me preach.  I made the statement that, if I was to classify my message as either milk for babes in Christ or strong meat for mature Christians, this message was a hamburger.  With that I mean that some of the things said would probably be kinda hard for them to grasp right away.  The basis for my message was the tabernacle, but the subject was actually Jesus being our high priest and also our sacrifice (from Heb. 9).  I tried to be as a clear as I could be, and I hope it was a blessing.

I’m looking forward to next week.  I’m expecting to see former riders, missing riders, and brand-new riders.  It’s going to be awesome.

Please leave a comment and share with your friends!

~My Two Cents

5 Games I’ve Beat – Zelda Edition

Welcome to a new edition of 5 Games I’ve Beat, this time tackling another beloved Nintendo franchise: The Legend of Zelda.  Yes, I could still go on about Mario games, but whereas Mario symbolizes how fun games can and should be, Zelda emphasizes how epic a videogame experience can and should be.  I can’t find another word to describe it.  The moment you start a game you know you are in for a great adventure in a wondrous fantasy world with diverse creatures and a menacing evil that looms over your quest.  This ain’t just about saving the princess.  It’s about saving the world (does that more or less sound like a Heroes sound tag?)!

Zelda I Link

Link in the original The Legend of Zelda

For the uninitiated, The Legend of Zelda is about a boy in green with a sword and a shield, who must gather items and clear dungeons in order to open up the path to the final boss.  That’s oversimplifying the whole thing, but it pretty much sums it up.  The very first Zelda and all its sequels are unique in that the games are not divided by stages, but rather it’s one huge overworld, with all the dungeons hidden in the landscape.  You must find their entrances.  Once there, generally you gotta solve field puzzles to progress.  You hack and slash the enemies that oppose you with a variety of weapons.

Now to be honest, I’ve never been able to finish the first two NES Zelda games.  I don’t know if they are harder than the rest in the series or I just stink at this.  I know I haven’t spent as much time with them as with the other games.  I did manage to finish 5 so far, so without further ado (well, you gotta hit the jump first): Continue reading

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update – 06/02/10

Summer is here, and it was clearly felt last Sunday in our bus ministry.  God bless the Gold Lions with 22 riders that day.  I’m thankful for these 22.  They are the faithful ones, or at the very least the ones that didn’t have other plans so they chose to ride our bus.  God will bless them for it.

I more or less could tell how our results would turn out based on Saturday visitation.  I visited the whole route by myself (and don’t get me started on that), and a lot of the kids weren’t home.  Those that were home were dying to go swimming.  For our promotion, we had double pop-sickles.  I’ve learned in the past that you don’t buy pop-sickles until the last minute or you’ll have a mess in your hands… literally.  The kids enjoyed them.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was to have a cooler with water and paper cups on the bus during the summer.  It gets unbearably hot, and I don’t want the kids to faint (or complain that they are going to faint).  I have to look into that before next Sunday.

As you may know, I have been the captain for the last 5 months.  To this day, I’m still having kids asking me where my predecessor is or if he’s coming back anytime soon.  I’m a little conflicted.  On the one hand, I am a little hurt because after all this time I have not been able to win over these kids (one girl made it a point to let me know that she hasn’t been riding because the former bus captain is gone).  On the other hand, I too wish he was back, especially because it’s tough being a bus captain!  And expensive!  But I have the opportunity of a lifetime to make a difference in these kids’ lives, so I’m not about to get upset because some of them don’t want me to be captain.

God works in great ways, and here’s why: our church is going through a similar situation but in a grander scale.  When Dr. Bob Smith announced his retirement, I was crushed.  It’s not that I don’t like Dr. Todd Lasseter, but after all these years you get used to “Preacher,” and you know things are never going to be the same… but I am realizing now that that’s not a bad thing.  It’s just a different experience.  Later on, when I became captain of the Gold Lions, it hit me: I have a unique insight on what the kids are going to go through.  They are feeling what I was feeling.  Some are going to be mad.  Others will be sad.  Others simply won’t care.  Things are going to change, but they need to know that I love them and that God loves them.  It may take a while for them to get used to me, but we’ll get there.

I hope this was a blessing to you.  Please feel free to comment in the section below and share this with your friends!

~My Two Cents