Had a wonderful time in Virginia Beach last weekend, and was especially honored when the youth group of Christ the King Parish in Norfolk presented me with a music video that parodies one of my songs! No one has ever done that for me before!

So here it is, in all it’s glory:

Also, at the last youth conference I met a teen named Colin who said he used me for an art project at school, and then was kind enough to email what he did:

Honestly, I’m really flattered. Thanks!

Last weekend was the first high school youth conference of the summer. It’s something I look forward to all year. The first half of the weekend was amazing!!! And then…

Allergies.

So on Saturday afternoon I went for a run. That’s right kids—you can’t get this kind of a physique without constant exercise. It was super hot out and I pushed myself (because why would you spend time exercising and not push yourself?) It felt great. Came inside, had a glass of water… and sneezed.

Oh fudge, I thought. But I didn’t use the word “fudge.” (Not a big fan of fudge, personally.)

Another sneeze. Then another. Then another. I went into a sneezing fit that lasted for about a half an hour.

This happens to me a few times a year. The last time it happened, interestingly enough, was at NCYC. Coincidence? (The writer shrugs.)

I tweeted my plight and the twitterverse was helpful with their prayers and advice on all things sinus. I tried it all. I then tweeted:

I barely made it to the team dinner, where I spent most of it lying down on a row of chairs with an ice pack on my head (it was more like an iceberg. I asked for a cold compress and they gave me enough ice to chill a keg.) My good friend, Jackie Francois, was so concerned for me that she took a picture and posted it on the internet, because that’s what good friends do when someone is suffering.

My allergy attack calmed down a bit as I headed over to the field house where the conference was. My nose was like a slow dripping faucet all night long. It’s times like those I’m glad I have a beard because it acts as a natural sponge for my sinus excretions. Too much information? (The writer shrugs.)

The evening itself was an incredible experience of God’s grace. Or I was high with all the sinus medication I was on. I’d like to think of it as a “both/and.” I felt much better by Sunday, as you can see  below (this pic courtesy of Stephen Lanahan, who was kind enough to also tweet that I was one of his favorite professors.)

That’s right people, bow tie and sneakers. Did I mention I play accordion, too? Hard to imagine I even got a date, let alone got married. The headless giant I was talking to was Jim Beckman who did a great job hosting the weekend.

All in all it was an incredible conference experience. I just hope I’m more conscious for the next one 🙂

If you were there last weekend, comment on your favorite part. I’d love to hear about it.

Those of you who know me personally or follow me on Twitter (isn’t that the same thing?) know that every other week I have “geek night.” It’s something I always look forward to. It’s when a bunch of my friends get together and do a roleplaying game. A few weeks ago, we did one of my favorite RPGs: Star Wars. Both Bob Perron (a regular) and Gene Monteracelli (special guest player) were a part of the fun.

I happened to be the game master that evening and Chris Padgett played Winter, a human Jedi. Winter has a lot of skills. He can use a lightsaber. He can use the Force to sense if someone is telling the truth. And he has a very high “acrobatics” rating which Chris tries to use in every encounter.

I now insert you into the story of the game…

Winter and his companions enter the atrium, expecting a meeting with Darga the Hutt. But the doors suddenly shut behind them. The adventurers hear a whistle blown in the distance and four large carniverous birds with razor sharp claws attack! One of Winter’s companions recognizes the whistle—it is used to command the birds. Winter realizes that if he can take out the person blowing the whistle he can stop this attack before anyone gets hurt.

He fends off one of the birds with his light saber and runs into the dark forest of the atrium, Jedi senses keenly attuned to any movement.

“Okay,” said Chris. “So I want to use my power of the Force to see if I can sense where this person is.”

“Roll a d20,” I said. (A d20 is a twenty-sided die for you non-gamers out there.) “I’ll let you see something if you roll a ten or above.”

Chris rolled the die. “Crap,” he said. “I rolled a three.”

Winter could see nothing in the darkness as he wandered the atrium, lightsaber in hand. Meanwhile, his companions were getting severely hurt by the carnivorous birds that flew in and out of the shadows.

Just then, a blaster shot came out of the darkness and grazed Winter’s shoulder, barely missing him.

“I use my acrobatics to dodge the shot!” Chris said.

“It already missed you,” I explained.

“But now can I see where the person is?” Chris asked.

“Yes, their blaster shot gave away the location.”

“I run towards them!”

Winter, honing in on the location where the blaster shot came from, ran towards the mysterious person. Meanwhile…

“No meanwhile, I want to catch up to this person now.”

“You’re too far away.”

“Not if I do an acrobatic leap!”

“Chris, you’re in a dark indoor forest. There’s no way you can reach the attacker this turn. Just wait for the next one.”

“No! I’m going to do it!”

“You’ll need at least an eighteen to make it.”

Chris stood up. “I’m gonna do it! I’m gonna do it!” The other players began to clap in a slow rythym as Chris shook the d20 in his hand.

“COME ON, BABY!” he said as he cast the die upon my wooden table.

It was a one.

Winter actobatically lept into the air… and got caught in a tree.

“NOOOO!” Chris cried. “I can’t believe this is happening!”

Meanwhile, the carniverous birds attack the wookiee…

“I want to get out of the tree,” Chris said.

“It’s not your turn. And you’re losing a turn because you’re trapped.”

The birds make numerous attacks the other heroes. Two of them go down. Winter, the not-so-acrobatic Jedi, finally gets out of the tree and spots the person behind the attack. It was Kaylar, the female gang leader they humiliated outside of the spaceport.

“Is she close enough to reach?” Chris asked.

“Yes, she is,” I said.

“I jump in the air—no, wait. I run up to her, put my lightsaber against her neck, and tell her to call off the attack.”

Winter sprints towards Kaylar and points his lightsaber at her neck. “Call off your attack,” he says. Kaylar dropped the whistle and the birds disappeared into the darkness.

“Why are you attacking us?” demands Winter.

He can see the anger in Kaylar’s scarred face in the glow of his lightsaber. “It is because you humiliated me by the spaceport,” she says.

“Liar!” Winter screams as he—

“Wait, you want to… what?” I ask.

“Cut her hand off!” Chris says. “Make her tell me the truth!”

“But she’s defenseless!”

“Do it!” Chris said.

Winter slices Kaylar’s hand off. She screams in agony and collapses on her knees.

He points the lightsaber back into her face. “Enough of your lies!” he says. “Tell me the truth!”

“I did tell you the truth, you moron!” Kayla says, cradling the charred stump where her hand once was. “You humiliated me at the spaceport and I wanted revenge!”

“Is she really telling the truth?” Chris asked.

“Why don’t you use your Force power to check,” I suggested.

Chris rolled the d20. “I got a seventeen,” he said.

“Good,” I said. “Because that was such a high role, I’m going to let you realize two things.”

Winter the acrobatic Jedi closes his eyes and uses his knowledge of the Force to discern whether Kaylar was telling the truth. In doing so he realizes two important things. First, he senses that Kaylar was, in fact, telling the truth about her reasons for attacking. And second, that he just cut the hand off a defenseless prisoner.

“Move your Force meter down by two,” I told Chris. “You’re going to the dark side.”

“But how was I to know she was telling the truth?” Chris asked.

“I don’t know… maybe use your Force power before cutting appendages off?”

“I just got excited,” Chris meekly said.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Chris Padgett is the worst Jedi ever.

It started with this:

Which lead to this:

To be honest, I’m not so much offended by the cover of Time as I am embarrassed for the poor kid who will be haunted by this picture for the rest of his life. Can you imagine what his friends at school will say?

UPDATE: Apparently the kid is home schooled. But… still.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently that’s not his mom, just an actress, making this kid the smoothest operator since Squints made out with Wendy the Lifeguard.

FINAL UPDATE: There’s are some things in this blog that aren’t entirely accurate.

The zombies are coming.

I get to write a scripts for Outside Da Box. They asked if I could write something for teens about “the healing power of the Eucharist.”

My first shot at the script had a teen go through the day under constant attack: mom says he’s grounded for the weekend and then throws a grenade at him, girlfriend dumps him and then sword fights with him, etc. The idea is that he would be “beaten up” by his daily activity but then comes into the chapel and is healed and refreshed by the Eucharist.

But the script was deemed too violent. So I wrote a zombie one instead.

Oddly enough, that worked.

The short film will be out in the next few weeks, but there is already a fun buzz about it on Facebook. And if you’re just dying (or, more appropriately, undying) to know what happens, you can highlight the invisible text below to get a special SPOILER for the film:

Jesus wins. 

Great twist ending, isn’t it? I think it will surprise everyone who sees it.

I’ll let you know when it comes out and post a link to it on this blog. I’m eager for you all to see it but even more eager to hear what you think. Until then, I will attempt to satiate your love for all things zombies with my favorite song about zombies (“re:Brains” from Jonathan Coulton) preformed by a guy dressed as a zombie translating the lyrics into American Sign Language. Because that’s what the internet is for. 

Just recorded this adorable video of my four year old daughter, Maria, doing an Irish jig. If you’re wondering, that is me playing the accordion in the background. To make it more interesting, I filmed it in the style of a Michael Bay film. I hope you enjoy.