Friday, January 30, 2009

The Secret Ingredient

I got a call from my friend Andrew yesterday informing me that he had received a letter in the mail that was for me. I was confused so he clarified. Sam's Club sent him a letter last week that he had just today gotten around to opening. The letter was to inform him that he had bought some recalled peanut butter crackers. The crackers may have contained a bonus ingredient, salmonella. The thing is though, Andrew didn't buy those crackers, I did. I bought a variety pack of 40. Fortunately for me though I didn't have to worry about this little matter. You see, I had eaten the last package 4 hours before he called.

Truth be told, I would have eaten those crackers even if I had known. If I lived my life according to statistical improbabilities like that, I would play the lottery. When you play the lottery the chances are you will lose. When you eat recalled peanut butter crackers the chances are you will win. I win.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Get Knocked Down (Mouse Video)

I filmed this little mouse in a back ally in the markets of Delhi India. We all stood around and laughed at him in our respective languages.

Silly Little Mouse Falls Down from Dan Thoms on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Paradoxical Snow Day

I wish everyday was a snow day! Well, except for the fact that I would eventually run out of food and summer would never come. Other than those minor details, I wish everyday was a snow day. I didn't even bother getting dressed. Strange as it may sound though, I actually felt a bit guilty for not going to work. The roads were dangerous, there wasn't a lot of work to be done and still, guilt. I'm one of those crazy people who has never taken a sick day and never missed an unexcused day of school (except once and yes, I felt guilty). As the day wore on the guilt did fade but still, where does this come from? Even though it was a snow day I listed auctions on eBay, cleaned my house, and worked on my bathroom. It's like I can't not work. I don't even enjoy working. My life is a paradox.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I'm sure that in school you've been told that one plus one equals two. Well, let me introduce you to a higher math. I encourage one person to come to church, he comes and brings his family which equals seven. I invite two more people. They both come, one brings their family, an additional six people, and the other friend brings his friend. The original person that I encouraged to come invites one more person and they also come. The original persons kids invite two people and they also come. The second family invites an additional family which ads four more people. I pick up three kids. So one plus one equals twenty five and twenty five is how many of those people were at church tonight. And that's just how many came tonight. There are an additional ten people who ended up at the VWS in this same manner. Seven of them come to one of the Sunday services. That brings the total to thirty five, thirty five friends.

I don't invite my friends to church because I'm trying to win a prize or break some sort of attendance record. Before tonight I hadn't given the numbers much thought. The reason that I invite my friends is quite simple, I love them. I bring my kids (not biologically my kids) because I love them. I want them to know what being a follower of Christ can and should look like. It's exciting and its real. This city will be changed, one friend at a time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Power of One

Can one person make a difference? Can I make a difference? At some point in your life I guarantee that you will or have asked these same questions. When I was contemplating these questions today my thoughts immediately went to my mother (who I just found out secretly reads my blog sometimes). My mom was raised in a large Catholic family and was the first of her siblings to accept Christ as her personal savior. Through her, much of her family has been reached. There are 9 kids in her family and I believe that 7 of them are now followers of Christ. Many of my aunts are involved in the ministry and have in turn reached many many more souls for Christ. Here's a video clip of her sister Kathy and her husband Andrew and the church they founded and pastor in Columbia, South America. How much of a difference can one person make? You tell me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Coke was a Change

"Hind site is the only good vantage point for viewing change." - Dan (I always wanted someone to quote me)

If you were a child of the 80s then you may very well recall a product by the name of, "New Coke." The Coca-Cola company, in a failed marketing attempt, re-formulated their classic drink, Coke-Cola, to make it "better". It was new and because it was new it was hailed by the company as better. But was it? Of course it wasn't. Sales dropped and Coke was forced to return to its original formula. Change is coming, change is here, but is change always good? Some change is good. Some change is healthy. Many food manufactures have successfully cut down on the amount of sodium in their products while still maintaining the same great taste. Others have attempted to replace the sugar with an artificial sweeteners and in turn have all but ruined their products appeal. Change is an awareness that can only fully be experienced in hind site. Some times you just have to take a sip of that New Coke and decide for yourself, was this a good change? Maybe positive change lies ahead for our country. Only time will tell. I just hope what lies ahead isn't the political equivalent of New Coke.

Welcome President Obama

On this proud date in history I would like to welcome our new president to the white house. Soon you will provide late night talk shows with material and take your place among Americas greatest clowns.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Kind of Nerd am I?

I didn't have much time but I needed to make this trip. I had been thinking about it all day. It would be quick I told myself. Parking was sparse and you had to fight to find a spot. From the front it looked like nothing more than a small store front. My sister Grace had called me at work earlier that day to tell me about this place and here it was, exactly where she had described. 4 days only and then this window of opportunity would be closed. As I walked through the front door my heart skipped a beat. They were every where. Some were new, some were old. I had had dreams that started like this but they had always ended with me waking up. But this wasn't a dream, this was the Friends of the Library book sale. I was wrong. I didn't have enough time. I bought what I could and made plans to return early the next morning.

Hi, my name is Dan and I'm a book nerd. I love books. Its not so much the reading of the books as it is the collecting of the books. One of the first home improvements that I did was to build a library. I needed it to house my precious books. I've even started cataloging my books. If you show me a comic paper back I can generally tell you if I have it or not. The chances are I do since I have over a 1,000 of them (450 cataloged so far). My antique books collection is a bit smaller but still quite nice. They range in age from 85-350 years old.

Don't ask me why I collect books because I don't have a solid answer for that question. I'm not even sure where this entire collecting stuff comes from. Neither of my parents collect anything. Do you collect something? What kind of nerd are you? Tell me, I must know.

(I couldn't back up are enough to get all of the shelves in these pictures.)

Untitled from Dan Thoms on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

100 Hot Dog Toppings (that aren't mustard or ketchup)

While your here why not check out the rest of my blog too.

Mustard and ketchup are so 1990. Why not eat something different on that hot dog. Here is my list of 100 things to eat on a hot dog. Or if your an Omelet person check out 100 Omelet Fillings

1) Avocado
2) Sauerkraut
3) Coleslaw
4) Mayonnaise
5) Lettuce
6) Ranch Dressing
7) Relish
8) Blue Cheese Dressing
9) Re-fried beans
10) Chili beans
11) Sweet Chili Sauce
12) Celery Salt
13) Peperoni
14) Baked beans
15) Onions (raw or cooked)
16) Jalapeno Peppers (raw or cooked)
17) Pickled Peppers
18) Dill Pickles
19) Cucumbers
20) Tomatoes
21) Salsa
22) Hot Sauce
23) Barbecue Sauce
24) Texas Style Chili
25) Cincinnati Style Chili
26) American Cheese
27) Pizza Sauce
28) Bacon
29) Spaghetti Sauce
30) Potato Chips
31) Honey
32) Quail Egg
33) Chopped Cabbage
34) Nacho Cheese
35) Horseradish
36) Horseradish Sauce
37) Sprouts
38) Sunflower Seeds
39) Tortilla Chips
40) Sun dried tomatoes
41) Olives
42) Minced Garlic
43) Basil
44) Olive Oil
45) Corn Relish
46) African peri peri pepper sauce
47) Guacamole
48) Sour Cream
49) Wasabi Sauce
50) Fried Rice
51) Black Pepper
52) Banana Peppers
53) Fried Egg
54) Corn Chips (Fritos)
55) Mashed Potatoes
56) A-1 Steak Sauce
57) Bacon Bits
58) Thousand Island Dressing
59) Cheddar Cheese
60) Butter
61) Peanut Butter
62) Onion Relish
63) Mushrooms
64) Pineapple
65) Taco Cheese
66) Shredded Parmesan cheese
67) Crispy Onions
68) French Fries
69) Bread and Butter pickles
70) Pickled Ginger
71) Remoulade Sauce
72) Pastrami
73) Potato Salad
74) Humus
75) Swiss Cheese
76) Sriracha Sauce
77) Cotija Cheese
78) Kimchi
79) Deli Dill Pickles
80) Green Peppers
81) Vinaigrette
82)Pepper Jack Cheese
83) Anchovies
83) Chives
85) Green Onions
86) Chutney
87) Bearnaise Sauce
88) Crushed Red Pepper
89) Colby Cheese
90) Taco Sauce
91) Cottage Cheese
92) Chopped Cilantro
93) Spiced Garbanzos
94) Pinto Beans
95) Salsa verde
96) Canned Tuna
97) Shrimp Salad
98) Ez-Cheese
99) Potato Sticks
100) Miracle Whip

Friday, January 16, 2009

Last Night I Gave Myself Stitches

Have you ever made direct contact with the sharp side of an xacto knife? I have, quite a few times in fact. This time, however, the cut was deep and it was long. My thumb was bleeding, it was bleeding a lot. I tried to use gauze and duct tape but the blood just soaked through and oozed out of the top. So next I tried butterfly bandages covered by normal bandages. That seemed to work. The next day I re-bandaged it but the cut busted right back open. Yesterday I tried that skin glue stuff but that didn't last and once again I was left with an open bleeding wound. How did I fix this gaping hole in my thumb you ask? Thanks for asking. The solution was simple, a needle and thread. Last night I gave myself stitches. The key is to go deep enough with the needle that the thread doesn't pull right back out. I got three good stitches in with my handy Marriott sewing kit (it came with the hotel room). Today I added a little glue and I haven't bled since. Here's a little video of the procedure. Enjoy.

Untitled from Dan Thoms on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ostridge Fish Hi Res

Hey Ma, look what I done caught!
Ok, I didn't catch this thing. I got bored and made this picture in photoshop.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hanged, drawn and quartered but hey, could be worse

Hanged, drawn and quartered, have you ever heard of such a thing? Apparently this is how every story in the book that I'm reading ends. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this practice, here's an overview.

1) Hanged - Hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead but not quite.
2) Drawn - They were strapped down, their genitalia was chopped off, their stomach cut open and their guts removed. Then, it was all burned while the victim watched. If they passed out, they were splashed with water.
3)Quartered- Last but not least, they were strapped to the quartering table, their head was chopped of and their body was cut into four pieces.

I don't know about you but knowing that this is how my day was going to end may put me in a foul mood. What a horrific way to die. I can't think of anything worse than watching someone cut off and burn my, um, stuff. How strongly do have to believe in your cause to accept this death without swaying? The guys in this book were hard core 17th century men. Here is a little bit of what Maj. General Thomas Harrison said upon his death (he was found guilty of killing the King and not keeping the Sabbath)

"And now blessed be the name of God, who accounteth me worthy to be put upon this service for my Lord Christ: Oh, this is nothing to what Christ hath suffered me!"

"Oh what am I poor worm! that I should be accounted worthy to suffer anything for the sake of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; I have gone joyfully and willingly many a time to lay down my life upon the account of Christ but never with so much joy and freedom as at this time"

Monday, January 12, 2009

PMS Vs. Porn

This post is rated PG-13 and is not recommended for children under the age of thirteen.

PMS and porn, what could one possibly have to do with the other? Until last night I would have said nothing. However, last night is when I had what could only be considered a revelation. These two things have two common denominators. One, women don't understand a mans inert desire for sexual gratification in the same way that men don't understand why some women act like, well you know, when they are PMSing. And two, looking at porn for men and acting like a witch for women are both natural reactions to sex hormones.

According to wikipedia, the three most prominent symptoms of PMS are irritability, tension, and dysphoria (unhappiness). I'm not women, but that sounds like a deadly combination and from what I've seen, it can be. Some women are quick to belittle, demean, and turn into what could be considered an altogether unpleasant person when PMSing. Apparently though, acting like a jerk is a natural reaction to their varying levels of sex hormones.

Men's sexual urges come and go. It would be nice if we were on some sort of cycle but that's just not the case. Most men will tell you that the desire for sexual gratification can, at times, be almost overwhelming with no real rhyme or reason. Its an inert compulsion that can't easily be described. Many men turn to pornography to appease these urges. This is, according to many, a natural reaction to their sex hormones.

Both of these are reactions to something natural, something physical. After all, what could be more natural than sex hormones? The debate then comes down to, not is it natural, but are these proper reactions. Does a natural reaction equate to an acceptable reaction? Is it a proper reaction for a man to look at pornography? Is it a proper reaction for a women to act like a jerk? Is it a mans responsibility to understand what a women is going through any more than it is a woman's responsibility to understand what a man is going through? You tell me. What do you think?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Complete Collection of the Lives, Speeches Private Passages, Letters and Prayers of Those Persons lately Executed

"He was not so much thrown off the Ladder by the Executioner, but went as readily off himself. After which the sentence was executed upon him; his members were cut off, and with his bowels burnt, his Head was severed from his body, and on Tuesday following set on Westminster-Hall Gate; and his four Quarters were ordered to be set upon the Gates of the City of London."

I have a box of 17th and 18th century books that I have gradually been researching and selling. Tonight I picked one out of the box called "A Complete Collection of the Lives, Speeches Private Passages, Letters and Prayers of Those Persons lately Executed." I started reading it because the title sounded fascinating. If you think that the King James version of the Bible is a tough read, you should try reading this thing. It was printed in 1661, 50 years after the original King James bible. The King James bible, however, has gone through numerous revisions to modernize it. The spelling, capitalization, and character uses are strange at best. Most of the "s" are printed like "f." The spelling is quite different. I've seen letters that were printed upside down, repeated words and words are split in the strangest places. The book does have some marvelous quotes and is thus far rather inspiring. I will share some of those quotes with you in a later blog. I think I may read one more chapter and call it a day. Plus, I don't want to handle a 350 year old book too much. Its probably worth a small fortune.

For your amusement, here are some of the words in the book:
compleat - complete
occafionall - occasional
askt - asked
easie - easy
kindnesse - kindness
sheriffe - sheriff
joyn - join
serjeant - sargent

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Vacuum Cleaner

So I bought a vacuum cleaner the other week. Today I decided to test out said vacuum cleaner in my living room. Yea, I haven't vacuumed in over a month, whats it to you? Seriously, I don't have carpet downstairs so there's not much to vacuum. However, today I made the mistake of smacking my couch and, well, the Israelites could have followed that cloud of dust through the wilderness. So, I pulled out my 1960s $5 special, my Rainbow Rexair model D. From what I've read, Rainbow is the holy grail of vacuum cleaners. A new one will put you back $1,800. For those of you doing the math that's $1,755 more than I paid for mine. Rainbow uses water as a filter and is anti allergenic. I bought this little gem thinking that I may sell it one eBay. One in great condition from the 60s can still cost you up to $500. I've decided to keep it. My couch had enough dust in it to turn that water a lovely shad of gray. This vacuum has lasted over 30 years. I wonder if it can make through few more in my house. A new motor for this thing is $250 so when its dead, its back to the Dust Devil.

So, do any of you have a favorite vacuum? Truth be known, before this I didn't care.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

eBAy Selling Tips #2 - The Title

Here are five more tips to help you rake in the cash. These are simple but often overlooked.

1) Use key words. One of the most important thing about a listing are the key words. Those are the words that people search to find your item. People can't buy what they can't find. Be sure to list the model number, color, year or any other pertinent information in the title. If your selling a Ford truck don't forget to put the word truck. If your selling a dvd don't forget the word dvd.

3) Know your buyer. Who is looking for your item and what key words will they be searching? For example. I sold some pictures of Islanders from WWII smoking cigars. My buyers were collectors of WWII memorabilia, primitive tribe collectors, photographic collectors and cigar collectors. The National Cigar Museum was the high bidder therefor making cigar my most important key word.

2) Use what you've got. You get 55 characters in your title so use them. Add extra key words to your title at the end. If your selling an old cigar sign ad words like tobacco, tin, porcelain, or antique. If your selling an old prop from a horror movie try words like, prop, movie, horror, vampire, weird, strange, 1960s, or slasher.

3) Don't use the same word twice. Its a waist of space to use the same word in the title twice. When someone searches it doesn't matter how many times they type the same word eBay only searches that word once.

4) Avoided using filler words. In other words avoid words like the and and. If you must use and just use &.

5) No typos in your title. If you misspell a key word then very few people will find your item thus driving down you margin of profit. I have friends who purposely seek out auctions with typos in order to pay less for a normally more expensive item.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

100 Life Goals

So in mens group the this last Monday we were asked to write down 100 goals. "It will be easy," says Ryan. "A lot of people can do it in less than an hour." So hear I am, 2 days later, and I still don't have my entire list together. In fact, I only have a little more than half of them. Anyhow, here are some of the ones that I have so far. 10 of them will be completed this year. Do you have a list? Leave a comment with a link to your list or just post your list in the comments.

۩ Bungee-Jump
۩ Finish remodeling my bathroom
۩ Get a new Motorcycle
۩ Finish remodeling my hallway
۩ Read 2 full books a year (yea I know, I don't read much)
۩ Wife (get one that is)
۩ Visit Africa
۩ Visit South America
۩ Eat a new type of meat
۩ Get $500,000 and quit working for a living
۩ Create a youtube video with over 10,000 hits
۩ Have kids
۩ Have some of my comics or illustrations published
۩ Remodel my kitchen
۩ Go rock climbing
۩ Increase giving
۩ Read the New Testament twice this year
۩ Pick up 20 more hitchhikers
۩ Keep my car clean enough that I'm not embarrassed to pick up hitchhikers
۩ Ride a bull (real or mechanical)
۩ Build a fire pit
۩ Have party at my house
۩ Preach at my home church
۩ Eat 1 piece of fruit a week (hey don't judge me)
۩ Waterski
۩ Pay off my house
۩ Break a world Record
۩ Cook more often
۩ Grill out more often
۩ Give an additional $1,000 away this year
۩ Break my highest single item profit record on eBay
۩ Keep my house relatively clean
۩ Be in a movie
۩ Memorize peoples names
۩ Plant a garden
۩ Use my reusable shopping bag more often
۩ Walk more
۩ Be a role model and a mentor
۩ Learn to buy and sell art
۩ Create a 3D piece of art
۩ Ride a 4-wheeler
۩ Be respected
۩ Do the Polar bear plunge
۩ Get a job that I love
۩ Scuba Dive
۩ See the Indian mounds
۩ Memorize more peoples phone numbers
۩ Lead a child to Christ
۩ Bring 12 new people into my church this year
۩ Have a blog rating of at least 15
۩ Stop making fun of the French
۩ Build a deck
۩ Ride and Ostrich
۩ Challenge and Olympic athlete to a game of Paper Rock Scissors

(things that were on my list previously that I completed)
۩ Skydive
۩ Go skiing
۩ Buy a motorcycle
۩ Buy a house

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One Year Ago Today

Today, January 6th, is the one year anniversary of Greg Taylors tragic death. Greg was only 14 when he was hit and killed by a car while playing on his skateboard. It was a case of kids being kids that ended it the worst of ways. I'll never forget the moment that I got the news. That was the worst, most painful day of my life. His skateboard is still nailed to the telephone pole. I don't like driving down that street anymore.

Yesterday they had a candle light vigil in his memory, his family, the neighbors, and a few of his friends. A few words were said and his brothers tried not to cry. They're teenagers and teenage boys don't cry. His sisters cried. Greg was the second oldest of 11 and they were all there. 10 lovely children who miss their brother.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Honest Officer, I didn't Do it.

Have you ever gotten out of a ticket? I was thinking about this last night as a friend shared with me how she got a ticket for not having a front plate on her car while it was parked in front of her house. 5 of the following 10 are reasons that I gave to a cop that I got me out of a ticket. Can you guess which ones are real? What did you say to the police officer the last time you got out of a ticket?

1) I never would have been going 40 if I would have saw the sign that said 25. I'm on my way to shoot a commercial for church and I'm not familiar with the area.

2) I have to go the bathroom something fierce.

3) Someone put this Chinese menu on my windshield. I didn't want it to fly off because I didn't know what it was and that's why I pulled into this lot.

4) Stop sign, that wasn't there when I went through this intersection. Someone must have just put that there.

5) I was just at Walmart and their little computer that tells you what headlight you need was broken so I couldn't buy one.

6) The light was red? It looked kind of orange to me.

7) I just got this car. The last car I drove had day lights and this one doesn't. So yea, I forgot to turn on my headlights.

8) This is a school zone? I didn't even know that there was a school on this street.

9) Oh, you couldn't see my rear plate. I had it pushed up in the window but I guess it fell down. I just got the plate and haven't got a chance to attach it yet.

10) I was going how fast? No way, are you sure? Sweet, I've never gone that fast before.