405. Adam Sings!

Instead of writing a proper post, I sang a song for today’s blog update. I should probably have written a proper post.

You can hear me sing “Baba Yetu” by clicking here!

“Baba Yetu” is one of my all-time favorite songs. Its background is frankly a bit strange: composed by Christopher Tin for a video game, it went on to win a Grammy Award—the first ever video game composition to score at the Grammys. Its lyrics are the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili.

Baba YetuTo recap: “Baba Yetu” was composed for a video game, won a Grammy, and features as its lyrics an ancient Christian prayer in flipping Swahili. Yes, this song is a bit of a weird one. I love it so much.

I enjoy singing, but I’m not great at it. As my long-suffering younger brother can confirm, I sing while doing household chores. I was in my high school choir back in the day, but that’s the extent of my singing experience.

I have a decent voice and can force a vibrato. (For my non-musical readers: A vibrato is when the pitch of a note wavers slightly… or in my case, when my voice wobbles.) However, tragically, I don’t have a good ear for music. I struggle to sing harmonies, and occasionally fail even to hit the correct notes or stay in the right key.

For this cover of “Baba Yetu,” I sang over one of Christopher Tin’s original tracks karaoke-style, adding bits here and there. I mixed my recordings in a witch’s cauldron an audio editing program called Audacity. I think my cover turned out all right, but I should mention that for every decent part of my performance, there were at least half a dozen takes that totally sucked. In audio mixing, as in writing, editing is magic.

I had really wanted to record a cover of “Baba Yetu” since singing it at an open mic night at my church. My performance kinda sucked. (I was really nervous.) I wanted to sing it again, to get it right, so I wound up recording it at home when I should probably have been blogging or sleeping.

At one point, shortly before I was ready to finalize the audio, Audacity couldn’t find the necessary files. I thought I had lost hours of work, but I was able to find the files again, thank God. Baba yetu, our Father, indeed.

“Baba Yetu” has become a popular song selection for choirs worldwide, including Procantus, the Uruguayan choir for which my dad sings. After I passed my favorite arrangement of the song on to my dad, he passed it on to his choir director, and the choir began practicing the song shortly thereafter.

(Oh my gosh, guys, I looked up the name of the choir to make sure I was spelling it right, and the very first search result on Google for “procantus montevideo” is a YouTube video of my dad singing “Baba Yetu” with the choir. The Internet can be a bizarrely small place. I would describe my aged parent as “the balding gentleman with the glasses,” but that describes nearly half the choir, so I’ll point him out as the gentleman on the left in the back row around the video’s seven-second mark.)

While finishing up “Baba Yetu,” I tried recording one or two Christmas, um, “carols,” but the recordings weren’t worth keeping. I don’t plan to record any more songs in the foreseeable future, but “Baba Yetu” was fun.


Do you know what’s even better than “Baba Yetu”? Saving lives with clean water! Please take a moment to check out Operation Yuletide! We’re raising money to help people this Christmas. There are even rewards and stuff! The fundraiser is lonely, guys. Check it out here!

404. Page Not Found

As I click through the wilderness of the Internet, I occasionally stumble upon the sinister number 404. Just look at it. It has two fours, and the number four is considered unlucky in some parts of the world. If 404 isn’t bad news, I don’t know what is.

404Error 404 occurs when a web address leads to a website, but fails to find a specific page. For example, if you search for a nonexistent page on this blog, you get a generic Page Not Found message. I tried to rewrite it, but TMTF won’t let me. (I blame my typewriter monkeys.) Hey, at least we don’t shout “404’d!” and insult you, unlike some websites. We may not have the page you want, but at least we try to be  nice about it.

The 404 error is a minor nuisance, but its philosophical implications are thoroughly depressing. Why is the page not found? Did the web link mislead me? I feel betrayed. Why would the link misdirect me to a dead end? It has made a fool of me. Am I so naive? What does this say about me as a person? Maybe the link isn’t to blame—perhaps I typed in the wrong web address. Am I blaming someone else for my own mistakes? What the heck is wrong with me?!

What if 404 Page Not Found is an Internet microcosm of real-life problems? Doesn’t every bad decision yield a 404 of its own? 404 Happiness Not Found. 404 Progress Not Made. 404 Life Not Lived. Never mind the Internet. Error 404 haunts us all. It is the voice that speaks in the stillness of our hearts: “You have made a wrong turn, and now you are in the wrong place. You have failed.”

As long as we’re on the cheerful subject of failure: How did Error 404 receive its number? What are the 403 preceding Internet errors? I don’t know, but I’m guessing they include losing money to scams, releasing sensitive personal information online, and buying the e-book edition of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Internet Error 266

I don’t know how many Internet errors you’ve committed, but at least you avoided a 404 by finding this blog post. That counts for something, right?


Do you want to do something awesome? Please take a moment to check out Operation Yuletide—it’s not an Internet error, I swear! We’re raising money to help people this Christmas. There are even rewards and stuff! Check it out here!

398. Five Tips for a Starting Blogger

Not long ago, I received a message from one of my readers. I suppose I’ll call him Socrates. He had recently started his own blog, and wanted to know if I could offer any advice.

I’m not an expert on blogging, but after four years of writing stuff and throwing it at the Internet, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two.

I responded to Socrates with five tips for a starting blogger—well, to be perfectly honest, I responded with six. Here’s the last one: “Always be on the lookout for tips, tricks, ideas, hacks, and shortcuts.” As I wrote that final piece of advice, I thought, “You know, I could easily turn these tips into a blog post,” and here we are. I try to practice what I preach.

Here are five tips for people who are just starting their own blogs.

1. Figure out a publishing schedule that works for you, and stick to it.

When I started TMTF, I published three posts a week. That was too much. I eventually dialed it back to two posts a week, and later added the Geeky Wednesday feature as a quick and easy alternative to a third weekly post. It took me a while to figure out a publishing schedule for TMTF that I could actually keep.

If you decide to follow a strict publishing schedule, figure out one that you can keep, and then keep it. Readers appreciate consistency! If you publish whenever you feel like it—which is totally a valid way to run a blog, by the way—be transparent about your blog’s lack of a predictable schedule.

Either way, make sure your readers know what to expect, and make sure to deliver on whatever commitments you make.

2. Enjoy blogging for what it is, and don’t expect wild success or instant popularity.

I’ve been blogging for roughly four years, and TMTF still has quite a small audience. For a while, I felt discouraged because my blog hadn’t become as big or popular as others. This led me to ask myself some important questions: Why am I doing this? Is TMTF worth the effort I pour into it? Am I wasting my time?

In the end, of course, I decided my blog was worth keeping. TMTF is (usually) rewarding to write. It’s great writing practice. It has allowed me to keep in touch with old friends, and even to make new ones. This blog has also opened up some cool opportunities, including collaborations with all sorts of awesome people. At the very least, TMTF has given me a voice to share some of the things that matter to me.

TMTF hasn’t become popular or earned a big audience. From that perspective, my blog is a failure. However, from my perspective, my blog is a success.

If you’re serious about blogging, ask yourself why. Do you write your blog to develop your talents? To avoid boredom? To become popular? To share your passions? To meet people? Figure your purpose for your blog, and decide whether the time and effort of blogging are worth that purpose.

3. A community is worth so much more than a fandom, and people matter more than statistics.

When I started blogging, I hoped to earn fans. I’ve learned since that fans are overrated. A small community of people who really care is worth a huge following of half-interested fans. As nice as it is to see those blog stats rise, one nice comment or meaningful discussion means so much more.

4. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

I sometimes Like posts from other bloggers, and occasionally leave comments on other blogs. I’m not trying to manipulate anyone into returning the favor. I just know from long experience how encouraging those Likes and comments are to me, and want to pass on that encouragement to others. People appreciate a considerate reader, and it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers!

5. Reply to comments whenever possible.

When I started blogging, I made the colossal mistake of not responding to comments. I received so few that I had no good reason to ignore them, yet I ignored so many. At some point, I think certain readers assumed I didn’t care, and stopped commenting. I deeply regret not showing my appreciation for their comments by replying to them.

By responding to comments, a blogger shows that he cares about his readers. Not every single comment needs a reply, of course, but it’s often worth the few extra minutes it takes to write a response. Besides, that’s how discussions get started!

What’s your best blogging advice? Let us know in the comments!

They’ll Make a Man Out of You

I haven’t heard such a rockin’ arrangement of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” since… well, the last one. This epic number from Disney’s Mulan has been my favorite since I was just a kid. (I’m not sure it made a man out of me, but then I’m not sure anything ever will.) This arrangement from guitar duo With Ether is flipping fantastic. Bonus points to Al Poon, the gentleman on the right, for wearing what appears to be a lampshade.

I’ve lately listened to a lot of With Ether’s music on YouTube; it’s a great soundtrack for blogging. They’ve arranged a lot of songs from video games and pop culture, in addition to writing some sweet original stuff. Among my favorites are their versions of the Sherlock theme, Metal Gear Solid music, and one of the catchiest songs from Shovel Knight.

These people. These people. Thank you, With Ether, and all the rest of you Internet people who make cool stuff.

390. An Open Letter to Content Creators

Dear Content Creators,

I’m afraid content creator is a boring title, but it’s the best one I could find for all of you. (I considered creative people on the Internet, but that’s kind of a mouthful.) The title of content creator is the one given to all of you artists, bloggers, actors, video makers, musicians, animators, commentators, cartoonists, gamers, photographers, creative writers, and other creative people who make stuff and throw it at the Internet.

For example, consider the artist who reimagined the Fellowship of the Ring as a bunch of cats:

The Fellowship of the Cats

She’s a content creator. So are these video makers who try to explain Doctor Who in sixty seconds:

There’s this guy rocking out on a guitar to the best song from Mario Kart.

He’s a content creator, alongside this hipster Calvinist and all the other people who say funny things on social media:

Then there’s, um, whatever this guy is doing:

You people are awesome.

If you’re anything like me, your content-creating experience is a roller coaster. Sometimes it’s fun and exhilarating. Sometimes it’s dull and exhausting. There are days when you feel an incredible sense of accomplishment, and days when you think you’ve accomplished nothing at all. All of it—the highs and lows and twists and loops—takes determination, effort, vision, and (occasionally) a touch of obsessive lunacy.

Most of you don’t make much money, if any, from your work. You create because you enjoy it. You create because you are an artist. Whether you have an audience of one or one million, I admire your creative spirit. If you do make a living as a content creator, I congratulate you all the more. That takes a lot of dedication.

And here’s the thing. I don’t just respect you—I really, really enjoy the work of content creators. A staggering amount of my music library consists of songs not from professionals, but from amateurs on the Internet. I read several blogs and webcomics, follow a few artists, and spend quite a lot of time on YouTube.

So much of the entertainment, laughter, insight, inspiration, excitement, and happiness in my life comes from the work of content creators—people like you.

I’m not the only one whose life is better because of content creators and their work. In fact, millions of people across teh internetz enjoy the humor and creativity of content creators—but they don’t always take time to say “I really enjoyed this,” or “This was brilliant,” or simply “Thank you.”

It is so easy for content creators to become discouraged. When their work doesn’t receive a positive response, they tend to assume the worst. They think their work wasn’t worth the effort.

I’m here to say: Your work matters, and thank you.

Thank you, content creators, for brightening my everyday life with moments of amusement and understanding. Thank you for being hilarious, honest, insightful, vulnerable, creative, clever, witty, weird, and wonderful. Thank you for being you, and for sharing your creativity with the rest of us.

Oh, and keep up the good work.

Peace,

Adam

383. Thoughts on the Josh Duggar Scandal

Yes, TMTF gets topical today. This hardly ever happens. You see, I hate discussing touchy subjects; TMTF is a blog about stuff that matters to me, and I don’t care for scandals or controversies. I would much rather write about butchered hymns or Marvel’s Daredevil than fuel the angry debates raging across the Internet.

Besides, I’m usually oblivious to current events. I prefer to read news and editorials about movies, video games, or geek culture—or else just read a good book—than wade through depressing headlines about scandals, violent crimes, and celebrity necklines.

However, the shock waves from Josh Duggar scandal have reached even my quiet corners of the Internet. I don’t normally write about this kind of thing, but something about this messy tragedy struck a chord with me.

In case you don’t already know them, here are the facts. Josh Duggar, a Christian television personality and family values activist, was recently found to have held paid accounts on Ashley Madison, a website for people seeking extramarital affairs. He responded to this disclosure by confessing to cheating on his wife and being addicted to porn. A few months before the Ashley Madison scandal, Duggar was discovered to have sexually molested several girls, including several of his sisters, when he was a teen.

Mr. Duggar claims to support family values.

To wit, for all his support of religious faith and family values, Josh Duggar is an unfaithful, dishonest, hypocritical scoundrel.

Josh Duggar

You’ve done awful things, Mr. Duggar. Shame on you. Shame on your face.

My reaction to the Josh Duggar scandal was more or less exactly the same as my reaction to every other scandal in contemporary Christianity: I shook my head, thought “What a fool,” spent a moment praying for him and his family, and then went back to reading about video games on Kotaku.

I could only imagine how grieved and devastated his family must be. Moreover, I was annoyed and saddened me that the idiocy of one high-profile religious person was so widely publicized, while decades of faithful ministry by honest, ordinary religious people everywhere went unnoticed by the media.

My problem is that I have far more in common with Mr. Duggar than I want to admit.

No, I don’t have an Ashley Madison account; no, I haven’t molested anyone; and no, I’m not hiding a porn addiction. (My only addiction is coffee, and I acknowledge it proudly.) However, at various times, I have certainly watched porn. I have lied. I have griped, gossiped, insulted, whined, accused, and ranted. I have neglected commitments, wasted time, wallowed in self-pity, blamed others for my mistakes, and been a shameless hypocrite. I am extremely selfish. I struggle to forgive others, and hold grudges like nobody’s business. I have frequently failed to be a good friend, a devout Christian, and a decent human being.

Shame on Adam

You’ve done awful things, Mr. Stück. Shame on you. Shame on your face.

If every wrong thing I have ever done were dragged out of the shadows and publicized all over the world, I would be desperate for forgiveness and compassion… and somewhere, a self-righteous git like me would shake his head, think “What a fool,” spend a moment praying for me and my family, and then go back to reading about video games on Kotaku.

I’m not defending Josh Duggar. In fact, I would like to smack him repeatedly with a heavy Bible, but that isn’t the point. Beyond my anger and sadness, there is quite a lot of hypocritical self-righteousness. When I start to judge Mr. Duggar, my accusations veer dangerously close to home. Lust? Selfishness? Dishonesty? Arrogance? A goofy-looking face? At one time or another, I have been guilty of all of these, and more.

Jesus Christ once said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” The Apostle Paul later wrote, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

I’m not saying I shouldn’t condemn Mr. Duggar’s dishonesty, unfaithfulness, and hypocrisy. I absolutely should. He did some awful things, and it would be awful to pretend that he didn’t. However—and yes, I realize how painfully trite this sounds—I must hate the sin and love the sinner. He doesn’t deserve compassion, but neither do I.

I am not Josh Duggar, but I could have been. As the media continues tearing Josh Duggar to pieces, which it will do until it gets bored or finds someone else to tear to pieces, I’m trying not to forget that he is a living human being. He is a man who probably hates himself, and likely feels like everything has fallen apart.

So I’ll echo Simon & Garfunkel and say, with all the sincerity lacking in the original songHere’s to you, Mr. Josh Duggar. Jesus loves you more than you will know.

Quirky Bible Translations

There are many English translations of God’s Word. How many? I’m not sure, but I prefer not to spend years of my life counting.

I often read the Bible, and when I do, I prefer the 1984 New International Version.

Yes, I'm this guy.

Confession: I am a Condescending Bible Translation Guy.

In my twenty-two years, I’ve stumbled upon some Bible translations that are best described as… quirky.

Here’s part of 1 Corinthians 13 in the plain English of the New International Version.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Here’s the same passage in the HWP Bible. That’s the Hawaiian Pidgin Bible, in case you were wondering. Read this excerpt aloud. Read slowly. Savor it.

Wen you get love an aloha, dat no goin pau eva. Da guys dat talk fo God, bumbye no need fo da tings dey say. Wen peopo talk diffren kine, bumbye nobody goin talk lidat. Da stuff da smart guys know, no matta, bumbye no need. You know, we ony know litto bit. Wen we talk fo God, we get ony litto bit fo tell. Bumbye, goin come da time wen everyting stay perfeck. Dat time, no need fo da litto bit kine stuff no moa. Small kid time, I wen talk jalike one small kid. I wen tink jalike one small kid. I wen figga everyting jalike one small kid. Now, I big, dass why I no do da tings da same way da small kids do um.

Right now, us guys can see stuff, but ony jalike wit one junk mirror. Hard fo figga wat we see dea. But bumbye, goin be clear. Us guys goin see everyting jalike was right dea in front our face. Right now, I ony know litto bit. But bumbye, I goin undastan everyting, jalike God undastan everyting bout me.

So now, get three tings dat stay: we can trus God, an we can know everyting goin come out okay bumbye, an we get love an aloha. From da three tings, da love an aloha kine, dass da main ting, an da bestes way.

Then there’s my favorite offbeat translation of Scripture… the lolcat version.

Luv no haz endingz. Tellin the futurez, tungz, an alla stuffz u know wil die. We haz knowingz a bit, an we haz profacy a bit. We no haz two much tho. O, wait. Win teh perfict coemz, teh not perfict will dyez, lolol. Wen i wuz a kitten, i meweded leik a kitten, thinkded liek a kittenz, an I chazed strings liek a kittenz. Wen i wuz becomez a cat, i NO WANT kitten waiz ne moar. For nao we see in teh foggy mirorr like when teh human gets out of teh shower, but tehn we see faec tow faec. Nao i haz knowingz just a bit, tehn i will haz all teh knowingz, as i haz been knownz.

Nao faithz an hoepz an luvz r hear, theses threes, but teh bestest iz teh luv. srsly.

Yes, this is a real translation. The entire Bible has been translated into lolspeak, the Internet language of funny cat picture captions. After all, the Apostle Paul did write about becoming “all things to all people.”

 What’s your preferred version of the Bible? Are you a Condescending Bible Translation Person or do you prefer idiomatic versions like The Message? Let us know in the comments!


This post was originally published on March 22, 2013. TMTF shall return with new content on August 24, 2015!

370. Jesus Is Offensive

The US Supreme Court recently legalized gay marriage nationwide. Today’s blog post actually has very little to do with that, and much more to do with the sudden, blinding proliferation of rainbows across the Internet.

My eyes! MY EYES!

My eyes! MY EYES!

Rainbows are a symbol of the LGBT community. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, they began appearing everywhere on the Internet. Facebook was overrun by rainbows, and my Twitter feed would have given Joseph’s many-colored coat a run for its money. Flipping heck, even my blogging site, WordPress, replaced its usual monochromatic theme with a rainbow-colored one.

(On a vaguely related note, I recommend listening to the Rainbow Road soundtrack while reading the rest of this blog post.)

With rainbows suddenly popping up all over the Internet, I signed back on to Twitter to make a joke about them. I planned to say something goofy and innocent, something like: “The rainbows! They’re everywhere! Where are my shades? Ah, it’s too late! My eyes! MY EYES!”

However, as I typed out the joke, I hesitated. My comment wasn’t bitter or celebratory or controversial. It wasn’t anything but silly, but I couldn’t help worrying that it would ruffle someone’s feathers. Gay marriage is such a touchy subject that I was reluctant to mention it, even in the most lighthearted way. In the end, I remained silent.

(By the way, I thought about discussing the legalization of gay marriage in this blog post, but everything I want to say has been said much more eloquently by another blogger. Whatever your stance on gay marriage, I recommend reading her blog post; it’s a sensible, compassionate take on recent events. I’ve already discussed my own views on homosexuality on this blog, so I won’t repeat myself here.)

My reluctance to discuss gay marriage in even the most lighthearted way was an uncomfortable reminder that I selfishly want to be liked. I don’t want to offend anyone, even if it means keeping my views and thoughts and beliefs to myself. If being honest or insightful offends others, I’ll settle for being funny or clever.

This is a problem, because I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and he offends practically everybody.

In his lifetime, Jesus offended religious people; today, Jesus offends nonreligious people. The religious leaders in his day despised him every bit as much as many atheists do today. Jesus Christ has never been politically correct. He condemned not only sin and faithlessness, but pride and religious hypocrisy. In the end, the people who orchestrated his execution were religious authorities, not secular ones.

If I insist on following Jesus Christ, it will be only a matter of time before I offend someone. As a follower of Christ, I must believe that truth is absolute, even in our pluralistic, postmodern culture. I must believe that some things are not okay, however widely they may be accepted or celebrated. To wit, I must not compromise my beliefs, even when they offend people—and sooner or later, they will.

That’s hard for me to accept. I hate upsetting others. I really want to be liked by everyone. Offending others for any reason makes me feel like a deplorable jerk.

It all begs the question: Do I believe Jesus Christ is worth the risk of annoying, upsetting, or alienating people? Is the Christian faith, which is built upon loving others, worth offending some of them?

I believe it is.

Of course, I’ll do my best not to be a jerk. I can definitely be a jerk sometimes.

Jerk

As it happens, this is one of my favorite shirts. I wonder what that says about me.

Jesus Christ offends people, but he is not a jerk. In his lifetime, even when flipping tables and railing against sin and hypocrisy, Jesus acted with the utmost of intentions. He loved people, all people, crooks and prostitutes included, without ever compromising his convictions or beliefs—and yes, he offended people. He still does.

I will offend someone at some point. I must come to terms with that fact, while doing my best never to be a jerk, and to be as kind and accepting as I can.

That said, after a week of seeing rainbows flipping everywhere on the Internet, my eyes are really starting to hurt. I’m thinking I should invest in some shades.

President Obama, Anime Fan

Obama waifuOh, the Internet. Its wonders never cease.

It has become a running joke on the Internet that Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America, is a hardcore otaku obsessed with manga and anime. (For the sensible readers who keep a safe distance from geek culture: an otaku is an obsessive geek, manga is a style of Japanese comics, and anime is a kind of Japanese animation.) The Internet, in its vast and incomprehensible wisdom, has given the US President a fierce love of all things geeky and Japanese. His obsession with anime has been duly documented in a long series of (digitally altered) photos and GIFs.

Oval Office

Politics is a touchy subject. I know people who admire President Obama; I know people who think he might be the Antichrist. When it comes to a subject as volatile as the US president, it’s nice to see geeky jokes for a change instead of arguments, accusations, and insults.

Although his love of anime is just an Internet joke, President Obama did thank Japan (on behalf of America’s young people) for manga and anime. swear I am not making this up.

366. TMTF Hits the Road!

Meet Eliezer.

EliezerEliezer is my car. My old vehicle, an ailing car called Tribulation, began to show signs of imminent death a long time ago. When my older brother sold me his car before moving with his family to the Dominican Republic, I christened it Eliezer—which means God is my help—in the hope that my newer car would prove to be more dependable than my old one, which repeatedly lived up to its name.

Tomorrow Eliezer and I will journey from Berne, Indiana, to Jefferson, Wisconsin. A reader of this blog has invited me to speak at his church. Although I’m baffled that any pastor would deliberately inflict me on his congregation, I’m honored to accept his invitation. I’ll tell a few stories, read from the Gospel of Mark, and discuss C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, because that is how I roll.

I won’t lie: I love road trips, but they scare me. I felt less much anxious flying halfway across the world by myself than I feel driving long distances alone. When I flew to and from Uruguay and South Korea, in spite of all complications, all I had to do was board the right planes. If anything had gone wrong before or during the flight, I could have simply sat back and let someone else fix it.

When I go on road trips by myself, however, I’m responsible for everything. I’m on my own if anything goes wrong. Having faced car trouble repeatedly in the past few years, I’m nervous as heck.

Fortunately, this time, I’ll have some new equipment: my first ever GPS unit, which I’ve christened GLaDOS. I’ll also take along my usual assortment of traveling items: apples, coffee, iPod, headphones, and an emergency hard copy of driving directions. (I’m not sure I trust GLaDOS.)

My typewriter monkeys will remain at home. That said, I hope I still have a home when I get back. (I trust GLaDOS considerably more than I trust my monkeys.)

I’ll spend quite a lot of time on the road, and I have a number of other commitments, so I’ll be taking a one-week break from this blog. TMTF shall return on Monday, June 22… assuming I survive the trip.

I probably won’t update TMTF during the break, not even to recycle old posts. Fortunately, this is the Internet, and it has all kinds of cool people doing cool stuff. Here are my recommendations for cool sites to check out while TMTF is on break.

As always, Amy Green and Thomas Mark Zuniga have great blogs; if you haven’t checked them out, I recommend ’em very highly. My friend JK Riki just began a site about creativity and inspiration, and it’s off to a good start! If you like movies, Honest Trailers is an awesome (if occasionally off-color) series of trailers mocking popular films. (There are also Honest Trailers for video games, because this is the Internet.) Finally, the animator who made the lovely animation for TMTF’s three-hundredth post has a webcomic I finally got around to reading: Cyn Wolf, a comic about a cynical wolf and some quirky dogs. I really enjoyed it.

Now I should finish packing for tomorrow’s trip. If you’re a person who prays, I’ll be most grateful for your prayers this weekend as I travel, speak, and (I hope) make it home alive.

Thanks for reading! We’ll be back!

…Probably.