Church Website on a Shoestring

Shoestring

The most common question I hear has got to be, “How can we have a church website on a shoestring budget?” For the purposes of discussion, let’s assume you’ve got some kind of budget. An annual budget of $500 is a fine place to start. The answer to the shoestring church website question starts with the basic who-what-when-where-why questions we learned that time in 8th grade English during the journalism unit.
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What if the Cubs win?

What if the Cubs Win

What if the Cubs win?

Tonight, the Chicago Cubs face the Cleveland Indians in game seven of the world series. I have been a Cubs fan since I was a little kid, correction “long suffering Cubs fan” since I was a little kid. What if the Cubs Win? It is part of my identity. I mean, I’m a Christian, so I get my identity from Christ. I’m married, so my identity is also as a husband. But the Cubs man… the Cubs!

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Critical Elements Of Any Church Website

Twenty years ago, churches were starting to put pieces of what they did online, and a few basics emerged that are as critical to a church website today, as they were then.

MyChurch

Yet, 20 years of church website development have taught me that most church websites are produced with the same amount of navel-gazing that a church bulletin has. Don’t get me wrong, I think the church bulletin is an important way to communicate with the people inside your church. The church bulletin serves a dual purpose. It exists to provide a printed guide (for those who value print and paper) to the order of worship, and information important to the life of your church.

Likewise, a church website should have information that serves the community inside the church. However, it is the primary, and usually only, way that someone who is not a member or regular attender may ever experience your church. For many people born between 1965 and 1995 the church website is where they will expect to find important information. People born later will want the same level of information, but may only experience it on a mobile platform. If your church website is your primary external marketing piece, and potentially your primary internal communications engine, shouldn’t it get at least the same amount of weekly attention that your church bulletin receives?

So, let’s give that church website some love.

Top of the site – the basics
Worship time(s) and location and contact information. No, really. The most important piece of information on your church site is where and when. If your service times change throughout the year, say so. There’s nothing wrong with listing school-year and summer service times on your site, right at the top. The key thing to remember, no matter how many times we preach that the church is what happens outside the building every day of the week, people think of the church as Sunday morning.

The address of the church, with easy access to a map needs equal footing. How can someone contact the church administrator, pastor etc? Is it easy to get hold of someone? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called a church phone number to find not only no answer, but no voicemail, or no basic information in the greeting. What happens if you send email, fill out a form, or make a call? What happens to those little cards people fill out and put in the offering plate? The speed and friendliness of your response is a show of love to people willing to take a chance and reach out to you.

Calendar of Events
I can’t stress this enough. What’s going on at the church. This is possibly more important for your faithful saints, than it is for potential visitors. Imagine if people knew they could find out what time an event was, simply by visiting the website! It also shows your potential new members what kinds of things make up the daily, weekly, or monthly life of the church. If you can filter the events by age group, location, or other options – consider color coding those to make it easy to see at a glance. The calendar should be easy to update so that the church administrator, or even the pastor can make changes.

Staff
Faces are so important. People are looking for people who look inviting and friendly. You can take the photos with a smart phone, as long as you have enough light, and shoot from neutral or slightly higher angle. Let’s help to minimize those double chins!

  • Staff who are not professionals at what they do for the church should have a meaningful, relatable bio of a few sentences. Be sure to include some interesting tidbits.
  • Qualifications are crucial for your pastor and professional staff. Potential visitors don’t need a complete CV, but they do need the basics to understand why someone is in a particular role. The personal bits are important here as well.
  • Contact information for each person should be available. A link to a contact form or email addresses is a minimum.

Sermon Archives
Astute searchers will want to watch or listen to the recent sermons to get an idea of what they can expect from the pulpit.

Social Media Profiles
Are you keeping those profiles updated at least as often as your church bulletin? If you aren’t active on social media, don’t include the links. It’s a turn off to click through, and see the most recent post was some time ago. In social media terms, 2 weeks is a long time, 2 months is an eternity, and 6 months is out of the question. Not sure what to post? Start with items that appear on your calendar, invitations to the service, Scriptures from the previous or upcoming week’s sermons, and a note about the next sermon topic or series are all easy posts that don’t require much skill, just persistence.

Information about Children and Youth Ministry
It’s a fact, people who have not darkened the narthex of a church since college can suddenly realize the need for spiritual direction the moment children come into the picture. Beyond spiritual formation of their children, people want to know that the kids will be safe, and well cared for.

Beliefs
As people poke around, they’re going to want to know, in easy statements and bullet points what you – the church believes. The critical piece of course is the Gospel. Beyond that, does your church consistently recite a particular creed? Are you part of a denomination that already has a statement of faith? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel if it’s already out there.

Photos and Videos
Let’s see the inside and outside of the church on a regular day. Christmas pageants are lovely, but if you don’t have a few fresh (within one year) photos of daily life – don’t post the holidays. Faces make the photos and videos live. There’s nothing so inviting as people who look like they’re having a good time.

Some Don’ts about Photos and Videos
Don’t use copyright protected music (all those songs you hear on the radio, from CDs, and downloads included) in your videos unless you have purchased the rights to use that music.
Keep in mind that some people don’t want to appear on the internet. Don’t include them in your photos.

Along with the critical features that should be visible to your congregation and potential visitors, there are invisible features that are just as important. Some of these are only going to make sense to people who build sites, but believe me, they matter.

Plugins
Sometimes template-based sites come with everything listed above and more. Those are rare, and tend to be more pricey. There are hundreds of free tools that make your website work better for you, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They aren’t much good if you can’t simply plug them into your site when and where you want.
Examples:

  • Social Media Profiles
  • Photo Albums
  • Audio Players
  • Video Players
  • Calendars
  • Maps
  • Contact Forms
  • Surveys
  • Blogs
  • Links

Code
Sure, not everyone is going to be able to write code, or know how to use it, but code is exceptionally valuable. There are myriad times that a template just can’t do what you want it to do. Being able to plunk in a chunk of code on a page to change the layout, just a little bit, is critical, as well as being able to implement the plugins above.

Search Engine Optimization
What good is your site if no one can find it. The template sites might help you to get your site published, but beyond that, their ability to promote your content organically is minimal.

User Experience
I’ve saved the most important for last. The way someone views and interacts with your site is the most important piece. You can literally have a one-page site with the service times and location, and a way to reach someone, and that’s going to give you the basics. Anything beyond that, is going to take work and skill. Are the menus and links intuitive? Are people going to be able to navigate your site naturally in the split-seconds it often takes for them to decide whether or not they will go further, or ever come back? What’s the difference between your desktop site and your mobile site? Can they get the whole experience? Have you gone to far and your desktop site looks like it belongs on a phone? There is no end to the details that can create or destroy the user-experience.

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The Other Cheek, Shirt, and Extra Mile

We are called to love and forgive people who hurt us, no matter what. No matter what? Does the Bible actually say that? Did Jesus actually say that? Are we actually supposed to live that way?

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Giving it Away

Have you ever noticed that I don’t play games or use these gadgets on Facebook? Ever. (ok rarely). Ever wonder why? Here’s what I wonder, “why would someone make a free viral tool or game?” Why would they give away something cool? Why would they give away something so cool that hundreds, thousands, or millions of people would use it? There’s a real reason.

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Love Your Enemies

Love Your Enemies

A Christian Response to ISIS

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
Matthew 5:43-44 NIV

Really?
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Posted in View From The Pew Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

End of the World

Cubs End of The World

As the ‪Cubs‬ gear up for a 1-game playoff vs Pittsburgh tonight, “Doomsday” is also today, at least according to Chris McCann, leader and founder of Pennsylvania-based eBible Fellowship. It’s like the mere possibility of the Cubs going to the playoffs, let alone the World Series is freaking out some people.

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The Five “A”s

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day! (September 19) Here’s a primer to help you with what The Pirate Guys (c. 2006) call The Five “A”s – because there’s 5 of ’em, and they start with the letter “A”. Read more ›

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911 Recovery

New York Skyline on 911

It was the anniversary of 911 this week. September 11, 2001 is a tragic date, especially for people who lost loved ones in the planes, World Trade Centers, Pentagon, and near Stoystown, PA. It is good that we honor their memories, and work for peace, to ensure similar events do not happen again. Read more ›

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Fred and Sharon

Fred and Sharon's Movies

Holy Crap! Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

Sound Effects

Sound Effects

So there was that time I was on stage doing sound effects. Read more ›

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Fish Where The Fish Are

No matter who you’re trying to reach, or for what purpose, you need to go where they are. Read more ›

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Being a Christian Without being a Jerk

As a Christian, I expect better from my Christian brothers and sisters. It hurts more when things go wrong. Read more ›

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Wacky Laws

Alligator tied to a fire hydrant

I live in Michigan. There are some wacky laws, still on the books here, and some of them appear in books about wacky laws. Read more ›

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A Prayer

Ephesians 3:14-21

Sometimes a prayer, tucked neatly into the Scriptures, surprises me. I had just such an experience recently. Read more ›

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Woodchuck or Groundhog?

groundhog - woodchuck - whistlepig

When people talk about a varmint in their yard, along with rabbits, voles, field mice, and gophers, the groundhog or woodchuck usually shows up. Same or different? Read more ›

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Missionaries Wanted

The World's Largest Country

As of March, 2015, Facebook became the equivalent of the world’s largest country with over 1.4 Billion monthly active users. Do they need missionaries there? Read more ›

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4 Easy Church Lessons from Ron Popeil

Ron Popeil

I’m not embarrassed to admit that Ron Popeil, the Ronco guy, is one of my heroes. Inventor, entrepreneur, marketer, and the godfather of the TV pitchman has four easy lessons for churches. Read more ›

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Voice-Artist-slash-Model-slash-Actor

Voice artist - model - actor

I’ve worked as all of these things: a voice artist, a model, an actor. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, and I’d like to tell you about it. Read more ›

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As You Go

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations

In the Great Commission, Jesus tells us to go and make disciples. Do you really need to go somewhere to make disciples? Is it even possible to live out the Great Commission in the digital world?
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Unexpected Speaking Invitations

Speaking invitations come in all forms. You can contact me to invite me to speak. Sometimes people refer me to someone organizing a conference who might be looking for speakers, and I always appreciate those referrals. Sometimes, it’s an email, sometimes a phone call, and this one time, I got an invitation by text. To talk to a youth group, about sex. It’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected.
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Good For You

As an American Christian, I might want to outlaw things that are not good for you. I’m not alone. On May 30, 2012, The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, announced the Portion Cap Rule. It stated that sugary beverages could not exceed 16oz portions. Later that year, the Board of Health unanimously approved the limit, and it would go into effect 6 months later. The underlying reason was that larger portions made people fat. It’s not good for you, so we’ll make it illegal. Read more ›

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Skate Where the Puck is Going

Wayne Gretzky

Clairvoyance isn’t one of my spiritual gifts. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Wayne Gretzky, “The Great One,” didn’t have it either. He did have the ability to look at the players on the ice, and see where the puck was going, and go there. Read more ›

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Flying Cars Conference

Flying Car

I’ve been a featured speaker at a variety of different conferences. Some are technology conferences, some faith-based, some not, and whenever I do, people look at some of my past job experience (Director of Digital Communications, Director of Digital Media) and think I’m going to give a tech-talk. I can, but I hardly ever do. Read more ›

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Baseball Sumo

Campbell's Field

A few years ago my parents visited me in Philadelphia, and I took them to a Camden Riversharks minor league baseball game. They got to meet my friend Holly (now my wife) and we had a lovely time. Oh, and I became a Sumo Wrestler. Read more ›

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A Rabbit With a Pancake on its Head

a rabbit with a pancake on its head.

That’s right I said, “a rabbit with a pancake on its head.” Read more ›

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It’s Supposed To Be Tough

Genesis 32:28

Reaching people across generations, across different communication tools, and becoming a missionary into a different communication culture sounds scary. It is. It’s not easy. The thing is, it’s supposed to be tough. Read more ›

Posted in Digital Ministry, Speaking Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Distracted by Math

I recently spoke at my own church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As the church is preparing a new outreach to college students in the Fall, the pastor and I talked about the need for the church get a handle on what it means to build relationships across generations. They need to understand how an older generation understands the church, and how people of differing ages might understand it differently.
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Why I Don’t Like Much

Why I don't Like Anything

If you follow me on facebook, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t like those pictures of sad-eyed kids or lonely American soldiers. But why not?
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Posted in Social Networking, Wacky Tagged with: , , , , ,

Get Personal

snopes

What makes one Facebook page better than another one? Is it the nature or the tone of their content?
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Posted in Digital Strategy, Social Networking Tagged with: , ,

Social Media Warning

Susceptibility Virus Warning

Warning Social Media users – there is a new threat to your personal security and it is being perpetrated on Facebook as well as other social media like Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. The posted virus can infect Windows and Mac users as well as various distributions of Linux. Put simply, if you’re connected to social media at all, you need to be aware of this problem.
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Social Media Shortcuts

@ is for Atkinson

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to navigate through my programs using my keyboard as much as possible. The keyboard shortcuts for Undo (cmd+z) cut (cmd+x) copy (cmd+c) paste (cmd+v) and my favorite “Select All” (cmd+a) are indispensable to my every day work. I also use a few shortcuts in my social media platforms like J (next post) K (last post) and L (like photo – in the lightbox view). I had not explored all the available shortcuts until now.
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Posted in Social Networking Tagged with: ,

Social Media and the FTC

FTC .com Disclosures

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has been governing online advertising on the web and email for years, but as of early March, 2013, the FTC includes governance for social media and mobile technology. How will this effect your employees? Read more ›

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Audience Engagement

Facebook Insights 13,500% increase

When a Facebook page has been lying dormant for a time, it’s important to start providing content to engage the audience. Read more ›

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Pioneers not Settlers

Settler's broken wagon wheel

I just remembered a moment from my recent speaking engagement in Wyoming. This one came out kinda off the cuff. Read more ›

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It’s Never Too Late

2500% increase

So, you say your social media is dead in the water?

You’re getting nowhere?

You don’t even know what to post or when?

Take a few deep breaths and know this one key thing:

It’s never too late.
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New Instagram TOS

We’ve all head the news that Instagram (recently purchased by Facebook) is updating their Terms of Service (TOS). Read more ›

Posted in Social Networking Tagged with: , ,

Content Strategy and the News

Newtown, Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

Yesterday was December 14, 2012 and I spent a large portion of the day producing content for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. as commentary and encouragement regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, CT. Read more ›

Posted in Digital Ministry, Social Networking Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Quick Wins

Quick Wins

Sometimes, just a few days can produce pretty spectacular results.
Social Network Voice took over posting for one of our clients for one week to cover a staffer’s vacation time. After just a few days, we can already see a dramatic increase in the Total Reach numbers. Read more ›

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Respect for Authority and our Leaders

United States Capitol Building

The Bible gives very specific instruction as it pertains to respect for our leaders. Read more ›

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Why You Need A Strategy

strategy button

Over the last 20 years of talking to people about their technology, the web (interwebz), and now social networking and social media, I’ve heard the following statement too many times: “Let’s just get started, we can do the strategy thing later.”
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Building a Business

the people's eyebrow

I’m in a totally new world for me. I’m building a business.

So, I’m trying to read and listen to everything I can about doing that and the advice is all over the place. I’ve been doing the work, I’m trying to get people to hire me to do for them, for nearly 20 years, so I know what I’m doing on that end. But the business… that nebulous what’sit that lurks in the shadows of success, failure, subsistence, bankruptcy, and notoriety – I feel clueless sometimes. Read more ›

Posted in Digital Strategy, Social Networking Tagged with: , , , ,

1 Billion

Map of Facebook users showing percentages

Today, there are more people on Facebook, than there were on the planet 200 years ago.
Here are the facts about that. Read more ›

Posted in Random Thoughts, Social Networking Tagged with:

Relational Messaging

social media post volume

My favorite way to help people connect to your brand is through relational messaging. For some organizations this is difficult, because you have to consistently care about your audience. I mean really, really care. You must provide them with the best answers to their needs, even if it’s not you. That builds trust. That keeps your audience loyal. Read more ›

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Doing Ministry Online

The Dog

Most anyone who works in Christian Ministry thinks about one of a couple of things: ministry in the church, or some kind of boots-on-the-ground international missionary work. Those are of course a bit limiting, especially as it doesn’t take into consideration how God’s word is spread and people are ministered to through digital means. Read more ›

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Social Networking Content Strategy

We Make Sense

Let’s talk about your social networking content strategy.The key to any successful venture in social media, social networking and any digital endeavor is relevancy. You’re either providing content relevant to your audience, or you need to figure out what they want and then deliver it. (watch the video) Read more ›

Posted in Digital Strategy, Social Networking Tagged with: , , ,

Your Social Networking Circles

Social circles help determine where to spend your time

Are you approaching your social networking circles strategically?
(social networking introverts move along…) Most of us have Facebook friends by now and the Pew Internet & American Life Project estimates we average 229 of them. Read more ›

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What’s your super power?

super powers

I recently read Noah Kagan’s blog post “Why I got Fired from Facebook (a $100 Million dollar lesson)“. It’s a great refelection on lessons learned from that experience, and one line in particular caught my eye. Read more ›

Posted in Random Thoughts, Wacky Tagged with: , , , ,

A Broken World

Broken World

Whenever I talk to people about God, I usually get questions about this sin or that. I get questions about sickness, disease, and in general, the junk that happens to us that seems unexplainable. We are often hurt and confused by natural disasters, children being hit by cars, bombs in public places, war, poverty, famine and injustice. Read more ›

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About The Bible

The Bible

The Bible is the account of God’s action in the world and His purpose with all creation.

Forty authors, inspired by God, wrote the text of the Bible over the course of sixteen-hundred years, compiling a collection of books documenting God’s words about everything, from the creation of everything to the end of times. Read more ›

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The Name of God

Tetragrammaton

From time to time I get questions about the name of God and why I don’t use it on my pages. I actually do refer to God in the most reverent and respectful way I can – by never writing or pronouncing His holy name. Read more ›

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International Towel Day 2012

First of all, yes, International Towel Day is a real thing. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

Godzilla Explained

Somehow I felt obligated to explain Godzilla. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

What Christian Leaders Can Learn from Star Trek

Willam Shatner as James T. Kirk

Christian leaders: are you willing to boldly go where no one has gone before? Turns out, whether you’re a Star Trek enthusiast or not, we have much to learn from Captain Kirk’s style of leadership. Read more ›

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Everyone is Irish

On March 17 everyone gets to claim their Irish heritage, no matter how fictitious. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

Pi Day

Each March 13 (3.14) I find it a moral imperative to celebrate Pi day with Pie!
This year, I made pie! Read more ›

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Creepy Symmetry

OK – here’s a weird thing about my brain.

At lunch today I had an apple that was leaning off to one-side and I thought – hmm not very symmetrical.
Then I remembered a Newsweek Magazine article from about 15 years ago that described how symmetry had a lot to do with what we perceive to be beautiful. They showed actors’ and actress’ faces that were split up the middle and superimposed on the other side to show how symmetrical or not they were. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

NASA – David Coppedge and evangelism at the office

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

There’s a trial in progress alleging NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory demoted and then fired computer specialist David Coppedge for promoting his views on intelligent design. Read more ›

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Genius part 2

And if you have a French toast bagel, and bacon, and eggs, and cheese… Read more ›

Posted in Brian-Food Tagged with: , ,

Facebook posts from history

So, it turns out there’s a whole book full of these things, but I really had fun making them to go with this date in history. Hopefully, they are funny enough to inspire people to look up the event on their own. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky Tagged with: ,

Two Words

Two words: “Genius”! Read more ›

Posted in Brian-Food Tagged with: , ,

Kony 2012

Total misunderstanding!
I’ve heard about this Kony thing but finally got around to figuring out what’s up. Misspelling there made all the difference! Read more ›

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lousy puddle

See this puddle in the parking lot? Read more ›

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For the record

For the record, you can indeed freeze gumbo. Read more ›

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Just Say No to Comic Sans and Papyrus

Can someone really hate a font?
How about two fonts?
The answer is unequivocally, yes.
If you’ve spent any time near churches or schools, you know the font all too well. Read more ›

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Another T-Shirt

Intercourse T-shirt

Sometimes I feel like I live on Social Networks. My profile on most of them reads like this:
“Tweeting from stoplights since 2006: voice actor, speaker, strategery, interwebz bible guy, displaced Bears and Cubs fan, I have a lot of t-shirts” Read more ›

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Clip Clop

So much food

I haven’t posted on this blog in what seems like forever. It’s not that I’ve stopped eating, heavens no. It’s a matter of what to post. Today I drove out to Blue Ball, PA and hit the Smorgasbord at Shady Maple for breakfast. It’s in the heart of Lancaster County, and that’s Amish country. Read more ›

Posted in Brian-Food

olden days

I used to write on this blog all the time. I used to publish every week and even had a “what’s wacky this week” tagline. So, what happened? Facebook… Twitter… I’m posting there all the time and neglecting this, my first foray into what would become social networking. So, let me look back at a few recent posts over there and see if they measure up. Read more ›

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The MirthMobile Story

This is the story of the MirthMobile. Read more ›

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Worst Christmas On Record

Worst Christmas on Record

I like to make music mixes and I really do listen to them over and over.
This year I put together a new Christmas mix containing some of the worst Christmas songs ever. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

Pillow Fight

New Pillows

I got some new pillows!
They had a pillow fight. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

Let’s Get Some Chinese

Han Dynasty

I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area for about 2 1/2 years. I have yet to find any really great Chinese food. That is until now. Read more ›

Posted in Brian-Food

Mmmm… burger

Burger and Fries

Don’t you just love a good burger? I know I do! Read more ›

Posted in Brian-Food

stuff that occurs to me

Yellow - but it's orange

So maybe you’ve heard about the guy on twitter who wites “sh*t my dad says“. My twitter feed (also facebook) is much easier to digest. Here are some from the last couple of weeks. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

It’s a trap

Admiral Akbar - A Trap

Admiral Akbar just cracks me up. If you’re not familiar with this squidly character from the Star Wars movies, he’s got one famous line, “it’s a trap!” It really killed me this morning. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

COFFEE

Aeropress coffee maker

I got one of these Aeropress coffee makers for Christmas. I’ve been practicing and playing around with the process and amount of coffee for a few months, and I think I’ve really got it just right now. Read more ›

Posted in Brian-Food Tagged with: ,

Labeling Everything

You can look this up on Snopes to see that it’s true and everything. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

PDA

My first PDA

Whether Public Display of Affection, or Electronic Organizer (which by the way does not abbreviate to PDA at all) it’s not something I think about often. However, today someone mentioned that teenagers use PDAs. Yeah… perhaps not as hip to the mod crowd as they’d hoped. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

New Math

Sometimes people are bad at math. Sometimes they are bad at math on Facebook.
Really? Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

Men Are Happier People Part 2

Men and Women

Men Are Just Happier People – continued
Again, thanks to my friend Sue for sending this to me.
Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

Men Are Happier People

Thanks to my friend Sue for sending this one to me.
Men Are Just Happier People Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

clean plate club

Mmmmmm dinner time!

My very dear friend and land-lady Melissa made a quick hodge-podge of dinner happiness. Pierogies with onions and sour cream, fish sticks with tartar sauce, carrots, onions, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts.

The hardest thing for Melissa to understand is that I eat things I don’t like. I don’t like:

  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts

That doesn’t mean I won’t eat them. I was taught to eat what’s in front of me, and I can usually manage to do that and smile through it all. So, I’m always a member of “The Clean Plate Club”. I at all my veggies and really liked the queso sauce she put on the sprouts. I also keep trying things that I might not like, because I never know when my tastes will change. For example, I started liking mushrooms this year. Who knew? The down-side of course is that it’s also easy for me to overeat.

For me, it’s ok if food goes to waist, as long as it doesn’t go to waste.

…maybe it’s just me?

Posted in Brian-Food

Tiny Food

I recently had a late dinner special at a little pub. Little being the operative word here. Not only was the room small, so was the food. This “Petite Filet” came with an itty-bitty potato and snow peas. The Steak was fine – just about 3oz. The potato on the other-hand was the size of a ping-pong ball.

I felt like Gulliver.

So what goes with that? A tiny Coke of course.

… maybe it’s just me?

Posted in Brian-Food

New Amex Ad Bombs

From Homeland Security / Special Operations
On Wednesday, April 6, 2011, members of the Baltimore County Police Department – Hazardous Devices Team responded to a suspicious item received via the mail (USPS). The recipient partially opened the item and observed “wires” which he felt were consistent with an IED. The item was subsequently examined by bomb technicians who determined the item to be a new “American Express” advertisement.

I repeat – NOT A BOMB.

NOT A BOMB! – kinda one of those musical greeting cards… awesome.

Posted in Wacky

Christmas Story

I can’t believe that Christmas is almost here!

I have a special shout-out to my friend Matt for passing this heartfelt story on to me. I’m not above posting something that’s traveling around the internet and although this might not exactly fit in the format of the Wacky blog, it really got to me.

So – in the time-honored tradition of the Christmas Shoes, here is a Christmas story for 2009.
—————-

Late last week, I was rushing around trying to get some last minute shopping done. I was stressed out and not thinking very fondly of the Christmas season right then. It was dark, cold, and wet in the parking lot as I was loading my car up with gifts that I felt obligated to buy. Then I noticed that I was missing a receipt that I might need later. So mumbling under my breath, I retraced my steps to the mall entrance.

As I was searching the wet pavement for the lost receipt, I heard a quiet sobbing. The crying was coming from a poorly dressed boy of about 12 years old.

He was short and thin. He had no coat. He was just wearing a ragged flannel shirt to protect him from the cold night’s chill. Oddly enough, he was holding a hundred dollar bill in his hand.

Thinking that he had gotten lost from his parents, I asked him what was wrong.

He told me his sad story:

He said that he came from a large family. He had three brothers and four sisters. His father had died when he was nine years old. His mother was poorly educated and worked two full time jobs. She made very little to support her large family. Nevertheless, she had managed to skimp and save two hundred dollars to buy her children Christmas presents.

The young boy had been dropped off by his mother, on the way to her second job. He was to use the money to buy presents for all his siblings and save just enough to take the bus home. He had not even entered the mall, when an older boy grabbed one of the hundred dollar bills and disappeared into the night.

“Why didn’t you scream for help?” I asked.

The boy said, “I did.”

“And nobody came to help you?” I wondered.

The boy stared at the sidewalk and sadly shook his head.

“How loudly did you scream?” I inquired.

The soft-spoken boy looked up and meekly whispered, “Help me!”

I realized that absolutely no one could have heard that poor boy cry for help. So I grabbed his other hundred and ran to my car.

Posted in Wacky

Turn around

Oddly enough, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been pointed to a couple of different quirky pieces about the old 80’s hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.

First is this flow-chart detailing the song.

Jeannie Harrell takes Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler, and puts it in flowchart form.

And this literal interpretation of the music video.

This just in… Brak

Posted in Wacky

It is ITLAPD again

Get Your Yaar On!


Today is September 18 – or as I like to call it, International Talk Like A Pirate Day‘s Eve.

For the weekend, I am Piratizing the whole Mirthmobile site. Enjoy it while you can!

Special thanks to the Yahoo Developer Network for the JavaScript. This helpful little script turns seemingly innocuous phrases into a salty prattle.

Example:
Before
before

After

Posted in Wacky

Still a Typo

Is it still considered a typo when you make it out of wood and mass-produce it?
typo?

A co-worker of mine picked up some office decor and found what she thought said “Peace” followed by a decorative cross. While showing it off, she pointed out how she wanted a reminder to have peace in her life.

I suggested that she would most likely get lots of visitors to her desk and phone calls asking for computer help. (followed by a blank look)

It took a while for her to figure out that the Peace wooden cut-out instead spelled PC ACE.

I still like to call her from time to time and ask her questions about my Mac.

Posted in Wacky

Food Challenge Fail

3 Massive Pancakes

3 Massive PancakesI’ve hardly blogged since moving to the Philadelphia area and starting my new job, and bemoaning that fact recently inspired me to eat something I shouldn’t have.

3 pancakes!

I know – three pancakes doesn’t sound like a big deal, but at a little diner in Royersford, PA they have a challenge on the menu. If you can eat 3, you don’t pay, otherwise it’s just $5.50. So, I figured I could take 3 pancakes.

I was so wrong.

I know some strategies – don’t drink too much, don’t eat other things, stay in training…

After a little while I felt pretty good. I thought to myself,
My unsuccessful attempt“I can manage this.” “Should be no problem.”

I’ve eaten plenty of big things in the past:
2 cheese steaks
a really big (1 pound) burger
this thing
and of course – The El Gigante

I even won a donut eating contest once.

To my shame this time it was not to be.

FAIL

Annamarie’s Cafe – you win, please enjoy my $5.50.
FAIL - 3 Pancakes

Posted in Brian-Food

marker fun

See how much fun you can have with a marker and a window in your cubicle?

It’s lots of fun working in a creative environment.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of other things you should have seen on the internet.
You Should Have Seen This

Thanks Matt!

Posted in Wacky

Part of this nutritious breakfast

That’s right – Texas! An important part of this nutritious breakfast.

The Residence Inn, Austin has been great so far. An easy walk to the Paramount Theater for the Q conference, and it’s got a kicking breakfast.

Now I want more waffles in other shapes!

…maybe it’s just me.

Posted in Brian-Food

Foreign Language Skills

Russian Guy

Things I’d like to know how to say in a foreign language, like Russian:
Russian Guy
We’re in silent attack mode!

I will be your friend. I am dangerous.

Ha! I have your lawn chair!

There are 10 cars parked here. 9 of them are not mine.

When you win, I win.

Why are there so many trucks?

This is what I call a happy day.

There is fresh milk in the refrigerator.

It’s a shame I didn’t buy a package of cookies.

Where is your refrigerator?

How do I help my self to your food?

Do you think your market is better than my supermarket?

I have found your item in row 14.

So you didn’t buy me a pet?

This is my friend Bob. He is your friend too. Why don’t you say hello. He said hi.

There are times I own more pennies than I have now.

Will you buy my grommet factory?

This is not my friend. Go find my friend.

Oh I bet you think I sound silly. Well, watch me drive your car!

Where do I find a toy store in this mountainous region?

Not-ah! My foot’s bigger than your nose!

I know how to fight cavities!

Posted in Brian-Food

Google Makes Life Easier

google logoI know you all need help with the technology in your lives and I thought I’d point you to some ways Google is making my life easier.

Over the years, Google has helped me with my home internet connection:
kit

Helped me understand how their search engine rankings work:
diagram

And even provided me with refreshing beverages to help balance my electrolytes:
gulp

This year, Google has added a couple of great user-friendly tools to their labs, including:
Autopilot for email

It utilizes their new Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE):

So, dig in, hook up, and plug away.

Posted in Wacky

I Kin Do It

So my plane was stuck on the approach to the runway in Philadelphia – number 23 for departure…

I’m on my way to BibleTech in Seattle. My flights are scheduled to go from PHL to Dulles, to Seattle. That’s two Washingtons in one day – nice.

I breakfasted at the airport Dunkin Donuts. They have two ad campaigns going right now.
1) America Runs On Dunkin
2) You Kin Do It

The second campaign shows people in impossible situations overcoming them. How? Why – because they have a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee or a donut, or a waffle-sandwich.

I needed to get from my new home airport to Washington DC – Dulles in time to catch the next flight to Seattle, but there are roadblocks. Getting out on the runway and staying there for 40 minutes with the engines shut down so we don’t have to go back to the gate to refuel is this particular hurdle.

But – I realized – I still had some Dunkin Coffee. I’m all set I guess.

…maybe it’s just me?

Posted in Brian-Food

Doritos mouse trap

Still killing me.

Posted in Wacky

tall lasagna

I’m not kidding, this thing is huge.

A recent business dinner brought a party of 7 to Maggianos for family style dining. One of the pasta choices was Mom’s Lasagna. Will you just look at the height?

It must be oooh… at least… well… it’s tall isn’t it!?!?

… maybe it’s just me.

Posted in Brian-Food

Why You Are Fat

Another food blog has taken up the challenge.

Thanks to my friend Rob for pointing the way.

Some awesome samples…

The Mega-Stuff Oreo


Corn Dog Pizza

And my new favorite….

The Double Bacon Hamburger Fatty Melt

And this time I can prove that maybe it’s not just me…

Posted in Brian-Food

illustrated word

Sometimes, it’s just embarrassing to be in marketing and the church. Read more ›

Posted in Wacky

objects in mirror

Objects in Mirror are Dumber than they Appear

Reminds me of a story –
These two guys get out of Truck Driving School and on their first run, they see a sign for a low bridge – 12 feet – 0 inches. They check the truck and the height is 13 feet 9 inches. They keep driving.
As they get closer to the bridge, they see another sign, “ low bridge – 12 feet – 0 inches”. They check the truck and the height is 13 feet 9 inches. They keep driving.
Finally as they get to the bridge, they stop, see the sign on the bridge, “12 feet – 0 inches”. They check the truck and the height is 13 feet 9 inches.
One driver says, “Waddaya think?”
The other says, “Well, there’s not a cop in sight, I say we go for it.”

Posted in Wacky

breakfast in bed

Honestly!
You know how in The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews are realizing that they are in love and they sing, “I Must Have Done Something Good”? Well that’s how I feel.

However, that might be the gayest thing I’ve ever written in my life.

… maybe it’s just me.

Posted in Brian-Food