The Best

I’m probably not the smartest guy you’ve ever met. If I am, you need to meet more people. However, I do know one thing:

The 1990s were the greatest decade ever.

You want proof? Excellent. I’m a lawyer, so I like stuff like that. Here’s your proof:

“Saved by the Bell”

The Best

Honestly, that should be enough to settle any debate. However, here are a few more reasons why the 1990s were the best decade ever:

-It was cool to wear a Bugs Bunny shirt to school

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-The Nintendo 64. I could have sworn those graphics looked just like real life.

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WCW v. NWO v. WWF.  Mondays were awesome.

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-Epic TV shows like “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Fresh Prince.” Two of those shows are now on “Nick at Nite.” That makes me want to cry.

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-Oh, and “TRL.” I miss the days when seeing a thirty-second clip of your favorite music video was the highlight of your day. Seriously, that show was the peak of MTV and still the best thing that ever happened at 4pm.

-The 1990s graced us with songs such as “Gangsta’s Paradise,” “Getting Jiggy Wit’ It,” “Wonderwall,” “Waterfalls,” “Black or White,” “Wannabe,” everything Lauryn Hill did back then, “Baby One More Time,” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” “Vogue,” “Jumper,” “Push,” “Sabotage,” “Ironic,” “One,” every Hootie and the Blowfish song, “No Diggity,” “California Love,” “Hypnotize,” “Iris,” “Don’t Speak,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “1979,” “Mr. Jones,” every Boyz 2 Men song, and, of course, the greatest song in the history of the world: “Ice Ice Baby” (dum dum dum da da da dum)

-Oh, and “I Want it That Way.” That is the song of our generation even though no one knows what the lyrics mean. It’s that good.

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-In the 1990s, “TGIF” was more than just a phrase. I miss the 1990s.

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-“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and the “Lion King” were back-to-back-to-back Disney masterpieces. There would be a lot fewer wars, violence, and crime if we were all required to watch those movies each week.

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-The best movie in the history of the world was released in the 1990s:

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Nothing has ever captured my sense of wonder like “Jurassic Park.” Except for the Seven-Layer Burrito at Taco Bell.

[ Timeout: There are many more items to include, but it’s 1:00am. Thus, I’ll wrap this up soon. Time in. ]

Timeout

Finally, the 1990s were the best decade ever because we weren’t so obsessed with the internet. We were at the perfect point in the evolution of technology. An endless world of information was at our fingertips, but only at dial-up speed and if no one else at home was using the telephone. We no longer had to rely on Microsoft Encarta or World Book Encyclopedia to answer all our questions, but we couldn’t get an answer to every question within seconds. You had to work for it. Oh, you had a favorite song in 1997? Then go buy the CD for $20. Or if you were really tech savvy, you could download that bad boy on Napster or some other shady site while fighting through thousands of pop-up ads. There were no iPods or MP3 players. If you wanted to listen to a song away from home, you had a Walkman or Discman. Good luck using the latter when exercising. Today, we can download or stream a song within seconds from anywhere.

All these technological advancements are great things. However, it’s time for the old man rant. I miss the days when everything wasn’t so connected, so instant, and so constant. I miss the days when you would hang out with friends and family and you were hanging out with friends and family, not all the different people on their respective newsfeeds. I fear that we’re missing out on so many of life’s treasures because of cellphones. Magical things can happen when we’re focused on the people around us or when our minds are empty and open to the creative sparks that happen during times of mental silence. Instead, we often fill those moments by looking at a screen.

Zach Morris Phone

Goodbye

Saying “goodbye” is one of the hardest things to do in life.

That is why I like to say “goodbye” with awkward dance moves and a little bit of sweat.

Enjoy!

Thanks to David and Jen for hanging out, having some fun, and not laughing at my “dance” moves (too much). It’s pretty funny that we filmed a video for “Bye Bye Bye” and “Gangsta’s Paradise” on the same day. Diversity is the spice of life. Yo.

Goodbye

On a related note, which is the best boy band of all time? Here is your answer.

All-Stars

Hi.

Tonight is Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Unfortunately, I fell a few million votes short of making one of the teams. Maybe next year.

In the interim, I’ve put together a list of some of the All-Stars in my life. This list isn’t exclusive, but just some of the names I could think up at midnight. I just want to say thanks to these people for being awesome.

Amanda M.: I’m really glad I married this lady. She makes me laugh every single day.

Steve Ellis: I’m guessing none of y’all know Steve. I don’t know Steve. However, Steve founded Chipotle. Thank you, Steve.

Paul M. and Eddie W.: These guys are some of our BFFs. They make us laugh, they are always there to help, and they are incredible cooks.

Paul and I as (unintentionally creepy) Bert and Ernie, Halloween 2013:

All Stars

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Hannah M.Hannah inspired me to start this blog. She also loves the same kind of terrible music that I enjoy.

Tom Brady: He’s won “5” Super Bowls for my beloved New England Patriots. Thank you, Tom. We should hang out again:

My mom and Amanda’s mom: Both of them have stayed with us a bunch over the first few months of our kids’ lives. Their love, support, and help have been priceless. We would not have survived without them.

Joe S.We send a lot of snarky texts. Most of them are about baseball and the horrible grammar we see people use on Facebook. It is healthy to vent somewhere.

Steve F.: More snarky texts. Most are about crazy stuff our kids do, the highs and lows of being a lawyer, and how amazing our wives are at everything. Steve also makes me feel young when we hang out because he’s much older than me.

Josh O.: I look up to this guy more than I do any of my other friends. Josh is 6’6″.

Howard and Kelly A.: Howard has been one of my BFFs for 20+ years. They are the nicest people in the world. Kelly is also really short.

Kelly and Josh:

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Terrence C.This guy drives like a thousand miles to church on Sunday. He’s a wonderful, insightful, and funny guy who I am honored to know. He also likes Mexican food.

Kim and Matt H.These two model the love of Jesus in such incredible ways. Plus, their son is absurdly cute.

Vanilla Ice: Thank you for the inspiration and the greatest work of art ever created.

Dennis and Donna P: They are such incredible pastors, mentors, and inspirations.

Ryan Zimmermann: You’ve followed me from Virginia Beach, to UVA, to DC. Thank you for the support. You are also my favorite baseball player.

Joy and Hunter W.These two are crazy. Crazy because they are willing to do whatever it takes to build an incredible church community.

Andy DunnThis guy is the reason I wear pink, yellow, green, orange, and purple pants. He founded Bonobos.

“Wear the Rainbow.”

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Chris D. and Alissa K.: These two are hilarious. They are getting married in October. I can’t wait to celebrate their lives. However, I’ve been told that I have to stay at least 20 feet away from the microphone.

Charles C.This guy constantly challenges me to be a better man, husband, and father. He is from Texas. I am too.

Brian WilliamsHe is my favorite newscaster. He is also my baseball BFF and such a wise and thoughtful friend.

Chad and Kaci C.: Their lives are crazy, but they live them out with incredible grace, composure, and humor. We want to be parents like them.

Ben I.: This guy came to church one time and was volunteering the next week. He has been such an inspiration to so many people at our church.

Ron M.Amazing man. Amazing life story. Amazing musician. Amazing beard.

John C.Very few of my guy friends love shoes as much as I do. John does. #solidarity

Jen S. and David W.I could not live the thug life without them.

My grandparents: I would not be here without them. Literally. Plus, all four are magnificent human beings.

My kids: They have changed everything. For the better.

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Okay, time to go to bed. Bye.

 

The Thief

As each dawn breaks, I reach for you.
As each day closes, in the darkness, it is you I pursue,

You are my closest friend, my constant companion,
A life without you I cannot imagine.

Through the good times and the bad, you never leave my side,
During the darkness and confusion, you are my ever-present guide.

You capture my attention with a stunning perfection,
You are always there to provide me direction.

Despite your many wonders, you have now become my prison,
I’ve missed too many priceless moments under your supervision.

You’re not a co-worker, a spouse, or even a beloved friend from home.
You are a piece of plastic.
You are my phone.

You are a thief of priceless moments,
I’ve fallen victim to your electronic components.

I love to say to “make the most of each day,”
That is impossible until I put the phone away.

Beautiful creations surround me while I stand in line,
I stare blindly at my phone to help pass the time.

There are friends who need support, so many people in need,
Yet, I just continue to scroll through my Facebook Newsfeed.

I always turn to you in the moments when I feel bored,
Creative thoughts, dreams, and wonders never get explored.

A world full of people constantly on their phone,
No one truly embracing the present, everyone living alone.

Churches, classes, and concerts full of people staring at screens,
I’m afraid we’ve missed the point, we’ve become slaves to machines.

I’ve had a painful realization lately, one that brings me much shame,
I always have a phone in my hand, even when holding a baby or at a baseball game.

If a baby’s smiles or friendly conversation are not enough for me,
Then I have become a man I do not want to be.

The Thief

My friends and family deserve my full attention,
It’s finally time for a phone intervention.

No more mindlessly checking my phone due to some twisted addiction,
My phone can’t control me, it’s time for an eviction.

I don’t want my kids to look at my phone and feel jealousy,
I will not be that dad, that won’t be my legacy.

Dude Dates

2013 was a year of change.

1. I found out that I was having twins.
2. I helped launch a new site in Northern Virginia for Capital City Church.
3. I started blogging.  If you’re not a fan of that fact, I’m sorry.  Blame Hannah and others who encouraged me to start this silly blog.
4. I goofed around one night and made a dumb “rap” video.  I had fun.  Thus, I made about twenty more.  Those silly videos have gotten nearly 100,000 hits on YouTube during the past few months (and some hateful comments that make me afraid of Russians).
5. I bought a SUV.

Oh, and Napoleon lost two things that were very important to him.  In short, there will be no baby Napoleons in the future.  Poor guy.

Napoleon Titanic

Most importantly, I started eating a lot more Mexican food this past year.  That’s a little surprising because I already spent most of my first 29 years of life eating Mexican food. However, in 2013, the fajitas tasted a little better.

Because I was surrounded by friends.

Here’s the deal.  Life is busy.  Way too busy.  Important stuff like sleep and exercise often get trumped by work, wasting time on Facebook, and errands.  Thus, it’s challenging to take the time to develop deep, flourishing, and authentic relationships with friends.  Out of that desire, a burning need for genuine community, and a passion for tacos, the Dude Dates were born.

Dude Date

There are a lot of local Mexican restaurants in Alexandria and Arlington.  I want to try them all.  A few months ago, Eric B. and I took a break from training for the 2014 NBA Draft and crushed some awesome Mexican food at a joint near my house.  The following week, me and my boy Teddy (Mr. Double Thumbs Up, above) finally grabbed dinner after talking about it for 2+ years.  We hit up a hole-in-the-wall Mexican spot that did not have an English menu.  I do not remember the name of the restaurant, but the food was glorious (and served on styrofoam plates).  We decided that we needed to do it again and invite a few more guys from church.

There are now 30+ fellas on our Dude Date email list (let me know if you want in on this hotness).  All different ages, all different races, all different feelings about skinny jeans.  It started with Northern Virginia guys, but we’ve recently expanded to include some of our D.C. and Maryland brethren.  There are only three rules: (1) eat a lot; (2) laugh a lot; (3) don’t die the next day.  Due to the fact that all the places we hit up are pretty dirty and rumored to be hangouts for MS-13 and other gangs, it’s a miracle we’ve survived.  However, we’ve laughed a lot and that’s what matters most.

Dude Date (2)

We went to Las Vegas, an “interesting” Mexican restaurant, not the city, last Thursday night during a snowstorm.  I called to make reservation the day before and the guy laughed.  Part of the place is a restaurant and part of it is a night “club.”  Although the only people in the entire restaurant were the staff and 15 dudes, the club music and lights were thumping throughout dinner.  Despite the rough appearance, the food was pretty good.  I asked the guys to do a quick survey about their culinary experiences at Las Vegas and here are the results and a few comments:

Dude Date (3)

Overall:  3.6 out of 5

“They might use it as a front for something else.” – Paul

Food:  3.8 out of 5

“My dinner had a face.” – Jeff

“The fajitas had some mystic brown sauce that was very tasty, although after 24 hours, the brown mystery sauce is proving to burn on the way out! (Splashing toilet water on the sphincter does sooth the burning!)” – Chad

Service:  3.8 out of 5

Ambiance/Weirdness: 3.6 out of 5

“Loud music and lots of dark corners.  Ideal for illicit activities.  Socializing with friends – not so much.”  – Nikolai

3 restaurants down.  Approximately 50 more to go.

Game on, dudes.  Game on.

The Weekend

Well, folks, Monday is knocking at our door again.  My initial reaction to that news is to break down crying.  However, I’m going to try to stay positive and make the most of this workweek.  We got this.  Yo.

Before I dive back into the exciting world of Outlook calendar invites, Excel spreadsheets, and the occasional PowerPoint presentation, I wanted to highlight why this weekend was awesome:

1.  I did no work.

2.  We went to a rocking first birthday party for Big Daddy Zane.  Zane’s parents, Josh and Avery-Lynn, are some of our dearest friends.  Hanging with cool babies like Zane and “Fresh Prince” Will Smith(son) have helped make me less terrified about having kids.  Avery-Lynn did an amazing job decorating and cooking for the party.  Never underestimate the power of The Hyphen.

Here’s an example of Zane’s coolness.  He has a talk show.

3.  I ate some stellar fajitas at an awesome Colombian Christmas party hosted by Natalia on Friday night.  This epic throwdown was at Sol Mexican Grill on H Street.  Natalia used this fun and festive event to raise more than $200 for DC Doors, a non-profit that serves the Latino homeless community in the DC area.  You go, guuuuurl!

Amanda (+ two babies), Natalia, Ashley, and Ryan Gosling
The Weekend

4.  The Christmas Tea.  Although I’ve been going to Capital City Church for nearly five years, this was my first time rocking out at the “Beautiful You” Christmas Tea.  I shouldn’t have waited so long.  It was a stunningly beautiful event.  More importantly, it was so inspiring to hear Christine Caine share stories about the work the A21 Campaign is doing around the world to fight human trafficking.  Of course, like any respectable Christmas event, tacos were involved:

District Taco

Props to Kerry for generously paying for everyone’s lunch after I jokingly thanked him for picking up the tab.  We should go car shopping together.  I tried to pay his generosity forward by buying tacos for the two ladies in line behind me.  They were pretty stoked, but also confused.

Here’s some more Beautiful Dudes who helped out at the Christmas Tea:

Beautiful Dudes

5.  I liked this incredible Christmas tree at The Willard Hotel.  A lot.

The Willard

I also liked this girl:

McCormicks

6.  My dear friend Hannah posted an amazing series of photos showing her adventures with a gingerbread man named Stefan over the weekend.  You need to follow her on Instagram (@lovehannxoxo) to check out ridiculousness like this:

Stefan

7.  It was fun hanging out (and laughing) with these two:

Teresa and Amanda

That is Amanda, my wife, and Teresa, not my wife. However, Teresa and her husband, Marcel, have been incredible new additions to the Cap City Church family.

8. I got to see this guy:

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(I see you posing like you’re not posing.)

9.  I ate a lot of Oreos.

Oreos

Thus, I decided to make a music video about it.  Coming soon.

10.  I got to rock out at our church’s DC site today.  I usually hang out at the CapCityKingstowne location, but I had a blast getting funky with the DC crowd.  Christine Caine shared an incredible message about making the most of your current situation instead of always looking towards the next “best” thing.  That’s always been something I’ve struggled with, so it was a wonderful reminder.  I also made my second Miley Cyrus joke while MCing a church service.  That’s a win.

11.  Most importantly, this photobomb:

Photobomb

Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful week!

Everyday Heroes: Lamar the Lion

I know this guy who was painfully shy and he spent most of his days studying, eating junk food, and watching “Beverly Hills 90210.”

It was me.

Then I met Lamar.

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I knew there was something special about Lamar the first time I saw him.  Most noticeably, he was dressed like a secret agent and leading an enormous “Men in Black” song and dance routine at Tallwood High School’s freshman orientation.  He was confident, he was charismatic, he was captivating.  I didn’t know him, but I wanted to be like him.

I still do.

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We both like to fly under the radar.

Lamar is the most gregarious person I know.  He’s also hilarious, and fifteen years later, he still captures my attention.  When Lamar walks into a room, you notice. (His bright shirts, loud voice, and enthralling personality are hard to ignore.)  He has a heart of gold and spends his workdays serving local kids and communities through various programming activities at YMCAs in the DC area.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people around the world who look up to Lamar, who have been impacted by Lamar, and who call Lamar a hero.

I’m one of them.

Like I said, I was a shy dude back in the day and I was floating through life aimlessly.  I met Lamar, he took me under his wing, encouraged me to get involved at school, and taught me what living a passionate and engaging life is all about.  Thus, if you think I’m loud and annoying, blame Lamar.  This guy had hundreds of friends and thousands of things on his to-do list, but he took the time to mentor me.  He changed the entire trajectory of my life. For the better.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Here’s what others had to say about Lamar:

Cristina F. (@cristinamary):  “Lamar is the most resilient person I know, hands down. He has overcome so much, and I attribute that to his natural talents and abilities, which are plentiful. He is a born leader. He is an amazing friend. How long has it been now, 17 years? And NEVER a dull moment. I’m grateful for his loyalty and love. He has made me laugh more times than I can count. He has been at all of my shows, with bells on. So much support! We have seen each other through a lot of trials, tribulations, joys, successes and life lessons. Here’s to 17 more years, my dear friend!”

Amy H. (@AMH5):  “Lamar is the true definition of one-of-a-kind. He’s not only my best friend, but the brother I never had. He’s selfless, always knows how to put a smile on your face, full of words of wisdom, he is the guy who will take his shirt off his back for his friends.  Anyone who is able to call Lamar their friend should consider themselves lucky. He is one of the few people in my life that I will cherish forever. He’s been a hero to me in more ways than I could ever say. I’m proud to call him my best friend.”

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Chad H. (@chadhartigan):  “My impression of Lamar in high school was that he had the most school spirit of anyone I knew. He was involved with absolutely everything: school government, theatre, administration, even cheerleading (I think). Now that we’re more than a decade removed from that context, I know that it had nothing to do with school spirit. It was people spirit. Lamar was involved with everything because he loved mingling and working with every type of person. It’s an attitude he brings to his work, his play and his relationships, and it’s infectious.”

In short, Lamar is a fabulous human being, a hilarious person to know, and a faithful friend. Most importantly, Lamar loves Miley Cyrus and he’s a great rapper:

Thank you, Lamar.  You make the world a much better place.