weekend update

August 12, 2008

Wow. What a busy weekend. We had an extended family crabfeast here on Saturday. Then we had our local fire department’s carnival to go to that evening. We went to the Orioles game on Sunday in Baltimore and that was a pretty good time. The birds didn’t win (lost 15-7 to the Rangers), but there was a lot of offense. The pitchers got hit around pretty badly. The coolest thing was when my son and his friend moved down to lower seats near the end of the game. Our original seats were pretty good (about 12 rows from the field) but the two kids went all the way down to the Rangers’ dugout. After the game, Michael Young (the Rangers’ All-Star shortstop) gave the boys his batting gloves! Talk about two excited kids! He actually gave the gloves to my son’s friend Jack, who then gave JP one of the gloves. Great kid. And thanks, Michael Young for making those kids the happiest kids leaving the ballpark that day.

Today, it’s back to the grind with cheerleading and football practice.

Music: I’m not a huge country music fan, but I have been listening to Lady Antebellum lately. Enjoying it a lot.

Oh, one more thing about the baseball game. There is a group of people who are, apparently, big fans of Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora. They call themselves Melvin’s Amigos. That a nice name, but I was hoping to see a group calling themselves Melvin’s Morans, which I think would be really funny. It reminds me of this, which may be the greatest picture ever taken.


blogging the day away

July 7, 2008

All right, don’t get too excited, but this is my second blog entry in 5 or 6 days. Unreal, right? Man, I feel like all I’ve been doing with my life is writing blogs! Two in one week? It’s definitely time for a vacation or something.

    Could this be the Soul’s year?

What a game it was! What a finish! The Philadelphia Soul are hosting the division championship game for the first time ever. It should be quite the scene at the Center on Saturday. Whaddya mean you’ve never heard of the AFL? It’s football in the spring and summer. What more could you ask?

    The Tipping Point

Now, you people know by now how late I am to so many different things. Could be cultural, could be historical, political, whatever. Could also be literary. I’m finally reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Mr. Gladwell already blew my mind when I read Blink, which was a great book, and he has done it again with The Tipping Point. It’s all about how little things can make a major difference and how things like ideas and behaviors can spread just like a virus would. Like an epidemic. And why.

    Other current events

… but only the ones that center on ME. I am preparing for another round of submissions for Lilly Dances, my sort-of-picture-book-but-not-quite project. It’s more of a very short book with pictures. Actually, it has no pictures right now (I’m no artist), but it would be way better with pictures. Like a picture book would. Like a really long picture book.

but not quite.

The kids are doing fine on their summer break from school. I’m doing fine also, but I CAN tell you how many weeks until the school buses start rolling again.


wake up

July 1, 2008

Wake up, John. It’s July.

What? July already? Can’t be. I’m going back to sleep.

It’s July, John. You need to get up and write a blog.

Well, I’m looking at the calendar right now and it says, “July 1”, so that means I have 30 OTHER days to write blogs and it doesn’t have to be done right now. Thank you, by the way, for waking me up so early in July. You know I hibernate in the summer. Now, leave me alone.

Now, what kind of guilt-inducing blog conscience would I be if I just left you alone to procrasticate? You have to write. People want to know what you’ve been doing.

No they don’t.

They do. WRITE.


Hey everybody! How y’all are? Things here are actually going pretty well, considering the kids don’t have any school or sports keeping them busy right now. This is our down time. July. July goes fast only in retrospect. When you’re in the middle of it, July seems like a month with 74 days.

    You should go ahead and read Suite Scarlett, ‘k?

I’ve finished reading Suite Scarlett, finally – I know, and I’d say it was pretty good. Maureen was definitely on her game when she wrote this one, and it’s cool to see so much of her own personality in her writing. Really enjoyable read. I don’t know what I’m going to read next, but it will probably be yet another book about marketing, advertising and copywriting, which is a potential new career path for me. More on that if it actually develops.

    Check out Lewis Taylor, too.

I don’t know why I’m so late to the party, since Lewis Taylor has already quit the music business, but I recently heard a live version of his song, “Stoned Pt. 1” and it’s so good. Wow. I could only find the studio version on YouTube, so I’ve stuck that in here. The live version I heard is on Volume 22 of the Live From the World Cafe series and it is better than the studio version, if you ask me – or even if you don’t.

    Out and about

Daughter 2 and I spent some time at Canal Day in Chesapeake City last weekend and had a really good time. The crowds were not as bad as they have been in the past and there were lots of things to see and do. We had a great little father/daughter time. I like when I can have some one on one time with the kids individually. I think that’s important, but it can be hard to accomplish.

    Could this be their year?

Our own Philadelphia Soul have finished the season with the best record in the league (13-3) and are all ready for the playoffs, which for them begin this Saturday. I took Daughter 1 and Son 1 up to the team headquarters this past Sunday for a little meet and greet with the players and coaches and a tour of the facility. It was great of the Soul to arrange that for some of their season ticket holders. The catered dinner was pretty good too.

Well, I guess that’s all for now. I still have to go back and edit this to work properly on all of my various blogging outlets.


June 17, 2008

Ahhh. Summer. Goes by so fast. What month is it now, July? June? June, you say? Wow. Seems like just yesterday it was April. Or November. Or something.

So, what’s been up? Well, we are now 3 weeks into our CSA membership at Colchester Farm. So far we’ve had lots and lots of different kinds of lettuce, radishes, spinach, broccoli, garlic, herbs and flowers and have even gotten our hands on some nice, organic bread. The kids are even getting into choosing their own vegetables and having a great time with it.

Baseball season is over for our boys, but both did really well and had a lot of fun. The younger one will probably move up to Coach Pitch next year, as he can already hit pretty well without the tee. I have two more Tball stories to write and I really should get that done because before you know it, football/cheerleading season will be upon us and I’ll be all occupied with that.

You know how I am.

We finally ditched the old cartridge-type pool filter that has been the bane of my existence for 10 years and now have a sand/micromedia filter. Holy wow, that thing is great! Our pool is clean and clear and all the maintenance the filter requires is a periodic turn of a switch. Heaven.

I recently tried some chocolate covered coffee beans for the first time and they were not too bad. Of course, it goes against everything I’ve ever known about coffee and whether or not you should eat the beans (hint: not). I wouldn’t even think about eating coffee grounds and that’s basically what the bean becomes after you’ve ground it up with your teeth, right? Why not just cover other disgusting things with chocolate? Chocolate covered eggshells. Chocolate covered hair.

Then again, what do I know?

Here is a picture I found somewhere along my internet travels, which clearly demonstrates the importance of making sure your audience has all the relative information.

brownridge whoops


April 27, 2008

Well this week has been a bit crazy, but we got through it. My wife had to go out of town for a few days and with five kids all involved in different activities (except the girls, they’ve been staying together for now) that meant a fair amount of running around for me. I had to get help from a few friends here and there and that definitely made things easier. So, thanks, Friends!

The boys’ baseball teams are doing well and the younger one’s Tball team has already inspired one essay to completion and I have another one started. Now, I’m no Rick Reilly (to me, the best sports essayist there is) but it is nice to be inspired, regardless. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write about my older son’s baseball team, because some of those kids get MAD.

This kid will make the team in a few years.
This kid will make the team in a few years.

I finally finished reading “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” by E.B. Sledge, which is about as funny as it sounds, but I found it really interesting anyway. That book is being used as part of the basis for the HBO miniseries The Pacific, a companion piece to Band of Brothers.

So now we’re getting ready for another hectic week with more baseball, lacrosse and gymnastics AND I need another book. Maybe I should just get back to writing one.

No thank you.

April 9, 2008

Hey. There is (finally, I know) a new essay over at JPChambers.com! Go! Read! Comment!

I really do need to get back to blogging, don’t I? It’s been almost a MONTH since I told you about the Greenpeace activists’ little stunt! So, what’s been up?

Well, both boys have started baseball practice, both younger girls are still doing the cheerleading/gymnastics thing and the oldest girl is playing high school Lacrosse. That keeps our afternoons and evenings pretty well booked, that’s for sure.

We’ve joined some friends of ours to participate in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life this year, so the fundraising efforts have begun and will continue for the next two months or so. There’s a link to my Relay page around here somewhere … hold on … oh, HERE it is.

My local supermarket has had my current favorite coffee on sale for a few weeks, so I’ve been stocking up. We have about 18 bags now (I say “about” even though I know the exact number) and I’ll continue to stock up for as long as it’s on sale. Keep ’em comin’, Acme!

My blog friend Stephanie says that blogs are more fun and easier to read if they contain pictures. Hmmm … all right then.

dressed up!

Rats! See, even my pictures have words. I’ll have to work on that.

One more thing: The new Jack Johnson record is so good! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read reviews that he had “gone electric”, but let me tell you, Sleep Through the Static is on heavy rotation in my car and on my computer and on my iPod and anywhere else I listen to music. Great stuff.

Mobile post sent by JP Chambers using Utterz Replies.  mp3

sports, music and books

January 10, 2008

Hey everyone.

Is it already January 10? Man, the year is just FLYING by. So do I have anything to say? Of course I do. Just a few months ago, we had no kids taking gymnastics classes and now we have three kids taking gymnastics classes. How about that? I thought we were done with gymnastics after Son #1 stopped doing it. Now Son #2 and Daughters #2 and 3 are taking classes, although the girls’ class is mostly to help them become better cheerleaders, not gymnasts. Oh, and baseball season is just around the corner. You’d think all of this activity involving the kids would be a goldmine of funny stories for me to write for you guys, and it should be. Stay tuned.

Two friends of mine have released their new cds in the past few weeks. The new record by Ike is called Where to Begin and it is really good. It’s a little harder than anything John and his various band incarnations have done in the past. It surprised me, as I’ve been hearing most of these songs over the past year and I wasn’t expecting the cd to sound the way it does. Great work, guys. Andrea Glass has released Stood Under Stars and, again, wow! Andrea is a really good acoustic/country/Americana artist I met a few years ago when she was making recordings in her kitchen. Now she’s teamed up with some really outstanding musicians, travelled to Nashville to record and is currently in the middle of her UK tour. She’s accomplished a lot in such a short time and the music is fantastic. Give it a listen.

The new site design for JPChambers.com has received nothing but positive reviews so far. So if you have anything negative to say, get it in before I get too cocky! On the fun page, I’ve added a link to a nerd test. I tested sort of medium nerdy. Not as bad as I thought!

Finally, if you have heard me talk about Markus Zusak or read what I’ve written about his books, then you know how impressed I am with him and his work. The Book Thief may be one of the best books I’ve ever read. Here’s a link to an interview he did about the book.

What Christmas means to me

January 1, 2008

As I sit here on the evening of January the First, in the year of our Lord 2008, I am reflecting on the just passed holiday season and I think about what Christmas means to me. So here it is, in blog-entry form.

What Christmas means to me

but first, a disclaimer. I will not mention all of the various religious aspects of Christmas in this section because, if you believe in such things, you don’t need me to tell you about it. If you don’t, you also don’t need me to tell you about it, because there are other, louder, more holy people around to do that. Also, those people usually are not distracted from being loud and holy by trying to make people laugh.

now let’s get back to me.

Christmas means countless twist ties. They are hidden in every box and package. Every children’s toy, by law, must be held securely to a cheap piece of cardboard by 27 titanium coated, NASA approved, industrial strength twist ties, minimum. Everyone knows the best way to deal with twist ties is to cut them. I know the best way to deal with twist ties is to cut them, but on Christmas morning I still think it’s a pretty good idea to untwist them with my soon-to-be sore and throbbing fingers. I’m a pretty bright guy, as you know.

Christmas means malfunctioning outdoor holiday decorations. The beautiful, scenic light-up reindeer I bought and placed in my front yard falls over like it is drunk. Constantly. I got so tired of fighting with it that I finally attached a red light to its nose and hung it upside down from a tree with a sign that said, “Sorry, kids!”

Christmas means leftover eggnog. I love to buy eggnog near the holidays. I almost never drink any. I guess I’m just in love with the concept.

Christmas (or, more accurately, the day after Christmas) means further proof that I’m not the video game king that I used to be. When the kids get a new video game for Christmas I always think I’m going to kick their little butts playing it. Then, every single one of them beats me, including the 4 year old who then performs a seven minute long victory dance.

Christmas means the a new year is just around the corner. Now, a new year doesn’t actually mean that much unless you still write checks for things. The changing year means you’re going to mess up writing the date on at least a few of them.

Christmas means enjoying time with family and friends and being nice to people you normally wouldn’t be nice to because it’s usually hard to know who your Secret Santa is.

Christmas means lots of people complaining about the commercialization of Christmas, while shopping.

Christmas means at least one gift per year gets the “Uncle B” treatment, which is named after a family friend who is known to secretly disconnect the speaker mechanism in the most annoying new toy and then, when the affected child asks him why the new toy no longer works, plays dumb.

Christmas means that the kids get some time off from school. That’s nice, except that Christmas vacation from school means they have lots of time on their hands to roam the house looking for victims. But it also means that just after New Year’s Day, they have to go back to school and that really is the best thing for everyone involved.