Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Funny Commercials

Um... I was recently looking at funny commercials online. (Wow. I'm a horribly intensely gigantic geek.) And I came across this Gem which I'd never seen before. It's a bit risque, but I don't think it's too over the top.

And here are a few more I thought were funny.


John West Salmon
- Already saw it, but still funny.

Canal Plus - It's in French, but I laughed out loud.

Bento Kronen Light - another one where I laughed out loud.

Okay, last one. Ford's commercial in Thailand. Apparently, they don't know what monkeys look like, but this one reminded me of when I was a kid, so I put it in there.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


So, there I was, in the coffee shop trying to get some support raising work done. I chatted online with my buddy Tony for a while about everything under the sun, and the he pointed me to his blog. Naturally, I wasted about thirty minutes skimming and reading through things, and then I came across an entry about a site called "Midomi" where you can find a song by humming a few lines at your computer. It'll listen in, and find the song you're trying to hum. I'm too embarrased to go humming to my computer here in the middle of the coffee shop, but I'm definately going to be singing at my computer as soon as I get home.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tribute to Wheeling West Virginia

They closed the tunnels to East-bound traffic last week. All traffic from Ohio into Wheeling now must take the 470 detour around the mountain. The west bound tunnel is still open, so my travels to and from Second Cup Cafe have remained uninterrupted.

But the closing of the tunnels has led me to think about the geography of Wheeling West Virginia. The city starts at the foot of the Ohio River. Between the banks of the river, and the short blue ridged mountains rising above, huddles the small city of Wheeling, West Virginia. It has all the trappings of a once wealthy area. It's not rare to see a four storey stone house at the shore of the river with beautiful stained glass windows. But most of these once glorious mansions are sagging now, or have been cut up into four to six apartments. You step into the homes and plaster is drooping from the ceiling and abrasive non-slip paper has been nailed or stapled into the once grand staircase.

Independence Hall, The old Capitol Building in the Old Capital of West Virginia.

The old Independence Hall is now a museum, and the old post office is now a community college. There is a park by the highway that was built by the local Shriners chapter. Now, the slides are covered in grafitti, and the house next door is burned and charred from an old fire. The windows are boarded up, but the roofless structure is as open as the playground.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge

The whole town is cuddled against the river like a dog by the fire. Over that river stretches the old stone bridge. If you walk across that bridge, you'll find yourself on Wheeling Island where the houses are just as beautiful and just as sadly aging. There is an old brick town hall on the island, and on the north-west corner are painted black lines. It looks as if a giant grew up on the island, and his parents marked his height each year by sketching a small black line on the town hall. Those lines are almost all far above my head, and each line has a date next to it. They mark the floodwaters of past years.

Flood on Wheeling Island - 1923

Infantry at Camp Carlisle on Wheeling Island during the Civil War.

Most of Wheeling sits between the river and the mountains, but on the other side of the mountain are hundreds of homes and mom and pop shops. You can buy just about anything at the Consignment shop on National road, but half of the stuff they just leave out on the lawn, rain or shine. There is a garage across the street with chairs piled on top of each other inside. The windows are dark, and the inside hasn't been disturbed in years. The windows have spray painted words dripping down them and the building reads: "Retired. Thank you for your bisness!"

There are signs of life in Wheeling. The children dashing across the street at three o'clock when school lets out. The handful of teenagers sitting outside Second Cup Cafe smoking and drinking. The people walking down around Colemans Fish Market on a nice day looking into the Antique shops piled to the ceilings with old bits of junk and treasure.

Center Market - Coleman's Fish is still here, and the market hasn't changed at all. People still come down to shop and eat at Coleman's.

There are cars climbing the backs of the mountains, or zooming through the tunnels. It's a nice city. It's becoming home to me, and I'm growing to like it here. It's an old city, and like an aged boxer, you can tell that it was once proud and strong. But now, it's mostly a lingering city. There are plenty of people who believe in this town, and they are here hammering and prying at the old homes, replacing hundred year old leather waiscoating with paint and installing central heating in the sandstone basements. But the rebuilders are few, and as we drive through the streets of Wheeling every Saturday knocking on doors and dropping off meals, I can't help but think of the place this once was and wonder if it ever will be again.

Maybe when they finish the tunnels, the traffic will come back and maybe more cars will stop. Maybe visitors will go to the Lebanon Bakery to buy some authentic Baklawa. Maybe they'll go to Laters for a crepe, or DeFazio's for stone baked Pizza's in the hundred year old stone oven.

Then again, maybe they'll drive right past and see the McDonalds sign standing above the buildings of Elm Grove. They'll pull off the exit and pass by the drive through and get back onto 70. And those that do, will probably never know that they just drove past the Osiris Mansion where the Shiners are now, and where George Washington once had a ball.

Osiris Temple

I don't blame them. In fact, there is a part of me that's glad. When I go to Uncle Pete's, there is a part of me that feels glad that the average passerby doesn't know how good their reubens are. I feel like I'm part of a small club. A small little club of people who know the treasures in Wheeling. I feel like I've found something precious, and part of me wants to keep it secret. Part of me wants to pick up a hammer to fix the porch on the house across the street, but another part of me wants to keep this small aging town just the way she is.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What do you think?

It took me forever to figure it all out, but I have a newly designed website. (Sort of.) I just changed the colors around. But I want to know what you think! Please answer five questions about the new scheme if you want to.

(This will also be a cool way for me to see if people actually read this thing.)

Thanks Y'all!

Friday, January 19, 2007

The old me

I ran across these pictures of me when I was younger, and thought it would be fun to post them up online here. I'm going to label them all "Joshua Elek" hoping that if someone Googles me, they'll find these pictures.

The end.

Left to Right: Joshua Elek, Jer, Jim, Tim

Left to Right: Joshua Elek, Bobby Spore?, Jim, Tim (We weren't allowed to play with guns, so we played with garden stakes instead. I couldn't rip stakes out of the ground at this age, so I was given a Josh-sized log to play with. )

Left to Right: Joshua Elek, Dead Fish.

Left to Right: Joshua Elek, Joshua Elek's hand in Joshua Elek's Butt.

Top to Bottom: Joshua Elek, Man-Eating Skunk Weed Plant.

Top to Bottom: Joshua Elek, My New Red Bike!!

Left to Right: Jim on Drums, Joshua on Bass Guitar, Lead Guitar on Katie, and Jeremy playing the Gun.

Left to Right: Katie, Joshua - This is a picture taken when we used to wait for the bus. We knew it came at 7:45, but we would go out to the end of the driveway every day at 7:00 and wait. Most of the time, we were singing. The long wait for the bus tradition really started when Jeremy and I would shadow box for forty minutes while we waited for the bus to come.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fun w/ PC (I hate you Microsoft Pt. 2)

After fighting with my phone and saying the "F" word to myself a hundred times, I finally resigned myself to making some stuffed pork chops for dinner. When all was over, Rachel went onto Blogger and started typing an entry into her blog for the first time ever. She used the Mac, so I had to try to have a little fun on the PC.

Luckily, Bill Gates has been generous enough to throw a super fun program into every single Windows machine he's ever made. (No, I'm not talking about Pin-ball... though that's sweet.) I'm talking about "PAINT" Ohhhh....

So, I had as much fun as I could on a PC. Heres what I made.

It's raining on me and the sun is calling me names. MAN! I love Microsoft! It's just soooo coool!!!!!!

Thank you Microsoft

So, we bought a Mac a while ago. I've been using it almost exclusively since we bought it. However, my Motorola Q will not work with my Mac (Because Bill Gates is a %&67#8) and I had to plug it into my PC the other day. The phone came with this brilliant Microsoft software called "ActiveSync." And the name fits beautifully. Basically what happens is this: I plug my phone into my computer, and either my phone or my computer gets changed so that they both match.

After trying to sync the phone with my computer twelve times, I am left with a calendar on my home computer that is exactly what I need, every appointment in my phone is one hour late, and the calendar on the PC at work magically disappeared.

It's so refreshing to be working with Microsoft software again. Finally, I can't do the things that I know I should be able to do because someone in Seattle decided that my Phone should change my computer every three seconds as long as it is plugged in. Thankfully, this auto-syncing feature is impossible to change. (Who in their right mind would want some say over when the devices synchronize? That's just dumb. Obviously if I plug my phone into my computer, I want one of the two to be erased.) And it is impossible to set one device to override the other until after they've been plugged into one another and one of the two has been erased. So, I have the correct calendar on my computer, and the wrong calendar on my phone. Thankfully, as soon as I plug my phone in, it will automatically delete the correct calendar and replace it with the wrong calendar.

Thank you Bill Gates. I've been working on a Mac for several months, and it's been a while since I wanted to plunge a dental drill through my skull. It's good to be back.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Screw the iPhone, I want an iDock.

Okay, okay... the iPhone. Everybody's heard of it. (If you haven't yet, make sure no one is around, and go here. Never tell a soul...)

Here's my thing. It's amazing that the phone functions with your fingers. That's cool. But it's still just my motorola Q married to an iPod with a touch screen. (I'm probably wrong, but it's still not what I think we're capable of.)

Were I Steve Jobs, I would be talking about developing not just the new phone, but the new device. I'm talking about a fully functional totally portable computer/phone/tv. I'm talking about a slim device no bigger than an iPod that wirelessly sends music to my bluetooth earbuds. Or, I i touch a button on the screen, and it sends a bluetooth signal to my 46 inch LCD monitor, and now I'm using my computer. Gone is the traditional computer, the traditional laptop, the traditional iPod, the traditional TV. Here is the slim device that works on every bluetooth accessable LCD monitor and ear buds.

It looks just like an iPhone. I touch one button and I get my iTunes music blasting in my bluetooth earbuds.

I touch another button, and my iDock sends an ifrared signal to my LCD monitor hanging on the wall, and I'm using my computer. (Because the iDock is a full computer, complete with the operating system of my choice.) Click a little button, and my collapsible keyboard slides out like a Volkswagon cupholder. Now, I'm using my word processor.

Then I want to actually watch TV. All I do is open my web browser, log into my HD Internet service, then my HD Wireless Router sends my cable subscription to my iDock, which relays the signal to my TV, and I'm watching TV. Want to watch the Sapranos but don't have HBO? Call your buddy with a subscription, he comes over and boom, you're watching the sapranos.

Then, I want to watch a movie, I just open iTunes, click my movie library and select whichever movie I want. Everything is sent wirelessly (via bluetooth) to my TV screen hanging on the wall, and my wireless speakers. All of it is operated from my iDock.

Click another button, grab my wireless controller, and I'm using my iXBox 490. My games are all streamed to me over the Internet or stored directly on my hard drive. No gaming CDs to insert. I just rub my fingers on the screen and I'm beating up rappers in the new Def Jams LXi.

And as far as I know, I'm not really talking about something sci-fi. The technology is there. All that's needed is for the thing to be made.

C'mon Steve Jobs... you can do it. Bring me the iDock.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My Favorite Animal - The Octopus

I found myself watching videos about animals online today, and I came across these gems in my searches. (The fourth one popped up on my Google homepage when I went to check my email... that's the one that got me looking around.)

Anyway, the first video gives an introduction into why the octopus is my favorite animal. The second is an octopus squeezing through a one inch hole, and the third is just freaking cool. (It's actually a clip from a video they use at OHDELA, where I used to work.) The fourth, is a video about bees. (If you don't have time to watch them all, watch the third one at least.)

Who said there's nothing good on TV?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Faith and Friendships

This is my first really long entry in a while. I don't expect you all to read the whole thing so don't feel guilty for scrolling down, seeing all the text and moving on to your next blog. I understand. I wrote this more for myself than anything else.

I've been thinking a lot lately about two things. My religion and my friends.

My Religion: It seems as though religion is on the way out for much of our society, and here I am thinking about becoming a theologian. I'm trying to study Koine (Biblical) Greek in my spare time in order to get a jump on the language for when I go to seminary. Next year I want to do the same with Latin. I have been on a reading track through the Old Testament trying to read the whole thing before the end of the academic year. I have been thinking a lot about which Seminary I want to apply to for attendance next year, and all of this had left me thinking. "Why am I interested in this stuff?" "Why am I not more involved in my faith?" "When will I start to see myself becoming a better person, someone who looks more 'Christian'?"

I think about people I know. I think about Jason Lantz. I think about John Geib. Together, they are some of the most loving, Christ-driven people I know, and it shows in everything they do. I am not this way. I don't think most people would watch me and think "Man that guy gets it." I want this to be the case, and I know that in order for it to be the case I have to start by taking my faith more seriously, but it's tough.

Why? Why is taking your faith seriously so difficult? Why is it so easy to ignore Scripture for a long time? Why is it so easy to forget to pray? Why is it so easy to drop from my consciousness the thing that I know has to be more important to me than anything else in the world? Why is it so easy to curse my lungs out and make fun of people, complain and gossip about stuff than it is to look at people as people and love them right there? I don't know.

My Friends:
I've been thinking about how blessed I am with a group of friends, so large that I can't even begin to keep in touch with the people I want to keep in touch with. There are people in my life that I know I will always be around, people that will always be a part of my life. Babs and Carrie. Sean and Julie. Cris. Ryan and Heather. JR. Branden Mast. Lloyd and Suzi. Sarah Lantz. Wendy and Jay. Etc... you know who you are.

There are new friends in my life. People I've just recently met and I hope to stay in touch with for the rest of my life. People I want to remain close to and grow deeper with.

Then, there are friends in my life who I just wish I could spend more time with. These are the friends that really tug at my heart strings because I just know that I'm not going to spend as much time with them as I want. There are just so many amazing people in the world that I would love to spend time with and know that I'm not going to have the time to do so. It makes me sad thinking about it.

Then I think about the people that have become my friends because of Rachel, and I'm getting overwhelmed. There are just so many lovely people in my life or next to it, and I'll never have enough time to become as close to them all as I wish I could become.

Then I think about High School. I didn't really have friends in High School and I'm sure it's as much my fault as it was everyone else's. I was a bit of a moron, and tried as hard as I could to just be other people. As a result, I was as fake as everyone I made fun of, and didn't form any real life long friendships. And yet, there are the Adam Koehlers, the Kevin Vincents, and most of all the Peter Cummings out there. People I really miss, and I'll never have the time to spend with them. The first time I wrote this out, I tried to name all the people who fit these molds. But I counted out sixty eight names, and then realized that there were several I left off, and so I went through and deleted all the names. It's not possible for me to count up everybody and make an exhaustive list. That's amazing.

It's a shame. There are so many people in my life and just no time.

Then there's my family... and Rachel's family... and the students I'm working with now... and the students I worked with last year... holy cow. It doesn't end.

Then there are the people who have made me who I am today. Marcia. John Geib. Dr. Case. Dr. Waalkis. Dr. Polet. Dr. Floyd. Andrew and Lynn. Celia. Jeff and Linda. Pastor Taylor. Harry Winters. And the people who would never even imagine that they played a part in making me who I am today. Kevin Vincent. Matt Harbert. Meg Swansinger. Mrs. Richards...

At the end of it, I guess I'm just thankful. And maybe, I am becoming more like Christ than I know. Christ loved people, and maybe that's the biggest blessing he's given me. An increased capacity to love.

Now if only I could usher that capacity on to the people who drive me nuts...

So thanks. To everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. To all my friends who don't. To everyone who has helped me become who I am today... If you were here with me right now, we'd sing the Golden Girls Theme Song really loudly.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Hoopers are awesome.

The Hoopers are awesome. I love the Hoopers.

There Mandy. Now quit bullying me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Go ahead, Make fun...

You have to see this, even if it is pretty much fun at my expense. I can't believe Rachel and I both did this right after each other. It's even funnier when you realize that it wasn't staged at all. Thanks Tim.

Native American

Legend has it that my Great Great Grandmother was a Blackfoot Indian. (I think.) I've been looking around online to see if that would qualify me as a minority and whether or not I could apply for scholarships as a Native American. (Turns out I'm pretty sure I can't. I have to have 1/4 Native American Blood Quantum) But in my search, I found this gorgeous photo on Wikipedia, and thought I'd let you all see it. I spent quite a while looking back and forth at the faces. Anyway, here it is. And here is the even larger version from Wikipedia.