Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trail Review: Ouachita National Recreation Trail

Labor Day weekend my brother and I set out on a little mancation. Hot Springs, AR is almost precisely half way between where he and I live so we wanted to do some backpacking there. It turned out to be a great choice- here are some of my thoughts on the trail.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Fall Classic: 8-Legged Chipotle Chili

I really can't think of a fall scenario where this wouldn't work perfectly- the campground, tailgating at the game, or on one of those cold nights at home. Carefully crafted and tweaked from my mother's chili recipe, this controversial bowl of chili has won competitions and holds the title of the only chili approved to be made in my household til death do us part. It's that serious. It walks a fine line of the right amount of heat and plenty of flavor. So from our stovetop to yours- here's the recipe that will fill your heart and stomach with happiness.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Build Your Own F-16 Flight Simulator

Here at KTF we're all about finding hobbies and projects that inspire the hearts of men to come alive. If you still remember all the details about the first time you watched Top Gun this is probably right up your alley. Join us as we take a look at what it takes to build a flight simulator on par with what the pro's use.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

.223 to .22 Ballistic Conversion

Chalk this up to my professional life spilling over into my hobbies. I've seen conversion kits that turn an AR-15 into a rifle that fires a .22 round and after trying it out I'm convinced that it's a great training aid. The only problem is the ballistic properties of the .22 are no where near the same as they are on a .223 or 5.56 round. Another common problem I seem to run into is not having a long enough range to practice on. With a little bit of inspiration, I think I solved both problems with one tool.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Not Another Veteran Holiday

Our founding fathers committed treason. By signing the Declaration they knew that if we couldn't back up our words they would find themselves sentenced to death. They believed in a land that was not just subtly different than England, but that we needed to start over and do this alone.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wooden Propeller: The Build

A few weeks back we gave you the plans for a wooden propeller, constructed the old fashioned way. This week, we'll reveal our progress on the build.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Uncle Sam has monopolized both the authors' time this month, so posting will be light. Stick with us and we'll be back to business as usual next month.

If you haven't yet, like us on facebook. We depend on our readers for growth so we're extremely grateful for those of you who are helping to spread the word.

During the down time, check out our popular posts on the right of your screen or just browse through our older articles to find something you haven't read yet.

We're still looking for some help. If you want to join our team as a staff writer, guest author, photographer, web designer, graphic artist, or another position you think we need shoot us an email!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Quit Like a Man

For the first time in my life I quit. It was a significant milestone in my story and I felt like I was going into uncharted territory. It went against the way I'd been raised and it was uncomfortable- but it was the right thing to do. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, hopefully you'll find the things I learned to be helpful.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Compensating for Drift

Combat Weather Airmen practice land nav
This month I hit the land nav course as part of my training to be an Army officer. Somewhere along the way my battle buddy and I got pretty disoriented. [Enter 2nd Lieutenant joke here]. Okay, it happened a few times. In this article I'll share some practical knowledge about what I learned on how not to get lost and the correlations it made me think of in our own lives.

Date Night Dinner: Penne Rustica

Most of the time we eat to meet a need. Other times food is an art. This is one of the latter times. So whether you're looking to impress your woman, or you just appreciate good, quality food this is a recipe your mouth doesn't want to miss. In all fairness, this is a KTF knock off that fixes the mistakes of the original (i.e. you won't find any seafood in here). The original comes from Macaroni Grill, so you could just skip all this and go there but where's the fun in that? [Editor's note: Yep. That's about as mouth-watering as our photos get. Sorry it's not mommy blog quality, but KTF is looking for a photographer...]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Plans For a Custom Garage Workbench

The workbench is the heart of any shop. It reflects the worker using it, and it's quality impacts the quality of the parts being built. I've designed this bench from some great ideas others came up with- I picked the ones I liked and the result is this bench which is great for a garage or basement. It features a transportable miter saw table, a heavy duty assembly table, plenty of tool storage and it's compact design allows it to fit in the workspace you have. The table can be built on a tight budget and with just a few basic tools.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Movie Review: The Avengers

I've never read a comic book and I didn't see all of the prequels. Truth be told, I'm getting a little tired of the super hero themed movies so my expectations for this one weren't too high. With all that in mind, I didn't figure I'd be writing a review on this one so my journalism cap wasn't on. By the time I realized how awesome this movie was going to be, it was too late for objectivity. Consider this more of a: "Things Tim Thought Were Cool" vs. an actual review.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Making Couple Friends

Before I started dating Angela, I knew it was a done deal. That's a story in and of itself, but I was convinced she'd be the last person I would date. Turns out that's not entirely true. Now before you go spastic, let me explain. Eventually, there comes a point in your relationship when you come out of the magic pixie dust cloud and remember you actually need other friends. But the world is changed. Whether you're dating or married, you've made some level of commitment to your woman and that will impact what your other relationships in a big way- turns out the process of making friends with other couples is like dating all over again. Only it's more complicated.

Project Inspiration

Preview of the KTF Workbench Project
Recently I've been on a kick to build something. Anything. (Hence all the posts like this and this, and some of the ones that are in the works like how to build a workbench, and plans for a sweet man cave...) So before we go back to our regularly scheduled programming, I thought I'd share a neat tool I've found to help get all those mental masterpieces into a more tangible format.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Every Man's Slaughterhouse

For the modern cow, the transition from roaming the range to Big Mac is just another day in the life. It is so easy in fact, that the cow doesn't even see her demise coming. The process is designed to be as humane as possible, giving Bessie no reason to fret as she's taken to the chopping block. Moments later the butchering process begins and the spoils are sent around the world to carnivores like myself to enjoy. This isn't an article about my views on the morality of eating animals but something far more serious- just like cows, we can be lulled into a demise we didn't see coming.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Planning a Camping Menu

Fact: Food tastes better when it's cooked and consumed outdoors. One of my favorite parts about camping is all the great food I bring with me. If you're new to the idea of spending a weekend or more out in the woods or if you're just looking for a little inspiration, here are some helpful tips on planning meals- along with a few of my favorite foods.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: The Warrior Ethos

The tenets of honor and valor have been around the battlefield for thousands of years. Author Steven Pressfield, a former Marine and author of Gates of Fire*, takes a look at the similarities and common threads of warriors that transcend time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wooden Propeller: The Plans

Its no secret that Ruedi and I are huge aviation fans. Propellers are an icon for the golden age of flight when airplanes were simple and extraordinary. Ordinary men like the Wright Brothers, Manfred von Richthofen, and Charles Lindbergh were catapulted into stardom- the heros of young boys and grown men alike for generations to come. If you know what I'm talking about then this project is for you- bring a pice of aviation history into your home (or man cave) and try your hand at the lost art of propeller carving.

The Essential Toolbox List

One year when I was growing up, my dad had the great idea to help us start building a tool collection. That Christmas, all four of us little tykes (my sisters included) got a hefty, Craftsman tool box. Every year since, we get a little something to add to our box and by the time I moved out on my own I had tool boxes with enough tools to tackle most household chores. So if you find yourself using a butter knife to screw in hooks for a picture frame it might be time for a trip to one of men's favorite shopping grounds.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Native's Guide to Chicago Deep Dish

My wife has on many occasions, called me an elitist. I prefer to think that I'm just assertive in the things I like. If I want a burrito it means I want a barbacoa beef, black beans, and pico de gallo. If I want a cold one it means grab me a Boston Lager. When I want a pizza- a real pizza, I'm talking about Chicago deep dish. If your travels have you headed through my old stoping grounds here's a guide to help you find the ideal pie- and I'm not talking about anything with apples, try to keep up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wrestle Until Death

I got the news over six months late that a friend of mine passed away. He died just a few days after I left for Basic Combat Training last fall and I was cut off from the outside world. The unexpected news hit me hard this morning. We lived on a tight knit floor of about 40 guys in college and he was a freshman when I was a junior. My buddy was wrestling with what it meant to follow Jesus, to be out on his own and making his own decisions. That's a good place to be- especially for an 18 year-old. And the group of guys on that floor known as the 2A Titans couldn't have been a better place for him to wrestle.

I got to mentor a few underclassmen that year and whether he knew it or not, he was one of them. Most of those freshmen I met for breakfast on a regular basis and we'd talk about life, but this guy wasn't ready for that. So I worked out with him, took him skydiving, and brought him along to the occasional Bible study. The next year he decided the school wasn't for him. We didn't talk much after that and the last I heard before this morning was that he spent his summers on a fishing boat in Alaska and went to another Christian school closer to home.

I haven't mourned in a long time, but I stood in the kitchen this morning and just let the tears stream down. No sooner, could I hear the voice of my Lord reminding me of the death of his friend Lazarus and how he got there too late- his friend was in a tomb and Jesus just wept. I know the rest of the story and that Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, so I asked him, "Why were you weeping for your friend when you knew you could do this?" And he answered me, "because this is not how it was supposed to be." When Jesus breathed life into Adam he never intended on one day taking it from him, but the penalty of sin is death. Jesus wept because he was a man who lost a friend he loved and that wasn't part of the plan. Not for Lazarus, not for my friend, or for you or me.

The news of his death hit hard because I don't know what happened to him in the last few years, I don't know how his struggle with the Lord was going or if there were any other godly men that stepped in and walked with him. It makes me think of my own brother and how he has been wrestling with the same questions- or if I am completely honest, with my own life and how I still choose to do things my way. The Lord reminded me this morning that just like I know the end of the story with Lazarus, I know the end of this story too. In the end, love wins. Not in a Rob Bell kind of way where everyone gets a free pass to Heaven, but in the way that Jesus described it to Lazarus' mourning sisters: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." In the end we are perfected by Jesus' love.

I'm at peace knowing my friend placed his faith in Christ, and that my brother has, and that I have. From there I pray that we would all continue to wrestle with who Jesus is. Take the blows and the punches, the highs and lows all in stride as our savior shapes and refines you to be more like himself. Let the Lord strip away any false pride that you have have that would lead you to believe that your own righteousness is any less filthy than your brother next to you. Believe in the one who came to save you and wrestle with him until death.

His name, Josiah, means "healed by Yahweh" and right now, the same Jesus- the same Yahweh that started a good work in him has carried it out to completion and Josiah couldn't possibly be any more healed than he is now. See you soon brother.
2nd Titan Airborne

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Cleaning Part II: The Grill

Imagine digging into your fridge and grabbing some foul smelling ground beef then going to town to make some patties, or pulling out some hot dogs that are marinading in a dark brown sludge that smells like roadkill. Not exactly the ingredients you want to serve up to your friends or family... but generally we don't think about those things once they go on the grill. It's hot- so it has to be clean, right? To keep your food tasting as good as possible and your grill working to it's best it requires some maintenance. For this project we'll look at tackling the best part of our backyard- the grill and getting it ready for this year's cooking season.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Operation: Blue Wolf- The Review

I'm all for making plans and making them happen. Thanks to a church leadership that sees the value in guys spending time together, and a few key individuals that helped me plan and execute the mission I'd say Operation: Blue Wolf was a huge success. In the outline, I promised I'd give more details on how it went down, so before I forget everything, here's the practical side of how to pull of one of the coolest man-trips I've been a part of.

State of the KTF

In the two months we've be live we've doubled our hits from 400 to 800 per month so thanks for spreading the word around the globe. We really appreciate the feedback we've gotten so far, it has been influential in shaping the direction we go. Don't be afraid to be the one to start a discussion on a post or to disagree with our opinions, different perspectives help temper the limited view that each author has. We always welcome any ideas our readers have, so keep them coming.

For the time being I still feel like the Lord is encouraging us to keep going with this (I can't speak for Ruedi, but I'm guessing he'd agree), so that's what we'll do.

Wanted: Guest Authors, Artisans, Test Pilots, and Shameless Promoters
Have an a idea you'd like to share, a how-to, or a review of something? Ruedi and I would love the help of some guest posts to help bring relevant content to our readers. Let us know if you have something to write about here.

 Are you a graphic artist, photographer, web developer, or media type? If you like what we're up to here and want to be part of the team we'll offer you double what we're currently paying you to read the blog. But seriously, we could use your help.

Are you actually trying what we're writing about? Send us reviews, tutorials, or improvements so we don't get too academic here.

Finally, we could always use human advertising. If you enjoy something, post it to facebook, Google+, twitter, forward it to your entire contact list, or mention it that myspace you still have... We've been read in all but the following states: AK, AR, AZ, CT, FL, HI, ID, LA, MA, ME, MS, NH, NJ, NM, NV, RI, UT, VT, WY. Okay, so the list looks shorter when you look at a map, but if you know people in those states, spread the word.

NEW: Publishing our personal email addresses here would be silly, but here's our new blog email address, if you want to get in touch.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Perspectives on Failure

7th Grade. I got to school early that morning and ran to the gym. There on the door was a print out of the names that would be on the basketball team. For a few years I'd been going to basketball camps in the summer, my dad installed a hoop in the driveway, I played in the intramural league, but this was the first time I'd been tested in a tryout. I scanned the paper over and over again looking for my name as if by mistake they'd left it off. Nope. I tried out next year for the 8th grade team and made it. I worked hard during practice, but I spent all but 14 minutes of that season on the bench. I grew up a little when that happened- I realized that there were things I wasn't cut out for, that others were better at things than I was, and that I could fail at something I set out to do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Man's Burger Part II: El Bandito

Spring time temps are heating up across the US making the grill an even more attractive option for your dinner. Spare yourself from the same 'ol cheeseburger with this Tex-Mex treat: El Bandito. It's not quite the vegan nightmare that The Frontiersman is, but it will bring the fiesta to your next BBQ.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guy's Night Ideas

We've taken a look at some ideas for date night with your lady, but what about your time with the fellas? Those times can be equally important and are a healthy part of every man's life.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book Review: Beautiful Outlaw

This is the first of John Eldridge's books that I've read in a while, and I can't be more glad that I picked this one up. In his book, Beautiful Outlaw, Eldridge seeks to remove the "religious fog" that we've surrounded Jesus with to help show who the real Christ is so that we may come to experience the radical, life changing Jesus every day of our lives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Business Travel on the Up & Up

Within a year of graduating college I was certified gold. American Airlines Gold that is. Along the way to gaining that irrelevant title I picked up on some tips and tricks to make business travel as stress free as possible.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to Paint MultiCam/OCP Camo

OEF Camouflage Pattern or OCP is one of the one of the best camouflage patterns in use today. It is currently fielded by the US Army, USAF, and US, UK, and Australian special operations forces in Afghanistan. (It was also worn during Act of Valor by the Navy SEALs). On fabric, the pattern is digitally printed, making complex patterns possible- and reproducing the pattern on your other pieces of kit quite challenging. Whether you're a grunt or hunter, I'll show you how to spray paint this unique pattern on your gear.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The ABC's for Special Forces, Fighter Pilots & Manly Men

At one point or another in your week you'll have to spell something- it may be to the hostess taking your name at the restaurant or to the student loan representative on the phone in India. Most attempts sound something like this, "B- as in boy, A- as in apple, and D- as in dog." The solution to your nursery school spelling technique is a system heavily utilized by both the military and aviation communities around the world: the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring Cleaning Part I: Household Inventory

Welcome to March, one of the more comfortable months here in the state of Texas- I thought it'd be good to share some inspiration for spring cleaning. I've got a few ideas for more "man of the house" type projects that we can get done that I'll post in later articles. As a famous Canadian philosopher once said: "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."

Preparing for Family Expansion

Generally speaking, I dislike writing about things that would expose my lack of knowledge, wisdom, or comprehension of a topic- however, for the sake of conversation I'll scribble some of my thoughts out. Babies. If you've known me long enough you know that word isn't one of my favorites. If you really know me, you'd know that the only reason for my dislike is that the idea of having my own scares me to death. Over the last 18 months God has really been helping me overcome some of my mental hurdles- but one big one still remains: when?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Insult of Injury Pt 1: The Fall

February 26 marked a year since my accident.

I work with Unmanned Airplanes (UAVs), and the job takes me all over the place for training, testing, and more training. Early last year I was in Arizona to get a new qualification, and I don't often get the chance to be around mountains. The area where I was training had some mountains, but they were small, remote, and the few climbable rock faces were very chossy (not a safe situation). So one weekend a friend/co-worker (Scott*) and I headed 4 hours away to Tucson, which held the promise of taller, cleaner, and more established routes. We woke up early, crammed our gear into the rental car, and drove to Tucson. We made a stop at a little climbing shop and bought the requisite guide book, Squeezing the Lemon II. We also picked up some good beta from the shop guy, who recommended starting at the lower end of the Mt Lemmon highway and working our way up.

It turned out the highway had an entrance fee, but there was a parking lot outside the ranger station, with a trailhead to the first climbing area. We parked the car and started walking. It was an intense hike- a 45-degree hill with a gravelly trail and lots of cactus. Plus the 4000-foot altitude was killing us. I'm a Colorado boy, but I've been away for a while. It took about 45 minutes to hike and scramble our way to the cliff with the good climbing, and man it was tiring. But we had an awesome view of Tucson and and whole valley, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and there was awesome climbing to be done.

We picked an easy-ish 5.9 grade climb to warm up on. We had both been out of practice for about a year and a half, so it took a lot of hangdogging and thrutching just to get to the top and say we did it. Once we finished that route, we took a quick break and picked out our next climb: a 40-foot 5.10b-R with a slightly overhanging crux. The R rating came from the placement of the second bolt: about 10 feet off the ground, and the wall sloped inward, then back out for another 15 feet to the 3rd bolt. Translation: if I fell between the 2nd and 3rd bolts, it would be possible for me to fall further than my gear could protect me (a prospective ground fall situation). I got my climb on, with Scott on the belay. The first moves went well, and I got to the second bolt in just a few seconds, mostly because I was pretty freaked out at the prospect of cratering. Good motivation, no?

I got to the overhang, spent a few seconds looking over the rock, and continued on. Left foot up, tiny toe hold. Reach for a right hand crimp, balance with right foot, and stretch high for a left hand jug. I was pretty pumped by that point, and glad I made it to the 3rd bolt. I clipped in, took a deep breath, and kept going. After that 3rd bolt, just above the overhang, I seemingly ran out of either A) anything to grab with my hands or B) the creativity to find it. I got a sketchy hold with my right hand, stepped up, and ran out of anything to grab with my left. I yelled "TAKE" to get Scott to take the slack out of the rope and watch me fall. I swung out to my left like a barn door, and released my right hand. It was a completely natural movement for me- I knew to lean back and take the fall, keeping my feet out, knees slightly bent until I reached the end of the slack in the rope and swung back towards the wall. Entirely safe, and a relatively normal action in sport climbing.

I fell about a foot past the bolt I had just clipped into, and my weight was just hitting the rope, and I was bracing for impact with the wall. But then I heard the sound that would change everything and rip away all feeling of control: PINGGGGGGG. I yelled "UUNGHHHHH" as my stomach lept into my throat, and the brief feeling of weightlessness entered my conscious mind. In the space of a split second, I processed what must have happened: the bolt that was drilled 6 inches into the solid rock and glued for safety just a few weeks before must have somehow come loose. I didn't have much time to figure it out, because I could almost feel the ground behind me, coming up to meet me as I flailed in slow motion. The thought must have been too much to bear, because I don't remember anything after that- just blackness.

I came to in my harness, looking at the ground just two feet from my face. I was confused because I expected to be crumpled on the ground looking at the sky as everything faded away. It happened the opposite way though, and light and sound eventually came back as everything became more clear. I was upside down. That was confusing. I looked to my right, and I saw the bottom of Scott's shoes as he hung from the wall. That confused me too. But then the pain started coming in waves.

Scott had heard my yell to take the slack out of the rope, and cinched down on his belay device. He heard the "ping" too, and preemptively took out another 2 feet of slack in split seconds. The force of me falling to the point where the 2nd bolt caught me pulled him off his feet and yanked him straight to the wall.

I gingerly made my way to the ground, almost afraid to touch it for what could have happened. I felt an incredible pain my my ankle, but it wasn't much more than the feeling of hitting your knee hard against something and catching the nerve just right- I used to do it when pushing my brothers down a hill on a sled. I figured I just slammed the side of my ankle against the wall somehow, and the pain would leave after a few minutes. I sat there trembling, doing the "ssssssss... aaaaahhhh.... sssss..... aaaahhhh..... sssssss..... aaaahhhhh" thing for a few minutes. I tried to put weight on my ankle, but immediately felt a grinding sensation that both answered my question and confirmed my fears.

I was no longer invincible in my youth. I was no longer symmetric. I was no longer physically qualified to pursue my dreams and partake of my active hobbies. I pushed all of those thoughts out of my mind as I focused on just getting back to the car. Scott was able to find a sturdy branch from a low scrub brush, and we fashioned a splint to keep my ankle from moving.

It was rough going. Scott gathered our backpacks and gear, and would run 20-30 yards down the trail while I sat and watched. Occasionally, the trail was level enough for me to hop on one foot. Most of the time though, it was covered in granite pebbles that served as ball bearings. A slip would take me either down the hill or into the many clumps of cactus bordering the trail. I would have to gingerly slide down on my rear end with my bad foot sticking out in front of me, or stand on my good foot while leaning on Scott for support while we heaved a step at a time down the hill.

The trip took us about 2 hours, but it was the longest 2 hours I've ever had to endure.

Next stop: Doctors.

*not his real name, courtesy's sake.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Movie Review: Act of Valor

Let's get one thing straight before we get anywhere on this review: I'm a different breed than most. Every last drop of my blood is red, white, and blue. I'm proud to put on the uniform I wear that stands ready to protect my great nation. That being said, I lost all objectivity for reviewing this movie before the previews even started. Act of Valor was one of the most impactful movies I have seen in years. I left the theater with a weight on my chest and my head spinning with a slew of emotion and I'll recommend that any man should go see it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Man's Burger Part I: The Frontiersman

Hamburgers. I'm rarely unhappy when I have one in my paws. From the greasy Five Guy's style through the fancy steakhouse offering, I'll gladly take it. But from the first time you realized as a child that the cafeteria burger you were eating had as much flavor as cardboard, you learned the truth that all burgers are not created equal. For me, the quest to find the ultimate burger has stretched across the globe- only to end in my backyard. Yes, I dare say I have found the pinnacle of them all: The Frontiersman.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Living a Man's Story

A PBS Masterpiece Theater show called "Downton Abbey" has been getting some publicity lately. Partly because it is a throw-back to the British "upstairs-downstairs" dramas of the past, and partly because it is a fresh take on the style, with more intricate and fast-moving plots. I used to watch Masterpiece Theater back in the day when I wasn't really allowed to watch anything on TV besides PBS. (anyone remember Marty Stouffer's Wild America?) I don't remember much besides the adults always looked mad or hot or gassy.

The show has had somewhat of a fresh following with the "Downton Abbey" series. I read an article from the New York Times this morning that explains, among other things, the inspiration for the plot: American TV shows like "Sex in the City" and "Glee." Julian Fellowes, the writer for the show, explains his reasoning behind writing a somewhat cruel take on a relationship between two of the characters: "These are two people who have not been given all that much in life, but what they have been given is a real love. I wouldn’t ever want to undermine that. But they’ve got to suffer a little. Nothing harder to dramatize than happiness."

They've got to suffer a little. Interesting.

Consider Romans 8:18- "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

I don't claim to have the answer to famine, war, miscarriages, divorce, or bad things happening to good people. I am exploring the story that I am a part of. God is the author of all things. And good authors know that hardship brings drama, which creates a good story.

I don't want my story to be boring. I want it to bring glory to God. I want it to be exciting. I'll be writing more on this topic in the coming months as it relates to my life and dreams and goals. But take some time to look at the plot twists God has written into your life, and see if you can't find the hand of a master author. And if you're up for a good story, get ready for more.

*if you want to read a lot more on the idea by a guy who is a lot better at writing about it, check out Donald Miller's blog, and his book, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story."

Operation: Blue Wolf

It's that time of the year when we start looking out the windows waiting for spring to get here. Well quit sitting around and start plotting. I've got an idea that you and your buddies will be talking about for years to come, and if you start planning now you'll have enough time to pull it off this spring or summer. I'm talking about an extreme game of capture the flag that will be the gold standard by which all your subsequent guy outings will compare to.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Bible in a Year

Recently, our Sunday School class read through David Platt's book, Radical:Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. The book ends with a one-year challenge: to pray for the world, to give sacrificially, to read through the Bible, to spend time developing community, and to spend 2% of your year (1 week) in a "missions" type setting. I'll devote more time this year to articles about some of the other parts of the challenge, but I thought I'd pass along this neat tool that I'm using to read through the Scriptures this year.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Shoot Like GI Joe

When it comes to pulling the trigger, no doubt the US armed forces are some of the best shooters in the world. Here's a look at how to shoot like a bona-fide GI Joe- not the Channing Tatum knock off. The principles of marksmanship are the same for shooting a Boy Scout .22 all the way through the Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle. It takes repetition and patience, but shooting a gun is a skill anyone can learn. Seriously: anyone.

What I Look For When I'm Hiring Someone

In my job as an engineering manager I've been part of the hiring of quite a few employees. Here's the insider information to get me to hire you.

Date Night Ideas

Don't stand there like a deer in the headlights when she asks where you're taking her to do for date night. Chances are dinner and a movie will be just as big of a hit as it was last time. And the time before that. It's fine every once and a while, but if it's become your go-to then you may want to keep this list as an ace up your sleeve.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

B Dubs Pulled Chicken Sandwich

Here's a an easy recipe for a variation on BBQ pulled chicken with a little Buffalo Wild Wings twist. Set it in the crock pot before you leave for work and come back to a tasty dinner.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Merits of Setting Down Roots

We live in a global society like none other before this age. Air travel, video conferencing, and social networking change the way we do business around the world. It’s becoming more and more rare that you’ll pick up that gold watch from your employer after 25 years of faithful service. No one bats an eye if you grew up, went to college, and had jobs in different states. Let me take a moment to challenge this mindset. Consider this: the community you’re a part of will be worse off if you move.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Planning the Perfect *Romantic Vacation

It can be one of the most fun vacations you'll ever take- just you and your woman. Here is a simple guide to planning the perfect *romantic vacation.

Bug Out Bags

If you search for Bug out Bags on the internet you’ll quickly realize there’s a cult-like following for these things. The designs cover the spectrum of woolly-faced mountain men and their wilderness survival gear to gadgetry for clandestine operatives on the run from agencies acting outside the bounds of foreign governments. (And then there are those obsessed with surviving a full scale land invasion of the undead, but I won’t even give a nod to that group as I am a grown man.) Chances are what you need is somewhere in the middle of what the Brawny man and Bourne would pack.