Monday, December 22, 2008


With a little more than a week left in 2008, I have finished* Grant & Darin's 2007 movie lists! For those of you that know either of them, this is a list that they agonize over (ok, maybe that's too strong of a word). Darin gives his star rankings, Grant just lists them. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and decided to combine the lists and watch all of them. *The following appeared on at least one of the lists and I I did not watch for the following reasons:
The Kite Runner (I'm going to read the book first)
No End in Sight (one of my best friends is in Iraq finishing his 3rd tour, I didn't think I could emotionally handle the movie while continuing to be encouraging to him)
This is England (Grant told me it was too violent for me to watch...he knows me well)
Killer of Sheep (this was on Grant's "want to see" list...and he decided it was boring)

Here is the combined list - the + means I liked it, the - means I didn't (I'm pretty simple like that.
No Country For Old Men +
Gone Baby Gone +
Juno +
August Rush +
The Bourne Ultimatum +
Michael Clayton +/-
American Gangster +
Atonement +
Once +
The Lookout +
Rescue Dawn +
Hot Fuzz +
Sicko -
1408 +
Live Free or Die Hard +
Sweeney Todd -
Dan in Real Life -
You Kill Me -
Zodiac +
There Will Be Blood +
The Great Debaters +
Charlie Wilson's War +
Ratatouille +
Into the Wild – (beautiful scenery though)
I'm Not There -
3:10 to Yuma +
Persepolis +
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly +
In The Shadow Of the Moon +
Elizabeth: The Golden Age +
The King of Kong +
Offside +
Death at a Funeral +
Away From Her +
Breach +
The Savages -
Triad Election +
Enchanted +

Movies that I saw that I thought should have been on their lists:
Under the Same Moon
PS I Love You
Lars and the Real Girl
Nanny Diaries
Mr. Brooks
Charlie Bartlett
A Mighty Heart
The Counterfeiters (Darin did add this on 12/16, 3 days after I watched it!)
Son of Rambow

Now I await the 2008 lists!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Got Beer?

I read this article last week (but had to wait for the on-line version to appear this week): (sorry, you have to cut and paste because I tried for 15 minutes to embed this!) I found the article interesting. I to wonder what causes some Christian leaders to drink. Now, I know, I'm in a pretty decent church community. For the most part they don't care if the leader does or doesn't drink. But I think that examining your motive for downing a brew isn't bad. Thinking about your example to others isn't bad. Determining if your drinking a drink will cause someone to be closed to talking to a "Christian" isn't bad. I guess I agree with the author in that you just need to think about cultural relevance & motive.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We're slow

Us kids. Man, we blog like once a month. haha. I am officially done with my Christmas shopping! Woohoo! I am not done with Grant & Darin's movie lists. Well, I'm done with their lists, but I have 3 movies I'm watching that they might have missed on their lists. So I'm waiting until I finish those to post my opinions.

The bro came to visit this last weekend and my legs still hurt from all the walking. True to previous visits, we walked alot and ate :-)

We saw Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk. Pretty cool.

We ate Mac & Cheese (yes, that's a slab of bacon at the bottom of the picture)

And PB&J sandwiches (ok, one was cherry preserves & cocount - the other was cream cheese & chocolate chips)

And we took our picture in front of this building because everyone else was taking pictures. We figured it must be something Extremely important! ;-)

We also saw a pretty cool drum line competition...from the back. And a pretty sweet college basketball game. Good times. It's sweet having him so close - now that he's all grown up and all my friends love planning cities with him and talking game talk. I just sit by and nod.

Finished the holiday cards for work today....500+ of them. For the record, that's alot of addresses and stamps. I'm just sayin'....

Monday, October 27, 2008

The quandry of tips

So at my job - we don't keep the tips. Every month we pick a different non-profit that they go to. I try to make them run the gambit: religious/not, buying animals, coffee related, NOLA rebuilding, soup kitchens, invisible children, etc. Most people are pleasantly surprised by this - our tip amount doesn't really change month to month (I find that interesting). Every once in awhile I get comments about our giving the tips away. Once a guy noticed the charity and said, "Finally, you've got a legitimate charity here." Um, every month they're legit.....

A couple weeks ago this younger (ie. my age!) guy comes in and as I am turned around making his drink he says, "So the altruistic bastard you work for doesn't even let your tips?" I wisely wanted to take a few moments to decide how to answer him. One of my thoughts was "this dude just called me a bastard AND somehow doesn't think it's possible that I'm the boss" Even though I have thought about this time and time again and have a pretty standard answer ("All of us who work here make a good living - we choose to share our tips with those who might not have as much"), I had no clue how to respond to this guy. So I turned around and said, "I made that decision and yes, we give our tips away."

As I was relaying this story to a friend he commented, "You know - Jesus was both altruistic AND a bastard." Well, when you put it that way - I guess the altruistic bastard I "work" for does challenge me to live on my more than enough wage without the tips and to give the rest away....

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I figured I would post this here for those of you who haven't seen it yet, these are the games I have been working on since I started at Merit .asp. I have worked a little on almost all of them. I am now mainly working on finishing up one game while consulting/working on another one that I had been a programmer on. Also my name is officially in the credits, so if you get the small chance of going to a place with one of our machines with the new software you will see Grant Shonkwiler :).
Other than work things are going great I went on a cooking frenzy today and have enough food to survive the next few days. I have also been very excited about how the Phillies are doing it is great being in a city so excited by their team, everywhere you look there is red. :) Well time to go back to reading things about my industry.

PS I learned yesterday that I am able to write off games on my taxes this year, Ha who would have thought. :p

Thursday, October 2, 2008

No Spend October

Every year since I've been here some of the guys at church have observed "No Shave November". Sometimes it's just 2 people, sometimes more. We have hairy men by the end of the month.

Last week I read an article in Reader's Digest about a family who went a whole month without spending any money (with some exceptions for fresh produce).

Both of those events have prompted me to try for a No Spend October. I thought about November so it could be as cool as No Shave, but I don't think I can with the holidays approaching. There will be exceptions, the big one being that this is mostly no New spending (ie. I'll still pay off my student loan, my regular IRA amount, health insurance, internet, etc.). I will be allowed new spending for:
1. My dress that has been at the dry cleaner for 2 weeks, I don't want it to get donated while I'm not spending!
2. The box I was planning to send to Iraq
3. The piece of art I was in talks to buy before September ended.... and I will allow myself to be a piece at the Atlantic Antic, if I love it.
4. Hardware to finish "the" chair. I was almost finished repairing a chair and need 2 pieces to totally finish it so we can actually use it.
5. Fresh fruit/veggies. I will alot $20 per week that I can spend only at the Farmer's Market. If I don't make it to the market, I don't get to spend it.

It will be a month of sacrifice, but also a month of maybe some creativity. I currently have 6 books in my "to do" pile and plan to finish those. I have full cabinets (that I didn't stock beforehand, as I was out of town), so I'll have to be creative in how I cook & eat. I tell you reader maybe as a form of accountability. So here's to the beginning of the month!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Busy, busy

Wow - time has flown since the last post. We've had the fall kick-off in Brooklyn, they had Ike visit in Burlington, the Phillies are in first place and we're all looking at which Toyota we'd like to drive.... a lot can happen in 3 weeks.

I got all my design work done the Saturday night before it was needed Sunday morning (wiping sweat off brow). I'm pretty pleased with most of it :-)

Last night as I walked home I passed the pizza joint (not the one I eat at - I don't like their pizza :-( ). As I pass I hear a woman exclaim "$4? It used to be $3.75!" It made me chuckle to think about the 25cent difference that was causing this woman to create quite a scene. But I guess when you live in the same city as the Stock Market, you've got to watch your pennies.... or you quarters.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Baseball the LONG American past time

Went to 2 baseball games in 24 hours.... Pops wanted to go for 3, but we was worried the Little Lady might not be too happy with that (and me, I don't know if I could have taken it!) I AM taking credit for the Nationals little 2 game streak. If they want more, they can call me when they play the Mets ;-) Hanging with the extended family that I almost always refer to as the in-laws (although they aren't) was actually good this time. Spent an entire day in a museum yesterday. Touched base with a cousin I probably haven't seen in 25 years and probably didn't talk to when I did meet him. I liked him & he used to live in Queens (but now Chi-town). Great aunts & uncles, 2nd cousins and regular aunts and uncles.... all good times. Uncle asked me at the wedding reception if I was going to reenact Wedding Crashers...nah.

Getting back on the road again.... which will lead me to my sisters!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

So after a month, I have found a space of time which allows me to contribute to the lives of my siblings. Poor excuse, I know. I accept full responsibility for being a slacker. Of course, now H1 will be joining us shortly, an occasion to greet with excitment and gratitude. Not too long before the season arrives that will allow all of us to revel in each other's company.

For those who dont know (how could you not?), I took my first grad class this last week (8-5 every day). Not too demanding, thankfully. I have five for the rest of the semester, starting next monday. Those are promising to be a bit more demanding. Mom was hoping this grad class would be an introduction for me to the future Mr. I did so hate to disappoint her... Alas, soon she will have to try something more industrious.

Hope all is well in your prospective tinsle towns. The land of opportunity awaits! How come I cant find it?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm Here

I just really don't have anything to say that I don't say at my other blog. Um Heidi is awesome for letting me come crash and see Bob Dylan the other night. Also I think me and her have way too much fun when I come up there, you know why? Because all we do is EAT!! Or at least we do it a lot, the other night we each ate a Pint of ice cream! I had the Stephen Colbert "Americone Dream" ice cream. Yea it was awesome.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Am I the Only One Here?

My good buddy KTL has mentioned that for a blog with the title "Shonkkids", I hog the blogs. I quickly pointed out that it just means the rest of my sibs are actually living life rather than just writing about it.... I think he didn't really buy my argument and started e-mailing me articles to read (which I took to mean: comment)

Here's one that I read today:

I won't comment on much of it because well, while those close to me know I am very opinionated, I would have to say that politics is where I am not. Might have something to do with the fact that I don't know how much voting for one person within our current 2 party system really will make a difference..... but I'm also still thinking that through and enjoying being cynical, so don't try to debate me.

I did like how the article mentioned that tomorrow both candidates will sit down with Rick Warren. In case anyone missed the hoopla when Obama spoke at Saddleback, trust me when I say there was hoopla among the "Christians". I find it interesting that along with preparing for debates - our (not even official yet) two candidates need to sit down with Rick Warren.... Is anyone going to be surprised when the 2 guys tailor their discussion to appeal to the broad Christian base? I won't be.

I'm not worried about what will be said, there's a reason these 2 men have a staff of writers - and a person responsible for faith outreach (how did I miss THAT Craigslist posting?!). I'm more concerned about what we as individuals and therefore as a whole are doing to address the things we find important? Global warming, poverty, same-sex marriage, abortion, war?

My good friend Dr. Al mentioned in his blog this week that we are in political uncharted waters due to race in this election. I agree.... but I also think that we are in uncharted waters due to Generation X or Y's (or whatever the right name is) potential party realignment... that might not come until they step into the voting booth.

In more exciting news - little bro and I saw Bob Dylan this past week. He definitely met more exciting people than I. I saw Geraldo trying to line jump in the beer line and stood behind people that have probably scolded their adult children for smoking they smoked at the concert. The man played for 2+ hours. I don't know how Dylan felt the next day, but we were feeling it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Financial Freedom... really?

I fear that this is becoming a forum for my rants, so I will start with something "non-ranty".

My brother is now living a mere 2 hours from me. And even though neither one of us has cars - it is doable. I think that he will live in Philly and then "weekend" in NYC... although the accommodations are a bit worse than most people's weekend homes (we make up for it with the food). I'm excited about having a sibling so close!

Last week a group of students came from NKY to work with a church in Bay Ridge. Some of these folks were in the 8th grade small group that I lead..... Good times with them playing kickball, making fun of them eating KFC and Uno's (I STILL don't know who comes here and does that!) They also were gracious enough to bring G & I some stuff from home and carry a table back for me. Getting that little table out of my room increase my floor space by 25%, I think!

We are starting our bi-annual question of "What should we do for small groups?" Since I moved here I've wanted to do a financial/budget group. Living in a city is expensive and oftentimes the pay isn't that much more than what a "suburban" job would pay. Within my first 6 months here I finally understood the statement "We couldn't afford to leave the city." I've been doing my homework: searchin the internet, asking wise people I know (that would be my pops who knows both small groups AND finances) and checking out different small group materials. I have a few that I'm liking but I also have a question: These materials, which will help people get their finances in order, WHY ARE THEY SO EXPENSIVE? Now, I understand that when you're done with your 11-13 week of small group, things should be pretty rosey... but at the start you're supposed to sink either $49 or $93 on material?! I'm thinking that if I had to decide between joining that small group or eating/paying rent for the month - there would be no question. So I've decided that when I write my amazing financial material, I will make it low-cost. Maybe even make it a pdf and let it be downloaded for free..... we'll see :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Hello All. Finally found time to read my email and found this. Life is good everything is moved in and in a place somewhere. Still training at work which is really just like full sail "Here make a game see you when you are done and we will grade it." So yea I have as much time as I want but I decided on a week (ending tomorrow hopefully). Work is awesome we get free food (usually once a week but we have had it 3 times this week and there is a ton left in the work fridges) we goof around, we play practical jokes, we make fun of everyone that isn't us in the studio. Yes it is true we are elitist. Tomorrow I go to NY to visit Heidi ($20 round trip WOO) should be fun. Ok that is it back to other stuff. Love you all

PS These are private right I don't want my shoddy random writing showing up on my professional search ;)

PPS This is for Heidi and her Feist hatred

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blind Man Stood on the Road and he

First, I need to say that every time I think of this song, I think of one man: Don Strunk. He shaped my middle school years and beyond by singing this song....alot :-)

On my way to work yesterday I passed by the subway stop. Usually there is a man with a mohawk at this corner passing out free newspapers. I realized as I was crossing the street that it was a different man (also signaling that it was a different free paper). I also noticed the man had a cane, a cane like blind people normally walk with. As I got onto the sidewalk I was going to continue down the avenue (as opposed to into the train like most people would be doing) and the man asked me if I'd like a newspaper. I was pretty amazed that he heard me walking by in tennis shoes while big trucks zoomed past us. I'm lucky if I can hear the conversation that's meant for me to hear it in these situations.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What could I do with $28K a month?

Man, lots of things for me to have an opinion about today. I was watching Oprah today and she had Alexis Stewart on (daughter of Martha Stewart). She was talking about her infertility and how she was trying to get pregnant (she is 42 and divorced). In her quest she is spending approximately $28,000/month on treatments. As I sat here, I thought about what you could do with that money a month that relates to a child.... adoption? open and run a few foster homes? open a home for unwed mothers? I don't know - I don't have that burning desire to have my own biological child, so I know that I am not completely impartial to the argument.... just something to think about.

Was she worth it?

So when I moved to NY, I brought with me an excellent umbrella - courtesy of my former employer for Christmas. When you live in the land of cars, umbrellas are nice and useful. When you live in the land of walking, good umbrellas are a necessity! I walked with my great umbrella for about a year before going to a bridal shower at a friend's apartment. We all left our umbrellas right outside her door (in the building's hallway) and when I came out my umbrella was gone! I walked around for about a month with a cheap umbrella before realizing that I was going to have to invest a bit of cash in a quality umbrella. I made my way up to Macy's - got lost in the store - before finally making it to the purse & perfume area (just my cup of tea). Picked my umbrella and we have been happily exploring this city since that day.

Last night I helped out at the Feist concert. It was supposed to rain. My trusty umbrella and I hiked up to the park and got our ticket. And that's when they told me... "you have to leave your umbrella outside". I almost turned around and walked home. I knew in my gut what would happen if I put my nice umbrella, in it's case, in a pile that a thousand other people were going to toss their umbrellas into as well.....

It rained - it poured, for about 20 minutes - as I sought shelter under a tent flap. It was dark when the concert was in it's encore. I walked outside the gate to look for my umbrella before the crush of folks came looking for theirs. I could see nothing and went back in to finish the job I was there for.

Was Feist good? Sure. Was she worth my trusty umbrella? NO! Luckily some people gave up looking for their semi-quality umbrellas. So as I was leaving and the garbage truck was pulling up to haul them all away... I snagged 3 of them. I figured that would hold me over for at least 3 rainstorms.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And so it begins

Here we are - the beginning of our "team" blog. We'll see how this works out - or who contributes the most (I'm guessing me, since this was my idea).

I feel like the first post should be something amazing or challenging or insightful. Instead I will leave you with a conversation that I heard (part of) over the weekend. It was 2 girls that were at least high school seniors... maybe in college.

Girl #1: what's so wrong with that idea? "I know I don't want to marry you, but I want to have your babies."
Girl #2: Yeah, you get together and then 'See ya in 9 months!'
Girl #1: That would work for however many babies you wanted.

And that friends, is why we have some of the problems we have.