Adventures in Blu-ray Authoring

What Started All This

*If you don’t want background, skip to “How To Make It Happen” for step-by-step directions*

I love the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series.  The story is engaging, the humor is on point, and the artwork is beautiful.  A glaring issue, however, is that Nickelodeon has only ever released the show on DVD (which I have purchased…twice) and the quality of some of those episodes is barely better than that of a VHS tape.  I’m not sure what the reason for this is but the fan community has been clamoring for a better quality release for years, myself among them.  Yes, the show was originally aired on TV in standard definition and animated in a 4:3 aspect ratio but the art wasn’t drawn with fuzzy, double lines was it?!

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Passionate Pursuit

I was recently invited to write for GetConnectDAD‘s 52 Traits campaign. Its focus is to provide a platform for dads to talk about the traits that we would like to help instill into our children.  Below is my guest piece on the topic of being Passionate (or click here to view it on their site).

When people hear the word “passionate”, they often assume it is connected to the romantic realm; it’s just one of those words that tends to be associated with a singular meaning.  “Passionate” can also, unfortunately, trigger assumptions that what is about to be said will be sexual or even pornographic.  Be honest: when you read the title above, did a little part of you think that you were about to read about dating or marriage?  Maybe something along the lines of “Five Tricks To Keep The Romance Alive After Kids”?  Sorry to disappoint but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re needing that.

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Think about someone in your life that you would gladly follow: a boss, a friend, a parent.  Someone who you naturally trust to “lead you into battle”.  Now think about someone that is the polar opposite.  A person that you’d rather not even have on your team, let alone trust enough to follow.  What separates these types of people?  Would it be their upbringing?  Gender?  Race?  Socio-economic status?  Get past the surface level profiling and you’re left with one key trait:


Yes, passion is a requirement for healthy, romantic relationships but that is not its only purpose.  Passion is about so much more than that.

When you love what you do and don’t dread going to your job every day, that’s passion.  When you spend hours working on a project that others would avoid, that’s passion.  When you want to learn everything there is to know about a topic, even if it is not required to pass a class or get a promotion, that’s passion.

Passion is what allows us to become successful and to achieve great things.  It is what pushes us to not give up even when others would throw in the towel.  Passionate people are inspiring and compelling; they are leaders that we gladly follow.  We look at them and think “I want what they have”.

I have been dreaming about how to be a proper father to my baby girl since my wife and I opened that envelope last Christmas.  What will I raise her on?  What cartoons should she watch?  What board games should we play?  What video games should I introduce to her?  Before I started to become overwhelmed with all of that, I already knew that one of my top goals was to teach her how to be someone that is passionate.

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I consider myself a bit of a nerd.  Video games?  They can be fun.  RPGs?  Never actually tried a proper one.  Books?  I recognize some author’s names but I’m not as much a Reader as my wife.  But I love movies!  I love watching and critiquing them; I love feeling the emotion that a great actor can give their character (Matthew McConaughey in “Interstellar” watching the video messages from his kids absolutely wrecked me – big ‘ol man sized tears).  I enjoy looking into previous work of specific directors, cinematographers, and writers to see how they have refined their craft.  I then seek out their films even if they fall into a genre that I would normally avoid (this happened with “The Cabin in the Woods” simply because Joss Whedon wrote it).  I also love comics and the stories they tell; I love collecting and building with Lego; I love spending an evening with family and laughing over each other’s stories; I love having deep and challenging conversations with friends and strangers regarding my Christian faith.  You get me going on one of these topics and I light up because I am absolutely passionate about them!

Being nerdy just means being passionate about something, including everyone – the coolest people on Earth are passionate and therefore nerdy about something whatever it is, whether it’s sports, or gaming, or technology, or fashion, or beauty, or food, or whatever. – Zachary Levi

I want my daughter to learn how to be nerdy; to learn how to be passionate about something.  I want her to know that her passions should not be hidden just because some kids at school don’t share them.  I want her passions to impact and guide whatever she does in life.  The only way she will be learn to embrace her nerdy desires – the only way she will learn to be passionate about whatever is of interest to her (be it books like her mom, movies like her dad, or something else entirely) will be if she is given the example by her parents.  If she sees it everyday in her father.

It is my responsibility, privilege, and joy to cultivate my daughter’s passion and to encourage her nerdy behavior.  That requires me to remember to be someone who is unafraid to spend time doing the things that he loves, even when other people think they are silly or childish.  If my daughter is nerdy – if she is passionate – there will be nothing in this life that she will be unable to accomplish.  She only has to learn how.

Pain Management

Click Here to read part 1 of this series where I gave an inside look at the emotional weight that all pastors shoulder.

Feelings can become too much for anyone.

This post was supposed to be done a month ago. It was actually finished and ready to share two days after Part 1 but then life happened and I felt like a hypocrite.  I had all this great stuff written about how we should handle emotional overload in light of our Christian faith but I couldn’t bring myself to click “publish” due to the realization that I wasn’t actually doing it myself.

Regardless of if you are in ministry or not, everyone can hit that point where they are emotionally overwhelmed.  That “full” line on our inner emotion tank is closer than we realize and if one is not careful it can spill over – like it did for me.  It can spill over and affect other areas of our lives and the lives of others if we are not mindful.

Examining our habits can be uncomfortable because we tend to realize in those moments of clarity that we don’t actually have it all together like we thought!  I shared in Part 1 how a few Christian leaders in my life have handled their emotional overload but now it’s time to bring it full circle – how do I handle my emotional overflow?  How do you?

Want to make yourself squirm?  Ask yourself what you do when you’re overwhelmed: Continue reading

Emotional Baggage

In my experience, most leaders in the faith guard themselves with gusto which can prevent their church family from understanding the burden that they carry. My goal with this post is not to mindlessly rant. I simply wish to be frank about the emotional weight that all Pastors shoulder.

As a pastor, I encounter a lot of emotion.

These emotions do not originate with me and are in addition to what comes naturally – I am, after all, a living breathing person.  This “foreign emotion” is called empathy and most normal people have the ability to feel it.  Empathy allows society to function and lets us “put ourselves in their shoes” when connecting with other people.  There’s a downside to empathy though which that it can get overwhelming after awhile.

I tend to care about pretty much every person I encounter.  I feel “happy” or “sad” based on other people’s attitudes which is often an annoyance to the point where I wish I could stop caring completely – I can get so bogged down with feelings that it can be a struggle to even function.  I remember being told by an older friend of mine (who had a couple decades experience in Youth Ministry) that I needed to develop some thick skin so that I wouldn’t burn out.  Realizing that I had to protect myself from other people was a harsh wake-up-call.

Everyone can experience “empathy overload” from time to time.  But where most others have the ability to bury themselves in their work as a way to escape, I can not.  Pastors don’t get to enjoy the luxury of “losing themselves in their work” because when we do we end up coming into even more contact with the emotions of other people.  Day in and day out we are surrounded by those who need love and comfort and, to be honest, it can be exhausting.

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Cat Theology

I found this via /r/christianity, posted by /u/1nstrument.  All credit goes to them.

God gave us cats to show us exactly how He sees us.

Here are the similarities between us and them:

  • They ignore us most of the time, but won’t shut up when they want something from us.
  • When we open doors for them, they’re hesitant to go through and often come right back in a few minutes later.
  • They’re nearly impossible to train.
  • They scare easily, scattering and hiding at the first sign of trouble.
  • They often get into spats with other cats.
  • Not content with their own yard, they go and piss on other cats’ territory.
  • They think we’re reaaalllly impressed when they bring us dead animals.
  • They leave disgusting messes for us to clean up.
  • They get up on ‘high places’ the moment we turn our back, even though we know they know not to because we can see the guilt on their furry little faces.
  • Their antics are often hilarious.
  • They put themselves into situations that they need help to get out of.
  • They hate it when we try to dunk them in water.
  • We buy them nice things but they spurn them and go with cheap substitutes.
  • If they get lost and find their way back to us, we are overjoyed.
  • They can be quite cuddly when they want to be.
  • Even though they’re flawed, we love them terribly and want them to live in our houses so we can dote on them and enjoy their company forever.