Cars 3 is Everything You Didn’t Expect in a Cars Film (and More!)

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Pixar lovers and Cars naysayers, rejoice! Cars 3 is not only by far the best of the franchise (and this is coming from someone who loved the first installment), but it ranks up there with some of Pixar’s more adult films (think Toy Story 3 and Up).

Click here for my full review!!

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Electric Beach Entertainment

Entertainment. It’s what we’re all after, right? I mean, isn’t that why we chase money? So we can afford our Netflix accounts and comedy tours?

I’m apart of a new website called Electric Beach Entertainment. It’s three youngish dads who talk about Star Wars, Marvel, The Walking Dead, Friends, sports, and all things retro. We also provide original content, like miscast movie characters, like the video below:

And since I can’t do voices other than a French/Mexican-sounding guy who claims to be Italian, I put together a few staged rants. Who doesn’t like a good rant? Like this one:

We have a YouTube channel as well. So head on over and check out some of our stuff. Drop us a line if you have any suggestions or hilarious videos to submit. Subscribe and share and we’ll start doing giveaways and other fun things.

My Adventures at Starbucks

I need to be grounded from Starbucks.

For the last decade and a half I’ve only ordered frappuccinos, which are basically just really fancy milkshakes. Be it summer or winter, I’d get a frappuccino because I really really hate hot beverages.

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A couple of weeks ago Starbucks ran this deal where if you buy one macchiato, you get a second one free. (If you don’t know, macchiatos are those fancy iced-coffee drinks that look like someone went way overboard with the cream.

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I always thought they looked kind of good. But when I learned that that’s not cream at the bottom, but VANILLA, I told Sarabeth we HAVE to try them!

We bought one and got one for free, and now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve had about 9 of them. I’m friggin’ addicted to this crap now, even at $5 a pop! And now Sarabeth feels like she can go to Starbucks with me because suddenly I’m a grown-up drinking grown-up drinks instead of milkshake-wannabe’s. Except that when I order my macchiato I ask them to “double the vanilla,” because there’s no such thing as enough vanilla.

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Well, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve ticked off quite a few Starbucks employees. (Be warned: after my confession you’re going to see me as a total jackass, but promise me you won’t say you wouldn’t do the same thing if you were cursed with my ineptitude for remembering key details.)

You see, when I was hooked of frappuccinos, I only had to decide on a flavor. Like, double-chocolate chip (which drove Sarabeth nuts because I chewed each individual chocolate chip with my front teeth like a crazed chipmunk), vanilla (cream-based, of course), mocha (which is basically a coffee-flavored milkshake), or any flavor of the season.

But with macchiatos I have to choose a flavor, remember to ask for extra vanilla, AND choose hot or cold, and apparently the default is hot. There’s no such thing as a hot frappuccino, otherwise it would just be a …ccino, and that just sounds racist for some reason.

Almost every time I’ve ordered a macchiato I’ve forgotten to ask for an ICED macciato. When they hand me the hot beverage with the cardboard coaster snug up around it, I know they see the look in my eyes and they’re already taking it back before I say, “I’m sorry, I meant to ask for an ICED macciato.”

They’re forced to fake a smile and say, “Certainly,” because those awesome Starbucks employees are trained that customers should always get what they want even if they’re complete jackasses like me. And then I sit in the car awkwardly while the line of cars grows behind me and I pretend to be texting someone on my phone even though under my breath I’m cursing myself for being such a jackass.

Why not just take the hot macchiato? Well, that would be like eating cow turd when you really wanted chocolate syrup. Big difference.

So my immediate life goal is to always remember to ask for ICED macchiatos so I don’t continue being that guy I never want to come across. That, or I should just start ordering macciatos with no coffee. Because let’s face it, vanilla is good cold or hot.

My Day at the Fair

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Hi, it’s me, “Baby A.” I logged into my dad’s blog again.

Yesterday, my parents took me to the Kentucky State Fair. Being only seven months old, I’m safe to say this is the first fair I have ever been to.

First thing’s first. The smells! Okay, so I know I don’t produce very good smells, but good grief! The next time my dad complains about how bad my diapers smell, I’m going to grab my dad’s nose (because I’ve mastered that by now), crawl right down to the nearest farm, and stick his face up to a cow’s bottom.

Speaking of cows, my dad got in trouble by Mom saying something like, “No wonder they look so sad, they’ve all got a gloom future ahead of them.” I wonder what he means by that.

But on a completely different subject, there was a lot of meats and steaks and pork, and it all smelled so good! Sure, the only thing I like at the moment is formula, sweet potatoes, and fluffy pieces of bread, but I’m sure I’ll learn how to eat all that other stuff.

My dad got to check off something from his bucket list. He got himself a donut burger from donutKrispy Kreme. He kept saying, “I’m not getting any younger,” like he was psyching himself up to actually do it after talking about it half the day. Mom thought he was nuts and made him promise that that would be his only one. He promised it would be, but I wonder how serious he was. I thought only babies were supposed to be gross!

We got to see this thing called the horse and mull pull. It’s where they see how many pounds these animals can pull before they get-attachment-1.aspxbreak their legs or something. I was feeling sad by how hard they were having to work, so I started crying halfway through. I like doing that sometimes, just to make Mom and Dad uncomfortable.

I wonder if I’ll remember these days when I’m older. Probably not, but my parents will, and I think it’s good for people to get out and do fun things like go to the fair, or drive by a lake, or pack a picnic and take the dogs (and the baby) to the park for an evening.

After all, that’s what makes life worth living, isn’t it? Those little things? At least that’s what I’ve been told.

But all in all, it was  a fun day! I got as hot and sweaty as I’ve ever been, Daddy got a tummy ache, and Mommy got to get out of the house. I hope we go again next year so I can try one of those donut burgers with Daddy, then beg him to take me on a bunch of spinny-twirly rides afterwards.

I’ll be tall enough for those by then, right?

Journey Into America’s Pastime

img_0042_2Summer is well under way, and many of you are probably planning vacations and road trips across the country.

If you find yourself, for any reason, traveling down Interstate 65 through downtown Louisville, Kentucky, you’ll notice the handle of a giant baseball bat peaking above the buildings. Nestled in the northwest corner of Louisville’s downtown area, the Louisville Slugger Museum is just a few pitches distance from the great Ohio River, and close enough to Slugger Stadium to walk. The bat is a replica of Babe Ruth’s own, and leans against a five story brick building engraved with the name Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Just across the street is the genealogical research library, America’s Heritage: Sons of the American Revolution. It seems fitting that a library preserving our country’s history would neighbor one dedicated to America’s favorite pastime.

Sometimes it seems we’ve forgotten the charm that baseball once brought to our country. But an afternoon spent in the modestly priced museum at the north end of Museum Row will reinstate one’s faith in the game that many baseball loyalists recall with fond memories from their visits to Fenway, Wrigley, Yankee, Slugger…

Come with me and discover why attendance records have been broken in the short span of 2013 alone (January, 6,000 visitors; February, over 13,000; March, 25,000 – all during the off-season!). Let’s take a peak behind the tinted glass doors and see what has been drawing people through them since 1996 (and, based on the length of their lease, will continue to draw people in for the next 183 years).

You are greeted by a gift shop on your left that baseball naysayers will be drawn to after completing the museum’s tour. If that’s you, rest assured that sites like Trip Advisor are filled with positive reviews from even baseball cynics. (As of this writing, it is currently ranked #1 of 58 attractions in Louisville.)

If you’re lucky, you just might get a glimpse, like I did, of the company’s president, Jack Hillerich, grandson of the founder John A. “Bud” Hillerich (b.1866-d.1946). Or maybe you’ll run into Dale Murphy or Ben Revere, just a couple of the major league players who have made their way through the museum in the last six months alone. I missed him, but Chuck Harmon, the Cincinnati Red’s first African American player, stopped in the day I was there.

Baseball lovers of all ages will appreciate the up-close view of the production line. Here, tourists are brought through the step-by-step process of the conception of a Louisville Slugger at eye level.

Tour groups are lead through the process by a knowledgeable guide. At the start of the tour, you are greeted by stacks and rows of billets, cylindrical pieces of wood, shipped in from Pennsylvania and New York mills. Some are destined for the shelf of a retail store, and others will shine under stadium lights in the hands of major league greats.

On the tour, you’ll witness the work of lathes – wood carving machines – that cut and shape each billet to exactness (precise down to 1/100th of an inch), specific to the needs of the players. But these machines didn’t become the go-to for crafting bats as far back in history as one might think. Slugger bats have been hand-turned up until a shockingly recent date. (Hint: It’s very likely Johnny Bench and Rod Carew hit with hand-spun bats.)

Next, the bats are carted to the sanders, on the very carts that once carried Gehrig’s, Cobbs’, and Lazzeri’s bats. Here, they are sanded down to a smooth, silky texture. These sanders produce up to 15,000 lbs of sawdust a day.

Once the sanded bats are dipped in a water-based lacquer – 400 bats per hour – they’re taken over to be foil-branded, where the brand new Louisville Slugger’s shiny gold logo is meticulously placed on each bat. This year is the first time in 33 years the logo has been updated. There’s another brander, a century old, for unpolished bats where they are branded the old-fashioned way, by an iron. Be sure to smell it for that old-fashioned campfire smell.

At the end of the factory tour, you’ll be given a mini Louisville slugger bat to take home with you. And don’t forget to pay the $1 fee to hit your choice of ten fastballs or ten softballs with your favorite player’s bat. (I was only able to just barely skim the ball once with Hank Aaron’s anvil of a bat.)

Who knows who’s bat you’ll see brought to life when you tour the factory. It’s possible that when you watch David Wright crouching over home plate (another recent visitor), that might be the very bat you saw take its first breath of air in the bat factory in downtown Louisville at the Slugger Museum.

Puppies!

I thought it would be a fun Friday treat to give you guys a look into our home life. In this post you’ll find a link to the blog Sarabeth maintains about the three dogs we have living with us in our  loft. The purpose for her blog is so that her sister and brother-in-law can check in on their babies every now and then.

Last summer they moved across the Atlantic ocean to carry out missions work for our Lord. (For a little more on missions, read here.) They own two dachshunds, Roxy and Sydney, but they couldn’t take them along because they heard that the people group was hostile against dogs. So they left them in our care. Our dog Pixie was glad to have new roommates to play with (especially Sydney), and so this has been our life for the last ten months.

Enjoy. And please tell my wife what a wonderful blog she has: The Dachshunds

(Also, please don’t judge us for the poor quality photos. We’re trying to save up for a better camera to post better pictures for you all.)

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This Summer’s Reading List

Summer’s approaching and that means… book fever! Yes, it’s time to dust off those books you’ve been meaning to read for so long, pull out those books you received for Christmas last year, open them up and start reading. I always say that no one is too busy to read. If you’re saying that, then stop *reading* this blog (or tweet), and stick your nose in a book. (And not a book that’s most likely going to be made into the next steamy movie – that doesn’t count… that’s just watching a silly movie in slow motion.)

So as you’ve probably figured out by now, every Tuesday is Book Rec day here on Adopting James. I’m just tingling with excitement over the next several books I’m going to read  this summer. Here’s a sneak peak at my bookshelf I’ll be making my way through in the next few months, so if you have any of these books, you can read along, or maybe this post will inspire you to get out there and treat yourself to some useful purchases. Be looking for my reviews in the next few months. And remember, I’m open to suggestions, so email them to me or comment. Happy reading!

This will be my first official baseball book, as I’ve just recently developed a love for the sport. I’m more interested in the history of baseball than taking it up as something I currently follow. Anytime you mix history in with something, my attention is taken captive. And heck, reading about the world’s longest ball game could be a good way to begin my baseball reading endeavor. Anyone have any other baseball book suggestions?

 

 

I am indebted to this man, like many of you, in so many ways. No so much because of the products he’s invented (Sarabeth and I still only have a MacBook, but would like others), but because of certain investments he’s made. Many people don’t know this, but it was Steve Jobs who gave Pixar Animation Studios their start by funding them back in the late ’80’s. In so many ways, it’s because of Steve Jobs that we have movies like Toy Story, Up, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and others, thus ultimately saving the Disney Studios. And, I’ve been told that it was Jobs himself who suggested Woody be a good guy rather than antagonistic when Lassetter, Stanton and their team were creating the first Toy Story . Why is that such a big deal, you ask? Let’s just say I’ve got a small collection of Woody figurines on my desk, including a real pull-string Woody doll on my bookshelf… with my name (Andy) written on the bottom of his right boot.

 

This is one of my favorite books, written by one of my favorite classic authors. If you haven’t read it, or Around the World in 80 Days, you finally need to do so. Plus, I hear Disney is making a movie about Captain Nemo, so… gots to be prepared for that.

 

 

 

I’ve heard nothing but outstanding things about author Erik Larson, and especially this book of American history. It’s set in Chicago, 1893, and centers around an architect, who was behind the idea of the 1893 World’s Fair, and a serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. This sounds like it has all the makings of a classic. Why didn’t they teach us this sort of stuff in school?

 

 

This book came highly recommended by Dr. Albert Mohler, and quite frankly, after reading a couple of his recommendations, I just keep going back to his list for more. And, after seeing The Conspirator last year, I’m very excited to get the story inside the story. I mean, other than hunting down Nazis or terrorist, what else could be more exciting than searching and capturing John Wilkes Booth? Plus, this will be great preparation for Spielberg’s Lincoln coming out this summer – And no, he does not go around hacking zombies to death with an axe.

Additional books: The Universe Next Door, Sire; The History of Israel, Kaiser; To Try Men’s Souls, Gingrich; America: The Last Best Hope, Vol. 2, Bennett; God’s Passion for His Glory – Piper

Image credits: Bottom of the 33rd, Steve Jobs, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Devil in the White City, Manhunt