Monday, April 30, 2012

You Do Know I Sell Cell phones, Right?

There are a lot of people that ask me for advice on phones and service. Many want to save cash on their bills, others just need a phone because one got lost or broken. Any way you slice it, I probably can get you a better price than your local store, and better than the direct pricing from the carrier's website. 

Still, people continue to ask for advice, only to turn around and buy the device online from someone else or even better, they let the local store order it for them. Why, oh why, does this seem ok? It's like looking at houses with a realtor only to buy it from the listing agent at a higher price than listed.

Lets completely forget for a minute about the biased advice that Verizon will give you, or the speed and price advantage that T-Mobile will give you... What service works where you are? What carriers have the phone that you want? Who is going to fix the issues for you?

Service isn't just a before you buy thing... It is so much more than that. It's about trusting the person you are dealing with and using their knowledge to get the most out of your plan, money and phone.

Just my 20 second spout off... Now get over to and at least order a new case for that phone you just paid too much for.

Sent from my Windows Phone

1500 Clicks On My Boring Blog?

I have to admit this made me laugh. I write this more for my sanity than for the enjoyment of others, but apparently, someone must care. 1500 people have visited one story or another here, but not one has left a comment, a note or even an email about what they read. It makes me a bit sad.

I guess I should just continue to smile and enjoy writing out what I never say. I should just keep copying down my life events on my phone so I don't have to enter therapy. Frankly, smartphones are quite a bit cheaper than quack docs anyways... Right?

Sent from my Windows Phone

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Return To The Stage

As much as I wish I could say this headline was about me, I can't. It isn't about me, it's about Charles, my brother. He's one of the most amazing musicians that I have ever met. He writes tracks, improvises solos and just makes music come alive.

The last 9 years has been rough to watch as his music all but died. Whether it was work, family or just lack of interest, it was almost painful to see the music die. But, then, out of nowhere, a show was announced. Chuck had joined a local band called Rev3 and their first show together was last night.

Not that I was counting, but I think it is almost 10 years since I saw him play live. Yeah, there was that Vision 2003 fiasco, but seriously, it has been a long time.

Chuck played the Rev3 tracks like he was meant to play them all along, but Beyond The Scars sure had a familiar sound to it. Overall, the show was pretty good, although the vocal mix sure made me appreciate the way we used to go direct alot more than I remembered.

Maybe someday it will be my turn to get back up there, but for now I'm going to enjoy his new music, and patiently wait for a few MP3's to add to my workout playlist.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Most Important Thing

"I gotta figure out how to get this done. I have no idea how, but it really needs to come together." These are the words that are stuck on repeat in my head. I need to figure out how to get a financial backer to purchase our new home.

I know we won't qualify for traditional lenders yet, and there isn't much out there that we would qualify for otherwise, but somewhere, there has to be a way to make our dream come true.

Of course, that's if I think about a dream, not how good our reality is right now. Yes, we do live in a small apartment, with clomping neighbors upstairs, but it isn't as bad as where we were. Yes the fridge is acting up, but we are 5 minutes from the YMCA. Yes, the walls creak and the summer bugs are starting to turn up early, but we can afford things like zoo passes to escape... It is almost perfect isn't it?

I'm trying to weigh out in my head the battle to stress out, earn more money and buy a house against sanity and doing things right. Sure, if we can arrange private financing and make the payments affordable, our little green rambler would be amazing. If we can't, our options to purchase ride entirely on our chances of coming up with about $10,000. It isn't impossible, especially with the summer season coming on board, but it would be tough to book out every weekend to get there.

Oh well, I can't focus too much on this right now as it's about time to head to work and start the day. Maybe tonight is a good time to sit down and run some numbers. If I can make them look good enough, perhaps we should send them to the investment company and see if they will make an offer for us?

If not, I will remember what's really important, my family and making sure I never put them at risk again. Not financially, or physically or even mentally. My family is amazing and they are the reason I am up and ready to go to work. They are the most important thing.

Sent from my Samsung Focus S Windows Phone powered by Red Pocket Mobile

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Love Relaxing Saturdays...

Every once in a while, life comes completely into perspective. We spent the morning driving around and checking into a few perspective properties that we might want to call home. Most of the houses we checked out were total duds, or a flipper's dream. But one, one green little rambler would fit our family very well. Now we just have to see if we can find an investor that will take a chance on us for it. May not happen, but we're sure hoping we can find one soon.

The afternoon was a pleasant trip down to Georgetown for a photo shoot. The shoot went fantastic with about 15 great poses in a fast 45 minute shoot. Plus spending time with Sandra and Dawn is always fun.

We wrapped up the evening with a trip to the jam-packed Mukilteo Beach Park. We used to frequent there quite often when we lived in Everett, but not so much anymore. The parks in Monroe are so nice we usually don't bother leaving town for our beach picnics anymore.

Overall, the day was great. I just hope that there is some way of pulling off the deal for this house. It is the first one that we can see our family in for a long time. Not settling, not too expensive, not over the top... It's just about right.

Published from my Samsung Focus S Windows Phone powered by Red Pocket Mobile

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Day At Woodland Park Zoo

Sunday was the perfect wrap up to a fantastic weekend. We spent the majority of the day at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Another day of wandering in the sunshine, eating some yummy picnic foods and not thinking about much at all. It was amazing.

There were a few snags to the day that I had never seen before, like the zoo parking lots being completely full, water costing nearly $4 a bottle and Evie being one tired & cranky baby by late Sunday afternoon, but nothing could make the weekend any less perfect.

I do have to bring up how awesome it was having my Focus S at the zoo though. Not only because of the amazing camera, but there is a Foursquare newbie award for your first check-in at the Zoo that gets you a free WPZ bobble head toy! So, if you plan on going soon, check into getting a free Foursquare account, the bobble heads are cute.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Few Edits...

So I already posted a few shots from our amazing Saturday in Mount Vernon, but I took some time to edit a few on my Focus S just to see how they turned out... So compare and enjoy!

Sent from my Windows Phone

Tulips, Sales And Picnics

Today was a great day. We ventured north to Mount Vernon and enjoyed the first weekend of the 2012 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Although the tulips were far from filled in, the colors and fun were all over at Tulip Town.

We didn't venture inside the main structure this time, but we did make a loop around the outside of the field and even caught a quick trip around on the tractor. The day was the most relaxing and fun day I can remember having in quite some time.

After we finished a beautiful picnic lunch at Tulip Town, we headed back into downtown Mt. Vernon for a visit to the world's largest garage sale. We hoped that this one would be bigger than the one in Monroe, and thankfully, it was. We didn't buy much, but we did have a great time checking out all the fun old stuff.

From there, we took the Old Pacific Highway home through Stanwood and then continued through Marysville before finally heading home.

Today was just a great day. The flowers and weather were beautiful, the lunch was fantastic and the company was perfect. I think we definitely have to plan out more days this summer like this one. It was just too perfect.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Passion And Finding It Again

I don't really have a photo for this today. It was much more of an internal day for me. It started off just like any other Wednesday for me, but something bit me mid-morning: I wanted to shoot weddings again. Not just a little bit, but get our little fledgling business back up and running.

Sure, the excess money is great, but recapturing the feeling of creation, of making someone's memories live forever on a digital canvas... That's what I was missing. The feeling of a gorgeous setting, happy people and wonderful occasions. That's what life is. Being in a position to help those that can't afford to do it makes it even more special.

Over the years, I have seen way too many photographers go up in price and become those "money grubbing" photographers that they swore they never would become. I don't want to do that, and with my thoughts on a new pricing structure, expense control and more rigid focus, I think KrazyBird shall breathe again with a new life and new direction.

I want to get back to shooting the highest quality images at the lowest possible prices. I do need to make sure to build in equipment upgrades, repairs and a few other pieces that we have learned from experiences, but I think it is possible to do it all.

So, keep your eyes on our website ( and Facebook page as we start the relaunch soon. Value priced photography services have never looked so good - or been so affordable.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Monday, April 9, 2012

What's The Most Important Thing?

Having thought quite a bit about churches, money, community and life lately, I have started to wonder what are the most important things that we do? What is it that keeps us going everyday? How do we justify ourselves on a daily basis? And probably the most important thing, where does God factor in to all of it?

I have been really struggling with our church situation. Finding great people that are being led down a slippery slope is never good, but when those people are so inbred with the koolaid drinkers, how can they be reached? A church that is over extended, over taxed and over spent cannot continue down the road it is traveling. A church that cannot support itself, cannot support those who need it.

A family that cannot support itself, cannot support those that need it either. That is why over the last few years we have cut just about ever expense we have to barebones. Every dollar us counted, every penny gets pinched. It isn't that we need more than we have, but at some point, it becomes time to start planning for a future. Maybe a little savings, or a retirement account? Maybe it is that college fund for Evie that just never gets going. All in all, money just sucks and I'd be much happier without the worry.

It's that point that brings me back to churches and one in particular. I have attended quite a few churches in my days as a follower of Christ. Lutheran, Foursquare, Community, Baptist... None of them ever tried to squeeze blood from a stone as much as the last one we sat in. It scares me that these leaders are instilling such a false sense of hope for a better life for people, while raiding their piggybanks and telling them the grass is always greener on lake front property.

What they are missing is that life isn't always great. They think the worship team needs to be louder so God can hear them clearer. They think by eliminating the "rough" parts of the scripture, that they just won't happen. This is simply not true and not preparing one for those times will create a mistrust in God and cause serious resentment.

The roll of the church and its Pastors should be to grow individuals spiritually as well as personally. When we make each other accountable, it is easier to let God hold us accountable. When we don't allow ourselves to be convicted by our peers, we find it easy to let the Holy Spirit just fade away.

It's time that someone says something to the leadership of the Church. It is time for them to start seeing the vacant seats of those driven away by poor teaching and pleas for more money. It is time for someone to hold their church accountable for their deeds and their issues. Hopefully someone will soon, before those souls are lost.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

For The Last Time... Goodbye...

It's Easter Sunday. I came into today with an amazing hope that "our" church would do something special today. I hoped that they would share the message of one that was broken, mangled, humiliated and destroyed. I hoped that they would share the truth of the Gospel. I hoped that they would tell us who Jesus was. Instead, it was one last message of give and God will give back.

This type of thinking just isn't good. In fact, I personally think that this line of thinking does more harm than good. Once you are "blessed" and things bounce your way for a while, when a setback hits, a church that only preaches "rewards" doesn't prepare you for the tragic. The fact is God promises us tribulation and trouble. His own followers were beaten, thrown on jail and killed for simply preaching the Gospel. How can we expect nothing but the best?

It is with some heavy thought over the last few weeks, and many empty sermons that followed, that we are officially looking for our new home. I know the hardest part will be finding something in our community that will be the right fit, but we can't continue to hear fluff sermons that offer is no opportunity to grow spiritually.

So, as we start to grow, please pray that we can find a local church that will offer us some Godly leadership. Pray that we can find one that challenges us to become better followers and disciples of the Word. Pray that we find that mix of community and learning.

I know it won't be simple, and we will miss many of the wonderful people at The Rock Church, but it is time for us to find a better place to grow... Not one that just keeps asking for money to spend on a better worship show and larger pastoral staffs.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beautiful Days And Spring Flowers

Yesterday was a great day... At least for the most part. I had a great ride into work, a gorgeous day of weather to look out at, a nice workout after the daily toils and wrapped it up by riding home as well. I had almost completely forgotten how nice it was to ride in nice weather, in shorts, and not bundled up.

I would have almost classified it as the perfect day, but Evie is still clinging to her stubborn attitudes about potty training and it is stressing Mama out quite a bit. It is really hard to make a child do something, but waiting for her schedule is driving us both batty (although more Ara than me at this point since she has to deal with way more of it than I do.) I have faith that a breakthrough will happen soon though and we will be done with this rough patch.

For the moment, I'll enjoy the buy of Spring that we have and take the time to stop and smell the flowers... Unless my allergies keep acting up. Speaking of which, I need to go take my Claritin.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Out Of Focus

I have to admit it has been a blast using the Samsung Focus S the last few days. The larger display, the faster processor and larger storage space make the move back to the Radar a tough one, even if it turns out to be a short term move. But for now, financials rule over "bonus" features, but one more missed/dropped/coverage problem and I may just switch carriers for good.

Here's the issue... I am on the T-Mobile $30 (100 min, unlimited text, unlimited data) plan. Overages on minutes set me back a dime. I usually used anywhere from 50-150 minutes a month, 1500 texts and 1.5-2GB of data. The plan is great, and cheap! The problem is that I am now comparing it to the amazing Red Pocket Mobile service that I test drove last month and it doesn't measure up.

I can definitely get by with it, but having to think twice about calling someone or worrying about if the phone will ring if someone calls me has me stressed at times. But for now, the $360 a year trumps the better coverage and consistent data speeds. For now...

Monday, April 2, 2012

An Evening At The Park

Tonight I took the two phones I've been playing with for major test drives. The HTC Radar 4G vs. the Samsung Focus S. Camera against camera, signal against signal... Which one wins with a fun night at the park?

Overall, I love both devices, but honestly, out of the box, the colors on the Focus S just outshined the Radar's. It is hard for me to get used to the "AMOLED" blue screen, but the device is simply great - and even with only 2G speeds, it somehow works a touch better than the Radar.

On to the other part of my adventure, the evening at the park was a blast. Evie and Mama playing on the toys, the gorgeous weather and the brilliant colors just made for an amazing evening. After getting her swing on...

After finishing up at the park, we ended up taking a long walk around Monroe, checking out a few new homes that have popped up on the market recently. Ara brought up an interesting point of doing a bit of 'training' for our Disneyland vacation later this year. Apparently kids get tired and letting them build up to longer walks before going helps the trip go much smoother. What a smart wife I have.

Anyhow, that's about all I have for tonight. Check out the photos above and enjoy our night at the park.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another Message On Giving?

Wow... Churches seem to amaze me every Sunday. One church in particular though, really baffles me. How can a church, week in and week out beg for so much money? How do they spend so much? Where does it all go? I just don't get it...

I understand how a church body needs to tithe. I also understand the generous Christian nature that God demands. I also know that salvation is not tied to giving, but it is always better to live in the example of Christ and give all that we can of ourselves.

But when is enough, enough? I am tired of going to a church that preaches nothing but self help messages and giving. I don't want to hear about how I'm broke, but if I give to the church my life will get better. I don't want to hear about how little I have because I don't give enough. I honestly just want to hear about how I can bring more people to find Christ and salvation by sharing the Gospel.

Now, if that sounds crazy, I'm sorry. Souls saving us what this "game" is about and having a luncheon with the best givers or having to give the staff constant pats on the back publicly is not what serving and giving is about. Giving is a private thing, not to be shared with the public. Serving is something you do freely, not wanting the "good job" for doing it.

I guess I am just so bummed that such a wonderful place can be brought down by such simple ideas. How about a new plan... Give what you can when you can and we'll try and stretch of as far as we can to reach the most people. Maybe even drop a few of the excess pastors and staff that we don't absolutely need and replace them with a few volunteers if we have to.

That's just my two cents... Hope it isn't too upsetting.