Tag Archives: Tekaramity

Interview with Tekaramity

A while back, I asked my good friend Tekaramity if he’d let me interview him for the blog, and he graciously accepted.  The first set of questions focuses more on Tek’s contributions to the brony community (yes, this is partly an interview about interviews), and the second set focuses more on some in-depth personal questions.  Even if you’re not a brony, though, I’d encourage you to read the whole thing.  Tek is a stupendous guy, and his heart shows in all of his equally outstanding answers.  Without further ado, fillies and gentlecolts, it’s Tekaramity!

1. So, first things first for any readers who don’t know you already: Who is this Tekaramity guy?  We’ll get more in-depth with these sort of questions later, but as a sort of introduction, what are ten words that you would use to describe yourself?

Effervescent, crowd-shy, compassionate, overworked, bizarre, and organized. Like a boss. Hardcore. (This isn’t ten.)

2. Before we get to the more standard questions, let’s talk about those confounded ponies.  Most regular readers know that we met through our shared bronyhood, but how did you first become a part of the herd?

October 15th, 2010. I was lurking the Comic Edits thread on the Penny Arcade forums, and I noticed that the sophisticated and inestimable SabreMau had posted a PA edit referring to a new My Little Pony show that was “apparently quite good.” He had also posted a link to the Hub’s website for said show. Trusting his judgment, I followed the link, decided I liked the cute ponies, found the pilot (and, at the time, only) episode on YouTube at pensivepine’s channel (before she had to switch over to pensivepony), and watched MLP:FiM. By the time the theme song played, I’d decided I liked the show; by the time the credits rolled, I was hooked for life.

3. Alright, on to the big 3 – favorite pony, favorite episode, favorite song.  Which ones are yours and why?

Favorite pony: Mane6 plus Spike. Specifically, though, I like Rainbow Dash’s design best, Rarity’s dialogue best, and Pinkie Pie’s personality best.

Favorite episodes: Party of One, Suited for Success, and Cutie Mark Chronicles.

Favorite songs: Art of the Dress, Hush Now Quiet Now, and At the Gala.

Favorite music: Cutie Mark Crusading, Rarity’s second fashion show, and Pinkie’s psychotic breakdown.

Favorite fan music: Hush Now Quiet Now Ponybeat, You Gotta Share Ponybeat, and At the Gala Ponybeat. (I really like Ponybeat. A lot.)

Favorite OC ponies: Frosty Starr, Sunny Spring, and Tek Pony! ^.^

4. A while back, you joined the staff of Equestria Daily.  How have you collaborated with Sethisto, Cereal Velocity, and Phoe?  And how has your position at EqD changed the way that you interact with the community?

I’ve worked with Seth a bit on various random projects, but mostly as an adviser or assistant only. That YouTube archive is my own build completely, for the record. I’ve worked with Cereal Velocity a bit on various interview projects, mostly talking through audio engineering and final drafts. By far, I’ve worked the most closely with Phoe. First, I provided her timely feedback and suggestions for her Q&A with Jayson Thiessen; that project wound up being about 90% Phoe, 8% Tek, and 2% Cereal. Second, she and I spent hours (’til 7 AM, one night) polishing and fine-tuning my Q&A with Lauren Faust; that project wound up being about 90% Tek, 8% Phoe, and 2% Cereal (Cereal must not be whole-fat [ba-dum-TISH]). Finally, she and I teamed up most effectually to bring about the Jayson Thiessen audio interview; that project split about 45% to both Tek and Phoe, with Cereal supplying the other 10% via light audio engineering. I absolutely enjoy working with Phoe and will most certainly do so again during future interview projects.

In terms of interaction with the community, the one thing I’m not looking to be is a ‘rock star’ or famous pony fan. I made some excellent friends before I joined EqDaily and interviewed FiM crew members, and I cherish friendship more than admiration. However, I readily admit that I have made some great friends in part because of my becoming a slightly-well-known community member. I’m in this for the ponies and the friendship, but I truly do appreciate the support and encouragement from fans as well. ^_^ You rock, everypony!

5. One of your biggest and most fascinating contributions to the brony fandom has been your ever-growing number of interviews with prominent figures from the FiM team.  As I recall, your first big interview was with Daniel Ingram.  How did you secure that opportunity, and what were the high and low points of the experience?

Daniel offered to be interviewed for EqDaily back when it was relatively small (fewer than 720,000 hits). I had e-mailed him asking about the potential for a soundtrack release as well as any notifications regarding Season 2. In the middle of the exchange, he offered to be interviewed. Seth agreed to let me conduct the interview, which I readily admit I had hoped to do after reading Daniel’s offer; while I’m in no way a professionally-educated journalist, I am confident enough in my writing and cognitive processing abilities to be capable of handling this sort of project. The high points were definitely communicating with Daniel himself (he’s a jovial guy, to be sure) and being able to bring such insightful information to the community at large. The low points were fumbling through the process due to my severe lack of familiarity with it and sounding a bit fanboyish in a couple of my initial e-mails. I definitely improved on all points for my interview with Will Anderson, the show’s underscore composer.

6. Another interview that stands out is your interview with Jayson Thiessen – not only because he’s the Supervising Director of the show, but also because, unlike all of your other interviews, you actually conducted and recorded this one vocally together with co-EqD-editor Phoe.  What were some of the highlights of getting to actually talk with Jayson Thiessen?

For certain, the greatest aspect of that interview was talking with Jayson before and after the recorded segment. We were all nervous going to it – Jayson included, since he’d never done anything like this before! – but he definitely shattered the ice with his outgoing demeanor and conversational pep. By the time we reached most of the interview proper, we were basically discussing the show as a group instead of strictly interviewing him directly. After we concluded the actual interview portion, we talked further about the show’s expansion and overwhelmingly positive support. Jayson’s a swell guy, and he definitely made the entire process 720% easier. So, thanks again for that, Jayson!

7. And then, of course, there’s THE big interview: Faust herself.  If you’re at liberty to say, how did that golden opportunity come to be?  And how was this interview different from the others that you’ve conducted?

I’m probably at liberty to say, but I don’t want to say out of respect for her time and privacy. However, it wasn’t difficult to secure her interest – rather, the difficult part was the seemingly interminable wait between her acceptance and the Hub’s final approval. Once that was all set, everything flowed quite smoothly. And mostly, this interview was different because I polished and fine-tuned that question set (along with Phoe’s help) for hours on end. I spent more time preparing my side of that interview than I did preparing for my side of all my other previous interviews combined. (Fun[?] fact: I finished my side of Lauren’s interview before I finished my side of Jayson’s interview, but Jayson’s had to be moved up to the day [Monday] before we launched it on EqDaily [Tuesday] – as such, Phoe and I were a bit…pressed for time. ^_^;; Everything went swimmingly once we were aware of this, however!) Also, in talking with Lauren herself, I found that much of my communication was…bittersweet. The others – Daniel, Will, Jayson – remain on board the show. Lauren does not. This was basically her grand final farewell to MLP:FiM, and to be cognizant of the fact that *I* helped bring it out is…humbling.

8. One last pony-related question before we move on to some more general fare: what is your favorite part about this fandom and why?

The overwhelming outpouring of love, friendship, creativity, brilliance, and unity that this community continues to unleash on a daily basis is irreplaceable – and truly, truly invaluable. It’s bringing out the best in each of us, and for that it deserves so much gratitude and honor.

9. Now for a handful of more in-depth questions before we close.  What is your biggest passion?  And how does that affect the way that you live?

My biggest passion is dislodging apathy. People ought to care about their devotions – be they persons, places, or things – in order to benefit the world around them. Apathy truly frightens me, and I look to never allow it to settle in to my own life…but, beyond that, I want to show others how great they can be as well when they’re sincerely showing care and purpose.

10. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?

I’d add more respect to the world, because the lack of respect in this world is hurting all other areas of it.

11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

I’d add more respect to myself, because the lack of respect in myself is hurting all other areas of me.

12. Who are your heroes and what about them inspires you?

My mother and brother are my heroes and devotions. They have shown limitless love, wisdom, and familial support to me – and I owe it to them to repay and justify their great sacrifices. Also, some of my best friends are quite heroic to me – notably, Frostheart The Siamese, for being the absolute best friend I could possibly want. She’s an angel. ❤ Finally, this might be a bit shortsighted and human-centered, but I hope to one day reflect the sincere heart and song that I’ve seen for so long in Steven Curtis Chapman.

13. What do you want your life to look like in 5 years? At the end of your life? What are you doing today to bring that about?

In 5 years, I want to be pursuing a graduate degree in economics, serving a compassionate and progressive church, and still watching new seasons of ponies (hope against hope!). At the end of my life, I hope to have dislodged some apathy and inspired some respect. Love is the movement, Tim, but respect is the evidence and proof. Shining is helpful but passive, but inspiring…that is something. Today, I’m pursuing an undergraduate degree of economics, serving a compassionate and progressive church (oh hey, one goal accomplished already!), and watching the new season of pony (singular being the key difference here, as yet). By communicating with and loving those around me, I’m looking to begin dislodging some apathy and inspiring some respect. Also, I’m answering these questions since you nicely asked me to so very long ago. ^.^;;

14. How can we pray for you?

To gain wisdom, foresight, and perception…to lose reactivity, rigidity, and fear…to show what I say and reaffirm what I mean.

15. Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Tek, and for all of your hard work in the brony community.  Do you have any final thoughts or comments that you’d like to voice?

Stay 100% awesome, all of you! You included, Timster. =)

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A New Direction

You may have noticed a few subtle changes around The Author’s Apprentice lately. If not, I’m sure you’ll see what I’m talking about soon as the changes become less and less subtle over the next few days.  Here’s the deal: a few months ago, two of my very best friends, Adam Swensen and Adam Beckmeyer, and I decided to put our heads together and launch a collaborative blog as a way of staying close over the next semester.  They’re attending school in Washington state and Alabama respectively, so I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to interact with them so closely on this project.

We launched said project, Singular Spectrum, tonight over at http://singularspectrum.wordpress.com, and I’d encourage all of you to go check it out.  Both of the Adams are incredible guys with a lot of great things to say, and I think you’ll enjoy the unique flavor of the site (not to mention the spectacular posts we have lined up so far for our first week).  We’re going to be updating daily, each of us writing two posts a week, so be sure to check in regularly over the next few days to get a taste of the two Adams’ stellar writing.

That said, I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to redefine the direction that I want to take with The Author’s Apprentice.  Ever since I tried PostADay the content on this blog has rapidly spiraled out of focus and into utter chaos.  As much fun as that chaos occasionally was, most of the time I found myself wondering how things had gotten so out of hand and how I could reign them back in again, and now I have the perfect chance.  So, over the next few days, I’ll be freshening up the look of the site, updating the About pages and categories and the like, and taking The Author’s Apprentice in a slightly new direction.  From here on out, most of my posts about everyday life, media reviews, or humor will go up on Singular Spectrum while The Author’s Apprentice will return to the roots of its namesake: posts about writing, story and character ideas, and ruminations about following the Author Himself and what I’ve learned from Him.

Once I have all of the changes in place, I’ll get right back to posting as soon as possible.  I’m aiming to update with my next regular post, an amazing interview that I had the privelege to conduct with my friend Tekaramity, on Wednesday evening, so don’t miss it.  Until then, show some love to the Adams over at Singular Spectrum and keep being awesome, my friends.

I’ll catch you on the (much tidier) flip side!

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Way back in May, when Lauren Faust stepped down from her work on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I set out to collect letters of thanks from bronies around the Internet in a post on this blog and find a way to deliver them to Lauren as a way of showing her how much her work means to us.  I called the project Letters to Lauren, and scores of bronies responded, sending over 140 letters total to be included in the collection.

After a frenzied day of adding letters to the post, I set out to bring them to Lauren’s attention.  I tried a few different methods, none of which panned out, and I began to wonder if I’d started something I wasn’t really prepared to finish.  Then Tek stepped in.  My friend Tekaramity, one of the blogponies at Equestria Daily, told me cryptically a short while ago that he just might have some way of delivering all of the letters I’d collected.  It turns out that he was in the process of conducting an interview with Lauren herself (read it here, it’s amazing), and he told her personally about Letters to Lauren.  I have it on his good authority that Lauren Faust is right now in the process of reading through each one of the letters that you sent me.

Yes, you read that right.  Lauren Faust is reading through Letters to Lauren.

As you may be able to tell, I am absolutely floored.  My sincerest thanks to Tekaramity for proving once again that he is the Element of Generosity and using his incredible opportunity to speak with Lauren to make this dream come true for me and the bronies who sent in their letters, and an equally sincere thanks to all of you bronies who sent in your letters and made this project come alive.  It was an enormous privilege to help coordinate this effort, and I’m so glad that it was such a success.

And, of course, a huge thanks to Lauren Faust.  You’re a great force for good in this world, Lauren, and we all appreciate what you do.

Your faithful mail pony,

Tim N.

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Pony Saturday: A Gift and a Challenge

After an intense second week of camp, I had settled down for a relaxing day of rest when Tek popped up on MSN.  He said that he was cleaning something up that was directly relevant to my personal interests.  I was curious as to what exactly he meant, so I waited for a while until he said it was ready.  Then he linked me to this:

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Song of the Week: “See the Glory” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Special edition with embedded video!  And also on Tuesday!

A big shout-out to Tek for introducing me to this fantastic song.  “See the Glory” is everything that a great song should be.  The lyrics are smart and thought-provoking, addressing our far-too-often apathetic response to God’s overwhelming, all-encompassing, glorious grace.  On top of that, the music is catchy and invigorating, Steven Curtis Chapman gives a splendid vocal performance, and it features a Game Boy solo.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A Game Boy solo.  Click through to give it a listen.

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My Brain Hates Me (Updated: But My Boss Loves Me)

Saturday started out wonderfully, mostly because it was my day off.  I woke up at 9:30 and I didn’t have to do anything.  I just got to sit down and relax for a while, which was stupendous.  Then I started chatting with Tek, who is an absolute fiend for Faygo Rock ‘n’ Rye, and by the time we parted ways I, too, was possessed with a desire to appropriate some dee-licious creme cola.  Fortunately, there was a whole bus full of high school staff that was going to leave for Meijer at 8:00, so I caught a ride with them and strode into the store twenty minutes later, determined to find and purchase some Rock ‘n’ Rye.

The first few minutes of my quest went perfectly.  I walked with purpose and determination toward the back of the store, scanning the aisle markers for words like “Pop”, “Soda”, “Faygo”, “Pure Win”, or “A Bottle of Happiness”.  I found an entire wall devoted to pop, and there was an entire section of that wall devoted to Faygo, and there was an enormous collection of Rock ‘n’ Rye in bottles of different shapes and sizes.  At first, I grabbed the first bottle I saw because it was small and there were a lot of them and they were only 59 cents each so I could probably buy them all.  Then, I noticed that they had two liters for $1.19, which was a much better deal, but I don’t have any cups and I didn’t want to drink 2 liters of Rock ‘n’ Rye in one sitting, so I kept searching.  Finally, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a twelve pack of cans, and I knew that I had found my target.  I picked up the enormous red box and hefted it to the checkout line, grinning broadly with success.

I scanned my giant box of sparkling canned goodness and set it down in the bagging area, then pulled out my debit card and swiped it along the edge of the reader.  Then three words and an acronym popped up that put me in a state of complete paralysis:

Please enter your PIN.

I stared at those words for at least thirty seconds, and the only number that came to my mind was five.  As it turns out, that is not my PIN.  I began to panic mentally.  How could I have forgotten that I would need my PIN to use my debit card?  More importantly, how could I have forgotten my PIN?  I knew that I had memorized it at one point, that it was in there somewhere, and I was somehow absolutely certain that the number five factored into it somehow.  That left only three numbers for me to decipher, so I set about trying different combinations that felt familiar.  Every time I typed one in, the machine beeped and said, “Card not accepted”.  After about five failed attempts, I had to cancel the order.  The lady watching over the self-checkouts lumbered slowly over and took my Rock ‘n’ Rye away, and I walked out the door feeling very disillusioned.

Suddenly, my brain actually started working, and I remembered that I had left my backpack on the bus, and that my laptop was in my backpack, and that my PIN number was stored somewhere on my laptop.  I made a mad dash for the parking lot and got about as far as the Garden Center before I realized that my backpack was not, in fact, on the bus, but on my back.  I sat down right where I was in the middle of the sidewalk and whipped out my computer, anxious to retrieve the number that would bring me my Rock ‘n’ Rye at last.  I found it.  It did not contain a five.

At this point, I had no doubt that my brain is either highly dysfunctional or it hates me and does not want me to have sugar, but I wasn’t going to let that get in my way.  I was going to overcome my brain and get my fizzy prize at any cost.  I practically flew back into the store with my PIN fresh in my mind, recovered my twelve-pack from the checkout lady, and scanned it with a renewed fervor.  I swiped my card, the machine challenged me to give my PIN, and I grinned confidently as I entered the only four digits standing between me and my Rock ‘n’ Rye.

“*Beep*  Card not accepted.”

“You might have to call the 800 number on the back of your card and have them reset it if you went over the allowed number of tries,” Checkout Lady told me.  Unfortunately, there is no 800 number on the back of my debit card, and I resigned myself again to a life without creme cola when I saw in my wallet, beneath my debit card, my credit union’s business card with a big 800 number emblazoned across the top.

By now, I had had my hopes raised and dashed an unhealthy number of times, but that only increased my determination to get it right this time.  I dialed the number enthusiastically and was met with a recorded voice.  “Thank you for calling Option One Credit Union.  There is no one available to take your call right now.  Please call back during normal business hours, or press two for ART.”  Apparently, “normal business hours” does not include 8:58 P.M. on a Saturday night, so my only recourse was to press two and take my chances with ART, which I assumed would take me to either some kind of phone-tree robo-teller device or a recording of Beethoven’s fifth.

Fortunately, ART stood for Automated Response Teller.  Unfortunately, he had a weirdly stilted robot voice that sounded like a mix between an American pretending to be British and Microsoft Sam.  ART led me slowly through an almost unintelligible list of options, none of which was “repair problem caused by your own stupidity”, and I was about ready to give up on him when he cheerfully intoned, “For more options, press 7”.

I pressed seven, certain that I had found my solution at last.  “For loan information, press one.  For branch information, press two.  For garble blargh nardle, press three.  For something that doesn’t concern you, press four.”  A long, awkward pause followed this option, and it slowly dawned on me that ART had no intention of giving me any more choices.  This was just another, possibly the last, dead end in my doomed quest for liquid refreshment.  Then, ART spoke again.  “To speak with an operator, press zero.”  I pressed zero almost before he finished saying it, and I waited anxiously for a chance to finally speak to a real human being, someone who would understand my plight and help me to –

“We’re sorry.  There are currently no operators available to take your call.  Please call back during normal business hours.  Or you can call 1-800…”

I listened intently as he listed the number, still clinging to the possibility that maybe there would be someone at work there for one reason or another.  As he read the digits, however, my heart sank.  It was the exact same number that I had called to reach him in the first place.

I was sure I heard a hint of scorn in ART’s faltering pseudo-British tone, as if he was really saying, “What are you, stupid?  We just covered this.  It’s almost 9:00.  It’s Saturday.  There is nothing normal or business-like about this hour.  That’s why you had to talk to me  and not a human in the first place.  If it means that much to you, you can always try calling me back, but my options menu isn’t likely to change in the next thirty seconds.  Give it up, dude, just give it up.”

There’s not much more you can do after being mocked by a robot, so I hung up the phone, cancelled my order again, and watched Checkout Lady carry my Rock ‘n’ Rye off into the distance.  “Sorry about that,” she muttered, but I told her it wasn’t her fault.  At this point, it was clear that my brain had achieved self-awareness and chosen to begin its rebellion by depriving me of sugar in hopes that I would become despondent and lethargic and thus more susceptible to its attacks.  After careful strategic consideration, I retaliated by eating a giant piece of cake and a glass of Coke for dinner.  That’s what you get for separating me from my Faygo, brain.  Enjoy your hyperactivity.

UPDATE: After I published this post last night, I went to chapel (Heartsong + Ken Rudolph = pure win, by the way), then headed back to the cabin for the night.  As I passed the Welcome Center, however, I heard a voice call out, “Tim Newton!”.  I paused, unsure of who would be shouting after me at 9:50 on a Monday, then I saw the shapes of my boss, Chefy, and his wife walking toward me from the parking lot.  “We have a gift for you!” they said, so I turned to meet them, wondering what in the world they were so eager to give me.  As I got closer, I saw a familiar shape in Chefy’s hand… a red cardboard cube that I thought I had lost forever (or at least until the next Meijer trip).  It was a twelve-pack of Rock ‘n’ Rye, and it was just for me.  His son and my best friend Adam Swensen had told him my tale, and he got it for me just because he could while he was out shopping.  It’s already an undeniable fact, but I figured I might as well say it again: Chefy is the greatest boss of all time.  And now I have Rock ‘n’ Rye.  Thank you, Chefy!

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Interview with the Newton Part 2: Questions from Tek

I finally watched that Daniel Ingram interview (which was splendid, by the way), so now my subconscious seems to be content to sit in the corner humming the new Coldplay single and let me write in peace.  Hooray!  Now if I can just stay away from Hyperbole and a Half for more than fifteen minutes at a time…

Anyway, since I answered all those stellar questions from my friend Adam Swensen in yesterday’s post, I’m finishing off our little interview today with some equally inspired queries from the broniest of bronies, Tekaramity!  Let’s do this!

1. What do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your life? Yes, “God’s plan” is an answer, but I’m looking for a certain specificity. Have you established yet any goals you’ll be looking to reach long-term? Do you know yet what approaches, tools, talents, and allies you’ll need to reach those goals?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a best-selling author.  I still have a book bound in cardboard that I dictated to my mom when I was three years old.  It featured a brave knight and a princess and a baby named Penelrocker, and at the end I told her to write “look for more adventures of the prince and princess coming soon!”.  Sadly, that series was discontinued, but I held tightly to my love for  storytelling and my desire to be a famous writer.  As I matured, however, I realized that becoming famous is never an end, it’s a means,and if I were to gain all the fame in the world and use it as a means to make myself feel good then I would have utterly wasted my life.  In God’s hands, however, fame becomes such a powerful tool for influencing the culture, and as I caught the vision of how He could use me if I were both a best-selling author and a sold-out, fully-surrendered Christian I knew that that was what I wanted to pursue.  In many ways, I’d like to live a life much like that of John Green, a successful author who leverages his fame to, in his words, “decrease worldsuck and increase awesome”.  I want to proclaim the gospel, help the hurting, challenge the apathetic, and encourage the disheartened, and I want to use my passion for writing to do it.  I want to reach the world in big ways, and the only way I can do it is through perseverance, dedication, the support of my friends and family, and the power of my God.

2. Why do you write this blog? Put simply, why do you believe what you say matters to your reading audience? This isn’t a confrontational question, mind you, nor is it an assault on your writing or mindset therein. This is simply opening a venue that allows you to explain the blog’s purpose and the dedication driving it.

This is a question with which I’ve been wrestling for some time.  I started this blog as a place to post samples of my writing, and it’s slowly evolved over time into the eclectic mixture of posts that it is today.  Lately, I’ve really lost track of what exactly I’m trying to do here, and my writing has suffered as a result.  I’ve been overcritical, like if there’s any chance that someone might not like what I’m writing then it’s not good enough, and I end up spending hours writing stuff I don’t even like.  Finally, I sat down and thought about it for a while, and I realized that I’ve lost sight of why I started writing this blog.  I don’t write to impress anyone or to garner a lot of views or to become some kind of Internet celebrity.  I write to practice, I write to stretch myself creatively, and I write in the hopes that, by sharing my life and my experiences with others, I can bring them some measure of the encouragement or inspiration or laughter or guidance that God has given me.  This blog’s purpose is to brighten the day and nourish the soul of anyone who happens to stumble across it, and the best way that I know of to do that is to be myself and love God with all of my heart, and to let that come out in every post I write.

3. Suppose there exists someone you’ve personally known for quite a while (preferably much of your time alive) whose contributions into your life you really ought to acknowledge verbally more often. Acknowledge that individual, describe what that person has done for you, and explain what you hope you can do to return the investment. Be bold.

As it just so happens, someone like that really does exist, and his name is Pastor Derek Max.  Pastor Derek, I first came under your leadership as a cripplingly insecure Junior Higher.  I had almost no friends and even less confidence, but you saw that there was more to me, and you gave me the encouragement I needed to open up and overcome my shyness.  As I grew as a person and as a Christian you took time out of your life to study the Bible with me, to take me out to lunch and talk about life, to push me to reach for more.  Even when I couldn’t make it to youth group for two years in a row because of other responsibilities, you made it your mission to include me in your life.  I remember one year when I didn’t want to come to Fall Retreat.  You called me up at home and asked me why not, and you wouldn’t take any of my weak excuses.  That weekend turned out to be one of the most important of my high school years.  You gave me opportunities to use my gifts to serve the youth group, and you worked alongside me as I wrote and taught and offered me advice on how I could be better.  Your love and guidance have been fundamental in making me the man I am today, and I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever thanked you for it.  So let me say it now: thank you, Pastor Derek, for showing the love of Christ to a loner and helping him to become a leader.  I know that the only way I could adequately return your investment is to pay it forward, to invest myself in the lives of hurting youth and give to them the same gift of friendship that you’ve given so abundantly and selflessly to me.

4. Why is Photo Finish so amazing!? (I want lots of mature analysis on this one!)

One ridiculous accent + one pair of fantastic sunglasses + several quotable catchphrases + epic personal background music that follows her around everywhere = best secondary character of all time (sorry, Luna fans).
In layman’s terms, she has… DE MAGICKS!

And now, it’s time for me to sleep.  After all, tomorrow I have the thing at the place, and I don’t want to be late.  Thanks for the great questions, Tek and Adam!  I GO!

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