Jeff Geerling's blog

This Bud's for You, Grandpa

My Grandpa Geerling was a very ordinary man. He lived in a simple split-level with a loving wife, and raised nine children while working at a union job.

He loved golf, he loved tools, he loved his children, grandchildren, and more recently, great grandchildren. He had a strong faith that he proclaimed in word and deed throughout his life to all his friends and family—even especially when they needed it most.

He drank Bud Light, and always had golf, racing, football, baseball, or hockey on the TV—unless his team was losing.

His name won't be in any songs, nor will he have a page remembering him on Wikipedia. The world won't remember him—but he didn't have his eyes set on worldly recognition.

My grandparents, dancing

He devoted his life to his wife and children. He was always happy when someone would visit and talk sports, religion, politics, or kitchen remodeling. He was glad to loan out his tools to anyone who asked (and boy, did we ask!), and was always generous in sharing the modest possessions he had.

Last October, I noticed that his entire family—my aunts, uncles and cousins from out of town, his brothers and sisters, his wife, his many grandchildren and great grandchildren—came to support him in his final hours on this earth. He couldn't make his holy hour of adoration, so one of his sons made sure to go and be with Jesus in the Eucharist during that time. He couldn't speak the words of the Rosary audibly, but that didn't mean his family didn't.

He couldn't tell his wife, his brothers and sisters, his sons and daughters, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, to come together and visit him, but also connect with each other one last time before his death. But we did.

At the funeral, as I looked around, I saw doctors, musicians, programmers, writers, members of the armed forces, beautiful families, and many precious children (one of them my own, inside my wife's belly). And I know that my grandfather wasn't a 'great man' of worldly acclaim. But his legacy will make this world a greater place.

He and his wife have spent their lives devoted to their faith and family, and their family was there at the end to support him, as he went to visit God. I pray that he will join the choirs of angels in Heaven, and be united with God eternally. He was a humble man, and he would want me to tell you to pray for him, too. Nobody can pass judgement but God, and nobody can know a man's soul as God did. Everyone needs prayers after they die, even a man of great faith like my grandfather.

On his deathbed, one of my aunts asked him if he wanted anything—something to drink or eat. One of his last words to his children, "I'll take a Bud Light."

Dear Grandpa Geerling, this Bud's for you:

Bud Light for Grandpa Geerling

Taking Twitter by Storm: Let's get #ThanksPontifex trending on Feb. 28

Pope Benedict Greets the Youth - 1

Matthew Schneider is spearheading an effort to get the hashtag #ThanksPontifex (and it's multilingual equivalents) trending globally on Twitter at 07:45 Rome time, in February 28. On his blog, he offers further details, and gives local times around the world for when you should tweet using this hashtag.

For those of you in St. Louis or otherwise in CST, tweet around 1:00 p.m. on the 28th.

Also in the post are a bunch of sample tweets you may post, in addition to links to services that will allow you to schedule tweets in case you can't tweet during the appropriate time (due to work or some other circumstance).

Obviously, this isn't limited to Twitter; if you're on Google+, go ahead and use the same hashtag and see if you can get it trending there too!

Aquinas and More Closing

Aquinas and More, a great Catholic store that had probably the best selection of Catholic goods available online, seems to be going out of business soon. This is unfortunate, because that means I'll have to go to Catholic Ripoff Supply more often (and their website needs major improvement). Ah well.

Aquinas and more going out of business.

For now until they run out of inventory, they're having a 20% off sale on almost everything.

The Mass, Explained by an App

Mass Explained Logo

The Mass Explained App for iPad looks like a pretty awesome app ("coming soon") from Agnus, LLC. I haven't seen the app in action (just screenshots), but even if it's just a bunch of static pages like an interactive book, it looks like the content is high-quality:

iPad Mass Explained App

I really hope the app function as good as it looks. If so, I think this would be a good template for other similar apps explaining sacraments, sacramentals, the Rosary, prayer, saints, the Vatican, etc.

Basically take encyclopedic knowledge of a Catholic subject, and marry that with some great illustrations, images, and 3D models, and make a very nice interactive app or iBook. I would buy the whole series!

What's a good video camera to use for short YouTube videos?

I've gotten this question enough times via email that I thought I'd create a quick blog post mentioning what I think is a good deal for a video camera setup for recording short videos, ideally with one person speaking.

In such a situation, since you probably won't see a major difference in picture quality in anything under $500, I'd skimp a little on the camera itself and just make sure the video camera you buy has an external microphone input, then buy a microphone like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 to clip onto the person being recorded.

A microphone goes a long way towards making quality video—many people think the camera's the most important part of a video recording setup, but it really isn't (unless you're doing a top-notch production!). That's how I can use the tiny iPhone camera as my primary video camera and record good videos, since the iPhone accepts external microphones so easily.

The camera

Canon VIXIA HD Camcorder

I'd buy a Canon VIXIA camera, as long as it has an external microphone input. The Canon VIXIA HF R100 is only $179 on Amazon, and it records great video and has a microphone and headphone jack.

The microphone

As stated earlier, using an external microphone (instead of the cheap, junky built-in microphone) will dramatically improve the overall quality of your recordings. I recommend two different microphones:

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