I update this blog almost every day. It could be about anything: politics & current events, religion, work, geek-related materials. Sometimes I just post random thoughts.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Well, training continues to be quite a busy time. As you can tell, I haven't had the time to journal that I usually do. Because of training, I don't have too much to say. I did want to post this picture of a sign from Oshkosh's Jimmy John's. I just think it's fun!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pepsi Giveaway

How is it that in a recent Pepsi giveaway, where you have a 1 in 12 chance of winning a 1 for 2 Pepsi deal and a 1 in 3 chance of winning a free ringtone for your phone, I get 3 2 for 1 deals and one ring tone? Interesting luck.

I waited all this time to get a free ringtone and when I see the free ringtones available I don't recognize any of the artists or the songs. This means I'm old and out of touch. :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Christa, The Artist

As I came to the office after breakfast this morning, I found this picture on my door. I am assuming that Christa, my fiance, was the drawer. Very few people who have access to Breese Hall know that we are bowling tonight.

It's pretty sweet looking and it is one of those pictures that I do not want to erase. So, I at least took a picture to preserve it.

I would also like to take the opportunity to say what a great artist Christa is. She has some great drawings in her office and she also has a copy of a great painting in my apartment. It is just one of her many artist skills!

Otherwise, training goes well. We are only in day two, and my energy level is pretty high. I am excited to leave for camp. My staff is great! More about them later. Peace.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pictionary Poison

After being on the losing side of another Pictionary match last night, I have realized that I am Pictionary Poison. Honestly, I think my overall record is like 0-7. Who will ever want to play with me?!?

Otherwise, the staff are here and we are having a good time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

So It Begins

It's 2:15 and all of my staff are moved in. It is nice to have a little life injected into the building. When you have lived in a residence hall for three years, you get used to the sounds of life. I actually find myself sleeping better now that I head noises...strange.

Training starts at 5:00 p.m. tonight with dinner. From then on, it is non-stop movement until we open the building on September 3, 2006. This is by far the busiest two weeks of the year for me. Please understand if calls are not returned quickly or if my E-mail response lags a little bit. I promise everything will calm down eventually.

Let's do it!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Recent Lessons

As the struggle continues with the First United Methodist Church of Oshkosh, I have learned some valuable lessons that will be helpful to me regardless of the career path that I choose beyond the RHD position.

1. People Will Not Like What You Do – I work in the field of Residence Life where everyone likes everyone else. It is also a field of accommodators that are likely to keep animosity or frustration to themselves that the group might continue to function. Given the struggles with my church, I have now had to deal almost daily with the realization that members of the church do not like how I am handling the situation. As difficult as that can be, it is also a good feeling because now I know what it’s like. It won’t be so difficult the next time.

2. People Can Separate You From Your Work – Despite some people not necessarily liking what I have to say or not liking how you handle something, they can still respect you as a person and can understand the difficulty you are having. After last night’s Council Meeting, I could tell that I angered some folks or at least told people something that they did not want to hear. I was amazed at how many people came up to me after the meeting to express concern, encouragement or support despite the gravity of the situation.

3. Trust the Process – As Tracy Davis, my professor from graduate school, always emphasized, despite the desired outcome more will come out of what got you there. As difficult as that is to understand right now…he was right. When this is done I will have grown so much based on the process.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Interesting Quote

In graduate school we spent a great deal of time talking about various identity development models in the areas of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. While there are some merits to these models, there were times when I may have questioned them. I have been reading a book entitled White Guilt by Shelby Steele. I wanted to pull one quote out to talk about:

"In fact, if there is a white identity today it would have to be white guilt--a shared, even unifying, lack of racial moral authority. As other group identities derive from a shared fate, white guilt is a shared white fate rendered up by history. Whites can no more escape white guilt than blacks can reject being black--the latter cannot know themselves racially whitout the memory of slavery, and the former canot know themselves racially without the memory of white supremacy. Two shaming fates, yes, but two identities? Can an identity revolve around contrition and deference toward darker races, as a modern white identity would have to? Does it make sense for whites to go around saying, "We are the contrite people, and we defer to other races; this is our identity"? Yet to gain employment today in most American institutions whites must somehow pledge allegiance to "diversity" as if to demonstrate a white identity of contrition and deference. Even in the corporate and military worlds--not to mention academia--no white goes far without genuflecting to diversity. Nevertheless, beyond an identity that apologizes for white supremacy, absolutely no white identity is permissible."

I have finished the book, and I find this quote sticks out the most. I do feel as though to be white means that you do not have an identity and if you tried to have an identity it can only be one wrapped up in privilege and guilt toward our treatment of others. I also agree with his contention that you can not succeed in most professions without devotion to "diversity". I am curious to know what folks think about this quote. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nothing Profound

I'll post, but there isn't much to say. Training and church drama.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fox Valley Invitational Results

Course 1 (Fondy Sports Park) Winner: Nick Sayner (52 strokes)
Tom Dittl - hole in one on 17

Course 2 (Settler's Mill) Winner: Nick Sayner (54 strokes)
Peter Brooks - hole in one on 7 and 14
Tom Dittl - hole in one on 14

Course 3 (Jurassic Village) Winner: Jim Droste (48 strokes)

Course 4 (Gopher Golf) Winner: Tom Dittl (40 strokes)
Tom Dittl - hole in one on 14 and 15

Overall Winner:
Tom Dittl (198 strokes)
2nd Place: Nick Sayner (206 strokes)
3rd Place: Jason Chapman (220 strokes)
4th Place: Jim Droste (222 strokes)
5th Place: Peter Brooks (193 strokes through three courses...unable to make 4th course)

I do want to say that it was wonderful to see everyone and play golf together. We had an excellent time and we look forward to the 2007 competition.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Second Annual Fox Valley Min-Golf Invitational

Tomorrow at 11:00am, my friends Nick, Tom (an possibly Jason) will be coming up from Milwaukee to participate in what we hope will be an annual event. I have chosen 4 golf courses in the Fox Valley:
  • Fondy Sports Park (Fond Du Lac)
  • Settler's Mill (Oshkosh)
  • Jurassic Village (Oshkosh)
  • Funset Boulevard (Appleton)
That's 72 holes of mini-golf action. We'll see how long we last. With Peter joining us as well, there will be plenty of golf and hilarity.

I am playing a handbell solo for church tomorrow. My parents are coming up to hear it. Christa is also coming. Everyone will be gathering for lunch before golf. It should be an eclectic mix of people feasting on brats.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Meeting Complete

The church meeting was last night at 6:30 pm. The meeting went until 9:00 pm. I talked to a few folks afterward and I left church at 9:30 pm. I am so glad that this meeting is over. I now have some homework to do, but I feel as though we can take a step forward toward some sense of resolution.

If anything, I am getting some great practice in conflict resolution!

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend of work. I know that sounds funny, but it will really be that way. I am also looking forward to Nick, Tom and Peter joining me for the 2nd Annual Fox Cities Mini-Golf Invitational being held this Sunday.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thank You Verizon

As you may have noticed this month I have had many situations where I have been blessed to have a cell phone. But, with that I have also used up a great deal of minutes. With everything that happened, I was 15 minutes over my anytime minutes and was not looking forward to the $.45 charge per minute over.

In calling Verizon, I was awarded 50 minutes over the next four months that I could utilize for times that I go over my minutes. The customer service representative said that as a loyal customer for 5+ years she thought that would be fair. How wonderful!

Church Meeting

As you may have picked up from pervious posts, First United Methodist Church - Oshkosh is in something of a crisis. As the Staff/Parish Relations Committee Chair, it is part of my duties to help mediate conflicts between members of the congregation and staff. Well, there is a big conflict between our pastor and members of the congregation about a great many issues. The District Superintendent will be coming to our SPRC meeting tonight to help "resolve" these concerns.

This crisis has taken much of my time and has taxed me greatly. It has in some ways made for a frustrating summer. Tonight's meeting is very important in moving toward a possible solution. I am looking forward to it so that hopefully I might be able to move on to other important areas of my life such as friends, family and my job. We have started training and I am hopig to soon be able to start working on that task list.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Super O'Haro

Paging through the safety manual on my flight to Milwaukee, I discovered these two classic pictures. Don't these two guys totalling look like they are flexing their super powers? This was the first time I was finally able to catch these pictures with a camera.

Christa's Car

Christa's rear passenger side tire blew out on her way back to Oshkosh this afternoon. She is fine! I drove out to the Waupun St./Hwy 26 exit and put her spare tire on. We were able to get her back to campus. She will be figuring out where to get a new tire. We are just having poor luck when it comes to cars.

Car, Yeah!...Trip From Texas, Boo!

Car is Fixed
Well, things in my life are almost back to normal. Christa and I drove down to Westville, IN to pick up my car. Although I was quoted a total bill of $908.00, the head of the shop said that he would knock off $100 dollars because of all the trouble that I went through getting the car fixed and picking it up. I appreciated the gesture, but more than anything I simply wanted my car back. Much thanks to Christa for driving me down to Indiana, only to drive back up the same day. Overall, the car seems OK, it does seem a little louder than usual. But it runs, which is key.

Trip Back from Texas
In a continuing streak of good luck, I should highlight for you my return trip from Chicago. I will spare you a lot of details, and give you bullet points:

Day 1: Wednesday
  • My layover in Chicago before my flight to Milwaukee was 3 hours with my flight leaving at 7:40 pm.
  • 7:10pm - O'Hare airport shuts down due to lightning in the area. My flight is obviously delayed. Airport opens again, but closes 15 minutes later again due to lightning in the area.
  • 7:50pm - Due to severe weather also in Milwaukee, our flight is cancelled. It is discovered that the plane we were supposed to take did not leave the airport.
  • 8:00pm - I get to the customer service desk and discover that the only remaining flight scheduled to leave that evening is booked. I decided I will book the first flight the next morning at 8:00 am. In talking with a representative, I discover the 6:05 pm flight out of Chicago for Milwaukee has been delayed and has still not taken off. I book myself for this flight.
  • 8:40pm - Our flight is supposed to leave at this time, but it doesn't. Several of us on the flight continue to ask the service desk to find out if and when the flight is leaving. Finding out nothing, I contact Chris to tell him he won't need to take me home. I contact my dad asking his advice and I text message friends to stave off boredom.
  • 10:15pm - Getting no help from the service folks, I call a customer service person, asking them about the flight. At this point I found out the 6:05 flight already left and they didn't tell us! So, there are no flights out of Milwaukee and I realize I am screwed.
  • 10:25pm - Back to the customer service desk to find out about hotel rooms. Rooms are not covered fully because the cancellation was due to weather. They can get us rooms for $59 a night. Great...
  • 10:35pm - I call the toll free number to get a room. I wait for about 15 minutes. I find a room in the AmeriSuites Hotel which is 20 minutes away from the airport. I guess this will due.
  • 10:40pm - I contact a taxi service that charges $20 to get you to the airport. I am assured that they take credit cards (more about this later). They tell me to meet at G1. I have no idea what this means. I ask repeatedly what this is and they think I am a crank caller. After waiting 15 minutes my cab arrives.
  • 10:55pm - I share a cab with Kathy Fritz, a young lady from Germany. I thought I had it bad, she flew from Germany to Cleveland with two cats. She ended up paying over $500 EURO extra to get her cats to Chicago and then her flight to Cleveland was cancelled. She lent me $20 so that I could pay the drive who could not accept credit cards, even though he said he could.
  • 11:15pm - I arrive at the AmeriSuites...not impressed. There are 5-6 of us checking in all having had our flights cancelled...Cedar Radids, Cleveland, Milwaukee...good times. I get checked into my room. They let me have a complimentary toothbrush and toothpaste as all my toiletries were in the bag I did not have. How nice.
  • 11:20 - Wow...my room has HBO. That was the highlight. Rough towels, no pressure in the showers, and the room didn't really get cold. Sweet.
  • 12:30 - I finally relax and get to bed. Here ends day #1.
Day 2: Thursday
  • 4:30am - I get up and get ready for my taxi driver who is coming at 5:30 so that I have time to get to my flight.
  • 5:30am - Taxi drive shows up and tells me to leave behind Kathy because I don't have a cell phone. Much thanks to Kathy for paying me and not being able to pay her back.
  • 6:00am - I arrive at the airport and discover my taxi driver can now pay with credit cards...riiiiiiiiiight.
  • 6:10am - Having already "checked-in" last night, I have 1 hour and 50 minutes before my flight is supposed to take off.
  • 7:45am - We are told that our flight is going to be delayed because our flight crew is in Moline, IL and their flight has been delayed due to weather.
  • 9:30am - Our flight finally boards and we are on the plane. As I board, my ticket generates an error message and I have to be re-assigned. I end up bumping a crew member to a rumble-type seat.
  • 9:40am - Once everyone sits down, we find out that there was too much fuel put into the airplane and all people that were accepted on stand-by now need to leave. They get their baggage and de-plane.
  • 9:45am - We are now told that there are technical difficulties with the plane that need to be fixed. After 20 minutes they are fixed.
  • 10:05am - We get cleared for takeoff, but the airport shuts down because of bad weather. We wait.
  • 10:50am - Our plane takes off for its 15 minutes flight to Milwaukee.
  • 11:10am - I find my dad and we go to baggage claim only to find out that my luggage is still in Chicago. I pick it up on Saturday as we drove down to get my car.
There you have it...my tript back from Texas.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More from Texas!

I finally figured out how I might be able to get some pictures from my Texas trip up on the blog. The picture you see to the right here is a view of the Riverwalk from a bridge. As you can see, the view was very nice. The whole River Walk scene reminded me a lot of Venice is some ways, although the waterways were not so pervasive as they were in Venice.

For fear of having to do too much uploading, I will keep things at one picture. I will post more on Facebook when I make my way back to Oshkosh. As for Monday's travels, I had the opportunity to attend a minor league baseball game for the Round Rock Express. Unfortunately, the game did not turn out to be so good and we left after seven innings, with the score Express 2, River Cats 9. I noticed the price for concessions was about the same it is for Brewers games and their apparrel was equally overpriced...so much for getting the Round Rock baseball cap.

Dario has to run some errands in Austin so I got a nice tour of the city as well as the campus. I am hoping to get to see more of the campus today as Dario needs to go back to work. For today, there are plans to get some good barbeque, see a movie at a place called the Draftfhouse. You cann watch a movie while having a meal and even a beer! I think that is all for now.