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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


As I was out for my morning walk this morning, I was weaving my way through the Wellness Center Construction area and I had a revelation...

...I have not been to a concert in over a year.

My first year as an RHD, I had season tickets to the Fox Valley Performing Arts Center and saw a bunch of shows. In graduate school, I had a job that worked directly with the arts and I saw a bunch of shows. In undergrad, I was a music major so I was required to go to a bunch of music shows each year.

I was trying to figure out why I haven't gone to a concert in awhile. A few thoughts:
  1. Cost - It costs $75 or so to get good costs for a musical. As a staff member, I have to play for UWO concerts...not a lot, but it's money. I can always think of other ways to spend the funds.
  2. History - I've never been a fan of concerts. I've always been a sucker for recorded music. You know what you're getting.
  3. Busy - I have a lot of stuff going on and it would be difficult to find the time to put in a concert. When there is a good concert that I might consider going to, there is something else I need to do.
So, we'll see...maybe I'll get to one soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Custodian

Every residence hall on the UW Oshkosh campus has at least one custodian, some have more than one. Breese Hall has only one custodian, but she does the work of two more custodians. You could say that our custodian is both a blessing and a curse. She keeps Breese Hall very clean, probably the cleanest residence hall on campus. But, with this comes a few problems. One, to keep the building clean she in turn wants to bill residents for any messes that are left in the hall. Some are legitimate and some are a little overboard. She also has a gruff personality and is not exactly personable.

Our custodian has not talked to me in weeks. I can walk right by her, or her by me, and she will not say anything to me. She has communicated with me purely through notes. I find myself wondering if this is necessarily a bad thing. In my first few years as an RHD, she would often come into my office and talk for hours about all sorts of random stuff. Sometimes I appreciated our conversations and sometimes I was really busy, but it doesn't happen anymore. I wonder if I perhaps did something to offend her: not have something cleaned up, not charge for a CAD slip, etc. I could assume that while she is not talking to me, she is likely talking to others in the building about me...most likely referring to one of the above concerns.

What I am trying to figure is: does it matter? Should I be happy knowing that I have a little more peace and quiet and the building is still clean (although trash talking is likely happening)? or Should I try to mend whatever problem there is so that I know where I stand with her?

Errata: Abby points out that the ceiling fan in my apartment is not the first major change to the Breese apartment since I've been there. In my first year, they did install a washer and dryer. I suppose O should say it was the first Breese RHD initiated change to the apartment.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Changes

The last few days I have been getting up at 7:00 AM. Waking up at this hour voluntarily might seem a completely foreign concept to my Breese residents :-), but I have found it quite beneficial. For the first time since Residence Life training, I have actually been getting up to eat breakfast at Blackhawk. Now, I have time for a walk and for breakfast...and I don't feel rushed. I feel more ready for the day and I also overall have more energy.

I fired up the iced tea maker again in an attempt to cut down on buying and drinking soda. So far, improvements have been made. I miss iced tea. I'm glad it's back.

In other news, the Packers lost. They were winning and looking good in the first half, but you know the Packers are going to find a way to lose. Ouch...this win would have been huge.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reading the Bible

First off, I do want to say that it feels good to be posting regularly again. Over break, I did not post for a few days and it just wierd. Things have now come somewhat to a state of normalcy.

Along with my thoughts on being called to ordained ministry, I have taken a much greater interest in reading and absorbing the Bible. However, as with my attempts to begin The Lord of the Rings, I would read a little bit, get bored and give up. But, as I did complete The Lord of the Rings, I know there would come a time when I would be able to read the Bible.

So...I bought this book. I know what you're thinking, but I am finding it to be very helpful. It is an excellent supplement to get through some of the tougher sections and it's actually quite humorous. Fear not, I am actually reading the Bible as well, but it is a good supplement.

After attending the Exploration 2006 Conference, I really do feel motivated and called to read the Bible. I don't see it as a "chore" anymore. I am finding it exciting and renewing. There is so much to know and I can't wait to find out more!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bucks Tickets

Yesterday, Nick and I went to the Bucks/Celtics game at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Nick got some excellent tickets through his work, so we were sitting really close to the court. In fact, we were sitting across the aisle from Senator Herb Kohl.

A VIP in the House

The picture below lets you know how close we were to the court. Unfortunately, the Bucks lost by a lot. They were up by 14 at halftime but proceeded to completely blow in the second half. At least Nick and I had a good time.

Best Seats I've Ever Had

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Greetings From Mequon!

My apologies for not posting over the last few days. I have been relaxing at my parent's house in Mequon, WI for the last few days. I will be coming back to Oshkosh, WI tonight since I will be liturgist and guest speaker for the 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM services tomorrow. I am excited to be talking about my Exploration Conference experience. Fear not, even though I have not posted about my thoughts on the conference, I will soon. Stay tuned.

The break has been wonderful. Thanksgiving involved the traditional Droste prime rib and football viewing. Later in the day, I drove to Christa's parent's house and stayed there for awhile. Friday was the traditional day of shopping, beginning the day with my parents and ending the day with Christa. Today, Nick and I will be going to the Bucks game...Nick got us some very good seats. I am excited.

That's all for now; expect more detailed posts upon my return to UWO on Sunday.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Exploration and Transition

I returned from the Exploration 2006 conference at approximately 12:10 AM when I walked into my apartment doors. Needless to day, as I type this message I have not yet fully processed the weekend that was. Over the next few days, you will see my thoughts and reflections on what was a life altering conference experience. For now, I thought I would show you a few of the pictures that I took while in Jacksonville.

"Four in a Row"
So, technically I saw this in the airport in Minneapolis. This is what happens when you want to sell Connect Four but you can't because the name is copyrighted. You create a really cheap looking version of the game and you call it Four in a Row.

These Aren't Your Oshkosh Bridges
Walking along the St. Johns River, I saw a variety of bridged connecting Jacksonville. This bridge which moves to accomodate traffice actually operates by having the middle section more straight up in the air. I had never seen that before but it seemed much easier to operate than the mechanisms we have in Oshkosh.

That's a Big Banana
This was a banana that I had with lunch on Saturday. That banana is huge! I have never seen bananas this big ever. It was also very tasty.

As I said before, the conference was truly a transformative experience. As I go through my materials, my reflections and my journal I will do a variety of posts over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Explorations Conference

Tomorrow morning Christa takes me to the airport bright and early so that I can fly to Jacksonville, FL for the Explorations 2006 Conference sponsored by the Methodist Church. I am going to this conference to find out more about the various possibilities for ministry in the Methodist Church. It's hard for me to describe how I am feeling as the conference nears. I am feeling a vareity of emotions:
  • Excitement - I am excited because I will get out of Wisconsin (and into Florida), I will get to learn more about a possible career option, and it's the closest I get to vacation this semester.
  • Nervous - I have no idea what the conference is like. For the last 10 years I have gone to student leadership/student affairs conferences. I am used to that culture. I have no idea what this is going to be like.
  • Calm - In no way am I really worked up about going. It actually feels somewhat business-like. It doesn't worry me.
  • Resolve - I am hopeful that after attending this conference, it might help me to look at life and my future in a different light and think about how I might make a transition to life beyond the RHD position.
Just so you know, I can not account for the access that I may or may not have to the internet. As such, you may not see an entry here until Monday. I leave early Friday morning and I do not get back until late Sunday night (after midnight). I am sure that upon my return I will have plenty to talk about.

Note: Residents of Breese Hall...behave while I am gone :).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Fan

So...maybe Mike Chastain is correct. Maybe this is a sign that I am getting old. With great excitement, I told my CA/PA staff that I had a new ceiling fan/light installed in my room. With a similar amount of excitement, I also told my hall leaders.

Allow me to explain why this is an exciting moment in my life:
  1. This is the first major alteration to my apartment that has been made in the four years that I have lived there.
  2. It generates air flow in my bedroom without needing to use the air conditioning.
  3. It looks and works so much better than the old light in there. The old light was a pain to take apart to change bulbs, it always burned out bulbs quickly and it blew a fuse twice.
Needless to say, out with the old, in with the new...even if it makes me old :).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Random Encounter

I was hanging out with my little brother last night and we decided to make the pilgramage to the new Best Buy in Appleton, WI. As he and I were perusing the new releases in the video game section, I thought I overheard on the intercom that Ahman Green was in the building.

I was wondering whay I saw two sets of bleachers set up by the entrance to Best Buy facing three HDTVs. Apparently, you could watch Monday Night Football with Ahman Green. I wandered over there and he was sitting in the bleachers answering questions from the audience (around 50 people).

I was too shy to ask any questions, but it was cool to simply be close to a starting Packer player, especially a Pro Bowl caliber player. But, that was not the only highlight of the evening.

What really made me happy concerning last night's get together was that Adam did not labor at all to find things to talk about. Sometimes it is a struggle to find topics of conversation and sometimes Adam can be a little shy. However, last night we talked about many things including church. We talked about why he is not motivated to go to church and how he moves Christianity. I told him he should come with me to church some time. I thought it might be good for him to see another church. I look forward to continuing this conversation.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Guitar Hero 2

As anticipated, I had the opportunity to play a lot of Guitar Hero 2 this past weekend. It felt wonderful; it was nice to have a weekend not involving anything stressful. I hooked up my PS2 to the big screen TV, so it was much easier to see what I was playing.

Overall, I think Guitar Hero 2 is a great game. There is much to be excited about, and only a few things that take away from the game.

  • Game play is almost completely the same...easy transition.
  • Some great rock tunes are in the mix: Carry On Wayward Sun, Freebird, Cherry Pie, Shout at the Devil, Sweet Child of Mine.
  • I like that you need to get through 40 songs to complete the career mode, not 30.
  • I like the Dethklok and Trodgor bonus tracks.
  • I really appreciate the option to play rhythm, lead or bass guitar in certain songs.
  • The cooperative mode is a great deal of fun...I appreciate the fact that you are working together instead of against each other.
  • There is more variety of graphics in loading menus. The quotes are also funnier.
  • They made career mode somewhat more involved.
  • I liked the songs from Guitar Hero better than the songs from Guitar Hero 2.
  • Many of the songs this time around are long; many are also very repetitive and this can get old after awhile.
  • The jump from medium to hard is a large jump. Also, overall the game seems to be harded on all levels than it was in Guitar Hero.
  • I wish there was a high score board for cooperative mode efforts.
  • The bonus tracks are not as good overall.
  • I miss the "Grim Ripper" from Guitar Hero. He looked cooler.
  • It wierds me out that when you make a mistake your note scroll shakes. Odd.
Overall, it's a great game. I (and Christa) look forward to many hours of playing.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

First Measurable Snowfall

We got some serious snow fall yesterday and it definitely accumulated. The beard will now be grown.

Friday, November 10, 2006

No Focus

Today is one of those days where I am trouble focusing on just about anything. This can be attributed to two factors: (1) This week has been crazy and (2) We had a crisis situation that completely broke up my normal sleeping habits. Luckily I am able to complete what needs to be completed and some things will have to wait.

It has even caused me to present a sub-par blog for you today. It's hard to think of a good topic with this lack of focus. How about a few random thoughts (that seems about right):
  • I met a potential pastor for our church for next 2.5 years. I can't say anything specific until the formal announcement Sunday. The whole process took 4.5 hours last night.
  • I got to bed at 2:00 AM and was awoken at 4:00 AM by another phone call. Woot...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election Reflections

I must say that I am happy that the elections are finally over. Elections in the last few years have been pretty heated, but this one had by far the most mudslinging and the most bad blood that I have ever seen. I could not believe how many television commercials were produced that took all of their time slamming the other candidate, but in no way promoted the candidate that made the ad! It was more "don't vote for him", not "vote for me." Somewhere in my voting history I missed this transition and I don't like the result.

The Amendment
So a fair Wisconsin votes yes? I don't think so. In the end, I am not surprised that Wisconsin voted to plan civil unions and domestic partnerships...but, I did not think it would pass by such a large majority. We will not realize our folly in voting the way we did until a few years now when we notice the economic impact. Short term, the state will realize the impact because the LBGTQ community and its allies will rise up fight putting discrimination in the WI constitution.

I voted for Mark Green, but I not surprised that he lost. It would be hard to beat an encumbant in a year when it is not good to be a Republican. So, he made a good run and he made it interesting. We'll get him the next time.

In my opinion, most of the other votes weren't that interesting. I voted straight-party republican. I voted against any raising of taxes and I voted against the death penalty.

That is all. I will review Guitar Hero after this weekend...I am planning on devoting a lot of time to it and can do a better job of reviewing the game.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pictures From the Party

As promised, I have pictures from the party. I will only post four of them in the blog, but I recommend that you check out my Facebook album which has 60 pictures from the party in it.

This is my boss playing Guitar Hero...she didn't do so good. But, I was really happy that she tried it out. She really wants to play it again.

As I said before, my friend Nick Sayner came up from Milwaukee to enjoy the party. It was very exciting to have him there. Mmm...rootbeer keg.

As the evening progressed, the campus security officers made their way through Breese Hall to check out the building. They happened to see the party going on and we thought we would have a little fun!

This is a hilarious pictures because as you may already know Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is a game usually played by dorky, nerdy guys. There is nothing better than seeing three ladies taking a keen interest to the Dungeon Master's Guide. Truly, they are all interested in learning how to play AD&D.

That's all for pictures...check out the Facebook album for more details. Thoughts on Guitar Hero 2 tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


It's definitely, not definately...seriously.

I can't tell you how many people screw this up!!!


I have talked many times about the number of meetings that are involved with my job; if you throw in church meetings it gets really crazy. With that much time being taken up for meetings, I usually view any meetings above that to be drudgery and I usually look down upon. Sadly, for me, I had that view toward meetings that should be fun.

My birthday weekend has given me a new perspective toward gatherings that I have usually viewed as getting in the way and seen them for what they should be. For instance, I have always viewed my attendance at our church youth group meetings to be drudgery. I don't know why...it is a way to help our younger members feel comfortable with talking about God. However, the fact that they are on Sunday nights takes away the motivation. For some reason last night I went in thinking it would be fun, and it was!

Similarly, I hung out with Adam last night for Big Brothers/Big Sisters last night and it was fun...and we figured out what we were going to do for the next two Mondays. That never happens. All that changed was my perspective; if you think it can be fun more likely than not it will be more fun than it was before.

Perspective, it seems like a simple lesson. However it is one I often forget. I let routine jade my viwe of something or I let a lack of energy or an over-abundance of meetings get in the way of something that should be enjoyable and memorable. I am sure this is something we can all think about.

*** The pictures from the 30th Birthday Party will be picked up this afternoon and will be posted tomorrow! Along with the pictures, I will be buying a copy of Guitar Hero 2!! ***

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Birthday Weekend [Highlights]

I thought I would take today's entry to cover the highlights of the birthday weekend. It felt like this weekend was never going to end...it was great. There was always something going on. I was sad to have it end last night, but it is time to move with life after turning thirty.

Friday (The Breese Hall Birthday Party) - The pictures from this party are being developed as I write. They will be picked up tomorrow and posted on Facebook (with a few omissions due to content) Wednesday. I will also put a few choice pictures on the blog on Wednesday. Major events of the party:
  • My best friend (and best man for the wedding) came up for the party. I had no idea he was coming to the party; he drove up from Milwaukee. He stayed for the entire party and got to witness all sorts of people that make of the residence life team. Thanks, Nick!
  • A lot of people were introduced to the power of Guitar Hero. A lot of people are now disciples of Guitar Hero!
  • The rootbeer keg only lasted two hours. I honestly thought we'd have leftover rootbeer...I was wrong. Never fear Breese hall leaders, I did save some rootbeer for you GLACURH attendees.
  • I was not able to get an exact count, but 62 people signed in the guestbook...there were definitely more people than that. The world will never know the exact attendance.
  • Thank you to everyone that brought cards or gifts.
  • More on this party on Wednesday!
Saturday (Dinner With the Folks)
  • We visited Christa's parents to catch up and see how they were doing. We were able to watch the Badgers eek out a victory against Penn State.
  • We went out to the Porterhouse for steak. Christa said she has never had a finer filet than the one that she had there. They are so good.
  • We had cake and made our way back to Oshkosh.
  • Christa and I watched the Bucks win their home opener. They looked really good!
Sunday (Appleton & Youth Group)
  • Christa and I had lunch at Chili's. We split the double order of fajita. Well, we really didn't split the order. I ate two thirds of it. That's pretty much the theme of the weekend. Jim eating a lot of food. Yeesh. I did some serious celebrating this weekend.
  • I watched the Packers blow a game they should have one. Two turnovers in the redzone? Seriously...
  • Lastly, I had the opportunity to play Apples to Apples and Bible Trivia with the youth group. That was a lot of fun as well.
I usually don't do lists like this, but I wanted you to know that I had an action packed weekend. Pictures of the party on Wednesday!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Party Time!

Christa and I got back from Pick 'n Save earlier this morning with the food for tonight's party. Mark loaned me his game systems and I bought the beverages on Wednesday. I have provided a picture of my refrigerator...it is brimming with food and beverage ready to be distributed to residents and other residence life folk.

I have some meetings today, but at 3:30 I will be heading over to the Union to pick up the quarter barrel of root beer. Then, I need to madly clean the apartment and get things set up for the party.

In other news, yesterday was quite a busy day. I had a lot of meetings and at the end of the day, I was quite drained. Some of RHDs went out to Kodiak Jack's for dinner and then a few of us went out for some adult beverages.

Let the festivities begin!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Christa and I have been dating for over two years now and we will be getting married on June 16, 2007. I cannot wait until that day because I will confirm that I want to spend the rest of my life with Christa. It will be wonderful.

I think back to all of the relationships I was in before I started dating Christa. I started "dating" when I was a sophomore in high school (age 16). That's 13 years of dating. I will spare you a lot of details, but I can give you some trends. This is what I can tell you:
  • One relationship became so twisted that it warped a close friendship so much we are still trying to piece it back together.
  • Too many relationships ended with tears and friendships that were thought would happen and never materialize.
  • There was a lot of rejection.
  • A lot of time spent wondering how someone felt or wondering if someone "liked" you.
  • There were stalking ex-girlfriends.
  • There were girlfriends cheating on me.
Fun, huh? I don't have to play the game any more. Yes, there was a time when "the thrill of the chase" was very exciting. However, you know you've found someone good when the thrill of the chase no longer gnaws at you. I am happy and ready to retire from the relationship game.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nearing the End

I realize that title sounds bad, but fear not the message isn't...

So last night I roped myself into playing a little Guitar Hero before our hall government meeting. I have continued working on the "Expert" level and now have rounded it down to two songs. Unfortunately, the last two songs are really, really tough. I have found that the best approach to take with Guitar Hero is to play in smaller chunks. I have found that playing Guitar Hero too much causes the following issues:
  • It makes your fingers tired and soar. Then you won't be able to play for awhile.
  • It causes either you or your significant other to become very frustrated in your are playing the multi-player mode. (Although no guitars have been broken at this point.)
  • You get burned out to the game in general and then you don't want to play it more two to three days.
I have found that playing a little each day allows me to see progress, but still keeps my interest up. Some of you are reading this thinking, "Wow, Jim is thinking about Guitar Hero way too much." You would all be right...but has been such a good stress reliever over the last few weeks.

Other News:
  • My excitement for the birthday party increases. Starting on Thursday, the birthday weekend will be great: (1) dinner with RHDs on Thursday, (2) party Friday, (3) hang out with parents/dinner Saturday, & (4) hang out with Christa in Appleton and shop/watch a movie/play. Fun times indeed!