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, July 31, 2007

What's Worse Than a Loss?

How about two losses? Last night I played in my first ever softball double header with games at 8:30 and 9:30. It made for long night regardless, but it became even longer when we lost both games (15-13 & 15-3).

The first game was a back breaker. We were down by quite a bit early as our defense was pretty sad to start the game. In the later innings, we chipped away at the lead and managed to tie the game going into the ninth inning. Unfortunately, a botched catch of a fly ball added two runs that we were not able to make up. My performance in the game was not awful, but my batting definitely did not live up to previous weeks. When I did manage to get on base, the next few people got out and I wasn't able to contribute.

The second game showed out fatigue. The mercy rule was invoked after five innings. I actually managed to contribute one of the three RBIs we had in the game. Yay...

Next week is our last game and we will end the season below .500. However, as the season went on, I have come to enjoy playing on this team more and more. I am thinking that I will probably join the team next summer if they will allow me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Honeymoon Highlights (Part I)

I realize that I was supposed to update folks on the wedding weekend and I have slowly but surely been catching up. Today we were finally able to get the honeymoon pictures uploaded from the digital camera.

Monday, June 18, 2007
Our honeymoon began on a Monday with Jocelyn Crist dropping us off at the airport for an 7:30 flight. The weather that day did not look too good. Needless to say, it delayed our flight out of Appleton enough that we would not be in time for our Milwaukee connection to Las Vegas. As we were checked in, it was discovered that while we reserved tickets to Las Vegas we never actually bought them. It was a great start. Luckily the flight out of Milwaukee was also delayed by weather...significantly...so that by the time we made it to Las Vegas it was 4:00 AM Central Time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Much of this day was spent walking the strip. Christa and I are not big gamblers so we stuck mostly to the slot machines. In the first casino we stopped at (the MGM Grand) I ended up winning $50.00. You can see me enjoying the spoils.The sun was on full blast on this day so we only lasted for so long, but we did get some nice casino pictures. Christa got an excellent picture of the Bellagio below:

Christa did an excellent job of taking all sorts of good pictures. Here is a picture of some of the casinos from the vantage point of the walkway to the Bellagio.

By the early evening we were both pretty spent. We retired to our hotel to rest from a busy day. A few observations about Las Vegas:
  • It's a nice place to visit, but the city isn't really our style.
  • It is sickening to me how many cards are given out for prostitutes.
  • The food is amazing in Las Vegas. We had brunch at the MGM Grand and dinner at the Tropicana. The all you can eat buffets are the best.
  • Black Jack can be a quick game.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Geekiness Lives!

It is official. I am running a gaming event for the Oshcon 2007 Convention:

Event name: The Chosen of Pholtus
Event time: 6:00 PM
Length of event: 4 hours
Game rules: AD&D, 1st Edition
Manufacturer: TSR
Difficulty: Beginner (will teach rules)
Number of players: Up to 8 players
Description: The Order of the Holy Light has done enough! It is time for a new group of heroes to shine in the World of Greyhawk. Be part of the chosen party of Pholtus as they spread the blinding light across the Flanaess.
Gamemaster: Jim Droste

It gives me something to look forward to in the gaming department depending on how the fall semesters AD&D campaign goes.

New Car!

On Tuesday, Christa and I bought a new car. We bought a 2007 Hyundai Elantra. We picked up the car on Thursday and have really enjoyed it. This is a photo from the manufacturer website. I am having trouble getting the actual picture of our car to transfer to my computer. Update...new picture available!

The funny thing about this car is that it is the exact same car that we had when we were on our honeymoon. Driving back from Las Vegas, we put over 2,600 miles on the car, so we had a pretty good sense of how the vehicle was. We loved driving it and thought that if we did get a car in the near future, we would like it to be this one.

Among its many features is the XM Satellite Radio that came installed with the car. It is free for the first three months. We are contemplating if we want to keep the service, but it is only $12 a month.

Compared to the troubled Honda Civic that we had before, this car is a dream. No strange noises when I back up. No strange noises when I have the windows open. All the speakers work. No rust, no broken rear bumper. Having a new car is nice.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Few Wedding Photos (and other stuff)...

A have not posted in a few days and I wanted to catch you up on some recent events. I figured that as I went through that stuff, I could post a few wedding pictures. There will definitely be more, but this should keep the masses satisfied :).

New Purchase
The biggest news is that Christa and I bought a new car! We purchased a regatta blue 2007 Hyundai Elantra. It was the exact car that Christa and I took on our honeymoon as we road tripped back from Vegas. Although a major purchase for us, we are excited. It is a vast improvement over the 1995 Honda Civic which after 13 years of faithful service has been retired. I can now back up without the car sounding like it was going to fall apart.

Softball Updates
After a one month hiatus, the Strikeforce United co-ed team stepped back onto the field to play some softball yesterday. The team had quite a few no shows, so I was recruited to help the team out. I played catcher (which I've never done before) and I can say that I was not too much of a help in that department. Based on the line-up, I had only one at-bat. I managed to knock in a run and was also able to score. I accounted for 2 of our 3 runs. We ended up losing 15-3. Ouch! The weather was not conducive to softball as it was pouring rain and the team we played was really good.

This past Monday the Strikeforce United men's team play and logged another victory with a score of 21-14. We posted 10 runs in the first inning and held on for the victory. We almost blew in the 7th inning, but managed to end the game. I continued to have a hot bat drawing walk and getting some solid hits.

One of my old residents, Tex Nelson, is planning on having a fall softball league that I am hoping to join. Hopefully I can keep this good softball energy going.

Ministry Retreat
As I mentioned last week I was at a retreat for people that inquiring about the Methodist ministry process. Initially going to the conference, I had my doubts about how useful the session would be. Much of what I heard at the conference was repeat information, but there were some useful tidbits that I learned as well:
  • It will cost me $450 to complete a psychological analysis regarding my abilities as a potential minister. That's a chuck of change I didn't realize I'd need to spend.
  • There is an option to become a licensed local pastor which would cost less in terms of schooling and would allow me to have say in where I am placed as a minister.
  • There are a lot of opportunities to cut the costs of seminary, a venture that will cost $15,000-$20,000 a year.
Overall, it was nice to meet ten other folks who are in a similar situation as me, discerning their call. What was neat was that these folks varied in age from 18 to 64.

After the retreat, I am ready to continue in the candidacy process. I have plenty of time. It will take at least a year to become a certified ministry candidate.

That's all for now. I hope to be more regular in my posting.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wedding Photos

Christa and I have had quite a a few requests for wedding photos to be posted. I wanted to let everyone know that last weekend we received a CD of all of the wedding pictures that were taken at the ceremony and at the reception. I am hoping to put a few choice photos up on the blog very soon. Otherwise, you can definitely expect a variety of albums on Facebook in either my or Christa's account.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Softball Update

It's hard to get too excited about my performance in Monday night's game because we lost. We simply could got get our bats going consistently and there was a cheap call that cost us some possible runs. At one point, we had the bases loaded and our best batter was at the plate. He was ahead in the count 2-0 (3 balls is a walk) and the next pitch was obviously going to be a ball. The man on first base began moving toward second a few seconds before the ball hit the ground. He was called out and the inning was over...

...who makes that call? I didn't even know that this rule existed. Why would you do it? it was obvious our batter wasn't going to swing. It was obvious that out runner wouldn't go far with someone on second. Why would you destroy a team's best chance at a rally? Grr...

I went 3-3 that night and every hit I had was a great connection. I even had a double and scored a run. It was a good night overshadowed by a cruddy call.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ministry Retreat

This coming weekend I will be attending a Ministry Retreat sponsored by the Methodist Board of Ordained Ministry. It runs from Friday evening until Sunday at noon. The retreat will cover many of the same things that I covered at the Exploration 2006 conference, but this will be in Wisconsin with other Wisconsin folks interested in the ministry. The event takes place at a Methodist Retreat Site.

After completing the retreat, I can be assigned a candidacy mentor and I can continue along the ministry process. I will have more information about the event upon my return

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Do you think the Coca Cola company will ever make a Mello Yello Zero? If they do, I will be pretty excited.

Friday, July 13, 2007


In addition to renting Bobby, I also rented Shadowrun for the XBox 360. When Nick brought his XBox 360 over for the bachelor party, I had the opportunity to watch him play the demo for the game. From what I saw, it looked pretty cool. Before jumping in and buying the game, I took the opportunity to rent the title. I have played through the six training sessions and have played a few multi-player games with computer bots. So far, I would submit the following thoughts:

  • While not role-playing, it has enough elements to be passable.
  • I appreciate the magic/tech enhancements and how they make combat fun. Nothing like having a machine gun, but also having the ability to fly and pass through walls. You don't usually expect that.
  • Races allow you to pursue RPG-like classes. Elves make good healers, Trolls good fighters, Dwarves actually have some thief-like abilities.
  • Matches consist of a series of games, so one match can take some time. You earn money for doing good stuff and you can buy enhancements. It's a unique system.
  • As many folks have commented, there is no campaign mode. Given the deep RPG background of the Shadowrun game, it would seem to cater itself to a campaign mode.
  • For $60 new, you don't get a whole lot of variety. Nine boards, 4 races, eight weapons and various enhancements. I can see this game getting old after awhile and it doesn't seem to warrant the price tag.
  • Switching between magic and tech enhancements can be confusing and time consuming. You also only have 10 seconds between rounds to buy enhancements. I wish you could modify this.
Overall, this is a game that I might buy when it comes down from its initial price tag. I can see paying $30 for a used copy, but not $60 for a new copy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


A few nights ago,we were at Family Video and Christa expressed interest in renting the movie Bobby. I had seen previews of the movie, and had some interest to see it but never got around to it. Overall, it was a pretty good film. I definitely did not get a sense of the scope and power that other reviewers described.

For me, I appreciated the Crash-like affect of how different characters at this hotel interacted on the night the Bobby Kennedy was shot. I was entertained, not moved. Nothing felt eopic, but you were pulled into everyone's life, wondering what would happen to them.

There was a lot of star power in this movie, almost too much. Within the first five minutes of the movie you are just inundated with top movie stars. It felt forced, but they did a good job of giving everyone an opportunity to shine, similar to the Ocean's caper movies.

My biggest complaint would probably be the soundtrack. It didn't add anything to the movie and if anything, it was actually distracting.

If Emilio Estevez was going for a documentary-like epic, he definitely missed. If he wanted to entertain an audience for two hours, than he succeeded. I think he was going for the former, so for many this will fall flat. I liked it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No So Much Nerves...

As I reflect on the wedding experience, I can think of a variety of entries that I could write about. I thought I might start with the morning before the wedding. Leading up to that day, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't sure if I would be nervous. I didn't know how I would sleep.

I slept fine. In fact, I got up at around 8:30 AM and decided right away after getting up to put up the balloons that we promised that would lead people to Linwood Avenue and thus the church. While doing that I got a call from Christa...there were concerns about the bridesmaids knowing where to go in the church for getting ready. While at the church I saw my Dad and I suggested that we get breakfast.

After having breakfast with my parents, I sat on the couch in my apartment and I watched The Godfather: Part II. Probably not typical pre-wedding fair, but it was actually relaxing. I then got dressed and headed over to the church about 75 minutes before the ceremony. Despite it getting closer to the service, I did not get nervous. Instead of showing nervousness and I showed other emotions...we'll talk about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Win Makes Everything Better

Despite some shaky offense late in the and some shaky fielding throughout the game, Strikeforce United came out on the winning side in last night's game. The final score was 20-19 if memory serves.

In the first inning we scored seven runs and the next inning we scored five, so I thought the game was going to be a walk in the park. When the runs started to dry up and they started getting runs, it got scary. But, we prevailed and now have a record of 3-4.

After a sub-par hitting performance last week, I managed to go 3-5 with a double thrown in there as well. I had one RBI and two runs scored. Taking my usual position of right field, I did not let anything get by me.

The clubhouse felt looser and people seemed in better spirits. I suppose that comes with winning. I am slowly getting to know the team better and it is easier for me to play when I feel like I am part of the team. If we can keep this energy going for the rest of the season, this will continue to be fun.

Monday, July 09, 2007

AOL Screenname Change

Many of you probably already know this, but for those of you who do not I am now the Residence Hall Director for Webster Hall and the Fox Valley Technical College student floors in the Gruenhagen Conference Center. As such, my contact information has changed.

My office number is now: (920) 424-1820.
My AOL Screenname is now: WebsterFVTCRHD.

I am now on a 12-month contract so I will be working throughout the summer. Feel free to drop me a line. I would love to find out how you are doing!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Bachelor Party (and Pre-Party)

The wedding celebration actually began the Monday before the wedding. My friend Dario arranged for a variety of field trips before the more formal wedding stuff began. Allow me to give a brief description of each of these excursions.

Sprecher Brewery Tour
On Monday afternoon, Dario, Tom Dittl and I traveled to Milwaukee for a tour of the Sprecher Brewery. Known especially for their great root beer, we got to see how they make both beer and root beer and also had the opportunity to try some beverages at the end. In fact, we got coupons for 3 free samples of beer as well as unlimited samples of sodas. All that for 3 bucks! If you'd like more information, check HERE.

Miller Park Tour
The next day, Dario and I took a tour of Miller Park. I have been to Miller Park many times, but did not get to see it like I did on this tour. We got to walk around the press room, Bob Uecker's braodcast room, the visitor's clubhouse and locker room as well as the Brewer's bullpen. Dario got some wonderful pictures. You can check them out HERE.

High School Reunion
After the tour, Dario and I stopped by our old high school, Homestead in Mequon, WI. I haven't stepped foot in the place for about 10 years, for Dario it's closer to 12. Things have changed...a lot. Some things looked familiar, but for the most part, the place got a major face lift. Larger hallways, new tile and paint, new wings, new gyms, new pool, new music facilities, new lunch room.

After checking in with the school secretaries, we got permission to wander the grounds. We found a few teachers to talk to. I found two of my old chemistry teachers, my old choir teacher and my old math teacher.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New softball Update

In lieu of keeping weekly statistics for the softball game, I figure I can just give a overview of the evening's activities. Sadly, we lost last night's game, but it was a great game. Our game went 10 innings and finished with a score of 27-20. Sadly, I had an opportunity with two outs and two on the ninth to win the game and I popped out. The next inning we gave up a bunch of runs and we were not able to get them back.

I sat out the first few innings as the DH, but came in to play right field for the majority of the game. I had a nice grab to keep the 8th inning scoreless and that was about it in the field. You don't do too much in right field :).

I went 1 for 5 for the evening and my one hit came from an error. Otherwise, I hit a few weak grounders and almost legged out a few singles. It had been three weeks since I last played a game, so I think I needed a week to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully things get better.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Settling In...

Before you say anything, I realize it has been a really long time since I have posted anything in this blog. The blog is certainly not dead, but I have definitely been a little busy. It was quite a month of June.

The month began with the NACURH 2007 conference here in Oshkosh, WI. Two weeks later, I got married. Then, Christa and I went on our honeymoon. Then we got back and we had to move to our new apartment in Webster Hall.

There are volumes to talk about for each of those items, and I will get to it all. Please stick with me.