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.

Friday, September 28, 2007

6,000 & the Weekend

I will attempt to remain more subdued with this milestone. In a 105-2 victory for the Indianapolis Colts over the Buffalo Bills, I earned 60 achievement points and raised my score over 6,000. Between Madden 2008 and Two Worlds, I was really able to move things up.

The last few weeks have been very stressful and I have appreciated some time on the 360 to release a little stress.

This weekend I will be heading to Camp Onaway for a leadership retreat. This may or may not be my last trip to the camp. These trips are always meaningful and refreshing for me. While it should be a great experience, it does take up a significant portion of the weekend and with Homecoming starting on that Sunday, it will be a crazy week!

Happy Friday to all!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Two Worlds Domination

After three pretty intense periods of playing the game Two Worlds, I have solved the main quest line. Sadly, unlike Oblivion, once you complete the main quest line, the game ends. Luckily, I saved right before this point so that I could gain the achievement and then go back and continue exploring the game world. The achievement point value for completing the main quest line is 370 points. Talk about a great one shot achievement. All told, I ended up polishing off 495 achievment points in the game last night. My overall points for the game are 910 out of 1000. The last three achievements involve finding locations and I assume will take much time.

My feelings about this game are mixed. I hated it at first, but have grown to like it more. It doesn't have the replay value of Oblivion, so I need to decide if I want to get the last 90 points or sell the game back to put toward another. We'll see.

My gamerscore is now at 5,975. So close to 6,000. Perhaps some time with Marvel Ultimate Alliance will put me over. That's enough gamer talk for now. We'll catch you later.

P.S. Congrats to Halo 3 fames. Your game has arrived. Many of my XBox friends were playing. So far, reviews have been good!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Compute Your AD&D Stats

I was checking out Facebook this morning and I noticed that there was a quiz that after you take it will compute your six basic stats for an AD&D character. The link is here.

Here are my statistics:
Strength: 9
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 14
Dexterity: 13
Constitution: 13
Charisma: 12

From the AD&D perspective 9-12 is the average area with scores below and above showing something remarkable in either direction. As you can see, I turned out pretty good :).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Now I Know How CAs Feel

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, this weekend was OshCon. I had an event scheduled for 6:00 PM this past Saturday. I spent about four hours putting together eight characters for the adventure and took about two hours to put the adventure together. I got to the River Center and checked in. The guys at the check-in booth made mention of the fact that there were a couple folks that were inquiring about my adventure. Sweet!

I got there about thirty minutes early to unpack and get things ready. It got to be around five minutes before 6:00 and there wasn't anyone there. I held out hope, but alas no one showed up to my event. All the hours of preparation, for nothing.

As my CA in the FVTC program said, this happens to hall staff all the time. He's right. I suppose the experience was helpful in that sense. Oh well...perhaps next year will be better?

Other Weekend News
  • The Badgers barely, barely won. They are 4-0 but continue to hang out at No. 9 in the polls.
  • The Packers won a game that I thought they were going to lose. In fact, I thought they were going to get blown out. Wow. Maybe this team is for real. They play the Vikings in Minnesota which is always dicey for the Packers. If they can pull that off, this team really is for real.
  • The Brewers...well, it was fund while it lasted. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

National Talk Like a Pirate Day

My friend Dario reminded me last night that September 19th is National Talk Like a Pirate Day! Of all people, I suppose I am the one that should be remembering this.

* ahem *

Ye scurvy dogs need be celebrating with rum (only if 21) or your finest ale (also only if 21). Avast, have a fun day and shiver me timbers!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Small Things

So, I went to Blackhawk Commons this morning to get my breakfast to bring back to the office. My to-go container in hand I made it over to the fruit section. They had bananas!!! They haven't bananas available since I started in Blackhawk in July. I have to say I was pretty excited. It's funny when you get really excited about something that most other people would view as pretty minor. It made me think of other small things that make my day:
  • Walking into a store and finding out out they provide Ford gumballs in their machines.
  • Finding out it's Brat or Taco Day in Blackhawk.
  • When they don't ration the nuggets.
  • When the episode of Futurama or Family Guy on Adult Swim is one that I have seen in awhile.
  • When Gladiator happens to be showing on TV.
  • When you magically find money in your pockets that you forget from before.
  • When I get an achievement on the Xbox 360 that I didn't know existed or that I wasn't even working for.
What are some of the small things that make you smile?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Busy Weekend #1: Fall Fest/Oshcon

It was nice to have my parents visit this weekend. We went out to Red Robin for burgers. I had a bacon cheeseburger...so good. I also took my parents to the Oshkosh Public Museum. They were impressed with the exhibits, but more so by a well-kept old house that housed the exhibits. After this weekend, my weekends are filled for the next month or so.

This weekend is both Fall Fest and Oshcon. For Fall Fest, I will be volunteering at the 2nd annual Dragon Boat races. In the evening, I will be running a 1st Edition AD&D adventure on Saturday night at OshCon. If you want to know a little bit about what I am basing the adventure on, check here.

So, I'll be busy and I'll be spending much free time this week getting the adventure ready. Wow...that was a lot of hyperlinks.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Intrigue

It amazes me sometimes how a computer-generated game can create so much drama for one person. I am talking about the Madden 2008 Superstar mode that I created with Packer RB Brandon Jackson.

In his second season (2008-2009) , Jackson was compiling a pretty good individual season. Since I couldn't control pay calling, I got pretty frustrated with the insistence on passing the ball as well as not including Jackson all that much in the offense. With four games to go, the Packers were 5-7. That seventh loss came in a game where Jackson ran for four rushing touchdowns, but the team came up short because our kicker missed the extra point at the end of the game. Seriously.

Needless to say, the Packers compile four straight victories and make it into the playoffs as a five seed. After the heartbreaking 28-27 loss I figured the playoffs were not even going to happen. We win easily in the wild card round and match up against the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional game. We escape with a 9-6 final score. I was thankful we won that game. We go up against the Giants in the NFC Championship and make out in an offensive game with touchdowns everywhere.

In the season where we assume Favre will retire, the Packers make it to the Superbowl. Favre was selected to his second straight Superbowl and had his second straight season with a 100+ passer rating. Favre decided to lay a huge egg for the Superbowl. He throws four interceptions and the Packer lose 31-3. Jackson doesn't accomplish much because Favre made sure to keep the offense off the field.

Jackson asked for trade in the offseason and is now with the Cowboys. Statistically he is already close to making the Hall of Fame. He will try to make it the Superbowl with the Dallas Cowboys. They are already 4-0.

All this from a video game...amazing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Other News: The Packers win today! At least this time they played a good game to get the win. The offense showed life and the defense remained strong overall.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The People Have Spoken

The final votes were tallied and The Empire Strikes Back is officially the best Star Wars film made. Keep in mind, this comes from a survey of 13 people (11 for empire). But, they are smart people ;).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wisconsin Sports

Now is not a bad time to be a Wisconsin sports fan. There is reason to be optimistic and reason to be hopeful. Let's think about this...

Brewers - The Brewers are in the middle of a heated race for the National League Central Division crown. They aren't getting in as the wild card, so they have to win. As of today, they are only 0.5 games out of first place. They can do it, but they need to win a lot of games. Here's to hoping.

Packers - The Packers got lucky last Sunday. They easily could have lost. They have no running game and Favre is not the QB that he once was. The defense is great, but that won't carry them through the season. They have the potential to go between 7-9 and 9-7. They won't be a laughing stock this season. Perhaps they can surprise some people.

Badgers - They are 2-0 although they are barely eeked out a victory against UNLV. With Michigan being 0-2 the Badgers have a chance to make their mark this year. Technically Michigan could still win Big Ten, but they don't look good. if the Badgers can beat Ohio State and win their other games (definitely possible) they could go to the BCS. That would be sweet.

Bucks - This one is going to be interesting. There is a lot of talent on this team. With the additions of Desmond Mason and Yi Jianlian, the Bucks only have so many minutes to dole out to a lot of players. If this team can stay healthy, they can definitely be a playoff team. But, they need to be healthy.

The next few months will provide some real sports excitement. I may blog about it as it becomes important. Go Wisconsin sports!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


After a two year sabbatical from the Madden franchise, I decided to give Madden 2008 a try. More than anything, I needed to get over the threat of losing. Over the years (and after many broken controllers) I have succumb to the fact that you can't win every game of Madden that you play. As such, I have mostly enjoyed playing Madden and have tried out a new mode: Superstar.

In this mode, you play the role of one player on an NFL team. You can only control that player and you simulate the plays that don't involve your particular player. You have to choose a rookie or create a rookie, so I went with rookie Packers running back Brandon Jackson. He is listed as the starter and I have worked my way through one season and am 9 games through the second season.

As my wife could attest to, this can be extremely frustrating. As the running back, I can't call audibles or modify blocking/passing route schemes. Thus, I can tell that a play is going to fail, but there is nothing I can do about it. If players miss their blocks, I pay the price. I could be wide open and the QB throws an interception which is run in for a touchdown. I can't control the defense at all, so we may put up 21 points, but the defense gives up 40. Christa asks why I play if it is going to be so frustrating. I suppose that's a good question.

If anything, here are some lessons I have learned:
  • You can't control everything. Sometimes you need to do the best you can with what you control and hope for the best. Translation: Be the best RB you can be.
  • Just because something doesn't go well part of the time, it doesn't mean that the rest of of it will be bad to. Translation: Being down 21-0 doesn't mean give up. It means try to fight back!
  • You don't always win, no matter how hard you might try.
  • Always support the team, despite your own frustrations. Having a bad attitude only makes it worse for everyone else.
The Packers are 4-5 in Jackson's second year and I don't have high hopes regarding their playoff chances. Jackson is having a Pro Bowl year and could easily be the MVP of the team. Despite my frustrations, they emphasize the lessons above.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dungeons & Dragons - A Sequel?

If anyone has had the misfortune of watching the first Dungeons and Dragons movie realizes that it would just be better to forget about sequel. I can remember visiting a booth at the Gen Con Convention with a exhibitor who, while promoting the movie, said that if the movie made at least $5 million they would create a sequel. After fives years, they mad a sequel...direct to video.

That's the first sign that this movie would probably not be too good. Based on the feedback of a few fellow D&D players, however, I heard that the sequel was better. So, against my better judgment, I watched Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God.


...it was a little better, but not by much.

Where do I begin? The acting was bad. The dialogue was bad...although there were a few good lines. The special effects were pitiful and obvious. The plot was predictable, really predictable. The music was mundane and didn't add much. Plus, it dragged...a lot.

On the plus side? Well, they did make more direct reference to the D&D game which was cool. They incorporated character classes, magic items, mythology and geographic locations. That gave it a +1 in comparison to the original movie. And...that's about it.

If you play D&D and you want a laugh, watch this movie. If you don't play D&D, avoid this movie. Although, I would assume you wouldn't watch this movie anyway ;).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

3:10 to Yuma

Christa and I had the opportunity to see this movie this past Saturday afternoon. I had seen a few previews for the movie on TV, but I honestly didn't know much about it. Now is the time when the summer of "blockbusters" begins to die down and the hype about movies decreases.

Having not seen a movie in awhile, we decided to check it out. It has been some time since I have seen a good western. I want to take the opportunity now to say that if the previews shown before this movie are any indication, it is going to be a lean next couple of months in the movies.

Christa and I both enjoyed 3:10 to Yuma. It was a well-written, involved movie that mostly kept my attention throughout its full two hours. The movie was based on a short story...Shawshank Redemption, anyone?

If I had to point out the things that I didn't like about it:
  • The movie did feel stretched out a little bit. If they had the opportunity to re-edit the movie, I think there are some scenes that could be taken out to move the movie along a little bit.
  • The music was at times distracting. It wasn't a bad score, but I don't think it has the ability to stand on its own like great movie scores do.
Much of this was overshadowed by strong acting performances from Bale and Crowe. They were brilliant. Some components of the ending were not surprising, but other parts were quite surprising. The dialogue was well-written and the script was strong. I would definitely recommend this movie to folks.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ministry Candidate Update

I just wanted to keep everyone posted on my pursuit of candidacy for the Methodist ministry. I managed to take a few steps forward. I have received my candidacy guidebook and will begin meetings with my candidacy mentor. We will likely be meeting regularly over the fall semester. When that is completed, I can move on toward finalizing my candidacy.

As part of the process up until now, I needed to take an on-line inventory that rated my interests in lots of different areas, ministry and otherwise. I will eventually get to see the results and I am curious as to what the inventory says about me.

I also had to complete a 4-page personal background that needed to be completed by my first meeting with my mentor. They don't mess around with this sheet. They ask about religious experiences, work experiences, educational experiences, criminal background, rationale for exploring ministry, spouse's thoughts, and many other things. I got me thinking about things, both good and bad, that I have not thought about in many years.

I am excited for my first candidacy mentor meeting...which is tomorrow!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Moving On

I have wavered in my exercise routine. The throws of Residence Life training forced me to utilize the 6:00-7:00 AM hour for the purposes of getting work done given the two hall environment. As such, I have started up again this week.

I have started with walking again and will build myself up to running again. I try to do a nice loop around the campus. On my trip back, I happen to go by Breese Hall. This is a tough part of the walk for me. It's strange to think of a building where you lived and worked for four years and know that someone else with a different staff is in charge of it.

Don't get me wrong. I know the Christin and the 07-08 Breese staff are capable of great things and will do good work...I just need to get over the fact that I'm not there anymore. One accumulates a lot of memories and friends and you have to adjust to a new environment.

I have already appreciated the connections I have made in Webster and FVTC and look forward to building a new relationship.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


After a rousing game of Madden that unlocked 8 achievements, my gamerscore is now over 5,000. Woot! I technically came in before school started with the 5,000...thus keeping my promise to Mark.

Wow, I am such a nerd.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Move-In Part II

The whirlwind Sunday of first-year student move-in is over. Now comes the more subdued returner move-in day. I can already tell that today will be a slower day, with folks trickling in as the day goes on. I am pretty much exhausted from a day that began at 7:00 AM and went until 12:30 AM.

I was on duty last night and that wasn't so bad. People seemed to be relatively quiet, but I realize that folks probably got louder after I went to bed.

I am really looking forward to the next few days when I get into a little bit more of a routine and I can relax from the craziness of move-in.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Opening Day!

As I mentioned yesterday, we have completed training for the Residence Life Staff and hall leaders. If that's done...it means it's time for the first-year students to move in!

At 9:00 AM we opened the doors to Webster Hall and the students are now moving in. It's interesting to participate in the 5th move-in as an RHD. I don't really get nervous anymore because I can anticipate the vast majority of problems that will occur.

Sadly, it can be difficult to maintain the same level of enthusiasm that I have had in previous move-ins. Luckily the hall leaders and staff can help in that department.

Other News
  • I submitted a review on Amazon.com about Two Worlds. I felt the need to defend the game from all the ridicule that it is receiving.
  • I should hopefully have a Superstar season set up for Madden this evening...hopefully with Brady Quinn.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Training Is Over!

I'm back. After over four weeks of training, my life returns to...err, normal. There is a lot that I could talk about that has taken place over the last few weeks. Allow me to provide a few highlights and I will be sure to add more detail in subsequent posts.
  • Ministry Candidacy Process - Since I last posted, I have completed quite a few steps in the process. Recently, I was mailed my candidacy guidebook ($75...woot) and will be meeting with mu candidacy mentor to being working through the guidebook. From what she said, it is still very possible for me to be ready for assignment this coming summer.
  • Two Worlds - I have been pretty pumped about the game Two Worlds for quite a few months now. I finally got the game last week and have played it for about 10 hours. At first I thought it sucked (most people do). The more I play, however, the more I am beginning to like the game. I will talk more about this in a future post.
  • Madden 2008 - I also purchased Madden 2008. The last Madden game I played was in 2006 so I have a lot of catching up to do. So far, I like it!
That's the big news. Please stand by for more regular updates. :)