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.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
It is nice to have completed a unit of time with running...one month.I look forward to the month of February so I see if I continue the gains found thus far.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Among other things, I decided that the computer desk I had in my room was not fulfilling it s task. It allowed too much dust to collect in my computer, so it had to go. I converted another desk that I had to that duty, but disposing of the hold desk is kind of a pain because there is a lot to it. It has made a few moves, so it is rickety and I wouldn't want anyone else using it. With the desk transition there is a lot of additional clutter in the apartment.
When it's all done, I think things will look really nice. But, for now...it's bad. I will put up pictures with the new layout this week. I hope to do a lot of cleaning tonight if and when I find time.
- Christa had her Jazz Band audition yesterday. She hasn't heard anything yet. We continues to wait.
- The first SPRC meeting came and went. We have a lot of work to do.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Last night I also signed up for the Oshkosh Half Marathon. It is April 14, 2007. For those of you that may not know, that is a 13.1 mile run. I have also wanted to run a marathon in my lifetime; this event will be a good stepping stone to that end. The weather should be warmer and I have run 13 miles a couple times in my life. I know I can do it. I have plenty of weeks of training before the event.
What I have to fight is the fact that I have signed up for half marathons twice before and have dropped out of running before I got to them. This time I will not.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
One of these Sundays Christa and I will get to sit together for church. Hopefully, Christa gets a partner to teach Sunday School so she can get a few Sundays off. I've talked about this before, but it's important to us.
I have my first SPRC meeting tomorrow. I have not even started an agenda yet. I am going to need to find time for that...soon!
The students move in today. While there is not as much fanfare this time, it is always nice to see the full complement of folks back in Breese. The energy comes back and the building feels more like home.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
We are almost done with mid-year training here in Breese Hall. We just got done playing a game called Cranium. If you have never played the game, I highly recommend it. It was a lot of fun to see my staff relax and have a good time. I could tell that the day was getting a little long for them, but I really saw them connect this evening.
During the morning, my returning staff had the opportunity to build a tower as part of a team-building activity. Here is a picture of my returning staff working hard and building the tower. As with all things, this staff had fun in the process and built a rather unique construct, without talking.
Christina became a full member of the staff over the weekend. I do not have a picture of her for the blog, but she has learned a lot in the last few days and has fit well into the staff. I am excited to see what this group can do for the spring semester.
The building opens for spring semester tomorrow. It will be nice to get back into a routine.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Going a few weeks without a computer in my apartment makes me realize how much I rely on them for almost everything in my life. I look at all of the tabs that I have on internet browser (for starters): E-mail services, financial information, news resources, blogging, sports, gaming, cell phone, running...the list goes on. So, this time I will try to take better care of my computer.
Christa talks about how scary it is that we rely on computers so much. I can't disagree with that. Think about all the information that we put in the hands of computers. I know the information can be backed up, but you can't help but be a little weirded out.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
What should I hear, but a knocking sound in the hard drive. It is shot. So, all of my Dad's hard work is now for naught. Christa and I bought a new hard drive, but now we are having trouble getting it installed and working properly.
I will keep you posted for possible improvements.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I have a lot of friends with parents that have just recently purchased a computer and are just figuring out how to use the internet or check their E-mail. Our house has its own network with multiple computer hooked up to it. I don't know of anyone who knows more about computers than my Dad. It's like having your own IT guy in the family :). It may take him all day, but I think he can actually make this happen.
It has been nice to be home and catch up with my parents. I have updated them on the wedding as well as other goings on my life.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Children of Men
I went to the film on the recommendation of Ken Fager, who said the movie was very good. I would definitely have to agree. Christa and I went to see this film over the weekend. Overall, it was a very engaging film and one that kept me in suspense because I honestly did know how things were going to end. Overall, I would give the movie a 8.0 out of 10 stars.
- I thought the acting was superb. My favorite character was the character Jasper Palmer played by Michael Caine. I doubt he would get an Academy Award nomination for his role, but her certainly deserves one.
- I liked the protrayal of the nead future, 2027. Many things are still the same but there are some components that lend themselves to increased technology. It reminded me of V for Vendetta.
- This was a unique story line with a strangely biblical feel to it. It wasn't too much, but it was there.
- The music was great, both the songs selected and the original music.
- I was intrigued by how many main characters die in this movie. Sorry if this is a spoiler, but it really surprised me.
- I found the level of language and violence in the movie to be a little excessive. I suppose it had to do something with the genre of the film, but I could have done without it.
So, it's not in the same league as Children of Men. But, this is a fun movie. The plot is pretty simple. Man gets poisoned and will eventually die. The only way he can stay alive longer is to pump adreneline through his body. While he is still alive, he tries to exact revenge on those that did this to him.
What I liked about the film is that it is incredibly fast-paced. It's hard to get bored. They do some fun things with camera angles and presentation to keep the film fresh. There's a lot of action. There's quite a bit of humor. It's entertaining, which is what you're looking for.
It's obviously quite far-fetched and there are times where you are thinking, "Yeah right." But, it is what it is...a fun movie. I would give it a 6.5 out of 10.0 stars.
Monday, January 22, 2007
- Peyton Manning (best statistical quarterback) vs. Tom Bray (best clutch quarterback)
- Brady and Belicheck are 12-1 in the playoffs
- The Colts can't beat the Patriots in the playoffs
- Peyton Manning has never won the big game; the blows it in the playoffs
- Vinatieri moved from the Patriots to the Colts
The Colts won 38-34. Peyton gets to the Superbowl and wins a big game. There are two African American coaches in the Superbowl. Brady/Belicheck finally go down in a big game.
If they have this on ESPN Classic, which they should, you have to watch it. A great game.
- I broke a weight plateau and I am now down to 195. I love the progress I am making. It feels like it's not a day until I actually run.
- Tomorrow I will have my review of Children of Men.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Gospel reading from this morning's services was one of my favorites. It comes from the fourth chapter of Luke:
"16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
18 'The Spirit of the L
20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
- Christa finished her work at Webster/Stanley. Even though she was only there three weeks, the kids there definitely responded to her teaching; they were very sad to see her go. They made many cards for her and she baked cookies for them. I could tell that Christa really enjoyed her experience; I am happy that she has found a calling and sees a clear path ahead.
- The colleges students are on break until January 28. So, I get a little R&R before the spring semester begins. My staff comes back this Thursday and I start training with them that Sunday.
- I will be taking my computer home on Tuesday and will be working with my Dad to get my computer to work again. Hopefully when I get back to Oshkosh on Wednesday evening, I can check my E-mail and write blog entries from my apartment. :)
- I finished by second straight week of running. So far, so good. I look forward to a day off tomorrow. But, even more, I am looking forward to some continuing progress. I ran 24 miles this week.
Friday, January 19, 2007
I also found out that I have two employment options while in seminary. I can go to school full-time and be a part-time pastor in a congregation. The option that intrigued me even more was the option of going to school part-time and being a full-time student pastor for a church. The reason I was excited about this idea is that it gives Christa and I the option to live in Wisconsin. Christa could teach in Wisconsin and I could commute to school two nights a week. It also allows us to be closer to family and friends.
Knowing this has decreased my anxiety about what happens when Christa and I are done at UWO. It also helps me to realize how blessed I am and how thankful I should be.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I joined track in high school because most of friends wanted to do track. So, I became a distance runner even thought I wasn't all that interested. I was not a runner by any means. Our first run was short, maybe 2 miles. I remember our coach asking us to take our pulse. Mine was at about 160-180 beats a minutes...we had only run one mile. It was definitely an interesting year. My race times showed consistent improvement as I truly had to "get into shape." Three years later, I was in amazing shape, eating any food I wanted, and not even thinking about my weight. I was peeking running 40+ miles a week.
Then, I got to college and let it all go.
I haven't run consistently since the age of 18. The muscle that I gained in high school is still there, but the rest of the body has degenerated. I have next to zero cardiovascular fitness. I am considered overweight, if not close to being obese on the BMI. It will be an interesting road back to some level of running competency.
Every time I have tried to start running again, the biggest hang up has been to "get over" the mileage. What I mean by this is I get caught up in thinking, "How far have I run?" If I realize I have only run two miles, I would get discouraged. It would make the runs feel longer because I kept obsessing about how long my runs were. Now, I plan out the runs before I even head out so that I'm not thinking about the distance; I simply know how I long I will have run when I get back.
The other biggest obstacle was always trying to do too much too quickly. I would usually increase my mileage too fast and I would get injured, frustrated or tired. I have four years of doing running plans, you think I would know better. But, this time it is sticking. I know it will.
I am also appreciating the many benefits of running: weight loss, increased energy, increased matabolism, and no more feelings of being lazy. It is good, and it continues...
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
I then thought about my Chinese Religions Reader. To fill in a credit shortfall the year I was a CA, I decided to take a class in Chinese Religions. The class was really difficult, but I really enjoyed it and learned a lot about easterm religion. I always kept the reader that we purchased for the class because it had a lot of useful information. Times have come up where I thought about throwing out the reader because I never use it. I ended up lending my reader to this resident so that it might help him in his reading. It only took eight years, but I found a purpose for it!
It's not really a profound story...just interesting.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
- Steve Zahn and William H. Macy deliver strong performances in this movie. I usually do enjoy the roles that they play.
- I liked the buried Civil War Ironclad idea.
- The music was excellent. THe film score was memorable and they also employed a lot of 70's rock throughout the movie.
- Penelope Cruz...bleh. I just don't like her as an actress. She looked out of place in this action movie.
- Again, not a fan of Matthew McConaughey in this movie. His role seemed forced.
- Out of control plot in the second half, even for a movie of this genre.
- Others may disagree, but I would the ending a little anti-climatic.
Monday, January 15, 2007
As you have read about before, I have taken to running in the morning when I get up. Not thinking things through at 7:00 AM, I went running to discover the vast majority of Oshkosh citizens or civil servants had not plowed the sidewalks. Even some of the roads had not received any care yet. This made running interesting. Although frustrated at the time, I realized that at 8-9 AM, most plowing had begun. I just needed to wait. But, I am a creature of habit so I ran anyway.
My pedometer said I ran 4.6 miles, but I probably only ran about 3.8. The extra distance come probably from the fact that I took smaller steps to deal with the 4 inches of snow that I was often running through. Some may consider this adventure to be dangerous, or stupid. You're probably right. In addition to that, I think it show determination. I am going to keep up this running stuff. This continues to be the longest that I have made this work.
In non-running related news, the snow looks beautiful, and even at 10:00 AM it continues to snow. It is supposed to snow on and off all day. Christa is right. It's about time we got some snow.
My 3rd floor Community Advisor Darci (who leaves this week) is having a Hawaiian Luau tonight. It's perfect weather for a luau :)!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
It got me thinking about everything that Christa and I do for the church. Christa teaches the pre-school kids on Sundays which can be a big ordeal (just ask her about the kids today). We appreciate helping where we can for the church, but it makes me wonder. Christa and I do not often, if ever, have the opportunity to be at church together. I'm in the choir loft and she's in the Sunday School wing. On a rare Sunday when we both might be off, we might get to be together. Many people in the church don't even know we're getting married because they never see us together.
It also diminishes our opportunities to simply sit in the congregation and be part of the service and not feel some nervousness or drive to do something related to the service. I think that's why I enjoy the summer because you have more of those opportunities.
Of course, this comes from someone who is interested in the ministry which would require participationg every Sunday. I imagine even pastors enjoy a Sunday off every once in awhile.
It got me thinking about everything that Christa and I do for the church. Christa teaches the pre-school kids on Sundays which can be a big ordeal (Just ask her about the kids today). We appreciate helping where we can for the church, but it makes me wonder. Christa and I do not often, if ever, have the opportunity to be at church together. I'm in the choir loft and she's in the Sunday School wing. On a rare Sunday when we both might be off, we might get to be together.
It also diminishes our opportunities to simply sit in the congregation and be part of the service and not feel some nervousness or drive to do something related to the service. I think that's why I enjoy the summer because you have more of those opportunitites.
Of course, this comes from someone who is interested in the ministry which would require participationg every
Saturday, January 13, 2007
- I finished my first full week of running since...well, high school. Most other attempts at running have been spotty at best or only haoppen a few days during the week. I am looking forward to resting up on Sunday and building on what I was able to do so far. I weighed 196 this morning and have lost two pounds overall since New Year's. Not bad.
- Christa found a wedding dress and the bride's maid dresses as well. We have had a productive week of wedding planning and it will continue.
- I had my one hour of radio glory on WRST Friday from 5-6 PM. I know at least two people were listening. My good friend Peter Brooks called in to the show and gave me a post-show talk. We actually had a real live caller who had a good question as well. Jason Dufek and I talked about residence life, college student life and how students can "get involved." I had fund, but I doubt I am on my way to a life in radio ;).
- Christa and I head up to Green Bay in a few hours for a Wedding Expo. If we sit through a one-hour presentation, we can get some free stuff. I'm game. And, I'll only miss one half of the first playoff game. I think I get to keep my man-card.
- My home computer is not working. I am typing this entry from the computer in my office, which conveniently, is only about 10 feet from my apartment :). I ran an anti-virus check on my computer and when my computer re-booted, it stays in a continuous re-boot loop. That's what I get for trying to fix my computer.
- The Bucks traded for Earl Boykins and gave up Steve Blake. I can say this is probably the most one-sided trade I have seen for the Bucks since I have followed them as a team.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Already having some media exposure this year, I am proud to announce that I will be on 90.3 WRST at 5:00 PM today. Drew Van Wyk does a radio show called WildEyed Radio. The topic of the program will highlight the Community Advisor position so that students might find out more about it. I will joining Jason Dufek, who was also a guest.
If you get a chance, you may want to listen. I will try to be profound.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
When thinking about being a music teacher, it would have been my job and career. When I got out of graduate school, I viewed being a residence hall director as being my job and career. Much of what I did during my day had to do with my Residence Hall Director position. Being in my 4th year as a Residence Hall Director, I see things differently. I feel established in a community. I am getting married in less than six months. I feel a call to a different profession. I have passions in areas outside of housing.
I am starting to realize that being a Residence Hall Director is a job. It is a job that I enjoy very much, but it is a job. It is not my career. My career lies on another path, one I continue to explore and refine. It doesn't mean I view my RHD job any less, it just means it is one part of me, it is not all of me. I have appreciated feeling more well-rounded and well-balanced when I can put my energy into many areas.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The IDI is the Intercultural Development Inventory. All CAs and PAs on campus as well as A/RHDs took the assessment and we had a session that discussed the overall results of our department. I will not get into great detail about the assessment, but I did come away somewhat frustrated. I felt like some questions that I had did not get answered so I will have to do some follow-up assessment. Feel free to give me a call and I'll let you know my questions. There is also a website to check out.
In the afternoon, we played Boxers or Briefs with members of Senior Staff. This was fun. I did not win, but I managed to connect with a few folks on answers. We also played the "Tap Game". If you are unfamiliar, a group gets is a circle, sits down and closes their eyes. A few members of the group are pulled out of the circle to participate. A facilitator reads a statement such as, "Tap someone who you feel is a good leader." Those outside the circle would tap the folks that, for them, fit that statement. I enjoy this activity (it sometimes even makes me cry).
I highly recommend this activity as a closure activity. Some thoughts as I reflect on today's "tap game" and those I've done before:
- I have been surprised to be "tapped" for areas where I assume that I wouldn't.
- Similarly, I have gone "tapless" for statements where I thought I would be tapped multiple times.
- I always fear how people who receive few taps feel about this game. That is one drawback to the activity.
- When your colleagues are highly skilled, you often find yourself tapping many people for many statements.
- It really hurts to keep your eyes closed for that long :).
- I was invited to WURHA 2007 as a Conference Guest. Score!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I have been running again instead of walking over the last few days. It has been wonderful. Hopefully it keeps up. One way or another, I am exercising. :)
Monday, January 08, 2007
- The soundtrack was excellent. The movie takes place between 1969-1971 so you get lots of classic rock. The original score is also very good; I am considering purchasing it on I-Tunes.
- The movie moves along pretty well and does not leave you hanging too often. It didn't have the boredom factor that The Good Shepherd had.
- I liked that many of the actors are lesser known actors; it made the movie feel more real.
- There were a few emotional moments that did not go over the top or seem cheesy; the script was very well written.
- I liked that the ending credits showed the actors that played their characters next to real people (those that were still alive).
- The actor they got to play Bobby Bowden was dead one. Impressive.
- I wasn't a fan of Matthew McConaughey. I just felt like his acting didn't quite fit the bill.
- The football scenes were not all that good.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
- He used an older version of the Doxology. There is something about singing "Amen" on the VI-I chord progression that just accentuates the fact that you are at church.
- His sermon was longer than what I'm used to, but it was interesting. He introduced himself in a thoughtful way and tied into the message of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
- He had an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading & a Gospel reading. You can never have enough bible verses in church :).
- I have checked out the first in a series of books that our church library has that interpret various books of the bible. I thought it would be a good supplement to the bible reading that I am doing throughout the year.
- I need to schedule an SPRC meeting soon. I will hopefully take care of that tomorrow.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
- Christa's planetarium presentation went very well; now I wish I would have gone to the presentation. It sounds like any nervousness she had did not get in the way of her doing a wonderful job.
- Christa goes home today to hopefully find a wedding dress. Among my many other things in life, men have it pretty easy in the wedding clothing department. In 30 minutes at After Hours, I was able to reserve tuxedos for the wedding party, ushers, fathers and myself. Mine's already ordered and will be waiting for me on June 14. Christa has had a much bigger ordeal finding her dress and bride's maid dresses.
- A weekend of NFL playoff football. Sweet! There are some good match-ups this weekend; sadly, the Packers will not be in one of those match-ups.
- Character creation for my AD&D campaign continues. Three characters have been created with four more on the way. My goal is eight characters to start with and I think I have the eighth person picked out.
- A FUMC Oshkosh church member and choir member Milo Cushman died on December 31, 2006. His church service was this morning. I didn't know Milo all that well, but he would sings on and off with us in the three years I have been a member of the church. I got frustrated with how often he did not come to choir. I didn't think it was fair that he could sing at church, but not rehearse. I did not know until most recently that he had been battling cancer for the last ten years. Talk about not having the while story and judging someone...I learned a valuable lesson.
Friday, January 05, 2007
My two biggest goals this year are to cut down significantly my consumption of both regular soda and sugar. I had gotten so used to both of them that I never stopped to think about how much of it I was consuming. It was getting almost disgusting. So, for the five days of the new year I am doing a good job cutting these down. When I do have them every once in awhile, it makes them more special.
Breaking habits are tough, especially really old habits. I have had more success this year than ever before. There are a few reasons for this, in my opinion:
- Christa - She has been helpful in holding me accountable to the things that I have resolved to do. She takes a genuine interest in me being a better person. It's one of the many advantages to marrying her :).
- Prayer - God has been very helpful in this endeavor. I feel stronger and feel a real purpose to making these changes. They will make me a better person and a better Christian.
- Maturity - I have more background and experience to draw from and can see some truly destructive habits in which I have engaged.
- Christa does her first planetarium show tonight at the Buckstaff Planetarium. You should check it out! It's at 7:00 PM. I have never been inside it before and I got to see it for the first time last night.
- So far the response to the second semester AD&D campaign has been good. People are creating characters and excitement seems to be high.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the purchase of my 30 GB I-Pod. Outside of Christa's engagement ring and my life insurance policy, this is probably one of the best purchases I have ever made. I use the I-Pod in my apartment, in my office, when I exercise and when I drive. It has made music, which is very important to me, mcuh more accessible.
It doesn't look like new anymore. In fact, it is pretty scratched up from so much use. I can live with that.
If you are thinking about getting an I-Pod let me know. I can definitely offer some perspective.
It's only a matter of time before Ryan becomes famous. I am just glad I knew him before he got all famous :).
By the time I began student teaching, I was very sure that I was no longer interested in being a music teacher. It's not that I regretted my musical education; in fact, I would glad that I now have that background. But, the thought of being a classroom music teacher deal not have the appeal that it did four years before.
On my morning walk today, I walked by Oshkosh North high school. I did my student teaching my Oshkosh West, but regardless, it got me thinking about my student teaching experience. Sadly, when I recount this experience with folks I can honestly tell them it was one of the worst experiences I have had in my life. I got nervous every morning and dreaded almost every experience of being in front of the class.
As someone who doesn't mind performance and public speaking, this might seem wierd. As I reflect, much of it has do to with the fact that I did trust my own musicianship; I always had a fear that I was not teaching them correctly or that I was not a good enough singer. It always haunted me. There were many moments when I wanted to quit outright. Thankfully, Jacque and my dad were very caring and supportive, but were also helpful in letting me know that I should continue through the experience.
My supervising professor knew that I did not want to go into music education as a career. I actually made an appointment with her early on to drop out of student teaching. She told me that if I did so, I could kiss goodbye any chance of getting a recommendation of any kind. In hindsight, I realize that wouldn't have made much difference because I never really needed a music reference in my career anyway.
Alas, I stuck to it and made it through. And, although stressful and not all that fulfilling overall, I came away with some good experiences. You can chalk it up to being one of those experiences that "builds character".
Why would I even talk about this on the blog?
Ultimately, we are all going to have experiences that may not be enjoyable. But, we find that when we complete them, we grow as people. I have become fond of this verse from Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
I realize that we go through peaks and valleys in life. My experience in student teaching has been very helpful to me since that time. It helps me to know what I don't want to do with my life, but it also helps me to find postiveness and meaning in something that could easily be completely lumped into being bad. God has a way of leading us to things we never thought we'd do. This is one of those experiences. I know we have all had them. Know that no matter how bad something might feel at the time, there is a meaning behind and lesson to be learned.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Despite my usual low expectation for any movie lately, I went into this moveie with high expectations. There was a solid cast of actors, good previews and a good spy/military story to go with it. I also went to this movie without reading the previews. I really liked the movie. I would give it 7.5 out of 10. Strangely enough, the reviews of this movie were definitely on the side of it being bad.
- Excellent performance from Matt Damon. You really felt for his character at times.
- Good musical score.
- Although sometimes confusing, I liked the flashback element.
- Good story line that kept you into the film and where it was going
- This movie was too long. The last half hour was tough to watch...you wanted it to be over.
- I did not like Angelina Jolie is this movie, at all. I'm not sure who I would have picked, but it would not have been her.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
I had contemplated sending the letter as an E-mail, but thought it would be more official to actually send it through regular mail. I will await a response; I am excited to keep moving and see where the process goes.
- The Badgers won the Capitol One Bowl. It was the prettiest victory you''ll ever see, but it was a victory. For a team that relies so much on its running game, the Badgers were able to effectively pass the ball when the running game was being shut down.
- Wedding planning is definitely making some major progress. We will be doing a food tasting in the next few weeks, we have started our gift registration process and we are starting to work on the list that Christa generated over break. June 16 will be coming soon!
Monday, January 01, 2007
This is the name of a store in Mayfair Mall in Milwaukee, WI that sells large bean-bag chairs. Don't you think they could find a better name than this?
Ok, maybe only my mind is in the gutter.
I was reading my most recent edition of The American, and there was an article that outlined the idea of having a market for organ donation. The example used in the article was for kidneys. It explained how long the waiting list was and how often people go without a kidney because there aren't enough resources.
I encourage you to read the article and post your thoughts on the blog.