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, February 29, 2008

On to the Next Step...

Last night, a special Charge Conference was called so that members of my church could vote to determine if they supported my candidacy for ministry. The meeting was much simpler than I thought it would be. The pastor convened the meeting and the people voted. I didn't have to give a speech and didn't have to ask any questions. I was unanimously approved!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Current Profession

For an earlier entry this week, I utilized a link to "Student Affairs" from Wikipedia.org. In it, there was a criticism section that contained the following:

The "professional" trend in Student Affairs has been criticized for its emphasis on formal training. The degree to which available postgraduate programs actually represent a distinct discipline is a matter of debate. The field's resemblance to psychology, counseling, and other general concentrations has called into question whether Student Affairs degrees are an example of "degree inflation" and whether students' vocational choices are limited by this specialization. The late education critic Allan Bloom wrote that the "...idea of a separate 'Student Affairs' profession in academia is pure rubbish. It is fiction. The range of work involved requires a high school diploma on the low end and a PhD in psychology on the high end. The constituent disciplines (with their quality controls) already exist and can be readily applied to students. Breeching a new 'discipline' for this purpose is nothing more than professional egotism. I see it as a spasm of self-justification for a profession that largely lacks any scholarly work, past or present. This is the worst episode of academic cheapening I have witnessed. In a continuum ranging from Nuclear Physics to Romance Languages, 'student personnel' is almost certainly the most pathetic graduate field yet conceived. It is an embarrassment...

Ouch! Now, I have often joked with my colleagues about my College Student Personnel Degree not being a real Master's Degree, but this takes that thought to a whole new level.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Sound System

Christa and I purchased a new LCD television around the new year. To go along with this new video technology, we decided to also purchase a home theater system to go with it. Christa and I did some reconnaissance and also set an initial budget. It didn't take us too long to realize that our budget was not very realistic. We did our main shopping at Best Buy and American. Much of the stuff at American that we were showed was way out of our price range. When we stated our budget the salesmen found us something and discounted it to get it to fit.

We came back a week later to pick everything up (one item had to be ordered). We took home our receiver, 5 speakers and subwoofer and I began to put everything together. I asked the guy at Receiving if the speakers also came with speaker wire. He said yes.

Guess what? No speaker wire! After a few choice words in the other room, I told Christa we needed to go back for speaker wire. Livid, I called the manager of American and expressed my frustration. He agreed to give me the speaker wire at 50% off. OK. I'll take it. We come back from our second trip to American for the evening and I hook everything up.

I want to say that the manual for the receiver is in English, but it didn't read like it. Needless to say after fussing with buttons and wires for over an hour (and a lot of swearing) I packed everything up and decided to return it. It wasn't worth all the hassle.

Right away the next morning, I drove up (third time) to American and wanted to return the items. The gentlemen at Customer Service wanted to help with this and got the salesmen who sold me the items to explain this one last time. He broke down all wire connections and told me exactly how to set up with the receiver.

After reconnecting everything the second time, Christa and I were met with success. After watching action scenes from Gladiator and Star Wars and after paying XBox 360 games on the sound system, it was definitely worth it...all the money and the hassle. Not one of my finer moments.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Look Mom! No Cavi.....Doh!

Nothing like going to the dentist on a Monday morning. I arrived for my 9:30 AM appointment, having had to reschedule from last week due to some pretty cruddy weather. During the course of my visit, it was discovered that I had a small crevice in my teeth that will need to be filled. I suppose that was a nice way of saying that I had a cavity ;). So, I will be going in in two weeks to get that taken care of.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the saga or our new sound system...

Monday, February 25, 2008

OPE: A New Perspective

For those of you not as familiar with my work as a Residence Hall Director at UW Oshkosh, we host a conference each year called the Oshkosh Placement Exchange. It brings individuals from colleges and universities from all over the country together to fill positions in the field of student affairs. The majority of the positions offered at the exchange are for graduate school assistantships as well as hall director-type jobs.

We have been hosting this conference for 29 years and I have been a part of the OPE as a candidate, employer and worker for...eight years. Granted, there are many at this university who have been involved with OPE for over 20 years, but I consider my experience somewhat considerable.

Last night, we had a training for all employees involved with the Oshkosh Placement Exchange. OPE is something that the Gruenhagen Conference Center and the Department of Residence Life take very seriously, and for good reason. It is an opportunity to showcase the university and both departments. For me, my reaction and anticipation for OPE has changed this year.

I have served at the chair of the Transportation Center for three years, and worked on it for five years. As I begin the transition out of student affairs and begin to think about the ministry, I do not look at OPE in the same way. This is not to say that I see no merit in OPE at all. I still appreciate the significance that OPE has for our campus. I simply feel like I do not have the same type of enthusiasm that I that I did when I was starting out as an RHD at UW Oshkosh.

Five years ago, OPE helped me get the job that I have today. I was in the trenches and competing against peers for positions. In the years since, I have fed into that energy and got pumped to see that experienced by others. I also got involved on a higher level as I became the supervisor for the Transportation Center. I went to planning meetings and saw first-hand what goes into planning for a conference of this magnitude. I am not supervisor anymore because it simply took up too much time.

Now, I see OPE as something where I play an important role, and that is where my enthusiasm comes. I am excited to be part of a team that puts this conference together. I appreciate playing a more subdued and behind the scenes role in the conference and do not get overly caught up in the craziness that can be OPE. I feel like Luke Skywalker when he first enters Jabba's palace in Return of the Jedi. Feelings controlled, purpose more focused, his role as a Jedi understood.

Only I can end an entry like this with a dorky statement like that ;).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Did You Really Lose?

I wish I could lose and still make $10 million.

Remote Post: FUMC Oshkosh

I write to you this morning from FUMC Oshkosh. I volunteered for a few Friday morning to serve as an administrative assistant so our church could be open on Friday mornings. I will be here from 8:00 AM until noon. I won't be doing this again until April.

It is amazing to me how productive I can be in relationship to work even though I am not necessarily in my office. I am finishing the interview schedule for summer staff positions, continue to check E-mail and will have some time to work on my candidacy materials.

Otherwise it's a pretty mundane Friday. I hope you all have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Revitalize the Bucks

Check out this article in which Bill Simmons proposed two trades for the Bucks. I think he's got the right idea. If the Bucks can keep a young nucleus together where the contracts aren't too out of control, I think they can really be something. Redd may be better off on a team with a few other stars where he doesn't have to be "the man". I think Bogut and Yi can be mobile big men with Mo Williams running the point.

Something needs to change, because right now it's pretty bad.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oshkosh Half Marathon

For a second time, I will be participating in the Oshkosh Half Marathon. Mark your calendars! Watch Jim collapse from exhaustion after two+ hours of running :). I really hope that as cold as the winter has been thus far, it will be warm in April. It was pretty nice last year, but who knows...it may even be snowing on the day of the event.

Other News:
  • I will be doing "Relay for Life" again this year. Please sponsor me There is a link of the top right portion of my blog.
  • Christa and I pick up a new sound system for the HDTV. It is amazing to see what is available in the next generation of video/audio.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Primary Day!

After our Senior Staff meeting got out this morning, I walked over to Albee Hall and voted in the presidential primary. I really had to think about who I wanted to vote for, but I was finally able to make a decision. I encourage all Wisconsin residents who can vote to do so!

At our polling station, they offered the option of using a touch screen to vote. It is wasn't so bad, but I felt also compelled to take out some money. I was the 119th person to vote and the polls opened at 7:00 AM. That's not too bad.

I look forward to seeing the results tonight!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weathermen/women & Meteorologists

Like a sucker, I had prepared for the worst. The forecasts for Sunday were predicting between 6-12 inches of snow by the end of the day (and night). Needless today, things calmed down around 7:00 PM and by them we had maybe gotten 3-4 inches. I don't get it! How can you be that far off? Part of it is my fault, I should be smart enough to realize how many times the weather folks do this. They pump up a storm a whole bunch and then inevitably the results are so much less than what actually happens.

With all the satellite technology out there that supposedly makes weather forecasting so much more detailed, it certainly hasn't helped much with forecasting. They can't get the snow fall right, but it gets better. They are off by hours for when snow or rain begins and sometimes they miss precipitation completely.

It gets to the point that if you want the best weather report, you might as well look out the window and make you own prediction. Geez!

Other News
  • Despite the (highly overplayed) weather forecast for Sunday, our AD&D campaign happened yesterday. It went very well and it was good to have the band back together!
  • I got to the dentist this morning only to find out that my hygienist couldn't get to work this morning. Oh well, it was just a trip to Neenah.
  • The running continues...3.5 miles this morning.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bad Weather

It's hard to imagine the weather being as bad as it will be when you look outside and see that it is raining and you notice that temperatures have actually gone up! In a few hours, however, that rain is going to turn to ice and we are going to get an entire day's worth of snow on top of it. Driving will not be pretty!

I got a call at 7:45 AM from our choir director and a call at 8:10 AM from our pastor letting us know that church had been canceled for today. I am worried about my friend driving up from Milwaukee...heck I am worried about driving to the grocery store to get food for tomorrow's program. Be careful today if you live in Wisconsin. It's gonna be a little crazy today!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

AD&D Is Back

*** This post may need to be delayed a week if we get the snowstorm we are scheduled to get on Sunday ***

After a long hiatus from the spring semester of last year, the guys are getting back together to continue our 1st Edition AD&D campaign. All except for one person is planning to return, so we should have a decent sized group. If anyone is in the area and would be interested in joining us, let us know. We have a few open slots available.

I have always appreciated unexpected antics and fun that comes with AD&D. It is something I enjoyed when I was younger and it is nice to come back it in now. It also brings my good friend Nick from Milwaukee up to play as well.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Campus Tragedy

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the shooting that occurred on the Northern Illinois University campus on February 14.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is such an interesting holiday to me...it amazes me how loved and hated it is by those around me. Various residents, staff and others are having "anti" Valentine's Day parties and get together...many, but not all, who do not have significant others with which to celebrate the holiday.

On the other end, you have the folks that contribute to the stacks of packages that accumulate at the Webster Hall Front Desk. I see flowers, and chocolates and other assorted packages from significants others and other friends and family.

I have been on all points in the spectrum when it comes to how I feel about Valentine's Day. I have cursed it, embraced, and all things in between. At this point, I just ignore it. Like New Year's Day, you can make any day you want a day to celebrate your feelings for someone you care about. Save your money from Valentine's Day and donate it to the cause of your choice :).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Everything's Sore

So when I woke up this morning, I was sore in places where I am not normally sore. As I made my way to the back room to get my exercise clothes, I thought to myself, "My butt is sore". I realize that I did a few exercise that worked by glutes yesterday, but usually there is not any soreness. I also felt some general soreness in legs, but that may have something to do with running Monday and then lifting with my legs on Tuesdays. Don't get me wrong...it's a good soreness and I am seeing some results. I am beginning to appreciate again the soreness that comes from exercising.

Other News
  • February 28, 2008 is the date of the Charge Conference for our church is which they will vote whether or not to support my candidacy.
  • I added a new widget to the blog that counts down to my meeting with the District Committee on Ministry. The meeting is April 10. If they approve my candidacy, I will officially be a certified candidate for ministry.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I agree with one of the commenters...is this an omen?


In comparison to any other day in recent history, I got a lot of stuff done last night. I prepared my discussion notes for Wednesday's book study, I work ahead in my candidacy guidebook for my meeting with Lucretia today and still had time to relax and finish other random tasks around the apartment.

I suppose it has something to do with my more regular exercise routine. I have incorporated running three times a week into my daily weightlifting regimen. After work, it is nice to have some time rid myself of the stress of the day through a good, intense run. I am also trying to drink less caffeine and eat less sugar. That has gone a long way in not throwing my energy levels out of whack.

I also think I have a better sens of my own limits in terms of involvement. My outside involvements are definitely decreased from last semester. Not chairing an OPE committee has helped greatly. Not having NACURH work has also helped a lot. I need to keep this in mind...sometimes saying "no" is the best option.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ragamuffin Gospel Redux

Early this semester I began to read a book called The Ragamuffin Gospel, based on a recommendation made by the pastor of our church. I read through about 3/4 of the book and stopped reading. I could just not get into the book. Honestly, it felt a little fluffy and felt like it made Christianity, well, almost...too easy.

A few weeks ago, a member of the Worship Commission of our church wanted to get together a book discussion for the season of Lent. They wanted to use the The Ragamuffin Gospel as the text, but needed someone to lead the discussion. I volunteered. Yeah, I already have quite a bit going on. Yeah, I'm not the biggest fan of the book. But, I thought the opportunity to lead a book discussion would be a good experience for me. We start with chapters 1 & 2 on Wednesday.

Having read the first three chapter again, I still get a sense from Manning that we don't have all that much motivation to change our ways because God knows we'll screw up. I understand we'll always be sinners, but shouldn't we also strive for holiness? I'll keep reading.

Other Notes
  • -12 when I woke up this morning. That made for a fun trip to the Rec. Center and breakfast. At least there wasn't too much wind this morning.
  • Robby made it to sectionals for wrestling. Not sure when that meet is, but I may want to check that out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The defeat of the Demon Golem of Earth meant a Gamerscore above 10,000. A Gamerscore is nothing more than a number...if anything it demonstrates that I play way too many video games. Plus, it looks really cool! I thought nothing of it until I saws the 75 point achievement come up and realized I had made it over the plateau. So what's the next most reasonable goal? 20,000?

Other News
  • It got really cold, really quickly. It is -10 with a brutal wind chill today. Yesterday, it was warm enough that the snow was beginning to melt. Weird.
  • Robby (Christa's youngest brother) got third place in the conference wrestling tournament yesterday.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Huhot Adventure

Last night a few of the A/RHDs from UW Oshkosh went out to celebrate a birthday among the group. We traveled to Huhot in Appleton, WI. If you are unfamiliar, it is a Mongolian barbeque. You grab a bowl and add your favorite meat, noodles and vegetables and they cook it on top of a big metal flat cooker. It is interesting to read that this style of cooking is actually from Taiwan.

Overall, I did not have a bad experience at Huhot, but nor was I overly impressed. When busy, the line got long but also got confusing at it wrapped around the restaurant. The bowls you are given to put food in are not very big and often cause spilling. There was a good selection of food and they had a great deal of sauces to choose from. If I were to go back, it would be for lunch because it's only $6.00 for lunch. Not bad!

Other News
  • I am getting very close to a 10,000 gamerscore in XBox Live. It should be happening over the next week.
  • Anna, one of my old staff members, is in town for the weekend. I will be joining her for dinner this evening!

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Alien vs. Predator Election

With Romney's suspension of his campaign, the Republicans are left with McCain and Huckabee. Huckabee has agreed to press on, but he can't seriously think that he has a chance. Outside of the southern states, he doesn't really have a chance. But, somehow he thinks he does. Too bad he couldn't have dropped out and allowed Romney keep going. There has to be a viable McCain alternative. Between McCain, Obama and Clinton, it feels like the slogan from the Alien vs. Predator trailer: "Whoever wins, we lose." Any of these three in the White House is a scary thought. I just wonder who we are going to get stuck with.

Other News
  • Good luck Phoenix Suns. I can't believe you traded for Shaq. We'll see how that one works out for you.
  • Congrats to my good friend Peter. He was accepted in graduate school at UW Milwaukee. He is still waiting to hear from other schools. As he said, he won't be working at Shopko next year ;).

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Unexpected Responsibility

I realized I was in for more than I had originally anticipated when I saw my name on the bulletin for the Ash Wednesday service at our church. My pastor had mentioned that I would be involved with the service, but I didn't realize it would be printed.

For the service, I read the three different lessons and also gave the post offering prayer. I didn't actually find out what I was doing until about 30 minutes before the service. When you couple that with the fact that the choir was singing an anthem that I has yet to practice, it made for a frantic 30 minutes before the service.

Things went well...although, by habit I did call ask people to rise for "this morning's" Gospel lesson when it was 6:00 PM. Oops. I also got to wear an alb. It was my first time doing a service in a more official garment.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Give Something Up or Add Something New

It's hard to believe that it is already Ash Wednesday. It's the beginning of February and we have already begun the season of Lent. People often give something up for Lent...chocolate, sweets, caffeine, fried food, etc. Lent is a time of preparation. A time to prepare for the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Instead of giving something up, it may be time for us to add something to our lives. Something that helps us prepare for this journey. Read the bible. Pray for others. Volunteer in the area. My old pastor talked about this and it is something that I try to do each year instead of giving something up.

Other News
  • Barring a miracle, it looks like McCain is the front runner for the Republican nomination. *sigh* I may just vote Democrat...
  • The Staff/Parish Relations Committee of my home church unanimously voted in affirm my candidacy for ministry. There will soon be a Charge Conference so that the entire church will vote on their support/non-support of me for ministry.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

500th Post: Super Tuesday

It is worth noting that today's post is my 500th post on this blog. Given that I have tried to start a blog various other times, I am happy that this blog and has continued for a few years now. It has persevered despite a few periods where I, and others, thought that the blog might have died. It has gone through many formats and concepts, but I think it finally in a format that I like.

Today is Super Tuesday, where many states will be having their primary elections. I'm not sure if this Super Tuesday will crown the nominee, but I am sure that it will give us a good sense of who we will stuck with in either party. I say "stuck" with because it's a pretty thin field. As someone who usually votes Republican, I am scared by any of the Democratic nominees. Hillary needs no explanation and Obama, while charismatic and energizing, does not have the experience to lead this country. Come back in 8 years.

As for the Republicans, early on I was thinking Thompson. He was my #1 choice. Then he dropped out. Then, I was thinking Giuliani. Then he dropped out. At this point, I am leaning toward Romney. I hope he wins the Republican nomination. If he doesn't and McCain gets it, I will find myself in a difficult dilemma. I do not want McCain to get the nomination. He would be an awful president. He is not a conservative and has made many enemies in the Republican party. Most leading conservative pundents say they would rather have a Democrat in the office then McCain...ouch. I don't know if I'm there yet, but we'll see.

Go Romney!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Filling the Void (Sports)

The Superbowl is over...NFL football is done. Let's be honest, no one really cares all that much about the Pro Bowl. Now begins the sports void. For a fan of Wisconsin profesional sports, it's even worse.

You have the surprising Packers, who despite having lost in the NFC Championship Game, made the football much more enjoyable. Plus, you look forward to the next season with higher expectations and thoughts of the playoffs a little more definite. You have fantasy football, something this year that actually made me a little money :). Plus, you never had to wonder about what you would be doing on Sundays, or Mondays or selected Thursdays. It was football season. That's quite a void.

The Milwaukee Bucks? 18-30. Redd is injured. Yi has been playing pretty well as a rookie. Bogut has been a really pleasant surprise, but the team sucks. They have a lot of talent, but it needs to come together. It's hard to keep thinking "next year". Bleh.

At least the Badgers and Golden Eagles are doing good in college hoops. It's something!