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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Christa Is Home!

Christa arrived back in Oshkosh at around 1:30 AM. :)

Yes...the curse of O'Hare continues. I received a call from Christa Sunday afternoon letting me know that her flight from Miami to Chicago was severely delayed and they were going to miss their connecting flight to Milwaukee. As such, the group was planning on getting a coach bus for the ride back. I offered to pick Christa up in Chicago to avoid all the craziness.

So, I made the trip down and was waiting for Christa in the airport. She called to let me know that they actually held the flight to Milwaukee until their flight from Miami arrived. So, at this point, Christa had three ways home. In a car, bus or plane. I could sense that Christa had enough with flying, so she opted to take the ride home.

I will be talking more about her trip after she gets some sleep and adjusted to life again in this continent.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Christa Comes Home Tomorrow

At 9:50 PM tomorrow, Christa's plane should be touching down in Milwaukee, WI. I plan on being at the airport to pick her up when she arrives. I will admit that I have gotten a lot of stuff done while she was gone, but I have missed her a great deal and look forward to having her back! ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mid-Week Check-In

There hasn't been all that much to report as of late, and that's actually a good thing. I have found my spring break so far to be nice and relaxing. Hopefully by the time I pick Christa up from the airport on Sunday evening, I will have most of my list done. Here's the breakdown on how things are going so far:
  • I am making my way through the apartment. It is a lot more work than I thought it would be. There is a lot of stuff that I plan on giving away to Goodwill, especially clothes...yeesh.
  • I finished Bioshock. Despite a great game throughout, I found the ending of the game (final boss battle) to be a little bit of a letdown. The final cut scene, though, was quite good.
  • I got to the final battle in Enchanted Arms, but realized that I am not even close to being powerful enough to begin the fight. I will need to go back and level up quite a bit and hopefully finish that game off. That probably won't happen over spring break.
  • I started another run through of Mass Effect. I am taking more time to read through all of the dialogue and concentrate on the story. It truly is amazing. I am playing through on the hard level, as well as concentrating on getting additional achievements. I have to be careful...that can take up all my time if I wanted it to ;).
  • I met with my candidacy mentor yesterday and I handed in a second draft of my paperwork for the April 10 meeting. After she makes her comments, I plan on finalizing the materials soon. I am a little worried as neither of us have heard anything about upcoming meeting. We were told we would get information 5-6 weeks before the meeting.
  • I need to work on AD&D stuff...soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wisconsin Basketball Day

The NCAA Tournament had two games on the schedule involving teams from Wisconsin.

This afternoon, the Badgers posted a pretty convincing win on Kansas State and advanced to the Sweet 16. It's amazing what good defense and good guard play can do for a team. Given how crappy the Badgers did last year in the tournament, this is good to see.

Marquette fought valiantly, but came up a little short and lost in overtime to Stanford. The game was back and forth and the Stanford coach ended up getting ejecting. Sadly, there won't be two teams from Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.

Normally I don't get into NCAA basketball. But, when you can watch it on HD...it call changes ;).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Break!

Christa left at 2:00 AM for Belize. Apparently, the path to Belize will be a little more difficult thanks to some bad weather and a lay over in Chicago. She is on her way to Montreal(!) and then to Miami and Belize. I am curious as to when she will actually end up in Belize. She'll be there until the 30th. So, what's on tap for my spring break?:
  • I will be working Tuesday-Thursday. I want to save as much vacation as possible for the summer months...it will be more fun to use when the weather warms up. I do plan on taking off Monday and Friday. I figure that work shouldn't be quite as stressful without the students here :).
  • I will be finishing my papers for my ministry interview. I have a feeling they will be due to long after spring break is over.
  • I plan on playing a lot video games. I may rent Forza Motorsport 2 to give that a whirl. I have heard good things about it. I am also gonna try another run through with Mass Effect. I think I am ready. I should probably also finish off Bioshock.
  • I would like to get in a nice, thorough cleaning of the apartment. It could really use it. Christa and I have really let it go.
  • Ryan Bronkema will coming up to visit on Friday. It will be nice to hang out and catch up!
For the UWO students, have a fun and safe spring break.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Melancholy Thursday

Christa will be finishing things up for her trip to Belize today. I will be dropping her off for the bus to the airport at 2:30 AM on Thursday night/Friday morning. She will be gone on Sunday the 30th. During this time, she will be doing research on howler monkeys. It is going to be a wonderful experience for her!

On a lighter note, the beard will be shaved off tomorrow. A younger, less rugged looking Jim will be seen for the spring and summer!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Few Things I Attended...

My Tuesday was significantly more busy than usual yesterday. Isaac, my BBBS little brother, had his last wrestling meet yesterday and I wanted to be there. Unfortunately, it was not his best effort. He had two matches and lost them both. He did, however, win a Saturday city-wide tournament for his weight class, so that was pretty cool. It was interesting to see what wrestling is like on the middle school level. The weight classes show such a difference. Some of the six graders were so tiny and some of the older students already had some impressive muscle growth. I suppose that's why they have weight classes.

I put together a music program for the students of FVTC that live in GCC. Three people showed up...they were all staff. I did appreciate the support, but it still stings to have no residents come to a program.

Argelia also presented a program about her home country of Honduras. It was interesting to learn more about the country and more about her background. It was also cool to see some 1st floor residents there. I think Argelia is starting to build a nice community on the floor!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patrick's Day is Over

The administrators at UW Oshkosh can now breathe...St. Patrick's Day is over. I think there was a lot of concern about what might happen if UW Oshkosh did not have their spring break over St. Patrick's Day. As the Webster staff member on duty last night, things in Webster were remarkably quiet. This does not mean people weren't partying. It simply means that most people went to off-campus parties or to the bars. The hordes of people dressed in green and dressed in "party wear" made it clear to me that there weren't all that many people in the building to generate noise.

It does make you wonder though, what excuse do college students really need to drink? Not much...I suppose. I highly doubt a large percentage of our students are Irish in ancestry. I suppose it's more about free, green beer and the opportunity to avoid the thought of exams and homework...the real reason they are at school.

I just hope everyone was safe last night. Any evening I see students getting ready to go out, I am most concerned about their safety. I worry that they might be taken advantage of or go home with someone they don't even know. It's not a matter of getting people into trouble. It's a matter of making sure my residents stay safe.

Monday, March 17, 2008

28 Weeks Later

After a failed attempt to watch Bladerunner, I hoped that a Saturday viewing of 28 Weeks Later might yield some better results. Overall, the movie had a sufficient amount of action to me in the movie, but still managed to have an interesting plot to go along with it. They continued with their use of actors who are recognizable, but overly mainstream. The soundtrack was again pretty good and many of the sequences gave our sound system a runs for its money.

This movie did feel a little more Hollywood than the last, and there were definitely moments where I felt like there was a plot whole or something happened that didn't exactly make sense. But, there wasn't enough for it to sink the whole movie. The movie takes an interesting look at the American military. You'll have to watch the movie to find out.

The ending does set-up a sequel. 28...Year Later?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shamrock Shuffle

I completed the Shamrock Shuffle today. It was a 5k run/walk held on campus. It is in its first year. The weather was a little chilly, especially given the nice weather we have had the last few days. Yet, it was a good day to run. I wish I had been a little more conscious of pre-race routine. I did get a good night's rest, but I did not hydrate well before the race and I also didn't have little something to eat before the race either.

I finished the race in 23 minutes and 22 seconds. It's not what I was hoping for, but in the end I feel as though I did pretty well. It does mean that I am on pace for the half marathon in April. I have no worries about that. It was a little sad to think that there was a time when I ran a 5K in a little over 18 minutes. I look forward to future 5Ks this year. I hope I can slowly bring that time down.

The running will continue on Monday. I will appreciate a few days rest. My legs are killing me!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Trip to the Museum

As part of a Senior Staff Development, the RHDs and ARHDs will be making a trip to the Oshkosh Public Museum today. The weather seems like it should hold out as we will be walking over there. The big draw right now is the Out of This World exhibit which highlights costumes from movies and television shows. I am interested to check it out. The trip will be a welcome break from the craziness that has been my week.

What's on tap for this weekend? Christa and I will be doing some clothes shopping for me this weekend. Tomorrow is the Shamrock Shuffle 5K and after that Christa is going home for the weekend. I plan on finishing a draft of my candidacy materials as well as possibly completing Bioshock this weekend.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Assessment Results

I received my psychological assessment results in the mail today. It's been awhile since I've been nervous to open a piece of mail. I would say it's probably since I applied for RHD jobs since I wondered what was inside the envelope.

I have expressed before my concerns about what might have been written. But, after reading through the statement that will be submitted to the dCOM, I think it is overall very accurate. There are small points that I might argue, but for the most part it is on target.

It is another reminder that this meeting is coming up very soon. As Jake Taylor says in Major League, "Come on Jake, it's only you're life."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Off My Game...

Yeesh...the last few days for me have not been so positive in the RHD arena. I feel a little off my game. Between Monday and Tuesday I encountered various situations that caused me to think if I am making the correct decisions. By no means a crisis, it is an opportunity for me to think about the RHD position and where I place importance in the various tasks I have in the job.

Today has been a great opportunity to get back into the swing of things and can things done. I look forward to a nice refreshing break in a few weeks.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend Updates

  • Christa and I did some hardcore arranging of the of the apartment on Sunday. She felt like some of the rooms of the apartment were getting pretty cluttered. So, we moved our computer to the back room and shifted around the furniture in the...well, two living rooms. It is much more spacious now and makes more sense.
  • I spent quite a bit of time this weekend working through Bioshock on the XBox 360. I rented this game awhile ago and wanted to get back to it eventually. I traded in Halo 3 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance to get Bioshock for no additional cost. I have made my way through most of the game and the game continues to amaze me. It is truly and game where everything comes together...music, plot, graphics, game play. If you have a 360, you need to rent/buy this game.
  • The AD&D group got back together after a two week hiatus. My friend Tom came up from home to join us. I am hoping that he will be able to join us for more sessions. I would like to think the group had a good time; I did as well. Things will really start to pick up as they continue along over the next few weeks.

Friday, March 07, 2008

How Things Change

Last night, my friend Peter and I went out for late dinner and drinks. It gave us an opportunity to catch up; it had been awhile. Later in the evening, Peter brought out two decks of cards...they were Magic: The Gathering cards.

I don't get the chance to play Magic much anymore for several reasons. One, I don't know all that many people around here that play it (or would admit to playing it). Two, i can get expensive because the game is constantly bring out new editions and new themes to supplement their cards.

I won't take complete credit, but my friend Nick and I showed Peter Magic and he got into it with us. BY the time we got out is was around 1999 or so. But it's kept going. They are up to 10th edition...I remember 6th edition being about when I stopped.

Peter and I had a lot of fun looking at abilities we had never heard of and trying to figure out combos that we didn't know existed. I am hoping that we'll be able to try it again.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gary Gygax - R.I.P.

In addition to the Brett Favre, there was another news story that actually hit me a little bit harder. I found out this afternoon that Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons and various other games and books, died yesterday at the age of 69.

I can remember back to 7th grade when I was rummaging through a closet and discovered my brothers D&D books. I thought they looked cool and read through them and then wanted to play. I ended up finding out that many of my friends played as well. Since then, I got high school choir friends together to play D&D, brought several college level groups together and even now I play with several students, staff and friends every Sunday.

Despite its dorky connotation, D&D has fostered so many friendships in my life. It has really helped me to be who I am. It has helped me to think on my feet, speak in front of groups and simply enjoy life.

My Dad wrote to me this morning that this is the end of an era. I agree. The gaming world will not be the same without Gary Gygax. I had the opportunity to met him once and he signed many of my books. I was honored. I look forward to honoring him this weekend as we play a little First Edition AD&D.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Favre Retires

For a few years now, I wondered how I would react when Favre decided that he was going to retire. I am sad to see him go because he had an amazing career with three MVP awards and one Superbowl ring. He had a revitalized season last year where he made it to the Pro Bowl when many thought (including me) that he was washed up.

But, I also believe this is the best for the Packer organization. Eventually, the team needed to rebuild around a quarterback who was going to be around for the long haul. This team is young and talented and I think Favre was becoming more and more out of place with this team.

Watching the Packers this upcoming season won't quite be the same. Thankfully, we will be spared with the constant statistics about how many games in a row Favre has played or how many QBs have taken snaps for Chicago during Favre's tenure with the Packers. But, I will miss his great plays...and his stupid plays..but always appreciated knowing we weren't out of a game if Favre was in there.

Best of luck, Brett! You have given the state of Wisconsin and the NFL many happy memories. I look forward to five years from now when you are a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Who will give your induction speech?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Day to Recover

My supervisor gives me the opportunity to take Monday off after the OPE Conference. It makes sense given that we end up working most of Saturday and Sunday for OPE. Most years, I don't take advantage of this day at all. I prefer to work and get back into the swing of things this year. This year, however, I am going to take 50% advantage of this day. I will be taking the morning to catch up on personal errands and relax before heading back to work after our lunch bible study.

Other Notes:
  • I took back some games yesterday, and was able to get a used copy of Bioshock for free!
  • This evening, Carol and I will be completing the rest of our summer staff interviews...we should be able to make decisions pretty soon after today.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

OPE Remote Post

It is currently 6:59 AM and I am writing from GCC Room 123, otherwise known as the Transportation Center. The drivers have just left for their first route of the day. The calmness and quietness will soon be replaced by the organized chaos. OPE begins again.