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, July 30, 2008

Licensing School: Day 3

It is not too often that I can say I am excited about being overwhelmed. I have learned a great deal over the last few days and look forward to the opportunity to grow in knowledge and begin to apply it. That is all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Licensing School: Day 2

I have classes for the second day of licensing school. It's going well...but it's a lot of knowledge to take in in one day. I have learned a lot and look forward to using it in the work that I will do as a minister in the future.

I still don't have interent access in my room. I check E-mail when I get with class and dinner. Go Sheets and go Brewers!

Other News:
  1. I see Brett Favre is asking for reinstatement. I am really curious now to see how this all plays out. Let's hope they can find a trade to another team. They need to get something for him.
  2. My XBox arrives tomorrow. I hope Christa has fun playing Rock Band while I am gone.
  3. I am bummed that Scrabulous is not available on Facebook for the time being. I have a feeling the Scrabble folks are pushing them out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Licensing School: Day 1

I have completed my first day of licensing school. I don't have a whole lot of time to chat about it, but I'd at least like to toss a couple thoughts out there thus far:
  1. I haven't taken a quiz in a long time. One professor has daily quizzes on the reading materials. Yeesh...that was a wake up call. It's amazing what you forget when you haven't read material in awhile.
  2. The housing facilities are pretty good. It is air-conditioned, but I am having trouble accessing the internet. Apparently we needed a special kind of internet cord to connect to the internet here.
  3. The food is really good. That is much appreciated.
  4. Overall, thus far it isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. But, there is going to be a lot of work to be done. I had visions of doing other work while I was here...I don't think that is going to happen :(.

I'll try to post once a day if I can.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm Finished!

I have written the final paper for License to Preach School. The books are read and the paper written. This afternoon and evening, I will finish packing so that I can head out at around 12:30 tomorrow.

I will be traveling to the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. From various folks have said, it is a gorgeous campus and a gorgeous area. I haven't talked to anyone else who has gone through the school, so I am not sure what to expect. It is both exciting and scary at the same time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Fixed!

I received an E-mail early this morning letting me know that my XBox 360 has been repaired and it is on its way back via UPS. So...my guess is that I make its way back just a few days after I leave for two weeks. Funny how these things work. Regardless of the timing, it will be nice to have it back when I return from Dubuque.

Other News:
  • The Brewers swept the Cardinals! They have one eight in a row and went 7-0 on a road trip. It's really unbelievable. Hopefully Brewer fever will draw folks away from all the Favre nonsense.
  • I am looking forward to watching The Dark Knight tomorrow! Word is that this movie is amazing...I am curious to find out for myself.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Packer Stockholders Meeting

This morning, Christa and I attended the Packer Stockholders meeting. It went around 90 minutes. Folks starting leaving after around 50 minutes, which made sense because all the good stuff happened in the beginning. I think everyone in Lambeau Field (around 13,000) wanted to hear something about Favre.

I give Mark Murphy and Ted Thompson credit. He addressed the Favre situation right away. They said they were making tough decisions that were in the best interest of the Packer organization. Their comments were met with a mixed reactions of applause and boos. Overall, I sensed a lot of support for Ted Thompson when he gave a status report on the team. That was definitely reassuring! A few highlights:
  1. As folks were gathering, they were playing highlights from 2007. They stopped the tape right before the Giants game. Probably a smart move.
  2. Mark Murphy is not an engaging speaker. He is facilitating the enter meeting. Joy.
  3. When talking about depth of QB, Thompson's immediate reaction to the crowd was, "Hey! easy." It was pretty funny. He explained we have three QBS...none of them are Brett Favre. It seems pretty obvious to me that Favre will not be a Packer.
  4. As you look at the other positions, we have a really deep team. There is a lot of talent. They are still working on a contract extension for Ryan Grant. This is a little concerning.
  5. Ted Thompson said that defensive backs are, "Not normal people." This is a good thing!?
  6. Mike McCarthy came to give a brief speech about the time. He is a very funny and engaging guy. When he spoke of the team's offensive achievements in 2007, Favre's name was never mentioned. He said the anchor of the team was the defensive. Are we avoiding someone Mike?
  7. Since I last went to the stockholders meeting, they added a lot of extra speeches. I could have done without the last 40 minutes or so. *yawn*
After going to this, I am pumped for the season. Let's just hope we can put the Favre crap behind us, move on to 2008 and root for the Packers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Mid-Week Update

I thought I would let everyone know the news at the middle of the week. As I have mentioned several times already, I leave Sunday for License to Preach School. The weekend was busier than I anticipated, but I got a lot of work done. Other this week in the evening, I am reading my last book and putting together the final drafts of my papers. I should be able to have everything done and still be able to spend some time with Christa, including seeing The Dark Knight.

The Brewers have won their first two games against the Cardinals and are only one game behind the Cubs for first place in the NL Central. Let's hope they keep this up. The last two games against the Cardinals have Sheets and Sabathia pitching. We should fair well!

My XBox 360 made its way to Mesquite, TX and is currently sitting in the customer service station waiting to be fixed. From this point, they say it will take 2-3 weeks to be fixed. No matter what, I will be sitting in Dubuque when it finally gets fixed.

I found out today that I will be representing the Oshkosh Placement Exchange along with a A/RHD to be determined. We will be traveling to North Carolina A&T to present about OPE along with job searching in the field of student affairs. I am willing looking forward to this trip!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Coming to a Close

It feels as though just yesterday that the students in the Titan Advantage Program (TAP) and the Project Success program moved into Webster Hall. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, they move out. It is amazing how quick six weeks can go by. I have really appreciated the experience of the summer programs. It has been fun to get to know some of the future student at UWO and have it in an environment that is lower stress. I have also appreciated working with Dani, Adam, Nick and Chris as staff members in this process. They do amazing work and made my job much easier.

This morning, I had a nice informal chat with students who asked a lot of questions about the residence halls, involvement and the academic programs they will be involved in. It is conversations like that which remind me why I am an RHD. I forget who rejuvenating it can be to have a good conversation with a student that doesn't involve a conduct or disciplinary issue ;).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

My apologies if you see a theme coming up over the last few days...I am beat. Over the course of the weekend, I have read four different books and have written eight different papers. I still have 2 books left to read and one paper to write. I do have next week to finish everything up and it will all get done.

The knowledge-fest over the last two weeks has filed my brain with a lot of thoughts and ideas. It has also filled my brain with so many questions! I am both excited and scared to be a pastor. There is so much I want to try, but so much I don't understand...

..either way. When I come back from school on August 8. I will have hopefully accomplished something great and will open a big door to the next step in my life.

Other News:
  • The Brewers sweep the Giants! Excellent...it should be an interesting journey to the end of the season. My only coverage of the game can through periodically checking the on-line Gamecast on ESPN.com.
  • Whenever my 360 gets back and when I get done with License to Preach school, I have a "new" game waiting for me. I found a copy of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowwind at the mall. I have heard good things and look forward to playing it :).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Papers, Papers, Papers

I am writing to you from my RHD Office in Webster. I am in the process of writing many of the papers that are required for License to Preach School. As this moment, I have written four papers and I hope this afternoon to complete three more. After dinner, I need to continue reading. So far, my day has been very productive and I am hoping to keep it up.

Last night, I found out there was a seventh class that I forgot about. As a result, there is an additional three books that I need to read with three two page summaries to do with them. Even with this unfortunate happening, I should still be OK.

The Brewers came up big last night. I will probably try to listen to some of the game this afternoon as it is an afternoon game.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What Will I Do With the Weekend?

My XBox 360 is on its way to Mesquite, TX where they will hopefully fix my hardware problem and ship back and working game system. It would figure that they will have it done and sent back while I am in Dubuque. At least Christa will get to play some Rock Band while I am gone :).

As I said before, I am thankful in a way that the 360 doesn't work, but it takes away a major distraction from my class preparation. I do miss it, however, for those 30-45 minute breaks between commitments where I can sit down and play a little Oblivion. Christa and I also miss getting to play an hour here and there of Rock Band.

This weekend will be chock full of reading and writing. I am hoping to get a great deal of the work done on Friday and Saturday so that Christa and I can have fun on Sunday. She has to work today and tomorrow anyone, so it would be a good time to work!

Other things I'd like to get to this weekend:
  1. I'd like to catch some of the weekend Brewers series. I'm curious to see the start that they get after the All-Star break.
  2. If time (and ticket availability) permits, Christa and I would like to see The Dark Knight on Sunday. The reviews have been overwhelmingly good...let's just hope the theater has tickets left.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Few Sports THoughts...

The Bucks continue to make moves in the off season, as they will be signing Tyronn Lue. This move makes sense to me. You can never have too much depth and Lue provides some depth at the guard position. I still feel as though the Bucks have some work at the Power Forward position, as I'm not sure that Villanueva is the long-term solution. Even if they are done, I feel as though the Bucks have a shot at being in the playoffs, especially in the Eastern Conference. Every time I get my hopes up, however, the Bucks manage to get injured, tank the season and make Buck fans depressed.

I am really nervous about the second half of the season for the Brewers. I appreciate that the owner is willing to make trades to win now. As I've said before, this is a major change in strategy. The bullpen is still highly suspect and I'm now sure if it can carry us through the season. Our starting pitching is great and our offense will be better once everyone starts to click. I want to believe they can finish strong...and this may be the year they have to do it. With Sheets and Sabathia being free agents...I doubt they'll be here. Hart, Weeks and Fielder (among others) will want new contracts. Will they have enough to sign them all? Are we willing to wait to see prospects develop?

Favre is really starting to tick me off. In the end, the Packers are smart to not release Favre. I don't buy the argument that the Packers "owe" him anything. You're not letting a franchise player go for nothing because he retired when he wasn't ready to retire. Maybe he'll end up back with the Packers...but you won't see Favre anywhere else.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday Morning Potpourri

I really don't have a main storyline for today, so I thought I would just layout a few random thoughts for the day:
  • According the UPS tracker I was E-mailed, the mailing box for my XBox 360 should arrive today. From others I have talked to, it doesn't take too long to get it fixed. Here's to hoping!
  • My preparations for License to Preach School continue. That July 27 deadline is coming up quick!
  • The date is finalized for the Fourth Annual Fox Valley Mini-Golf Tournament. It will be August 9, 2008 at 11:00 AM (yes, it's Christa's birthday). She will be working at one of the golf courses that we will be playing at. Should be fun

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oshkosh Softball Update

In what can only be considered an offensive bonanza, our team lost 21-20. There were some interesting firsts in the game last night. At one point, we actually batted through out entire line-up. We also got through an inning 1-2-3. After three innings, things were looking really good. Unfortunately, as the game went on, it got humid and the field got wet. That's when things got bad. Our fielding took a dive and we ended up giving up a lot of runs. We were one person short, so the outfield got a little dicey. We also had three people not playing in their natural position.

As for me, I went 2-4 and had 2 RBI.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The "Red Ring of Death"...

I mentioned yesterday that my XBox 360 is broken. *sigh* Over the last few weeks, Christa and I would be playing Rock Band and our 360 would just freeze up. Every once in a while, this might happen throughout my ownership of it, but they were becoming more frequent. In the last week, it froze up every time we played a game. While I was playing AD&D downstairs, Christa was trying to play Rock Band and it froze up not too long after she started. On Sunday, we got the urge to play and a few freezes later, the red ring arrived.

My 360 was originally only under warranty for one year, but they make an exception for the red ring problem and extended it to three years. The process to have it fixed is by no means quick, but the Microsoft website laid out the procedures fairly well. Microsoft will be mailing me a box that I will send by 360 in. When it arrives at Microsoft, it will take 2-3 weeks to have the machine fixed and sent back to me. They will only fix the red ring issue.

It is a bummer that I can't play games. It is probably for the best right now as I do have a lot of work to do before I leave for Dubuque.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Now It's Time to Focus

The 12-hour gaming marathon has come to pass. I had nine people over and we played 1st Edition AD&D for around 12 hours on Friday and Saturday. It was wonderful to have so many people from so many different periods of my life coming in share in a hobby together. I am now in the process of computing experience and updating characters. We had a few new folks that joined in this weekend that are interested in joining us when we start meeting regularly in the fall.

Now that the gaming session is done, I need to start concentrating on my license to preach materials. Perhaps God has something to say about this as well: My XBox 360 now gives me the dreaded "Red Ring of Death". I have to mail it in to Microsoft...this will take weeks! What distractions will I have now? ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Weekend of Gaming

The weeks of preparation are at an end. This evening at 6:00 PM, friends of gaming days past and present will be coming to Webster Hall to participate in a 1st Edition AD&D Gaming Marathon. We will be playing both tonight and most of the day tomorrow. This summer session will be part of a continuing campaign that has occurred for the last two spring semesters here at UWO. If everyone shows up, there could be nine people, ten with me included.

We will be playing in the basement of Webster. Everything is not put back together, but it's dry and our usual room is usable again. I would mention who is coming, but I wouldn't want to publicly out them for their dorkiness ;).

Other News:
  1. For what it's worth, Corey Hart won the last National League All-Star spot. Thank you to all who voted, or who may have used my blog as their portal to vote.
  2. I created a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh fan page for Facebook. I was sad to see the we did not have one. Let's hope a few people join.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Win, Almost..

With some solid rain on Monday canceling my men's league game, it has been a little while for a softball post. It was three years ago when I started playing with Tex's men's team in the Oshkosh city leagues. I had never played any organized baseball or softball in my life; I hadn't thrown a ball since probably middle school. That first summer was rough. I didn't have any direction to save my life, not any power. At times it was honestly embarrassing.

Some similar happened although, it wasn't me this time. Our game last night was close, it was 4-4 going into the seventh inning. We had already given up one run, a run that was controversial regarding whether or not an out made would have negated the run. Anyone, there were two outs and it was only 5-4. The next batter hit a weak grounder to second. I was at first awaiting the throw and it went over my head. In fact it went over the fence and out of play...automatically allowing the base runners to advance. It was now 6-4.

The bats were moving early and we had some base runners. We scored one run! With one out and runners on second and third, a nice hit allowed the runners to move. For some reason we held the tying run at third even through she could have made it home. Our next batter fouled out and that was it. 6-5.

We played some good ball at it was competitive throughout. I enjoyed my time at first base.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Brewer Fever

C.C. Sabathia was victorious in his first start with the Brewers. Even when the lost a couple days ago, they kept it close. The Brewers are 10 games over .500 and are but a few games out of both the Wild Card spot and the National League Central title. Putting the playoffs together with the Brewers is a foreign concept. They made a run last year, but really folded near the end of the season and allowed the Cubs to sneak into the playoffs.

As I said last year, I am a fair-weather fan of the Brewers. It's easy to back a team that's playing well. I will always keep track of the Brewers and check up on them, but it's more fun now that they are a relevant team. They are getting lead stories are even becoming the subject of bonus stories. I hope they can keep this up; it's fun to see the city of Milwaukee have something to cheer about in the area of sports.

It will also provide a welcome relief from all the Packers talk that has already begun...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summer Runnin'

Building off my efforts in the spring semester and my preparation for the Oshkosh Half Marathon this last April, I have gotten into a running routine this summer in preparation for the Fox Cities Half Marathon. I had contemplated doing the full marathon, but I don't think I'll be ready for that my September. Plus, I have already run two half marathons and feel confident that it is a distance I can actually finish. Perhaps I can try in a year when I have run consistently over time and feel that I am in better shape.

As I continue running in the summer, I am looking ahead to the fall semester when I have the opportunity to participate in the Healthy Titans Program. I have participated in this program for three semesters and have appreciated the benefits. I am paired with a UWO student who works on an individual workout plan for me; we do a before and after assessment to see what gains were made. I have worked with Nate Regal, Ryan Schuh and Tyler Schuette. They have all done a great deal to get me into something in addition to running. I have become much more knowledgeable about weightlifting and how it can supplement my cardiovascular training. For $35, it's a great deal.

Other News:
  • This Favre retirement talk continues. While everyone tries to stay hushed, it just allows rumors to continue. Hopefully, this gets resolved soon one way or another.
  • C.C. Sabathia starts tonight for the first time as a Brewer. Unless the Brewers make the playoffs and win at least one series, this trade wasn't worth it. I highly doubt Sabathia is staying after this year. Some compensatory draft picks would be nice, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I will say that it is nice to see the Brewers makign moves to make a run at the pennant. Let's hope it pans out.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Vote for Hart!

My dad reminded me how easy it is to vote for this last spot in the National League All-Star line-up. Vote once...vote a bunch of times! Voting ends July 10, so do what you can.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

This morning I led the worship service at FUMC Oshkosh. It gave Pastor Steve an opportunity to take an extended vacation. The service was typical of a holiday weekend, with the congregation relatively small. It was nice to Christa joining me as the liturgist for the service; folks out there really got a kick out of that.

As I prepared the sermon for today's worship service, I was beginning to implement some of the ideas that I learned from my books on sermon writing. I felt like today's sermon had a clear message and was better organized. The weird things was that when I actually preached the sermon, I was sweating profusely. Typically, I only sweat like that when I'm nervous (which I wasn't) or when I perceive something isn't going well. I thought it went great, but my body disagreed.

The more I read and observe, the more I look forward to having my own church with an opportunity to lead worship and order the service as I would like. The readings I am doing offer so many cool ideas I would like to try out. One day, that opportunity will hopefully come.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We Never Win Anything...

My Mom picked the right day to watch the Brewers play and also picked the right seats to watch the game...she also picked great weather! ;) The Brewers won the game 9-1, despite some shaky pitching from Ben Sheets. In addition, we another special bonus...

Earlier in the game, there was a give away which happened to take place in our section of the stadium, section 211. Christa overheard that there would be a giveaway later meant for our section, but I missed this.

In the eighth inning, it was announced that those in section 211, rows 11-15 and seats 4-13 were winners of a Brewers tailgate. All four of us were in the designated area! This was a first. I had never won anything at a Brewers game before.

We made our way to guest relations and claimed our prize. My Dad signed off for our prizes. It includes:
  1. 8 tickets to the September 24th, 2008 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  2. 8 tickets to a tailgate before the game.
  3. Retail value: $400
What was already a pretty special day got that much better. Hopefully, the Brewers will continue to play well and this game may make a difference for the playoffs.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Trip to Miller Park

My parents invited Christa and I to watch the Brewers play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park today. This is the first Brewers game of the season that I will see live, and I think the last time I saw a Brewers game was around this time (with my parents and Christa). If they can win today, I would be on a two-game winning streak for watching Brewers games.

The last time I went to see a Brewers game with Jason Bock, the Brewers lost and I think I had accumulated a losing streak with games I went to with him. Hopefully, I can string a few wins together so that we might be able to catch a game. I'm sure right now, my overall record is around .500.

I do have some fond memories of watching the Brewers in Miller Park:
  1. My dad and I watched the second regular season game ever in Miller Park. They played the Cincinnati Reds...and won!
  2. My friend Nick and I went to see the Brewers play when they were in an awful losing streak. By our game, I believe it was at 13 games. We saw Mark Loretta hit the winning run. They played the Halleluia Chorus at the end of the game!
  3. I remember watching a game with Nick wher Gary Sheffield hit a home run against us right after her were heckling him on his way to the plate. We didn't win that one.
I'll keep you posted on today's game. The weather looks gorgeous! Happy Fourth of July to all!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Few Interesting Links for the Day

Here are a few interesting links for you to check out today:

The Power of Watermelon - I found this linked from the Drudge Report. Here's another reason to have that watermelon for dessert over the 4th of July weekend.

What Exactly Does Retirement Mean? - I found this on ESPN.com. Apparently, Brett Favre has the itch to return. Favre has since gone on record to say that there are simply rumors. I want to believe him, but I have this feeling Favre isn't completely retired. Check some of the comments left by readers...they are priceless.

Another Step Toward Moving - I found this on EPSN.com. One more step has occurred to allow the Seattle Supersonics to move to Oklahoma City. From what I am reading, it looks like there is plenty of blame to go around. With the Bucks record recently and the iffy fan base, it makes you wonder if the Bucks may be the next team to move. Not a whole of players are excited to play in Milwaukee.

Big Break-Up - When you think of the contract that A-Rod is under, this could be a messy divorce if it comes to it.

Other News:
  • The Neenah softball team lost last night. We lost 10-1. We could not string any hits together. Hopefully, a practice will be scheduled for Sunday or Monday. That would be very helpful.
  • I continue to read for License to Preach school. I have gotten through five books or so and need to get started on some of the papers.
  • Christa has gotten a lot of scrap booking done over the last few weeks.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

One Dinner to Change the World

Since my Dad has been working during the week in Green Bay, Christa and I will meet him in Appleton to catch dinner. We have finally agreed on Tuesday evenings because it is the one weeknight that we don't have a softball game.

Our conversations together hit on major things that have been going on in our lives, with snippets of sports talk in there as well. Invariably as conversation makes its way into current events and politics, we usually talk about the state of the world and how we could make it a better place. No matter the topic, we usually boil it down to a few keys things:
  1. We need term limits for politicians starting...well, now! Vote out all incumbents now and only allow people one term. "Politician" was not meant as a career. You were a public servant in addition to your chosen career. It is career politicians that have caused many of the problems that we are in.
  2. People can't take responsibility for anything. That's why loads of people are in credit card debt. People sign for mortgages they can't afford and assume someone will bail them out. That's why nothing changes in government, but we aren't willing to make a difference.
  3. The political issues between nations inside and outside of the middle east go beyond anyone's ability to talk or negotiate. Sadly, it will likely escalate to some kind of war where one side or the other will pretty much be wiped. It's hard to think of another realistic. scenario.
Perhaps in the future, I may expound on one of these areas.

Our dinners will soon be running out as my dad will be done with the traveling portion of his job and will likely be working for the company in the Milwaukee area.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Focus & Control: A Softball Update

Our Monday softball team came up on the losing end again in our game. It was a bizarre turn of events during the game. In the first inning we scored five runs, and they scored zero. Then we added four more and things were looking up. It looked great until the bottom of the second inning when they dropped 15 runs on us. That was the end of of it. The team did an excellent job of hitting balls just over the infield and right in from of the outfield. It was a rough evening. We managed to put 13 runs up there...but they put up 24.

Now for a little wisdom from Yoda:

"All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph."

Yoda: "Control, control. You must learn control!"

Last night I went 2-4 in the game and had four RBI. The big difference for me over the last few weeks has been patience at the plate. I have been better at taking pitches until I get the pitch that I want. As a result, I made excellent contact at every at bat, and two of them happened to go toward the center fielder. I have also learned to not feel so much pressure when I'm up and there and just have fun.

Now I think of Yoda when I play softball. Focus and control. Focus and control.