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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Appointment Possibilities

I received a phone call from our District Superintendent. While preliminary in nature, it appears there is the possibility that a full-time appointment in the geographic region that Christa and I are interested in has become available. I won't know the details for a few weeks as a few things need to fall into place. It is exciting to know that the pastor placement process is moving along! I will keep everyone posted once I learn more.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Time to Catch Up

I realize it's been awhile. It has been a mixture of being tired, being busy and being otherwise distracted. I will do my best to catch everyone up on what has gone on over the last few days:
  • I finished up mediation training. It was an incredible experience, but by Friday afternoon I was burned out. I learned a great deal, for both being an RHD and for being a pastor.
  • I have gotten sucked back into playing Mass Effect. It is amazing what one is willing to do to pick up a few extra achievement points :).
  • Christa and I caught a few movies over the weekend: A Scanner Darkly and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Two men enter...one man leave! :)
There are the highlights. I should be able to keep up more now with the daily entries.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 3: Mediation Class

A few mid-week observations:
  • Role plays are more comfortable. They are a good learning experience. I am learning just as much from being an actor as I am from being a mediator. There are times when I feel pretty engrossed in the role that I am playing. It must be the AD&D experience. I just need to remember that there are no dice involved. :)
  • The days are starting to wear on me. I am appreciating the experience, but definitely wish I could have a a few days of "break." I am going to try as much as possible to do that this weekend.
  • Some people's styles and personalities are beginning to wear on me. From the group dynamics perspective, we have moved from the "polite" stage.
Two days...and a lot of practice...to go :).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 2: Mediation Class

Today's class in the afternoon involved the beginning of an activity that I do not enjoy...we began out role plays. You may be asking yourself, "How does someone who enjoys AD&D and other role-playing games not enjoy these activities?" Well, I will offer you these thoughts:
  • I often feel as though the scenarios are contrived and you know, to some level, the individuals involved. As such, I think a certain amount of authenticity is lost.
  • Scenarios do not provide every detail. Sometimes you may need to gill in the scenario gap as an actor. This can make for awkward situations.
  • You are typically observed and critiqued...and I don't like that.
In the end, I need to get over it all. Even though I might think this and that, this is the one way I will be able to practice these various skills that I am learning. As I said before, as a mediator, I am being asked to employ skills and strategies that go contrary to my nature and training. A new example from today:
  • When re-phrasing, we must start statements with things like "You feel..." and "You said...". This is different for me, because from my counseling background, we usually start things by saying, "What I hear you say is...". Out instructors want us to stick to the former to avoid taking my ownership.
So, despite my own reservations, we got started with two role plays today. For one, I was the co-mediator and for one, I was a complainant. Of course, the scenario in which I acted was simple. The one I mediated was much more complex. It was good to finally get in there and try it out, but I realized some interesting things about myself:
  • When I attempt to paraphrase, I am too wordy and take too long.
  • I need to listen.
  • I need to let go and allow others to generate solutions.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 1: Mediation Class

I finished the first day of our mediation class. We only spent the last two hours talking about the beginnings of the mediation process. Much of today was spent doing some personality and leadership inventories. This wasn't a bad way to go because it helped us to realize the diversity of personalities not only in the room, but also the diversity of the population we will be working with.

Based on the assessment I took, I realized some things that will stand in the way of my ability to be an effective mediator:
  • In mediation, we allow the parties involved to come to their own conclusions, despite what we think the outcome will be. Thus, even if we think something will end in a stalemate, we are not allowed to intervene.
  • Mediators aren't allowed to give advice. Doh! I usually jump to the advice-giving pretty quick in my conversations. I will need to work on this as well.
  • Mediators are also not allowed to present their own ideas or their own thoughts.
These are things that I know I need to work on any way, so this will give me an opportunity to let go of control and practice my active listening :).

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Spring Break Agenda

As I stated in an earlier post, I will be attending a mediation training during the day Monday-Friday next week. That still leaves two weekends and some evenings without the normal evening routines. So what's on tap with all this free time?
  • Christa I will finally be able to watch The Watchmen. Our weekends have not lined up very well, so without class we will have the chance to see it. There are so many people to talk with about it once we have seen it.
  • We were sent Munich through the mail for Netflix, which Christa and I both want to see. Depending on how quickly we get to it, we could get the last episose of Planet Earth before spring break is over.
  • I purchase Left 4 Dead, a game that Christa and I both enjoyed playing. When you combine that with the new songs we downloaded for Rock Band 2, we should have a good time gaming next week as well.
  • Hopefully, I will have a chance to work ahead on some stuff for gaming. We only have so many weeks left in the spring semester to play.
  • Our church will be having a long term ministry planning meeting on Tuesday. I am excited and intrigued to hear from my fellow parishioners about their ideas for the church.
Alas, all of that awaits once we have closed the building, which occurs at 8:00 PM tonight.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Format

I thought the blog could use a face lift. I'm not sure how people feel about it, but it's my blog:

Good News:
  • The blog is more colorful and they are colors that I like :).
  • I added a better weather feature, although I can't get it to default to Oshkosh weather. I have tried all sorts of different ways.
  • I added the Twitter feature. We'll see how long that lasts :).
Bad News:
  • It's not something you're able to hide well at work. It's pretty obvious... ;)
  • The colors may not be everyone.
In the end, I wanted to shake things up, and I did. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


There are a few of my friends that utilize Twitter to post random comments and ideas on their blogs. Recently a story about the Milwaukee Bucks banning writing Twitter messages (also known as "Tweets."

As it is becoming more popular, I decided I would give it a whirl. I have them post to a section in the upper left of my blog. We'll see what happens. I do realize it's intention is to let people know what you're doing. I am using it more to post random thoughts! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bioshock 2

After earlier concerns that my subscription to Game Informer may have expired, I received a new copy for the month of April in my mailbox. On the cover was a tagline for a preview of BioShock 2. Next to Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, BioShock is one of my favorite games. I am curious to read more about the game. When you combine this with the potential for a Mass Effect 2 in the near future, gaming looks bright :).

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Spring Break Odyssey

Next week is spring break for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. It comes right in the middle of the spring semester. It is hard to believe that we are already almost done with seven weeks of the semester.

My spring break will be spent doing a mediation seminar at the Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center. It's Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. It was recommended by the District Board of Ministry and it was covered by the Department of Residence Life. So, in the end every works out well.

I will still have a few evenings with less meetings and should be able to get some time to relax.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wireless Internet & ABUMC

Wireless Internet
The residence hall lounges at UW Oshkosh now have wireless internet routers. I'm not sure where the first floor one is located, but if I have the computer on the kitchen table, we can pick it up. It's like we have two offices. It will make job searching and sermon researching a lot easier because I won't have to jump between two computers. It also gives Christa and I each access to a computer with internet capabilities. :)

The Algoma Boulevard UMC Services
The services at ABUMC went very well! In preparation for my delivery, I practiced it a couple times in the weight room in our basement. It has a full-length mirror which made it easy for me to catch any bizarre movements that might have come up in the performance. It made a big difference, and Christa was able to confirm that.

As with our experience at Eureka, it was really neat to be with the congregation from the church. They were all very friendly, which as a guest, I suppose you would expect. What made the experience more rewarding were the comments that folks made. I spoke with one man who said that he appreciated a fresh perspective on a bible lesson and appreciated hearing a new voice in the church. Another individual said that he appreciated the fact that he was able to come away with something to work over the week. That was awesome! That is what I hope to do in every sermon :).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Shamrock Shuffle

Today was the 2nd Annual Shamrock Shuffle. The route was pretty much the same as last year, but this time I walked. If I ran the 5K, I would have zapped all my energy and would have been completely useless the rest of the day. That would be possible given my need to prepare a sermon and an AD&D adventure. It did just feel good to get outside and take in some of the fresh air.

  1. There is no such thing as a 1st Annual event. It is not annual until it happens more than once. This has bugged me from my time as a Copy Editor for the Advance Titan.
  2. The weather is gorgeous today. Too bad all of the ground is soaking wet!
  3. Tomorrow I lead the three worship services at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church. Three! It should be interesting.
  4. Million Dollar Baby is a really sad movie and not what I expected. While very good, it could have been a classic if it was paced better and have better character development.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Little Humor

Nothing of note for today, how about a classic clip from a classic film:

Male announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the red zone.
Female announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the red zone.
Male announcer: [later] The red zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the white zone.
Female announcer: No, the white zone is for loading of passengers and there is no stopping in a RED zone.
Male announcer: The red zone has always been for loading and unloading of passengers. There's never stopping in a white zone.
Female announcer: Don't you tell me which zone is for loading, and which zone is for stopping!
Male announcer: Listen Betty, don't start up with your white zone s**t again.
Male announcer: There's just no stopping in a white zone.
Female announcer: Oh really, Vernon? Why pretend, we both know perfectly well what this is about. You want me to have an abortion.
Male announcer: It's really the only sensible thing to do, if its done safely. Therapeutically there's no danger involved.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From the Gaming Side of the House...

I have talked quite a few times about the wrapping up my last year as an RHD. Depending on schedules, the AD&D gaming group that has met for the past three years will also most likely be phased out as well.

My biggest concern is that two of the founding members of the group will be graduating this semester. I am very happy that they have completed school, but that leaves quite a void for the group. A few other members that started out have begun not showing up recently. I don't know where I'm going to be placed for the ministry, but if it's nearby, perhaps it can keep going. We'll just need to recruit some new members.

Of all the campaigns for all the RPG games that I have played, this one has been the most consistent. It has really fun to watch the participants (both players and the DM) grow through the three years. I feel as though the adventures haven gotten more detailed and the plot lines have become more intriguing. I feel as though the characters are realizing more the consequences and benefits of actions. They have also kept me on my toes to make sure I think about all possible solutions to a situation.

The Party of Pholtus is currently adventuring in the Lordship of the Isles, trying to find the Sceptre of Pholtus. They were doing OK until they got captured by pirates. For more information, check HERE.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Odd Jobs

As I finish my final year as a Residence Hall Director, I have a pretty good sense of how the year will unfold from here. I know generally what tasks and meetings lie ahead and don't expect all that many surprises. In some ways, this can be helpful because it relieves anxiety. But, I want to avoid complacency and I need to find other small tasks to keeps things fresh.

Over the last few weeks, it has been interesting to me to see small tasks and projects become a part of my job as an RHD. I have helped out in small ways with a few hall fundraisers. I am writing letters of recommendation. I am exploring forming a new student group. When you pool as of that with my normal day-to-day stuff, it keeps me busy. :)

It also keeps my mind away from the fact that before I know it I will be done as an RHD. :( Boo..

Monday, March 09, 2009

Our Time at Eureka

Christa and I had the opportunity to visit the United Methodist Church in Eureka yesterday. We weren't sure where the weather was going to fit in with this trip, but the trip there wasn't too bad. Utilizing Mapquest, I was unable to find a street address for the church so it took two runs through Eureka before Christa found the steeple that led us to the church :).

We got there around 9:30 for a 10:00 AM service. We walked in with a group in the middle of a Bible study. We were invited in and sat in on the last 15 minutes of their study. Everyone seemed very welcoming and we participated as we could.

The service was no different. They have quite a community there is Eureka. They shared a great deal during the service and while informal, it was definitely easy to see the Spirit at work in their congregation. I was excited to be a part of it.

Christa told me that of all the sermons she's heard me do so far, she liked this one the best. I would agree with her. I felt like this sermon had some good content, but was put together in a good flow.

Back in my sophomore year of high school, I received a choir "award" for being "Constantly in Motion." As anyone could tell you if you've seen me present, I like to move around a lot. I also use a lot of gestures. Sunday was no different. The sermon seemed to flow well, but man, was I being fidgety! Christa pointed it out and I had no idea. I will need to keep this in mind. I may not think I'm nervous, but my non-verbals may be pointing to something else :).

I now turn my energies to the three services I will be leading this Sunday.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Spring Weather Tease

I sure did get used to the nice weather last week. By Friday, I was wearing sandals outside. In got a little wet because of all the melt, but it was nice to get outside and not have to wear a jacket. I came down to pick up Christa after she visited her grandfather, and her dad let us know that a storm was coming.

You'd never know it was getting warmed. We are getting pounded! It is a true winter storm right now. Driving is absolutely crazy out there. It looks like it is starting to die down, but with the way the city plows the streets, the damage has been done :).

If you have to drive, be safe!

Note: If you could, please keep Christa's grandfather in your prayers right now. He is going through a really rough patch health-wise right now and they are concerned that he may pass away soon...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

New Blog

Christa has started a blog reflecting on her experiences with student teaching. It is found HERE. Any updates to her blog can also be found in Blog Updates widget on the right hand column of the blog.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Dental Relief

A 9:10 AM dental appointment. What a way to start my Friday...

...no cavities. That's good. There was a filling that needs to be replaced, but otherwise things are good.

It always amazes me how nervous I get when I go to the dentist. Part of it is probably because I don't take care of my teeth the way I should. I always wait to get the word on what might need to get worked on. While having my teeth cleaned, I asked my dental hygienist if she feels like she needs to get better care of her teeth given her line of work, and she said no :).

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Rock Band Renewal

Christa and I can both tell you that we are both extremely exhausted. Christa has been working extremely hard in her student teaching and is preparing for an opportunity soon when she will be teaching every class of the day for two weeks. She is also preparing her resume to be posted on Titan Jobs! I have been busy with CA selection, OPE, letters of recommendation and other administrative stuff.

During the completion of the Endless Setlist 2 on Rock Band 2, our drum set broke. Despite some attempts on my part to take apart the set and seeing if I could fit it, it does not look promising. As such we ordered the new wireless drum set for the XBox 360. They are hard to find in stores and are expensive on many places on-line. We found a set for pretty cheap.

We are tracking it on FedEx.com and hoping to see them on Saturday. Given all the work we have been doing, it will be nice to kick back and play some Rock Band 2!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Wednesday Randomness

This week has been completely crazy and my mind is a little scrambled. Let's just throw out a few random thoughts today:
  1. I got to drive a Lincoln Navigator today. That is one impressive vehicle...one that is completely out of my price range!
  2. Our church is starting a Lenten Book meeting over the next few Wednesdays. We are reading The Shack. I am curious to see what others think of the book. I was not all that impressed.
  3. I go to the dentist on Friday...bleh.
  4. It is my Dad's birthday this weekend. Yay!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Slient Vendetta

My friends Nick and Jason got me hooked into a game called Silent Vendetta. The best thing it has going for it is that it is turn-based. Thus, you only have so many points to spend and then your turn is over and it takes time to recharge. It can be a quick distraction, but does not get you sucked in for hours.

You are a gangster and you commit crimes and train at the gym to improve yourself. Gather money and items to help you. Eventually, you can join a gang and receive additional resources.

If you're interested in trying it out, please go HERE. I get points for referring folks.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

OPE Remote Post, Number 3

I am in the middle of my last Transportation Center shift, working my final OPE as a Residence Hall Director. As both a undergraduate student and an RHD, I have worked in Transportation for seven years. It has been a great experience filled with many interesting moments: snow storms, speeding tickets, hit and runs and other craziness.

With that I sign off from Room 123 in GCC.