22 December 2003

The next stage

Today shall be my last trip on the Wells Fargo stage for 2003. I have worked much of 2003 for the behemoth of banking. Where to now- just riding into the sun.

Come on Bolton!

Bolton is having a surprisingly good run as of late. They just drew Arsenal this weekend. Amazing. Go Wanderers, Go Wanderers!
Ivan Campo plays for them. He's got hair on par with Carlos Valderrama.
Unfortunately, the race for league champion is already way out for Bolton. Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United all sit enthroned by at least 13 points beyond 4th place Southhampton. The regulation race is yet to be determined. Although I would bet Wolverhampton will be relegated. Leeds is still in trouble but may have enough strength to avoid the drop. The typical rule has been that if in the zone at Christmas it is nearly impossible to avoid the drop. Aston Villa, Blackburn, Manchester City, Tottenham all face hole. Blackburn and Man City are 2 of my favorite teams. How about Everton making the drop- will Rooney stay or go?
Manchester City plays today. Hopefully they will eek out some points.

Travelling on two wheels

I made it!
Today I rode the m-40 (my mountain bike) to work. My record for 2003! Commuting until the bitter end. I had already broken the 2002 record by about 17 days. Now I have both a brush and shovel in the panniers- so winter by forewarned, I am ready for more!
Essentials for biking in winter
1. Knobby tires - these should be wider than 1.90 inches. Don't use the street tires- you are liable to regret it. Cyclo-Cross tire may be good but I suggest only expert riders use them. I know they make some as tires as wide as 3 inches and even some tires with "studs". You can probably find a good set at NashBar - the ultimate bicycling clearing house. You can get just about everything on the list there.
2. Waterproof Wind Pants. I have used the style with mesh lining. You can get these cheaply at Target or Wal-Mart.
3. Brightly colored breathable shell. I also like having arm pit vents and few pockets. Look in the snowboard attire section for one.
4. Breathable wicking long sleeved top. Nike Dri-Fit is my favorite but have found that Duofold CoolMax Alta are good too. I have often layered a Duofold with a Dri-Fit this year for temps under 40. When below 15 I layer Duofold with Polar Fleece. You can also use a sweat shirt.
5. Lighting. A good front and rear light will keep you seen. It gets dark earlier during late fall and through winter so the headlight may help you see the road. You can get both at Nashbar or Target or Wal-Mart or your local bike shop. REI also has a good bicycle gear selection. More later.

21 December 2003

Time travelling in Sunday school

Today was a hectic day (as was Saturday) with playing bass and teaching the childrens' church lesson (I do the sunday before xmas every year). I was up until 2:30 AM preparing - mostly for the craft which we did not even get to. Today's lesson hoped to teach the kids that Jesus' birth was prophesied long ago (2750 years ago to be almost exact) by at least 2 guys- Micah and Isaiah. We were pretending to travel in time to visit them. Well, it did not work too well. Things were in control but I had no solid lesson objective for the the time travel phase. I was a little depressed.
Well special preparations by my roommates have been made to celebrate my life. Looks like an Italian supper.
Well almost done with Christmas shopping. Talk to you all later!

19 December 2003

The snow in my own hands

Decided to take out some banks of snow last night after being fed up with the sloppy section undone on my block.
Sidewalk over 94 still covered in mucky snow although it is getting a little harder with more foot traffic.
Corner section by Hooter's is still full but the almost the entire rest of the sidewalk has been cleared to West Acres.
Still wondering if I will bike on Monday. I was planning on driving. Oh carbo pollutants!
Again I will remark that www.lileks.com is a drop dead fun website. It's a behemoth of information. Be sure to check on the Institude of Official Cheer Section. One more reason to not hate Fargo, the talent it has produced from Johnny Lang, PDQ Bach, and of course expat North Dakotan James Lileks. I wonder if Lileks does music?

They got teen spirit

ESPNSoccernet.com: Full-time Report: Hibernian 2 - 1 Celtic
So what if Celtic were playing at full strength- Hibernian teenagers play with exuberance that knocks the Bhoys out of the CIS Cup (not worth a whole lot of beans). So Celtic knocked out of the Champions League and now this. There is still opportunity for a hat trick- win the league, Scottish cup, and the UEFA. As for Hibs, Rangers are their next giant. Could Hibs youth move cause another upset?

18 December 2003

Pre-quels or the orginal suspects

Kendrick Vinar's presence on the web has brought back pleasant memories of my time at The Hill. Kendrick is out East in North Carolina being a shepherd of sorts. I did not know him well but he had a metamorphical leading part at the Hill. He's enthusiasm is unparalleled. He is also rather tall. Kendrick taught a class on understanding the Bible I took.
He left the Hill one year after my departure- to get involved in something similar to what I do.
Deja Vu? Then the leading man, Rich Kao, at the Hill left to the West to do the same thing - plant a church.
So here's an odd link- I go to the midwest to plant, Kendrick goes to the east, Rich goes to the west. Is church planting on God's mind or what?

Crash and burn

My first crash in 3 months happened yesterday on the ride home. It was due to a "hard lip" drift that prevented access to the sidewalk. I didn't anticipate it and flipped out. I came back later with a shovel and removed the stubborn snow completely.
One more reason to add to Fargo's reputation- snow removal. The road are still not in good shape. It makes me want to do it myself. Especially the sidewalk from my house over 94. If the city is not going to do it then I'll take justice in my own hands shovel it out.

17 December 2003

An emmy a day keeps the doctor away

My former colleague, cohort, and collaborator Kevin Myers picked up a few more emmys (back in October but hey he's getting his name out)
Just what does the emmy for audio non-news mean? Perhaps this has to do with his foley skills. You know the sound fx stuff added in editing to make the whole production seem "full." Anyways you can usually catch him on a promo with his spouse around 6PM on FOX 9 in the Twin Cities.

Beyond the call of duty

The bike returned to action today. I discovered that sidewalk clearing is not nearly as important as the street- the first third of the route was still covered with six inches of snow. Yet, I found one street way too slippery to handle and nearly spun out. Just imagine an half ton car.
Today I found a site that explained fallacious argumentation. It was rather academic but organized in digestible parts. Reading it I felt more educated.
So how many of you can say you went to school anc church with this guy. I am still flabbergasted. Not many tales to tell but he never took a step on the stage while I was around. I wonder if he was a fan of the Kevin Myers' Show.

16 December 2003

Snow derby

So last night I had an incredible evening riding through six inch snowbanks on my bicycle. It was tough going in places but I held my own and made it home. The wind aided my advance as it allowed me to plow through the depths with greater momentum. Today, however, I resign myself to the automobile.
There was a derby this weekend in Manchester (England). No not an auto race of the destructo kind but a football match been city rivals. On Saturday it was Manchester United and Manchester City. I am a fan of City and not so much of United. Well, City lost 3-1 and United got to sit atop the table for a day. Last year City tied United and beat them. However, City are still in a slump. They haven't won a game since the beginning of November. United benefited greatly from the return of Paul Scholes, who scored twice. City seemed disinterested and gave an inept performance. At least Richard Dunne kept things from getting out of hand with his defense. The Irish are such good defenders.

15 December 2003

The snow must go on - who carols

It was a rather balmy 29 degrees this morning as I rode to work. It seemed like summer with obstacles. A few hours later the snow began to fall. Should be a great ride home.
I had a hectic weekend. Shopping for my family which is like gambling. The Christmas Show was continually on my mind- well not always. I was not sure the show was going to go well- we only had 2 practices, but we were doing it radio drama style.
On Sunday a few hours before the show, the sound system was not set up correctly so I made the decision to ditch the CD sound effects and music. However, kudos go to David for getting the system to work correctly and handing the dozen CD sound cues I decided to keep in the show.
We had a small turnout- about 10. I am not sure if this was because Survivor's final episode or other Christmas shows around town. We started 20 minutes late because of the technical diffulties. Once we got going it was hard to stop. We did superb. Not one bad thing I could say about the show -expect I should not have crossed back to the mic after my rendition of "Blue Christmas." Those of you who weren't there- you missed out. Dian had some fantastic treats for all in attendance afterward.

12 December 2003

Does not blow me away

Second day in a row of defeating the arctic foe by biking to work. This morning may have been colder but I was feeling good. I also had a tailwind which worked to my advantage. Fixed that garage key problem, WD-40 did the trick.
Got all the sounds edited for the show. I still can't find a decent price on the Vince Guaraldi trio soundtrack to "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Seems it is all the rage these days. I am having very fond memories of the jazzy score to the pentultimate Christmas special (sorry Ruldolph.) I have been told that the California Raisins had a good Christmas special - I only caught it once so do not recollect.
Anyways if you happen to be in town catch the show at the Elm Tree Square on Sunday at 7:00 PM.

11 December 2003

Courageous anamorphic crystals

Call me crazy but I road my bike to work today and it supposedly was somewhere around 10 below. Whew! I made it. It wasn't that bad. The only bad part was I could not get ino the garage to get the bike this morning- at least not immediately.
The key would not go in as it should. I surmised some frozen water based particles were impeding the key's entry. I went and got a candle and matches and heated up the apparatus until the key could get in. It took 10 mintutes.
It's been a hectic week thus far. Last night I did a last minute gig at the mall with my roommate and few other folks. We then went to Ground Round.
Well here's a plug for a big thing I'm doing in a couple of weeks. Maybe I'll See You at the Party.

10 December 2003

Theatre of the mind and ears

In the last few weeks I have been working on a radio drama production for the church I go to. I was "comissioned" to write something to go with a variety show. Ends up that there's not a lot of variety in the church- or all that variety is hidden in other less known endeavors. So four actors and myself will be performing "Christmas, who carols?" this weekend. Additionally we will also try to provide live music (gulp!).
So far it has been hectic in getting it together. The script is fantastic by my standards. Actors are good too. The difficult part right now is the sound effects because there is no dedicated sound effects person. In doing this before (an Easter production in 2001), the unpracticed sound person missed the cues. So I am hoping that won't be the case with this one. I'm thinking of rigging up a CD player and mic in with a separate sound board up front to control some of it myself. I sure hope the show won't end being called "A variety show, anybody there."

What the.....

I am having cognitive dissonance with this advertisement illustrated by David Sheldon. Can you tell me why a man appears in it?

09 December 2003

Worthy Reading

Lately I have been wanting to understand and interpret the Bible better so I found the book How the Read the Bible for All its Worth at a second hand department store (yes they have those- Savers). Now I have a reason to exegesis. Academic but readable- and only cost me $1.50.
Elsewhere, I have been continuing my research of the ICC of a few posts past and re-found an old site I like to read about every imaginable heretical teaching, abberation, cult, or unorthodox thing. The Apologetics Index keeps up with volumes of stuff dealing with cults and other odd, dangerous, and insipid religious organizations.

08 December 2003

Shout out to me

Those of you who read this and need to make their minds known can now do comments.

Christmas at Concordia

I attended one of the Concordia Christmas concerts this weekend with a friend and his family. This years event was entitled "Joy of Heaven to Earth Come Down." The choral singing brought back memories of my choir days at UMM. I enjoyed the most singing along on the audience participation selections.
They sang Awake, Awake and Glorification - both F. Melius Christiansen compositions. I am glad In the Bleak Mid-Winter is making a comeback. This obscure carol is one of my favorites since singing it at UMM back in 1996. Sanctus from the Rutter Requiem was sung too. I sang that one back in high school with full orchestra.
Overall it was a good experience but I don't think it necessarily deserved the standing ovation- the concert was not emotionally stirring enough. And what was that hand raising stuff? That was so high school. Orchestra was excellent. Some of the male narration was well over acted. Dwight Purdy still is one of best narrators I've heard. Carol concert narration is easy to mimic and many of my choir colleagues enjoyed doing a "Dwight Purdy" from time to time. Maybe there should be a whole carol concert entitled "A Dwight Purdy Christmas." I'm sure Linda Hodgson would be rolling on the floor laughing if she heard about this.

Back on forward

It was a busy weekend with the retreat, concert, and assorted production meetings (more on that later). I am not a fan of being busy. I like having some space between things- like having a 30 gigabyte hard drive but using only about 10 gibabytes.
Retreat topic was "A minister in the marketplace."
Some practical teaching and application on how to minister in the marketplace.

Now before you start thinking- wear those Jesus t-shirts or become a sandwich board or stand up in the carfeteria and preach everyday- that's not the application that was taught. I am sure these may be effective in certain instances but may alienate quite a few. No, the teacher suggested what appeared to be an opposite approach- not to start with sharing the good news. What?!!
Yep, start by observing and noticing any needs. Then speak peace or blessing to those needs- offer assistance or pray. When God comes through- recognize it and then a platform for sharing the gospel materializes. More on the retreat later.

05 December 2003

Running away or going on a retreat

Heading out on a retreat this weekend. Am I running away from facing the circumstance of my life or visiting Clitherall?
Also this weekend I am going to attend Concordia College's Carol Concert things. Talk to you later, if there is anbody listening.

Planting a church, or eating a rug

As I am a core member of a group of people who moved to Fargo to start a church, stuff about churches interests me. While researching the previous entry I came across some intriguing details of a defunct International Church of Christ (ICC) start up in Fargo. The course of events took place preceding my arrival in the Gate City between the years 1995 and 1998.
The ICC is considered by many an heresy (and by extension a cult). As a movement it tends to target college students and emphasize "discipleship" and has been accused of being totalatarian and abusive. Many have left the ICC finding it difficult to keep such high commitment and sacrifice to the church. For a more through discussion of what exactly ICC does go to reveal.org
To read the Fargo details go here
Marvin Olasky quoting Michael Simpson says the church today faces a "social climate of distrust, fear, anger, and misunderstanding." That is the case because stories of hypocrisy (double mask) and unloving acts by people who are supposed to represent God are so much the standard these days. Who knows how much of the work of the ICC has maligned people's view of the church- especially a new church which has similar theological trimmings and discipleship methods minus all the control and abuse.

The enigma of Fargo

One of my pet interests is seeking answers to the questions nobody asks. One of those questions is "Why is Fargo considered a horrible place around the United States?"
I began my research by reading James Lileks website. The site is not about Fargo, but Lileks is a Fargo native who left and found fame elsewhere, like most North Dakotans these days. There is a great section on old Fargo which features pictures and good commentary. Would you believe the discoverer of P.D.Q. Bach (Peter Schickele) was once a Fargo resident! The other realms of his web space are laugh aloud funny to the core. Bookmark this site!
How does Fargo get a bad rep? Just a few years ago it was named an All-American city for the 2nd time! It can't be that bad.
This is my quest as quixotic as it sounds. My first lead...Native Americans.
It appears this orginal inhabitants of the land chose not to inhabit the Fargo area in the past. They just passed through enroute to some big meetings at Kathio. I'm not even sure they camped in or around Fargo. No evidence of that. Here's the kicker- Fargo was a swampy wetland and stunk. Now I need sources on this one. We'll look at that one later...

Snow daze and food

Yesterday the snow fell for the third time this season. Still it was rather warm even though a brisk wind was blowing. The bike ride home was a workout, but I enjoy riding the snow. I also like running in it too.
As usual, this morning it appeared nothing was done concerning snow removal. Very typical in this place. The snow had stopped last night although the wind had been blowing it around afterward. I took the car today. Need to give my bike clothes a rest and maybe a good cleaning.
Last night I jaunted by foot down to a new restaurant down the block- Doolittle's Woodfire Grill. It had great atmosphere and lots of open space. Good music- 40s and 50s big band, bebop. The food was okay. Even the Mudslide Pie (their signature dessert) was only okay. Pricewise they were medium. I should have known this having dined at other Doolittle Cafes. The one's in the cities have this cris-cut fries which are good. I had intended to go to Hi-Ho Tavern and get the special, but I wanted to walk and proximity won out.
Top three eateries I go to (not necessarily my favorites):
1. Applebee's - Why? Happy hour value.
2. Bertosa's - Strange thing that I attend a church which is in the same building as Bertosa's.
3. Green Mill - For pasta Mondays and decent happy hour value and better bear selection

In Football news: Man U loses to West Brom, a Division 1 team. Of course this was a Carling Cup game and thus the Big Guns don't take really seriously therefore field a less experienced side. The Reds (Man U) did have Kleberson and Nicky Butt in the match, both first team players but the Baggies (West Brom) have been in form as of late. Let's hope they'll make it to the final. The other Manchester team - City - fell out of the competition as well to Tottenham Hotspur. City has had a string of bad performances which included falling out of another cup competition - UEFA Cup- to a small Polish team. If only Berkovic played as well live as he does when I use him in FIFA 2001.

04 December 2003

At the top of the Premier League

I follow the English Premier League pretty rabidly. I am not a big fan of Man U or Arsenal or even the new power Chelsea. I do own a Manchester United jersey (note: you can find some great deals on jerseys here.) Anyways, Chelsea tops the table (standings to American chaps.), which is really a change as Man U and Arsenal usually battle it out each year. Only one other team besides the aforementioned clubs has topped the table at season's end- Blackburn Rovers. Rovers are one of my favorites although they are nearing the foot (bottom) of the table and could be relegation fodder as are Everton and England golden boy Wayne Rooney.
Unlike almost all American sports, in football (soccer to the Yanks) there are two contentious races going on during the season-
1) To get a high spot (1-6) in the table and
2) To avoid the bottom three spots of the table called the relegation zone.
Here's the scoop on the bottom three- they get "kicked" out of the league and play in a lower division (comparable to the minor leagues in baseball) next season. The top 3 in the lower division get promoted to replace the 3 who dropped. Once at the top of the Premier League there is nowhere to get promoted. I am not sure if there is a glass floor on relegation, but it is possible fall 4 levels under the Premier League, however I wouldn't advise supporting such a club. Sheffield Wednesday is a current example. Being relegated from the Premier League and then from Division 1 into Division 2. I doubt they will drop any farther, the Owls just have too many resources to fall to Division 3. Real diehards would live and die with their club despite falling from glory.

03 December 2003

The O-Files

I would like to take the time to plug a part of my website that is not full of holes. The O-Files hopes to track the life and times of one elusive guy- Fred. I went to college with Fred, sang with him, ate with him, traveled with him. We were both writers of some breed. He was a much more brooding and masterful poet. I was a bombastic ham with serio-comic tendencies. He came to my 21st birthday assemblage. However, we both were beleaguered playwrights. Probably still are.
So why mention this? Recently I have tracked him down- in an elusive manner of course. I like spy games and have become adept at using google. From time to time I would seek out lost ones by doing a search on them and sifting through data. Well, one day many months ago I searched for Fred- I came up with nothing. Then I recalled some things close to his heart - Happy Moose and Sullen Fish. These guys were the feature characters in a comic strip Fred illustrated for the University of Minnesota, Morris' newpaper The Register.
First Happy Moose- nothing.
Then Sullen Fish- I found a paper trail. It lead me right to Fred's own blog. Now if that isn't odd- it ends up we work for the same behemoth. Small world.
You know I wish that Happy Moose comic strip was put online.

A beginning of sorts

Although you read, you will not see. You may write, but you cannot read. - Anonymous (quote taken from undisclosed source- probably an old Bonkers magazine.)

It is probably about time I entered the Blog-o-sphere, seeing that I envisioned something like this nearing the end of Gopherspace- is Gopherspace still around?
I have always been a content, content, content guy concerning web sites. I just never was disciplined enough to put out a ton of stuff. My website is currently pretty empty. A bare-bone internet existance. But it is free. I have never really preferred being a Geo-citizen. I had a site on Xoom years ago that used ftp. It was terrific- until its eventual demise. Xoom is now a domain for some type of overseas money exchange.
So it is December and I am still commuting to work by bicycle. I recent weeks I have been through the snow and below freezing temperatures. However, the last few days have been rather pleasant -cool but not frozen. I am hoping to make it all the way to Christmas riding. Last year about Dec 6 my bike chain fell off and put an end to my voyage.