27 August 2004

Read on

Had a fabulous journey reading The Course of Irish History. It did not go into much depth in places but presented a comprehensive view of Hiberno-History. I never knew that the constitution of the Republic stated that the whole of the island is Ireland thereby claim Ulster as part of the Republic. That's where a lot of debate and violence ensues in the past 80 odd years. I am still unsure an united Ireland will ever exist. At least the hostilities have diminished.
What books am I now hoping to conquer. Well I am reading Joyce's The Dubliners. A much easier read than Ulysses. The stories are auto biographical slices of existance in Dublin. So far I have read about dead and skipping school. I had been looking for the book for a while and finally got it at a thrift store for 30 cents!
Another book which I just picked up for a deal at Boys Ranch (more on that later) was The Unforgettable Fire an older U2 biography. I got it more more the information about Dublin than for the group although Haugen would be proud.

Doggone. Posted by Hello

I turned it down

My days of semi-employment are coming to end next week. I will once again enter the daily grind of the work a day world.
It's not that bad really. I just need to adjust my schedule. The increase in income will be a welcome reward.
Earlier this week I did possibly my last stint at Kaye's printing. It should have been a sad parting I think but it was more like changing a garment. At the end of my shift I walked out to my bicycle and shed not a tear.
Then a day later at 6:45 AM I get a call to work at AmeriPride. I dread getting that phone call. I last appeared at AmeriPride over a year before. I folded orange shop towels for 8 + hours a day. Although they treated me well (I got a free lunch one day!) it was not a fun a job. It was monotonous. But most of all it all happened the week before my high school reunion!
"So what you been up to lately?" one of my successful classmates asks.
"Oh, folding shop towels." I timidly replied with a smile.
Not quite what they were expecting me to bedoing 10 years after high school.
Fortunately I was saved by the Wells Fargo Wagon (a.k.a. Wells Fargo Services) drafting me. again.
Back to the phone call- I pause and listen my agent describe AmeriPride and then hear "shop towel." Immediately I know what I will say.
"Sorry, but I'm going to turn that opportunity down."

26 August 2004

Transitions- 101st Post!

Going through change is not necessarily easy. Although I do admit to being flexible, change irks me on the inside. I need to wrestle with it for a bit before I settle into it. That is what I have been doing this week.
So far I have been getting the advantage. Each discouraging thought or depression that come my way I rise to occasion and give it a KO.
So what all the change? Let me tell you.

  1. First, there's a Christian community I am going to help establish in Grand Forks this fall. I don't even have clue what's going to happen. We'll be driving up from Go weekly and find out. We've got a meeting space. Now we need chairs.
  2. Second, the church I am helped establish and am still attending is going through some transitions. New home groups and different prayer strategy have really put us in a spin going into the fall. It would be ideal that the church would move in that direction with unity.
  3. Third, a new contract position with Xcel energy begins in a few days. I will be back to regular work for a while with a decent salary. I'm not sure I'll like it yet but hopefully it will add to me expertise and skills. They had changed the timetable of the project a bit the other day. Hopefully it will allow for some flexibility come the end of March.
  4. Fourth and finally is something I will not elaborate on. All I will say is that it feels like a death in the family (although that's not the case). Emotionally it gets ties me in knots. It appears to be an impasse but I believe it will become an adventure.

Here's to a good transition. Keep on trucking


23 August 2004

The Ambitious go to Madrid

Owen relishes new challenge at Real
Rumors had been floating around since the end of the Premiership season that Michael Owen would depart for Madrid. After almost 13 years at Liverpool, Owen felt he needed to pursue his ambitions to be on a successful. Stiff competition up front (Ronaldo and Raul) hopefully will stir the striker to greater heights and gain Madrid some hardware this season.
With Liverpool in a strange rebuilding/readjusting phase, the parting probably produced bittersweet taste in Reds fans. It seems Heskey has left the club too? What about Gerrard (not Houlier)? Although it looks like Djibril Cisse has joined from Auxerre. I like his name.

22 August 2004

Grafton on the map

Grafton North Dakota Detailed Profile - travel and real estate info jobs hotels hospitals weather schools crime ...
Made a trek up to Grafton, ND this weekend for a mini-conference with the Outfitters churches. I had the opportunity to lead worship on Saturday and it was incredible. God told me "Why would He withhold his presence from his son?" earlier in the morning. [Note: If you do not know already I firmly believe God is an active and personal being. He also communicates to his people including me.] And so it came to pass. God's grace definitely flowed through me, my team, to the group assembled.
I have a recording of it and it actually sounds pretty good. Really good.
Well it's not that good but I love it!

Munch's famous Scream stolen

Munch's famous Scream stolen
At first I thought it was some cartoon character that had his scream stolen. Why would that make headlines? Sounds a lot like Monsters Inc.
So thieves stole a painting from the Edvard Munch Musueum in Norway. An actual scream did not vacate the musuem with thieves. Two Munch paintings were stolen which included one entitled The Scream, a rather popular impressioninstic painting depicting a person screaming with two hands over his/her ears/cheeks (I am not sure of gender or body part covered). That would be much more abstract and difficult to keep in a get away car. However the paradox exists that this and another painting by Munch were considered priceless but had no security that prevented thievery of the painting.
Check out Edvard Munch for yourself. The other stolen painting was entitled The Madonna.

18 August 2004

The lost run

I spent some time in New York Mills, MN last week on business. In keeping with my fitness regime, I run almost every morning. I think I am training for some road race, but I have not decided on one yet.
One morning I left to go run. I ran around the town as I did before but wanted to go a bit farther. I followed a country road heading out of town. I ran and ran hoping that I'd find a connecting road that would lead back to town. Unfortunately after an hour I did not come across one. I did not want to go back since there were big dogs that I had out run. It would not have been fun either. Backtracking to me is akin to "I made a mistake."
Eventually I found some roads that I thought would take me back, but they zigzagged a bit and took me farther away.
I was lost. I needed to find highway 10. I could hear it in the distance- the passing traffic and semi-trailer truck sounds. At last a gravel road took me right to the highway. To be safe I ran down a frontage road, however it became a driveway. I scurried through some grass up to the railroad tracks. I ran on them for a while but did not feel safe doing it.
Finding a dry spot in the ditch, I ran to the shoulder of the highway.
A distance of about 2 miles separated me from town. I ran on the shoulder of the highway as traffic whizzed past at 65 miles per hour. The shoulder was adequate and I made it back to my motel. I ran for nearly 2 hours! Not bad but I was exhausted.

15 August 2004

Another fair in the bag

Once again took another job working a county fair for ABC Seamless. This fair was in Wadena, MN and once again no fish house present. However, I still got many responses. I have been learning to deal with rejection doing this job. Who cares if they don't sign up for the silly fish house? I really enjoyed the fair in Wadena. It was a well done affair, although the attendance was spotty at times.
In the eveninng I retired to New York Mills to rest in the comfort of the Mills Motel. The Mills Motel is a family run establishment with modest accomadations. My television set suffered from severe magnetism disorder but overall I had a grand stay. I saw some good documentaries and caught some of the Olympics. However, I think I could hear snoring from an adjectant room my last evening. (An aquaintance of mine would likely comment: Oh my word!)
During the lulls and dead zone of the fair I had been reading The Course of Irish History, a comprehensive volume about the Irish nation. It has been an intriguing read. Plenty of political intrigue, and British oppression, and strong personalities. Do all Irish have strong personalities?
I have been planning on visiting the emerald isle in 2005 to pick up some stories and songs and make friends. The book is giving me a broader understanding of how history has shaped the Republic.

09 August 2004


No horsing around. Posted by Hello

He's still alive and kickin

I encountered Steve Sjogren a few years ago at a conference in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul). He had recently gone through some medical mishap concerning the abodomen or something and was a bit immobile. However, that did not take away from his love for kindness and service. I should also note he also loves God. Try sometime and you will see how enjoyable it can be.
Well anyway, Steve is incredible plugged in. He's up to date on the cultural, technological, and spiritual trends. I have found his web sites to be quite enjoyable. I visited his church in Cincinatti a few times when I was a road warrior for MTL. Always had a fantastic time.
Peering into his blog it seems Steve still faces some health problems- at least the week prior to August 1. It appears he is also in the process of writing a book about the health issue I mentioned above.
Some things I gleaned from Steve:
1. Where God is there is fun. I am not a stodgy odd churchaholic but an enthusiastic seeker of God. Why would God want to make our experiences with him so drab?
2. Kindness works. It works in both directions- it shapes the doer and the receiver.
3. Creativity can be used in the church. Steve's church is a firm believer in getting people to find where they fit. The openness to creativity really puts people at ease.

07 August 2004

Addicted to Thomas

I think I am addicted to Thomas the Tank Engine. It all started with my "little roommate." He got a Thomas cartridge for his LeapPad. Then there was the DVD borrowed from the library. I was hooked. Later I bought a DVD with wood train of Thomas for the "little roommate."
I am thrilled with the cool animation that utilizes a real model train set. It is incredible what they can do with it.
What else do I like about Thomas? Let me enumerate:
  1. A large ensemble of characters. There are over 30 different trains and stories that go along with them. So far my favorites are Edward and Stepney.
  2. George Carlin or Ringo Starr narrate the stories. They are fabulous. I enjoy the unique personality they bring to the Thomas characters. They also have friendly tone to their voices.
  3. The stories teach lessons. It is not all fun and mischief on the Island of Sodor (imaginary island where the trains operate.) there are plenty of lessons learned by the trains such as helping others, following the rules, working hard, respecting others, and making friends.
  4. Each train (and other vehicle) has a unique personality. Whether it is Percy's naivete or Edward's kind heartedness - I simply enjoy these characteristics.
  5. It's British. I grew up on British comedy it seems. I also grew up with one particular bear- Paddington, who happens to permeate children's literature in the UK. Thomas fits right in. As a matter of fact it would make a great crossover if Thomas met Paddington.

That's all for now. I got to be a real useful engine...er I mean human now.

05 August 2004

Green tea

I am a green tea aficionado. I have been qaffing it for years - hot, cold, and in between. I brew it occasionally at home but find the Arizona Tea brand to my liking. Recently I have found an incredibly potent green tea - Greenergy Double Brew by Tradewinds. It is marketed as a natural energy drink. I first tried it at room tempature and could only guzzle half the 16 oz bottle. For 16oz they use 4 tea bags and this is green tea with caffeine (and flavanoids to destroy those free radicals).
I also have tried Mad River. It is not as strong but is sweeter than a typical Arizona Green Tea. Natural lemon flavor is included. It was cheap (like 25 cents cheap).
Check into the benefits of the green tea.

Midnight special

To ease the sting of heartache I have been biking in the dark. Now that I have a terrific NightHawk Viper on the C-200 I can do it much more safely.
Last night I rode down 75 in Moorhead and crossedthe 52nd streer bridge into south Fargo.
Tonight was very dark although a partial moon shown in the background. I rode all the way back from my friend's house in Moorhead. I had to go through the partially lit Gooseberry Park and then cross the Sertoma Freedom Bridge to return to Fargo. I was prepared to be ambushed at every dark corner. However, this did not happen. I made it home safely.

Happy boy, joy desires. Bear applauds. Posted by Hello

03 August 2004

Out on the street

Most Fridays this summer my church has been hitting the streets to share the Gospel, pray, or do something to meet people in Downtown Fargo. Well this Friday I took a break from my fair duties in Glenwood and broke out the guitar in downtown. I played a lot of folky tunes and even tried to do some blues. Eventually I turned to my roots in CCR and Velvet Underground.
I sang "Have Your Ever Seen the Rain" and "Proud Mary" with some of the transitional bar crowd. That music attracted a Vietnam Vet named Richard who seemed (more like was) to be a bit inebriated but kind. I was in the US Bank plaza until almost 10PM. It was scary and fun. I need to get better on guitar or become a mime.

01 August 2004

More fair

Once again ABC Seamless contracted my services. This time for the Pope County Fair in Glenwood, MN. Additionally, I had the added bonus of staying in a motel- The Viking Motel in Alexandria.
The fair was average at best although I met quite a few interesting folks - "Ray Comfort Jr.", Conservative Old Man, Talkative Handshake Lady, and girl named Ramsey. I also struck up a conversation/dialogue/ relationship with an InfoLink employee who is a vegetarian and former KUMMer (the U-90 Alternative).
With 9 hour shifts things could get boring. It appeared the same people circulated the building after a while. I found that offering candy often brought folks to the booth and stymied the boredom.
The folks in Pope County must be pretty motor sport oriented. The only entertainment that did not feature motors was a mime. Of course the mime seemed to encourage me to work on my own mime technique. Can you believe that?! They did not have a talent show nor any music or variety acts. Even Ottertail had that! Two tractor pulls and two demolition derbies were the extent of the main entertainment.