31 October 2004

Oh holy night

I am not sure who decided the evening before a feast day should be celebrated but Americans certainly flock to the honey of Halloween. I believe we should just celebrate daylight savings time and rejoice over the time we saved. However, methinks Americans would perfer going door to door demanding candy from neighbors while dressed up like the minions of hell. Granted, not everyone makes themselves up to be demons, ghosts, or goblins but it is the lightheartedness a lot of people take towards the spirit world that makes October 31 such a devious delight.
I like candy and costumes. Although hiding uor identity supposedly tricked evil spirts and giving of candy (think offering) appeased these spirits I think it a funny tradition considering the lack of spiritual sense of this nation.
I think the Jews have a great counter to the this day in Purim. People dress in costumes and re-enact the story of Esther. It is a celebration of God's deliverance as compared to Halloween being something akin to oppression by evil ones.
Stop getting oppressed and seek the Almighty!

Overwhelmed- a discourse on moving

I made a move this weekend. It was large. It was mighty. It was rainy and cold.
After a hiatus of 4 years, I return to house living. My years in apartments and basements were good but cramped. My lifestyle has changed a bit since then.
The house reminds me of my St. Paul residence of the mid-seventies. It is in a better part of town. In fact it is in the part of town I like the most. Stately old homes surround it. There are even a few mansion like dwellings a few blocks away. Getting move was not so easy.
Moving overwhelms me mostly because of the stuff that needs to be packed and then unpacked again. I overload my mind with possible scenarios. My new room is literally uninhabitable because the is no room amongst the boxes and miscellaneous items scattered throughout.
Then there's the belongings you do not remember owning.
"Where should this go?"
"Why do I even own this?!"
Once I get things in order I hope to simplify. However, I may simplify in order to live in the room at the top of the stairs.

28 October 2004

Soggy river run

Saturday heralded my first race of the year, the venerable Red River Run 15k. It was a "drizzrible" morning- overcast with light rain. I rode my bike to race and soddened my shoes and socks before I even began. Fortunately I brought my weather running shoes. I attired myself in a longsleeve yellow Nike dri-fit shirt, HellyHanson fleece vest, Scheel's cap, shorts, andHind training jacket. I was mostly "sponsored" by Nike at this event since my weird blue shoes were made by Nike. (note: I wholeheartedly endorse dri-fit, and Helly Hanson, but don't think of this a commercial. Personal testmony of good products.) Now back to the competition.

At 10Am the race began. I had a respectable start. I eventually ditched my jacket sometime after the first mile to increase my swiftness. I passed a few runners and held them off the entire race. A headwind helped propel me but did not give me the edge to catch another runner who had passed me near the 6k mark. I was feeling good throughout.
After 10k I began to feel some mental fatigue, but I pressed on and received a few "good jobs" and "keep it ups" from other runners. I returned the encouragement to other competitors.

My roommates stood by the finish line and gave me the extra edge to finish strong. One of them even tried to beat me to the finish. I clocked in at about 1:16. I do not know if this is an improvement from 2001 but this year the competition in my age group was stiff. The 3 top runners were in my category. The first place male was clocked at about 54 minutes. So no trophies this year but I did win a door price.
I biked home in the cold rain feeling good but wondering why I do this. Well that's a thought for another post.

22 October 2004

Fargo going to the dogs

I get around the interior of the 'Go quite a bit and I have been seeing more and more people walking their dogs in the last month. This must be the new craze sweeping town. I go biking or running and I see upwards of a half dozen canines and their masters roaming the sidewalks. There are plenty of warmer days to do this but it appears early fall has been christened "Walk Your Dog" days. I suppose it goes hand in hand with the Dog Days of Summer but with a much more vigorous pace.
As a runner the canis sort can be a bit unconcerting. You are never sure how the dog will react. So far I have not been bit. Most of the time I encounter the dogs behind their fences. These dogs are usually eager to make you know they are the king of the jungle on this block.
In other news, one day until the 30th Annual Red River Run 15k. Will I regain the age group title? Will I put in a personal best? The pre-race news is I am in excellent running condition. The weather may not be so splendid however. If it storms tomorrow my guess is that the race will go to the dogs.

17 October 2004

Blowout! a true story of hardship overcome

Progressing from Lehigh, my ancestral home, on the Interstate
I encountered a most hazardous situation.

I ventured northbound from the Twin Cities while praying.
No particular reason to pray, it is just my custom on long trips.
Somewhere north of St. Cloud the car began to shake and make
unusual noises. I knew this script. I had been there a few time
before. As it was my front left tire blew out. The entire sidewall
disintegrated.

Call it providence or coincidence, this situation happened near
the entrance to the Middle Spunk Creek wayside. I navigated
the crippled vehicle off the freeway to safety. I inspected the
damage and although it was bad, I had an inner confidence that
something good was going to happen. I trusted the Lord and
jogged to the wayside building to use the facilities.

Getting back to the car I searched the trunk for the equipment
I needed: jack, spare tire, and wrench.
I only had two- the jack and the spare.
I had no means to remove the tire. An impasse?

I prayed. God told me that a person would stop and I was to
ask for the wrench. About a minute later a guy did stop. He did
not have a tire wrench- the correct tool for the job- but we was
willing to help. He actually broke some cheap ratchet wrenches
trying to get the tire off. Not wanting to leave me defeated he
drove into the wayside (I was on the entrance road) to ask someone
for a tire wrench.

We got it almost immediately. We drove back to the car and made
the switch in about 3 minutes. He then returned the tire wrench.
He was a Godsend.

Afterward, I carefully got back on the freeway after switching out
for the small spare tire and made it home without any incident. It is
amazing that such a small tire could travel at near 70 mph!

16 October 2004

Cold loathing wet

Autumn has fallen, very hard with an iron fist. The cold rain was gonna fall. It nearly turned to snow. It still has the chance to do that. Lousy biking and running weather. Although I have the clothing articles to keep off the precipitaion the rain seeps onto you. It attempts embrace you in all its wet slobbering way while you sit by helplessly. With rain its love or hate- mostly postive feelings for me. I have seen the rain as a cleansing force, a transitional phrase unto the next stage of develpment or action. I loathe the wind most of all. It spoils a good day. So wind coupled with rain is pretty bad.
I brought out the winter jacket for the first time this season to fight the cold snap. Worked well in this weather. However my Goretex pants allowed the water to drip off and into my shoes. My shoes are not water-tight.
To my surprise I had a rather excellent run in these conditions. In one week I compete in the the Red River Run. I'm probably in the best shape I have ever been. I did not keep track of last year's marathon fitness but without those long workouts I feel and look great. One of these days I'll get my running page up to tell the story of how I became a runner. I actually all began with a girl. This make for an interesting read.

Being culture shocked

I have been continuing to read books relating to Ireland.

Off and on I have been reading James Joyce's Dubliners. I find it a very good read especially for Joyce. I peered into Ulysses once and found it difficult to read. Dubliners is a collection of tales taking place in areas of Dublin. It may be a bit auto-biographical but I am not sure. I have really enjoyed the book as he gives an undeniable realism to the life of each Dubliner. However there is nothing to be glad about. Each story ends on a bit of minor chord. Not sure what story is my favorite. A friend of mine suggested Eveline. Maybe Two Gallants.

I have finally found an excellent book on Irish society, culture and customs. Culture Shock - Ireland by Patricia Levy is a fun read and covers topics ranging from politics to sport to literature. It also has a chapter covering the North and the Troubles which is particularly informative. I got mine dirt cheap on Amazon.


14 October 2004


A flock of minstrels Posted by Hello

Making music

My mandate - teach people how to play instruments and worship God.
My work thus far - 2 sessions, numerous copies of music printed
My continuing work - Obtain a bass guitar

I've been ebaying for about a month for a bass and a synthesizer keyboard. Other ebayers shut me down in the bid war until this morning when I the synthesizer I was bidding on had 1 hour left. I made the last bid and took it. What I failed to realize is that the Casio HZ-600 is a pretty sub-par instrument according to the reviews I have read for weeks. I got it under $100 and I will just have to see how under or over rated is this thing. Perhaps I could use it as a midi controller.

For a bass I have been looking at Ibanez. They are usually in the low price range but decent. I learned bass on an Ibanez. It's actually a funny story. My "teacher" had me strap on the bass and pointed to where I should put my fingers as I was supposedly being the bass player in the band. After a jump in on the deep end session of learning, I got better but had a lot of blisters that first year. Two Ibanez basses have eluded me on ebay.

12 October 2004

Keen on Keane - a tribute to the Bhoys

Can't believe it's October already and I am behind. I think it is mostly because I am focusing on my job and trying to get enough sleep. My internetting has been limited.
It's been a while since I talked football (soccer to yah yanks).
Internationals this week. Qualifications for the World Cup. My team of choice is the Republic of Ireland. They held France to a stalemate in Paris on the weekend. They play the minnows Faroe Islands later this week.
The Republic are a respectable team that is on the move and perhaps could challenge for the World Cup in 2006. They have steadily improved under Brian Kerr despite missing out on last summer's European Cup. Then all of a sudden, Roy Keane decides to return to the Irish ranks after retiring from international football 2 years ago. Keane is one tough and tenacious footballer. His decision to retire from Ireland precipitated from the tension between him and former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy before the last World Cup. Keane's comments after the break-up were extremely negative toward the Irish football set-up.
Well, Keane has had time to re-evaluate.
I like this guy. He may seem somewhat of an ass but he has a commanding presence on the field and for 33 he's still putting in great games. Who knows maybe the Irish will progressive further in the World Cup with Roy Keane to motivate and nag them.