13 December 2007

On the Road to Glory: One Shining Moment Episode 13

The final chapter of the season closes on a whimsy note for Team Unglaubich. It could have ended at the previous webisode and i would have been satisfied. Of course the team had not played yet so this one completes the story. Its a bit of a denouement to me. It smooths out the arc and even gives Danny Myers some decent camera time. The strange part for me is not knowing if the Ledge was being honest or trying to win sympathy. And what about Cougar? He silently fades to the back. Old Guy and Rob don't even show for the game- probably embarrassment.
This is the most chatty webisode of the series. It seems that this one time everybody wants to say something curt and witty. Boima of course is the master of this technique.
As for the game, it looked phenomenal even if it was a blow out. Did Shelby's speech really inspire these guys to step it up?
Oh well, I hope there'll be a season 2. Thanks Humdinger!

27 November 2007

A birthday filler



It's been a crazy week trying to eek out a decent radio script while trying to keep active and make sure I don't forget to do some Christmas shopping. Hectic, hectic, hectic. That's why I perfer margin.

It got so crazy- especially the rapid winter ascension weather- that I nearly missed my homage to Phil on his birthday. Phil has not had much to say on the blog for a while. He's a bit miffed that James has been stealing the thunder on witting comments. Phil is also carrying a little more responsibility, too.


Well, today, it's your day Phil to shine. So I present, a few things Phil might have said.

  1. "Garbage bags could provide enough energy to last us a whole year if the polar caps suddenly melted- like that's going to happen anytime."
  2. On politics- "I could dress up a yard stick and somebody will probably vote for it."
  3. On being told there are too many kinds of beer- "Blasphemy! There is only two kinds of beer. Beer you drink now and beer you drink later."
  4. When asked if he perfers ale to lager- "That's like asking me if I like my air over there or over here and to both I say yes."
  5. On Jar Jar Binks and pyrotechnics - "If I were to re-make Star Wars, I would set Jar Jar ablaze and Qui Gon would use the the force to hurl him at one of the droid transports. It's still a happy ending."
  6. On the Simpsons: "Probably the most realistic depiction of beer I have ever seen."

22 November 2007

Another day to give thanks


Gratitude should be practiced all year round. However, along comes this holiday that the government grants us and we save up all our thanks for this day. Albeit this day includes a feast with the most scrumptious victuals any Yank could desire. The food enough is worthy of thanks. Of course then we run into the possible guilt of gluttony. Oh, well, being introspective does bring out the uglies. Yet, isn't it a bit ironic that following Thanksgiving, we turn to a most gluttonous season that is saturated with the cries of "give me" and "gotta have." It is as if Thanksgiving is around for penitence then we dive into Christmas with commercial gusto. Quite the opposite of Fat Tuesday and Lent.
Nevertheless, I wish all my readers a pleasant Thanksgiving and hope you have much to give thanks.

15 November 2007

It is better to give


The 2nd Annual Pizza, Pack, and Pray event went off without a hitch. I think we packed nearly double the amount of boxes as we did last year.
Operation Christmas Child is project which gathers shoeboxes filled with toys, candy, school supplies and then in turn distributes these boxes to children in desperate circumstances all around the world. I've been doing it for 8 years and began my church's campaign to fill boxes.
There is still time to get a box filled as November 19 is the last day to bring boxes to a collection center in your area. It is very simple and certainly helps give joy and hope to children who otherwise would not experience those things.
I have been challenging myself to be more generous the past few years. For me it seems, we've got too much. We've become a consumption dump. OCC is just one way I think I can help someone else and be a conduit to bless others. It is something that transcends ourselves when we take on the attitude that it is better to give.
So as we approach I hope I can spread the 3G message: goodness, generosity, and gratitude begets greatness. Or maybe it is more like this:
When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly
disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things
down. He said, "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,
how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It's not going to be that way
with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be
first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He
came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the
many who are held hostage.

31 October 2007

On the Road to Glory: To the toilet bowl Episode 12


The penultimate episode of Intramural Glory finds the team coming to terms with the failed expectations as they prepare for their final game. It also seems to be a 2 part conclusion of the the series, but no word on when the conclusion will come or if Humdinger will roll it into a 2nd season. So there's a bit of a cliff at the end.

This by far is one of the best episodes of the series. There are so many great commentaries and get this- there's even drama. Yep, the violin would seem to be playing as Ledge attempts to discuss his friends. However, what tops that dramatic display is Shelby. Yep, Shelby comes back with strong performance. In fact it is Mark Anthony like speech to inspire the team which she nails. Too bad the Ledge misinterprets it. I think one could also see the Shelby speech much like the G.I. Joe's "Knowing is Half the Battle" epilogues.
The Owen and feral cat caper could be another spin-off show after the confession he makes about handling his anger. I believe this is a true tale. I have an acquaintance at work who regularly does in the feral dogs that roam the outlands. He also speaks with great joy about it.

Now for the kudos:

Best Exit: Kyle. During the tension build of the Kraabel's spat, Kyle removes himself from the center of the scene while giving a authentic non-verbal grimace.

Best Rant: Difficult to pick one but Ledge again edges the others out because he showed some new sides to his man ego. I particularly liked the mistaken identities line: Roger, Omar and Beamer. You could see Coach McCue holding back his laughter.

Best Performances: Shelby and Owen. We don't need much explanation for Shelby. She got it done in this episode by being frank and honest. Owen showed a bit of that in this episode too. His 2 monologues were well done and showed us a level of controlled thuggery that Owen has not reached before. Honorable mention should go to McCue for a his superb composure in middle of an issue riddled team.

Until next time.

30 October 2007

Intramural Glory extra: The Crippled Cougar Caper


The Intramural Glory detective gets his own one-off extra feature. A bit of a tribute to the old school noir detectives, this video is almost exclusively a narrative through the finding of the colprit who assaulted Cougar back in episode 9 (I think).

22 October 2007

Correction: Intramural Glory wins the Emmy


I had to re-read the source material and realize that Intramural Glory did indeed win an Emmy in the Advanced Media Entertainment category. So I was incorrect to suspect the show was just nominated.

Kevin Myers also picked up something like 2 Emmys for his work at KMSP, the Twin Cities Fox affiliate. I think the station also does UPN or whatever became of that network, too.

20 October 2007

Intramural Glory up for an Emmy...a regional one

Looks like Intramural Glory has been nominated for a regional Emmy for broadband something or other. Not sure if Team Unglaubich's losing ways will end with an Emmy victory. I am sure there will be drinking either way. The show has been hot but viewer ship seems to sputter at times. Perhaps it will be critically acclaimed. Then of course I'll get part of that limelight. Although some would argue I am talking out of both sides of my mouth.
In other IM news, Owen looks like he's in a contest to win a spot on an ABA Team. I'm not sure if his parole officer is for or against this. However, I believe he got lots of help from Ross. And don't you think Ross looked more thugish during the pre-season. Or at the very least he was hiding some dark murderous secret from his past.

The Bison get it done


North Dakota State began its offensive early as caravans from Minnesota's north western neighbor converged on the Twin Cities on Friday. This is the closest thing NDSU have had to a rivalry since re-classification separated them from UND. It was also sparked by Gopher's Tim Brewster's comments on not wanting to play I-AA/FCS opponents which belong the Bison. Top that with being ranked #1 in the FCS and not being eligible for post season play. Do the Bison want to prove something? On Saturday morning Green and Gold clad fans all crammed into the Metrodome. Nearly 63,000 spectators were in attendance to witness this somewhat forgotten border battle. One of them was my co-worker, The Captain.
The Gophers have sparred with the Bison on 7 other occasions dating back over a 100 years and have been victorious each time including last year's late field goal block game. Now the Thundering Herd hoped this year's graze in the Dome will be a delicious meal of Gopher.
NDSU held its own with Minnesota in the first half. At half-time it still looked undecided although Tyler Roehl's rushing yardage looked impressive. After the break the Herd began its break away and avenged last year's loss by winning 27-21. Tyler Roehl also broke the school record for rushing with 263 yards. Needless to say the Bison will be riding high the rest of the week.

16 October 2007

The last round at the Chainsaw Sisters' Saloon


In August I took my annual trek to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This is just one story from that journey.
I was a bit incredulous when a fellow said there was free beer at the end of the portage. I took my time to lug the canoe and gear 30-some rods to Mudro Lake entry point. It had been a hard day coming out and making it over 4 portages, the last thing I wanted was somebody pulling my leg about free beer.
Nestled upon a hill between Picket Lake and a creek that takes you to Mudro Lakes, stands a watering hole called the Chainsaw Sisters' Saloon. I happened to arrive at the perfect time: a time of free beer and a free lunch (take that Sagan!).
This was no ordinary luncheon. This was to be the last time the saloon would be open, ever.
I hesitantly ascended the heights to the simple building. A live band played and lively conversation ensued. I felt a bit out of place coming out of wilds. I stood around, watched, listened. I perused literature and even took a hacky sack.
Chainsaw Sisters has been around for something close to 20 years. Nearly all guides note this establishment on the edge of the protected wilderness. I had only heard about it from books.
As I eavesdropped, I discovered that the owners wanted to live nearer their family. I think they hoped to find a buyer who would keep up the business. That did not happen. Instead to selling to developers and possibly encroach more so on the neighboring wilderness, they decided to work with the Nature Conservatory and thus allow the property to revert back to the wild. A noble act. I'm sure such a property is highly valued.
So I'm surrounded by all these environmental people and foresters. Clearly, I am just the wild man. A pilgrim to these parts. Yet, even pilgrims need to eat. I spied a platter of water melon and began. Then I sampled the veggie tray. Next I grabbed a boxed lunch. Finally I had to audacity to ask for a beer. They gave it to me- in a commemorative cup. So I chowed down thankful that the Almighty was certainly behind bringing me to this surprise feast. I chipped in 5 bucks to the donation jar and made my way back to the canoe to finish the final leg of the trip.
I left sated and grateful for this wilderness celebration.

11 October 2007

Blog Action Day- October 15, 2007

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
I am pondering taking part in this blog action day thingie. This year's theme is the environment and I've got a few things to say about it. Or maybe I could start my BWCA narrative beginning with the "free beer" story. It actually has to do with the Nature Conservatory. Or perhaps propound on Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize (and an Oscar) for his formidable climate change actions. The Nobel Prize for economics comes out today, could there be a worthy debate between economic growth and increased environmental problems?
Roycefiles might be the premiere sight for Intramural Glory commentary, but I have hardly tauted environmental concerns. Perhaps there is a way to combine the two. Maybe I could find out if Cougar has started a fund to save endangered cougars or Kyle has been investing in carbon offsets since becoming incapacitated. Or perhaps expose Boima's litter addiction. Well, the fact is, Intramural Glory news has been near flat the last few weeks except a few comments about the episode's cameo appearance. But I don't talk much about that. However, 2 more episodes may be in the works. There has been talk about a season 2 but I'll discuss that later. We'll see what's in store for blog environmental action.
Slan.

Byzantium, I knew thee well

Over the course of the last week, I've been enjoying listening to lectures about the Byzantine Empire, the eastern side of the Roman Empire that nearly lasted until the dawn of the middle ages.
Pray tell, what lectures doth thou speaketh?
Lars Brownworth has podcasted his lectures on the Byzantine Empire since 2005 and I am fortunate enough to be catching the final installments of his 12 Byzantine Rulers series. One wrap up lecture remains to be published, but I listened to everyone and I am glad I didn't have to have a long wait between episodes.
Clearly Lars is a gifted lecturer. I am amazed at the tales he weaves from an empire most of us may have forgotten. I am astounded how many times the empire crept toward collapse but through shrewd, resourceful leaders and a bit of fate it remained intact. He gave me much fodder to discuss with a colleague of mine who literally breathes ancient history. I hope I know more Byzantine history than him.

Check out the lectures. They are very well done.

08 October 2007

Phil's Oktoberfest

After my fill of Scotch delicacies, I biked over to Phil's domicile and stood in the dark near a fiery cauldron, drank beer and chatted. Apparently most of my acquaintances were missing by the time I arrived. Instead I got to see grad students attempt to melt glass and make sculptures from it.
As always, Phil offered a plethora of beer most of the Oktoberfest variety.
Phil made some great quotes but it being dark I did no have the tools to write it down. You will however be mildly surprised and amused that Phil now works for NASA. Apparently Phil has got attached to a research project that NASA provides the funding. Phil has yet to get any diapers so he can work all day without using the restrooms.

07 October 2007

James finally weds


Many of you may know James. He's the guy behind the "butt load" blog entry and also an associate of mine at the navigation place. Well, as it turns out, he decided to get married in a zoo wearing a kilt. My picture does this no justice. All you can see is a merry go round. The father of the bride did wear a kilt too as did James' father and groomsmen.
James shared his conjugal with Katie- basically he married her and invited me and numerous others to watch. Later we celebrated by eating Scottish foods. It was an enjoyable time. I, however, found myself more of an observer because I knew very little of the people attending. The Captain and Gecko, other navigation place colleagues, showed up later a the reception. Nevertheless I enjoyed some scrumptious victuals.
Here's to James and Katie- to boldly go....somewhere.
[I need to also note that later I will report upon an event I attended that featured the illustrious Phil.]

28 September 2007

On Mountain Dew

I have a few friends that are in a rather platonic relationship with the yellowish citrus beverage known as Mountain Dew. Some people are made of the stuff which leads them to make stuff like this, a "treasure trove of love letters" to Dew. I do not enjoy the beverage as much. However, its brother beverages Code Red and to a lesser degree the new Game Fuel have cohabitated with me and I liked it, thank you.
Some acquaintances have debated the origins of Mountain Dew. They claim the beverage was invented in Benson , MN. I being one to pry deeper into these things set out on a little research.
It was not very difficult. I discovered numerous websites listing the origins in Tennessee or Virginia. Check them out here, here, and here. These blow all kinds of holes through the Benson origin. I suspect the Benson Theory may have erroneous been attributed Genesis status because Mountain Dew was very localized beverage before Pepsi bought it in 1964. Pepsi's introduction of Mountain Dew nationwide probably got many citizens believing the new concoction was thought up at the local bottler's plant. In this case these folks lived near Benson, where there was a Pepsi bottler at one time. So that's the evidence I found. Find any refutations, post them in the comments.

24 September 2007

He never said a word

He made striped shirts fashionable. He can be credited with being world famous for saying absolutely nothing. He was the world's most recognizable mime artist.
France, myself, and the world are mourning the loss of master pantomime, Marcel Marceau. His adept use of movement and expression entertained and thrilled many. I can credit Marceau with influencing my elementary physical education coordinator to hold a lyceum on mime in 5th or 6th grade. I think I am one the only students that still utilizes those skills. My skills are hardly a fraction of Mr. Marceau's.
A few years ago while clawing through second hand books I found a program from one of Mr. Marceau's performances. I paged through it until I found out what he really looked like under the white face.
A friend of mine had been to a performance of Marceau. He recalled being amazed at his pantomime of an escalator.
How do you eulogize a mime? A moment of silence or lots and lots of noise? I think I should just paint my face white and go around town performing mime while wearing a picture of Marceau on my body.

20 September 2007

On the road to glory: We’re Talkin’ About Playoffs!

Wow. This is the 2nd full episode this month! Once again you can find it on the Intramural Glory website. I blogged in February about the making of this episode here.
Also don't read further if you haven't seen the episode. There are spoilers here.
Click here for the latest episode, We're Talkin' About Playoffs.
By making a incredible comeback in the previous game, Team Unglaublich land themselves in the playoffs. However, a snowstorm attempts to block their progress and not even the Ledge can prevent that. Well, maybe if he had a weather machine. So the team is missing a few players, notably Owen, Boima, Old Guy, and Rob. Kyle makes a surprise visit but cannot be coaxed to play.
The Cougar attack saga is still being milked. To try to get to the bottom of things Shelby hires a detective. However, by some miraculous act, Cougar is ready to play. I don't think he contributes much during the game but he certainly gets lots of face time in this episode. So does this end the caper? I have my doubts.
It is rather peculiar that much of the footage from the game shows Team 'Glaub dominating. I think I saw like 4 three pointers. So how did they let it slip? Beats me. Perhaps the Ledge's selfish play backfired? Or maybe Cougar wasn't 100%? In the clutch Team Unglaublich failed to deliver the goods to the hole leaving Coach Mike more disappointed than ever. Shelby was very noticeably distraught. Now will things begin to really unravel or will the mysterious team owner come in and pump the team up.
I think this is one of the lowest points the team has encountered. Glory has slipped through their hands. It just can't end here.
And indeed it won't. I am assured there will be another episode.

Now for the awards.
Best Looking Player: Danny Myers. Did you see him at the end of the game? He looked tough and in control. All he needed was a Harley and we've got the workings for a summertime replacement spin-off series.

Worst Ledge Hair: This episode featured possibly my least liked Ledge cut. Ever since the locks were cut Ledge hasn't lit up my small little screen. Sure he says some witty remarks but the hair. The hair was what made Ledge, Ledge in my book. Still the Ledge writing his book was a funny line.

Newest Cougar Conspiracy Theory: I'm going to throw out another theory based loosely on this episode. Coach McCue did Cougar in. He doesn't like the personal circus that his team is becoming and decided to take the axe to the root and knock off Cougar.

17 September 2007

I got small and...


...went to Dinkytown. This particular Dinkytown resides on the east bank of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. It is a very boho kind of place. You've got beggars, protesters, musicians, outdoor cafes, bookstores all packed into a few acres of real estate. About 3 blocks west you have the Mississippi River and a collapsed bridge. There are many lurkers on an adjacent bridge looking at it. It is sort of like Minnesota's version of Ground Zero except there were no terrorists (we think).
I hung out at this remarkable bar called the Kitty Kat Club. It is only a block from the fabled Loring Cafe. The place is quite a bit different that your typical drinking emporium. It is decorated in a rather peculiar fashion. Because of one particular theme room (Rembrandt's "Man in the golden helmet"), the Kitty Kat reminded me of the Kevin Myers Show I used to do in the Grove. I should upload some pictures because describing it would do no justice [I did, 08.10.07]. Nevertheless, they have a Sunday 4-7 Happy Hour with $2 bottles of beer. I had brown ale that reminded me a bit of Newcastle. The place also has some cool restrooms. If you are ever in Dinkytown I would suggest you visit. I think they have live music almost every night. Sure beats the Go.

14 September 2007

The truth will find you out (even in Ireland)

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=462964&cc=5901
Well, Steve Ireland did not lose his grandmother after all. Although he did lose a child. I wonder what Roy Keane would have done to Mr. Ireland in this circumstance?

05 September 2007

On the road to glory: The moment of truth

Intramural Glory returns again with an episode on its own website: http://www.intramuralglory.com
If the episode's title is any indication, then we're in for an epic dramatic climax following the "brutal" attack on Cougar.
Well, I'm not sure there was a moment of clarity much less truth. Maybe Owen's moments may have represented something akin to a super villain considering his wrongs and turning around. Whatever the case, Team Umglaubich won.
This episode continues to follow the players' antics with Shelby, a spiritual guide, Owen's parole officer, and April the sports psychologist, interspersed with the actual game.
I must admit I was wrong about Shelby also being the psychologist. Clearly they are 2 different people. Shelby and April also appeared in a shot together. But where have I seen April before? She almost reminds me of a former classmate of mine name Tara Mandich. Ah, what does the world care?
So they win and probably make it to the playoffs. No cliffhanger although Owen certainly looked "buddy-buddy" with Cougar. Change of heart or thug love?
Kudos are to be extended to Owen's parole officer. Was she on Northern Exposure?
The Mr. "I'm not maturing-I've got a girlfriend" award goes to Bobby Ledge for comments made to Old Guy.
Well, the mystery is still to be solved. Will Cougar beat up the guy who crack him upside the knee?

29 August 2007

Keith Pille still in the comic life

I have spoke of former bandmate, college classmate and RD, Keith Pille previously. At one time he was churning out his own E-zine, American Nerd, but it met the fate of Eudora Welty and is slowly becoming a relic of past genius.
However, Keith and some of his minions from the Nerd got another site which does not seem to be collecting dust.
Anyways I submit for your perusal, one of Keith's forays into comics, Nowhere Band. Sounds like a good reality show if it ever gets made. Maybe it has and I am living on a ship in a bottle.
Keith has a few other comics on the site that are interesting (and informative), too.

24 August 2007

Shooting pool and wearing Old Spice



The intensity of pool competition at Rooters requires more than a cool cologne- you need Old Spice.

Pictured, Luke- the Royce Files' Old Spice man

22 August 2007

Real glory

He's 59 and he's not going to be playing on an intramural team. He, Mike Flynt, is actually returning to college and playing on a Division III football team. Read about it here.
It sounds a bit like the Ace Schonrock from Intramural Glory except this guy's back story involves a lot less booze. Seems crazy but I play in a soccer league with a lot of older adults and many of them are in excellent shape. This season I have been nursing a nagging leg injury. It's the pits but I still put in my time and hope that at 59 I can return and get more glory.

21 August 2007

I follow who?

A friend of mine wrote this article a year ago which is a pretty good take on something that probably will be slowly disappearing in this generation. Or will it?
Calvinist versus Armenean debate does not hold much value for me, though it is useful to know how one views how one makes it to life's ultimate destination.
The point me think is in the final statement-
"...putting our understanding of Christ at the center of our lives instead of putting Christ Himself there. "
It seems to suggest knowledge is inadequate which really goes against Western ideals. Remember the old adage- knowledge is power. Of course I believe God chuckles because it says a few times in scriptures that his thoughts are higher (superior) to ours. When knowledge is exhalted God seems to be downgraded to a benevolent force which follows a set course of action which we believe is true. No wonder people argue that man created God.

19 August 2007

Man City with the upper hand

Just two months ago Manchester City was managerless without a hope to do anything in the upcoming season but roll over and play dead. Then along comes a controversial Thai political exile with lots of money who "buys" the club. Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is brought in and the transformation begins. City has become a contender.
Maybe it is too soon to say, but finally I can be glad to wear my City shirt. So far City are 100% perfect and that includes a victory against the big dogs across town- Manchester United. Time will only tell if this is a fluke. United were without Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo and new signing Tevez shot close but failed to hit the back of the net.
Click here to read more about the City and United derby.

15 August 2007

On the road to glory: Win or go home

The producers of Intramural Glory decided to push back a YouTube release of the latest episode and instead released from their own website: www.intramuralglory.com
In addition to the release from their own site there is also a contest/feedback thingie going on. $50 dollars of something will be won by some lucky viewer. Maybe an expense paid date with Bobby Ledge.
Nevertheless, our latest episode finds the Team Unglaublich trying some new approaches to get primed to make a push for the play-offs. So far their on court performances have been lackluster. Leave it to distant ownership to bring in a psychologist and a spiritist in addition to having Shelby lecture on good manners to prepare the team to win. Coach McCue cannot believe it. Owen's parole officer also makes an appearance and the Ledge has been sheared. And to top it all, a mystery assailant whacks Cougar. This is a pretty beefy episode. I almost expect there to be outtakes coming sometime.
Great ensemble performance. I cannot say anyone outshined anybody. The group hug definitely rates as one of the top moments of the series.
I'm sure there is conspiracy concerning who whacked Cougar (duh!) but I'll let the pundits duke it out on that one. [How about Danny Myers?] My conspiracy concerns the sports psychologist: Is she really Shelby? I looked closely but there is no good straight on shots. So let the debate begin.

12 August 2007

Grace in the the wilderness

I finally made it out of the wilderness and returned home after only a few ordeals. For one, this year I did not have a brush with death. I was smarter. I didn't try to traverse bogs. I also did not try to press the limits of my skills. I had to cut back my intended trip plans mostly because I surmised I would not make it to Canadian waters and back without overextending myself. Nevertheless, it was a challenging trek. There were 2 portages over 200 rods and 2 over 100. Detailed journal of the trip will be forthcoming
What I found this year was grace in the wilderness. Things were difficult as they usually are out in the BWCA but they were overcome.
I have this strange belief concerning Burger Time French fries. If once you finish them you find more in the bag then God is going to bless you. If you find more then, you will be blessed even more. Well, it just so happened I found more. I'm not sure I'll attribute this all to the Burger Time fries but when difficulty arose God was there and provided what was necessary. More on that in later posts.

31 July 2007

A hot and busy July

July proved to be a firecracker this year and I was outside on each scorching day and I was also sick for a third of the month. Therefore blogging diminished a lot. Here's a list of things I had hoped to blog about but alas did not:
  • Saluting the weatherman. Former FOX News weatherman and associate bid farewell to the Go early in July. I drank with him and others and even baked him a cake. Surprisingly he moved to the Grove.
  • The Festive Fourth. After a night of mayhem I decided to stick in town for the holiday before doing a bike adventure. I was surprised nobody wanted to celebrate with me. My roommate was content with painting somebody else's walls.
  • Pain. A niggling upper leg injury has left me partially lame. I have not been able to do much running but by some grace I am able to play soccer once a week.
  • More holiday. I made a yearly appearance at Breezy Point again and did some of the things I enjoy doing- watching cable and biking. I got to see some great programs on Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. I especially enjoyed The Deadliest Catch, a reality show that follows the lives of crews of Alaskan crab fishing boat. I caught the last episode of season 2 and the 1st 2 episodes of season 3. So far 3 men have died. I also enjoyed MythBusters and American Chopper. I biked the Paul Bunyan trail to Brainerd and back.
  • At the source. Bookended on that holiday is time camping at Lake Itasca State Park. Unfortunately I did not see the source this time but I did swim in the lake and hike roughly 7 miles.

Well, I hope there is more to write about in August.

23 July 2007

Biking the Sheyenne Valley


This year's solo bike adventure took my from my front door to the Sheyenne River Valley. Not wanting to spend much on gas money I loaded my bike and trekked southward from the Go on country roads. Some would say this was a physically challenging endeavor. Few of my peers have biked more than 20 miles at 1 time. This whole trip may have been near 200 miles. I didn't keep accurate data but I knew I was making over 40 miles a day.
The challenging part of this trip was mental. The boring terrain of a large portion of the places I biked wore me out. In order to stay somewhat sane I stopped at country cemeteries and the read the stones.
However, the Sheyenne River Valley is magically unlike any parts of Eastern North Dakota. I followed the scenic route from the Little Yellowstone Park to Lisbon and was impressed with all but the last 5 miles.
Some frustrations of this trip also included a poorly vented bivy tent. This tent was like sleeping in a coffin. I'm glad I had a mini fan. Bugs also were a problem. They would not be repelled by any bug dope I used. Fortunately I did not have to fight these insects in the day.
Although it may sound I was miserable, I was not. I enjoy being in the saddle and in particular I like touring. Someday I'd like to a real long distance trip.
What did I learn from this trip? North Dakota is fairly bike able but I would do this route when the humidity and heat are not as high. I need a better bivy tent or I need to modify it. I don't necessarily need a camp stove. I should not have to wear a backpack, it made things even hottier.

Sick and tired

At the end of last week I think I picked up the flu. Tonight after playing a strenuous soccer match in blazing heat, I feel a bit better. I must also add a few people prayed for me, too. So I won't credit soccer with healing me.
At first I thought I had eaten a bad tomato. I made the mistake of putting an old tomato slice on a sandwich. It tasted funny. Hours later I felt the first signs of sickness- soreness in the back of the throat. My attempts to combat it failed and by Saturday I was really bad. I had aches and total congestion. And all this while it was something really hot outdoors. I began to hear that others I knew had experienced something similar in the past 2 days. A summer flu bug? That's bizarre.

19 July 2007

On the Road to Glory: Thug Love?

Owen gets his own one shot feature in "Thug Love"

Although not as complex as the Ledge, Owen is shown living a life of suburban elitist thuggery at its best. As the team's Thug, Owen certainly throws around his brawn. He, however, has not featured much in the soap opera portions. I think mostly because Ledge has been running the show. This could change I believe. I can only imagine Owen stating emphatically- "The Ledge has reached his pinnacle, its time to fall." He would say all this while brandishing a chain saw.

My one question, however, how much love is there for Owen? We see the same thugish moment again in this special as has been seen thrice before: Owen goes ballistic on some cowardly opponent. 3 years in the pen and that is all he can do? Or is Owen's thuggery not often caught on camera? What redeems this Thug in my mind are his adulatory comments from the Ace Schonrock special concerning how to block a shot. He kind of seems like a friendly thug as long as you do what he wants.

The best moment of this video is the vignette I call "The List." The subtle dictation of a list of items Owen provides us with the characterization we've been missing. "Chicken Sandwich, hold the bread," Owen growls to the willing Ross. An aluminum bat, duct tape, shower curtain? Is Owen scheming an evil plan. Perhaps he has a wood chipper that doesn't chip wood. Hide your daughters!

Overall this video is short and sweet but lacks the kind of pro wrestling violence that a thug like Owen should churn out on a regular basis. Wouldn't he get a little more tough with Ross concerning the lack of attention he paid last time? I guess you could just consider Owen a benevolent thug. Thugs have feelings you know.


13 July 2007

Across the bridge


I've been on hiatus the past few weeks during the holiday and a major work meeting. So hopefully in the next few days I'll have some new content. Now, be content with some of my photographic essays.

30 June 2007

On the Road to Glory - episode 8

I skipped reviews for the very special Ace Schonrock Intramural Glory episodes since I think the show might jump the shark. I was wrong.
Ace showed the team some class and brought a tear into my root beer. Best moment was Owen's comment on the block- simple yet effective.
Nevertheless, I've got another episode to review. So let's dig in.
There's nearly 10 minutes of footage to episode 8 which features some decent game shots. I think this is the first episode where the flow of game shots aren't just slugs to fill space but actually get more of the story across. However, the Cougar flipped part is a bit confusing. My assumption is he threw up but there is nothing backing that up. All we see is angry, riled Cougar fuming.
Besides gameplay, we also get a string of vignettes one in particular returns Kyle to the show. The Boima and Kyle knee scenes are great and for some reason Kyle looks like he just came from filming another show. Old Guy and The Ledge also was a good scene. Danny Myers finally speaks his mind in this episode, too!
The tone and style of this episode is a bit different than the previous. It just felt a bit more stable, more polished, and more team oriented.
Now for the kudos.
Best actor: The Ledge. I watched it twice and everytime I see it the Bobby Ledge puts in a stellar performance. There exists a Loving the Ledge video but I'll let you find it yourselves.
Best Wardrobe: Kyle. Maybe he's working on the sequel to Goodwill Hunting and The Fisher King- both feature a bearded Robin Williams.
Best Rant: Danny Myers. Besides the kooky Vikings apparel, Danny's rant deserves the nod. It seems Rob keeps saying the same lines in every episode- except that missed pass business.
Check Intramural Glory out for yourselves.

28 June 2007

This bear for sale


One day I rode around town.
Just look at the sight I had found.
A big yellow bear on the side of the road
Fallen over, for sale
This big yellow bear
Nary a passerby would care

27 June 2007

Back to 50s photos: Pontiac Chieftain

In its earlier days, Pontiac featured a Native American on its logo. It may have just been a representation of the famous chief himself, Pontiac although no authentic images of him are known to exist.


In the center background you may be able to see a Pontiac Chieftain under a large tree.

Pontiac ceased production of the car sometime in the late 1950s. In 1956 they also changed their trademark from the Indian head dress to something more akin to an arrowhead.






























































2 days at the car show



I went to the TCs to take part in a huge car show at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds- Back to the 50s. My family brought their vintage car out to the show and did one of 2 things - sat around or walked around. The car in the picture is not the family car although you would think a Rolls Royce should be. Our classic car is a 1951 Pontiac Chieftain. Apparently Jack Benny owned one so I'm glad. However, I saw about a half dozen Rolls Royces at the show that featured about 11,000 pre-1965 cars and hot rods dispersed across the grounds. There was even 1 Rolls Royce that was manufactured for the English Royal Family. I think I only saw a dozen so Pontiacs. Half of those were Chieftains. Chevys and Fords were everywhere. Other cars I enjoyed looking for were the VW Type 1 (commonly called a beetle) and the Packard.

The Back to the 50s event is pretty low key. No huge cash awards were offered to my knowledge just a lot of cars and people milling about enjoying looking at some fine cars. They just don't make them like that anymore.

Another view on Back to the 50s

20 June 2007

Remembering the devastation


20 June 1957- a day etched into the history of Fargo which will not be forgotten. In the early evening a devasting tornado struck the north side of Fargo killing 10 , most of which were of a single family. (note: Death tolls have been listed as 10, 12 and 13 from various sources, I will go with a conservative count here.) More were injuried and there was upwards of $20 million in damage.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of this natural disaster. Indeed, the pictures and rememberances of it are not much different from recent tornados that have decimated areas in the United States, however the loss of life, injuries, and level of damage certainly give a more grave portrait. On learning about this storm Ted Fujita collected the storm data and photographs. His published findings in 1960 spawned further study of tornado prediction and advanced the forecasting of such storms. Eventually this information along with other tornadic data lead to the creation of the Fujita Scale in 1971 to rate intensity of a tornado. The 1957 storm was classified as F5, the most intense. The F5 variety of tornado is a relatively rare occurance. The most recent verified one affected Oklahoma in 1999. A possible F5 may have swept through Kansas in 2003.
Today a simple marker will be placed in the neighborhood to remember this tragedy along in addition to numerous other remberances. My co-worker, The Weatherman, will be attending an event at NDSU with other weather and meterological types studying the event and using new models to examine it. Maybe he'll get me a scoop.
I believe the Fargo Forum won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage in 1957. Here are a few places to view pictures examine for yourself the destruction:

17 June 2007

On camp: My campy days

An episode of This American Life (Notes on Camp) reminded me of the my days as camp counselor. In fact the episode was produced and recorded in 1998, my second year as a counselor. The show inspired me to be camp nostalgic. I don't have much from those days just these memories and a few pictures (the one at left is not one of them). The middle of June this year marks 10 years since I began camp counseling at Clearwater Forest (or more formally Presbyterian Clearwater Forest). I spent portions of 4 summers there literally growing up as I faced the challenges of dealing with kids. I went there mostly because of a girl I liked. It seems this theme has followed me around a bit (see How I Started Running). I am collecting camp memories so maybe you can tell me yours.
Now onto what I entitle "My Campy Clearwater Days"
I did not want to go back to landscaping grunt crew so what better thing to do than work at a camp where there was free room and board and all I needed to do was look after some children for a week. How hard could that be?
I arrived just a few days after college ended. I met some counselors from the previous year who had come early. I nearly killed them both because of my inept boating skills. I manoeuvred the pontoon almost on top them as they were swimming in the middle of the lake. I think they forgave me.
The next day training began. I think there were about 15 counselors/multi-purpose staff including 4 guest counselors from Australia, Belarus, and the Ukraine. One Aussie, Steve, had to be at least 30 years old.
My first week as a counselor was perhaps the best I could have ever had. I got a cabin of about 8 junior high guys in Morning Glory, a room in Eagle Lodge. As usual it starts out rocky. Guys meeting strangers and another stranger telling them what they could and could not do. I still can faintly remember each of their faces- most of their names have fled my memory although Jason certainly was one...I think there was a Matt too. Well we eventually started to gel by Wednesday, we were having some great devotional times, they boys honored lights out, and there was a rumor going around that I talked in my sleep about squirrels. Somewhere during the week the boys re-christened the cabin "The Flaming Squirrel" mostly based on a story one of boys told about his Uncle burning squirrels. I think I must have caught the end of that story the night I spoke in my sleep. There was one romance that developed between my boys and a red haired girl named Sara. I think all the guys liked her but I am not sure she liked all the guys.
Well if that was the best it most assuredly was followed by the worst. And that cabin's problems all began with a boy named Reed...

More clowning


I admit, I like putting on make up.
Ever since my early days in the theatre I have enjoyed painting the face to make a character. I did a really mean old age application a number of times.
I am not sure I am ready to go pro yet but there always is the yearning.

Worship is what?!


I hold a role in 2 churches that is usually recognized as "worship leader." The job typically involves leading the congregation a few songs at each meeting. Yet how come this does not get defined at music leader or chief musician. Sure, singing a few songs reflecting on the attributes of God
and us expressing how much we love Him is an act of worship. Yet, I am perplexed why it seems it, worship, ends there. God doesn't just leave the room after we break the silence that typically occurs at the end of the music. Nor am I required to lead individuals in sacrificing their lives to God as Romans 12 speaks of worship.
Historically, worship required sacrifice. In the Old Testament portion of Bible, to worship God involved sacrificing some pure animal and placing it on an altar. Singing, prayers, recitation of God's decrees were also involved. In addition the Old Testament speaks that obedience is better than sacrifice- alluding to what God really desires- that we do his will. Although it is a catch 22 in a way because God decreed these sacrifices.
What I am getting at, however, is worship is not merely a few songs and maybe some goosebumps and exciting emotions. It shows that music is powerful and is a blessed act of worship. Yet, worship must go beyond when the music fades. It is how we should live in obdience to God which thereby honors Him.
So maybe what you think of as worship is dry and dull? Look at how you are being a living sacrifice. Am I becoming more like Christ? Remember Jesus came and only did what the Father was doing which glorified Him.

13 June 2007

Ivan John enter stage right

Phil basked in his fatherhood again and took numerous photos of his progeny.
Picture of Ivan John are here.

12 June 2007

Bob Ross lives

This one goes out to David. Keeping making those happy trees.

A grand day and a chat with Phil


June 12th marks a happy event for the ever quotable Phil. Early on this day (5:11 AM) Phil was bequeathed with a solemn duty- fatherhood. Congratulations Phil!
Phil now steps into a new level of responsibility and "joy" while his arch nemesis James returned from Mexico with tales of cheap beer which I will not discuss here.
I spoke with Phil on Memorial Day and these are some of things I think we discussed.
On baby names: "If it's a boy-Miller Lyte or maybe Bud. If it's a girl I call her St. Pauli Gerl or Amber Bach."
Phil and Katie named their almost nine pound lad Iven John (I am unsure of the spelling so took a bold stab at it).
Check here to see when the pictures go up.
Concerning his arch nemesis James, Phil appeared rather upset although he was confused about the identity of James (the guy who did a smashing job researching buttloads). Phil took offense with the Royce Files having another quotable guy. I alleviated his gall by purchasing beer to which he smiled and indulged wholeheartedly in quaffing a pint.
Later, Phil showed me a vehicle he acquired on a whim- a Volkswagon Beetle. I fell in love with this project car. It has the rear engine, front boot and almost everything because it needs a bit of fixing up. I hope in the future to obtain quotes from Phil while riding in this cool automobile.

29 May 2007

Mr. T and the Lord

The tough guy television and film star Mr. T apparently is a believer in Christ. Beliefnet.com has an interview with him where Mr. T explains things a bit. Absent in the interview is all the code-words Christians look for when sniffing out a Christian. The following phrases were completely absent: born again, gave my life to Jesus, personal saviour, sinner's prayer. In fact the only jargon word appearing in the article was baptize which throws some ardent head hunters into a frenzy (as would the hate vibes comment). Mr. T also throws in a bit about forgiveness, serving the least and integrity without sounding irrelevant. I suspect Mr. T likes the book of James and has found happiness in giving things away.
The only thing the tough mohawk man doesn't mention is worship and fellowship with other Christians. Celebrity's downside is all the attention it draws and thus being a member of a local church could be difficult but not impossible. I hope Mr. T gets to enjoy time with fellow believers because no matter how tough one appears, he is never an island. Following Christ should not be done in isolation or separation from other followers.

24 May 2007

Miffed by gasoline

Gasoline started rising above the $3 mark and it has definitely gotten me miffed. There is really not much I can do. To my advantage I ride my bike nearly everywhere. However, when I do drive, I take my vehicle on long excursions which can cost upwards of $100 both ways. That used to be my gas budget for a month a year ago! Too bad nobody thought high speed trains between the Go and TCs would be useful.
This story give a decent low down on the current "crisis." Sad to say we may be to blame. If only we had superconductor run vehicles.

20 May 2007

Fargo Marathon 2007: The good, the bad, the ugly


Let me say first off, that the Fargo Marathon 2007 edition went off very smoothly. There was bit of a scare for the weather but it ended up cooperating.
Let's start with the good: Attracting 8000 participants! Incredible. There was great particpation all around from volunteering to spectating. Fargo really does put on a good event. In particular I am glad they gave out technical wicking shirts and Adidas bags. I was very happy for those additions.
The Bad: It's not really that bad but I noted a huge consortum of Ipods and headphones. I am a purist. Mp3s are for some training. In fact I only got to use mine once during my build up. It seemed almost half the field was wearing headsets. Women in particular were more commonly plugged in. It irked me a bit that the women's champion for the marathon from last year was wearing them. I would attempt to talk to someone but find they were plugged in and in another zone. I should have mimed talking to somone with headphones to see if they would react. Minneapolis and Duluth have already banned their use as there is much debate about safety. In Fargo that has not happened. But I suppose that's the mark of this event: fun and friendly.
The Ugly: Fargo got big but I think the space available was not used efficiently. This event got big very quickly which surprises me but it must be good marketing. The 2 places where space was an issue. Starting line. We were running shoulder to should for almost 2 miles and in some cases 3. It prevented me from making stride until halfway through mile 2. Then the finish area was especially clogged. I could hardly move and did not have much room to do a post race stretch. The lines for food were longer than I remember last year (and I worked food last year). It seemed the Fargo Dome was smaller than it was. There was plently of space on the other side of the fence restriction but once runners left you could not return. The exits were near to impossible to get to unless you knew the concourse exits on the floor level. Once again the finishing area will need to be reworked.

Fargo Marathon 2007: It's over


Enjoy Fargo Marathon coverage in these current posts.
I ran friendly. I ran fast. I ran Fargo.
This 3rd edition of the event saw over 8000+ runners involved. All 50 states were represented and quite a few from the great north descended- at least one guy did come from Regina, Saskatchewan.
Not many elite runners - although Dick Beardsley ran but I doubt he's trying to get the course record these days. The marathon champion came in at 2:31. Not bad, but still a bit off what I believe is elite pace. I am actually surprised not many elite runners take in this one. It is a particularly hill free course. However, the purse is not much so the Kenyans opt for Duluth, Minneapolis, and Chicago. There were even Kenyans running in the miniscule Sioux City Marathon I ran in 2004. Perhaps our spendthrift ways do not allow us to give into the demands of some these elite runners (and their entourage).

19 May 2007

Fargo Marathon 2007: I Finished


1:57:11- that's the official time it took me to complete 13.1 miles. It's modest. About 750 people finished ahead of me. Another 1300 or more arrived afterward. I really enjoyed this race. Except for the clogged first 3 miles, I had a rather free flowing stride and smile. Up on the final 3 miles I kept up the pace and pressed on.
One should not over estimate his abilities and so I started the race near the 4:30 marathon pace team. I passed them and moved ahead and passed the 4:oo hour pace team too. I passed quite a few and so psychologically I felt good. Also I felt strong and I felt I prepared well.
Unfortunately, it was overcrowded in the finishers area and I hardly got any goodies afterward. That was probably the worst part of the event. I couldn't find the showers and so left the finish area (and food) to change into my volunteering attire.
Nevertheless, this was a grand event. I am surprised at how many people come to this town for it. Fargo is no tourist destination like Duluth. There is not the culture like Minneapolis or Chicago. And the weather is spotty at best. There was a chance of a thunder storms. The calling card of this event is probably a good course (no hills here) and a friendly welcome.
Great job, Fargo Marathon!

Fargo Marathon 2007: Bigger


As anticipated this edition of the Fargo Marathon (and other running events) enlarged. It is surmised there were upwards of 8000 individuals involved in one of the 3 major events (5k, Half, or Full Marathon). I do not doubt it. The Fargo Dome was packed with people. We were packed in like sadines at starting line. Unfortunately the P.A. system could not break the din of a few thousand runners. When the race started we ran as pack for nearly 3 miles without many options of increasing pace. It inhibited me from reaching my stride until I got south of downtown. I had never run in a race this large so it was a bit surprising but I handled it. There was one runner who probably got caught in the pack at the split that missed the route for the marathon. She had to run a an extra quarter mile I believe.
One highlight on the course was The Invisble Piano Player. The invisible one played tunes going by and coming back. There were no beer offerings this year apparently. I don't recall any remarkable aid areas. I ran through most. There were some enthusiastic spectators. My friend John however had to be the most enthused. However, it seems most midwesterns are a bit ho-hum and too shy to yell out. I tried to encourage it. It didn't even work. Even at the finish line the cheers were not many. Lots of spectators nonetheless and I appreciated that. Their presence made me seem famous for almost 2 hours.

Fargo Marathon 2007: Volunteering


Although running the marathon is great, I also enjoy mingling with the public as I volunteer. Once again this year I volunteered twice. On Friday I did chip testing. When you chip test you meet also every runner. Very enjoyable. Unfortunately I lost one of my bike gloves and had to ride home in a downpour.
On Saturday (just an hour after I crossed the finish) I did inflatibles for the kids. It appears my inflatible was the most popular as I had a throng of youngsters waiting even after all the festivities were done at 4:30PM. Kids could not get enough inflatibles.

14 May 2007

Soccer ends on high note

Despite losing nearly all our games, my company team had a great time playing indoor soccer this season. There was a goal drought for almost five weeks until we scored in all three* of the matches we played last week (*third game was a scrimmage). We actually won our last game because of forfeit- the other team did not show up. Instead of leaving we scrimmaged those who were still hanging around at 9PM. I managed to slot in a goal in the last seconds of the second half.
The season was very taxing on my body although I typically played only about 15 minutes a game maximum. I'm still learning how to play better and am saddened that we did not get to join a summer outdoor league. For now I am hoping to improve my dribbling my having balls around my house.

13 May 2007

How I started running


Later this week I will be running in the 2007 Fargo 1/2 Marathon. It is actually the 2nd longest race I have ever entered. I ran a marathon a few years ago down in Sioux City, Iowa. It was a tremendous undertaking that I will only enter into again cautiously.
You see I am not a natural distance runner. I am not a lanky stick boy waif. I do not have the ideal body type of the distance runner nor other athletic endeavor. I gave up on serious athletic pursuits in 9th grade when I decided to take the lead in the spring play and turn in my track suit.
After the freshmen 15 scare in college, I attempted to run a little but did not pursue it whole-heartedly. Then came 2001.
No, terrorism did not scare me into running. It was actually a woman I met in the summer of 2001. For some reason she convinced me to enter a 4 mile race with her and her friends. Aiming to impress I gave it a shot. Unfortunatley I was bad. Very bad. From that day forward I pledged to myself to never again be unprepared to run. From that point I began my training.
It hurt at first. I had shin splints for a month. I continued to increase my mileage. Being unemployed at the time, running was theraputic. I ran mostly a night- usually between 11PM and 1AM. Later in fall I entered a 15k race. I did ok. It gave me a taste of the long distances and made me realize that running is more than physical, its mental too. It was also about that time I began to radically change my wardrobe- adding lots of running specific wicking shirts, wind breakers, and socks. [For some reason I was under the impression that this clothing would prevent me from sweating. I was deluded]
I have been running ever since with a few breaks in between. Theses days I'm not running for races, but mostly to look good, stay fit, and to pray. It takes a lot of determination and discipline for me to keep it up. But I find that it is worth it even if I didn't get the girl.

08 May 2007

Northern Ireland takes steps again to break the divide

Next step taken in Northern Ireland.
Today a new power sharing Northern Ireland Assembly convenes. Since 2002, when a previous assembly had power, the British government appointed a secretary, Peter Hain, to administrate Northern Ireland affairs. It appears that old rivals may have "buried the hatchet" as one account says. In March the 2 icons of opposing sides of the struggle in the North, Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams sat down and worked out a deal to share governing power between Protestants and Catholics. That was amazing considering the history of antagonism from both sides.
Questions linger. Will it work? Will it be fair and democratic? Has reconciliation really started in earnest? Will Northern Ireland soccer team qualify for the European Cup? [Hopefully for that last one, the North will secure their spot in the finals this fall]
The situation in Northern Ireland is much more complicated than merely Catholics and Protestants. History plays a big part. Injustices of the past have festered into pride and bitterness fueling tensions. Social and economic issues also play a part. Plus there are some who people fall into neither camp.
One of my prayers for the North is that God will raise up peacemakers who can break dividing walls without breaking people. Send the peacemakers.

07 May 2007

Park Musicals of the past

A listing of the musicals that Park of Cottage Grove has performed in the past 20 years. Prior to 2007 the musicals were in the fall and usually ran the two weekends before Thanksgiving. Sometime after 1997 the second weekend was dropped. [* no sure if this is correct]
1985- Sound of Music *
1986- Man of La Mancha or Wizard of Oz *
1987- Lil Abner
1988- Bye Bye Birdie
1989- George M!
1990- 42nd Street
1991- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
1992- Cinderella
1993- Hello Dolly
1994- Working
1995- You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
1996- Barnum
1997- Godspell
1998- Anything Goes
1999- Little Shop of Horrors
2000- The Mystery of Edwin Drood
2001- Into the Woods
2002- Oliver!
2003- Pippin
2004- Once Upon a Mattress
2005- Hello Dolly!
2007- Grease

A little greasy


A week ago I had the opportunity to return to Par Ki and revisit the place I spent much time in my teenage year - a small stuffy theatre. Unfortunately I was unable to visit the infamous upstairs dressing rooms but my father and I had some superb seats to see the musical Grease.

Through some new theatre booster marketing scheme, my Dad entered a car show and received 2 complimentary tickets to the show.

I don't recall how many times have attended a perfomance of Grease. I actually appeared in a condensed version of the musical with the guy who did sound and lights for this show. Arch rivals Woodbury did it when I was in 9th grade. Hastings put it on my senior year in high school. Somewhere between those I think Rosie O'Donnell came through the TCs with a touring company. My friends and I won the a school talent show with a rendition of the song "Summer Loving." I think I saw it one other time but I cannot remember where. Needless to say I know the musical pretty well.

The Park cast did not disappoint. It was a well acted and executed production in all aspects. The set in particular was a creative way to gain more space in this small theatre. I found it surprising that they did not use a curtain, scrim, or backdrop at all except for the wings. Simply back wall of the stage area provided the background. A black sheet of some kind masked the double doors in they were in the center of the wall.

Another surprise was the resurrection of the revolving stage in a smaller more containable form. A full size revolving stage had been envisioned numerous time during the 80s and 90s in order to combat the lack of stage space. The director known as D.O. perhaps championed this technical aspect the most. However, it never materialized during his tenure. [A revolving stage did appear in Park's 1993 production of Hello Dolly which I believe is the ancestor of the one used in this show.]

The house was packed out and thereby rather hot due to no air conditioning. Theatre decorum has dwindled since the 90s as hoots and whistles arose from the audience during the show. Nothing drives teenagers crazy as a much as a musical.

05 May 2007

Still clowning around


There seems to be a conspiracy surrounding clowns around many towns.
The white faced crazy hairs just don't get any respect.

04 May 2007

Good things come slow: My Fargo marathon


To me distance running is 70% mental and 30% physical. At times I doubt my made up statistic because some are just naturally better runners. I do not have the lanky, wafish body of a distance runner. However, once I started pondering this sport I came to realize that victory is not always to the swiftest but to be the one who perseveres and in running perseverance is not as concrete as having run more laps. For perseverance one must look into the seemingly impossible and press onward. The ingredients are both spiritual and mental.

On the morning of May 19th, I will line up with hundreds of runners contending in the Fargo Marathon. Actually I will be running the half marathon mostly due to the time contraints on my training- I am in a different town every Sunday and that makes it difficult to do long training days on the weekend. I already have one marathon under my belt.
So I hope to see plenty of people along the route cheering- lest I try to cheer up the spectators. Encouragement makes for good fuel.

01 May 2007

Par Ki Revisited


I took an extended weekend in the TCs for some meetings and leisure. Plenty of blog material will more than likely come from the trip but the most important is revisting Par Ki.
Nearly 10 years have eclipsed since I stepped foot in the building I spent 4 years traversing the halls. My return was precipatated by the school musical, "Grease." It wasn't because I couldn't miss another performance of this musical, because I have seen it at least 4 times. In fact I was in a condensed version of the show in my 4-H days. [Trivia: The lighting and sound designer for this version of "Grease" played leading man Danny Zuko in the 4-H version I performed. More on him later.]
No, I went because by some means my father obtained free tickets for being part of the classic car show that occured between performance on Saturday. I couldn't pass it up, especially since nobody would recognize me either.
Since my days the school added a larger gynasium next to the previous one. However the theater still remains small without air conditioning. The Indian (Native American) floor design also remains- a remnant of the pre Wolfpack days. In the same hallway, trophies abound [in particular for adaptive soccer]. High up on the walls are portraits of All-State athletes from the past and present. I found many I knew. Yet, I could not locate Scott Swanson- a stand out in soccer and hockey at Park.
Further down at the end of the hallway in the new gym area is the Hall of Fame. I knew most of the dozen inductees- most notable Shannon "The All-American Girl" Scibilia [I think she added another name but I'll always remember her as she was- All American with a 'fro.]
My era is nearly forgotten. Even the Sam Jacobson [did I mention he sells real estate now?] era is a bit dusty in these halls.
The only reminder of my time here is in a trophy case which lists the previous One-Act competitions plays- I was involved in some way with 4. I guess we were pioneers in the One-Act competition because the later years included some region championships. A year after I graduated, my cousin happened to be in the first One-Act to win the region and make it to state.

22 April 2007

Spiderman musical in works

I couldn't believe my ears. A Spiderman musical? What more can they think of to market this wallcrawling, webslinging, freak of super hero? However you can do nearly anything on Broadway these days. I think they had a helicopter actually take off in Miss Saigon a decade ago. So making a guy fling himself unto walls and building is not very far fetched. Indeed this will be a blockbuster of a show if it gets off.
And if the idea of the musical doesn't rock you then hear this: Bono and the Edge are attached to it. No, not by webbing but apparently there have been whispers that these Irish blokes will be writing the music. Nothing new to Broadway since Abba has made a fortune writing musicals. I'd find it unusual to hear Spiderman singing a U2esque song but I really enjoyed the only other super hero cannonized on Broadway: Superman.
Superman made his Broadway debut well before Richard Donner came along with his movies. It's the 1960s and "It's a Bird, It's a Plan, It's Superman" premiered on the Great White Way directed by no other than Hal Prince. I think it was cleverly written although it did not play long on Broadway. It did however do better than "Bring Back Birdie."

19 April 2007

Could I get a buttload of.....

I am about to dissect the strange and bizarre term- buttload. A friend of mine used this term quite frequently until her significant other convinced her to give it up (for lent?). Much thanks, however, goes out to James the researcher on this topic at the Royce Files. James has been indispensible with wit, wisdom, and a wealth of knowledge. He is certainly giving Phil a run for pith and particular prattle that pricks my interest.
Now you might think I am going to pontificate on the gross product elminated from the posterior. Well, that's a load of crap! Quite surprisingly a buttload has nothing to do with elimination or the buttocks. A buttload is an actual quantifiable measure of volume, albeit rather archaic. So just how much is in a buttload?
After much research, James came across the answer to this: a butt apparently is a close-bodied cart. A butt-load is about six seams. A seam is a traditional unit of volume. A seam of grain was 8 bushels: this would be equivalent to 281.91 liters based on the older U.S bushel. This translates to approximately 444 gallons per buttload.
So quanitatively a buttload is a lot of stuff.
James and I surmised that perhaps a buttload of beer would be drunk in bars in the entire Go region in one weekend.
So buttload term users now you have can be smart when you say "buttload."

18 April 2007

It burned- a night of karaoke

This weekend past I got pulled into going to a karaoke night at a bar a few miles out of the Go. I anticapated a hole in the wall saloon somewhere in the boondocks. However, I was wrong. The Mainliner is a rather pleasant drinking establishment in a town with a name you only can whine: Downer.
For a Saturday night the place appeared rather empty. Most were sitting near the bar or in fornt of the large screen television. The karaoke started slowly. Most selections were countryesque with the exception of my friend's 70's ballads. I think she may have sung something by the Captain & Tennille. Out of the 10 or so "performers" for the night my friend performered significantly better than most.
Characters are attracted to karaoke I surmise. I find it surprising that inebriated individuals get a kick out of singing poorly in public. There was one particular female duo who went up 3 times and each time they were weirder and weirder (or possibly drunker and drunker). The would go up to the stage, one holding a Morgan Coke (I suspect) and the other a Budweiser of some kind. They did not sing particularly well but would stand nearly perfectly still. They kind of reminded me of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Once they came up on stage when it was not even their turn. The only song lyrics I rememember them singing that night was a chorus with the lyrics"red necked women." Other karaoke performers are American Idol fans and live out the fantasy on stage. These folks are well meaning but not nearly star calibre. Simon would easily eat them for supper. I just politely clap. Finally, there are the former Elvis impersonators. Although they share no resemblance to Presley, they channel his voice and mannerisms. If only they would do "Burning Love."
Besides my friend, I was the only one from the party to step up to the mic. In honor of Johnny Cash's house burning down this weekend, I sang "Ring of Fire." Apparently I was a hit. I chose to turn a blind eye to it.

13 April 2007

The woes of soccer


My intramural glory is faded glory if you look at it from merely the scoreline. The company soccer squad has yet to win a match and we haven't scored in over a month. However we have improved. For instance we have less own goals now. Unfortunately the scoreline continues to be 11-0 each Wednesday. I suppose you could call it consistency.

Other improvements involve our defensive set-up. We are more organized at the back. The irony is that we still let the goals trickle in.

What we lack is a natural playmaker. Somebody who can pierce through the defenses and give us some shot on goal. In the previous game I had 2 opportunities to score. However, my instincts were not attuned to the goal and play.

Instinct is necessary to be good in the game. Without it your team will struggle to inflict offensive damage on the opposition. Playing together more has helped but practice would certainly improve it.
Nevertheless, it has been a lot of fun despite the occassional aches the stiffness that follows.

Life of rejection

I have had a hunch that you cannot outsmart rejection. No matter how well we placate the masses, we will assured get a portion of rejection. And this comes up in the relationship nearly all the time. Here's an excerpt from a book about its relationship to relationships. Whether I am at the point to say rejection is an art, I am unsure.

12 April 2007

On the Road to Glory - Episode 5


In Intramural Glory Episode 5 we meet their arch rivals, Team UnglaubHass, who are their former teammates. In this episode we see Team U players from the heroic 2006 championship team- Alan, Justin, Polish and a few unrecognized players - give the current Team U a run for their money. Before the game Coach McCue and Rob deconstruct Team Unglaubhass while Cougar still is confused about biting players. It seems Rob channels George Clooney in a this Ocean's Eleven like scene. Hands down one of the best scenes of the entire series.

Unfortunately for those looking for some pure basketball game turned into "Hack a Polish." The whistles kept blowing and Unglaubhass kept scoring. However do take note of a phenomenal basket by The Ledge. I nearly missed it but he makes a sort of under the basket backward lay-up for 2. A decent episode except nary any glory.

Now for this the kudos:

Best Emerging Actor: Cougar. Has he been getting lessons or watching the likes of Hoosiers, Teen Wolf, and Slap Shot (and possibly learning moves from the Arch Rivals game at Old Chicago.)?

Best Cameo: Alan and Justin. If these guys could do a post game round up I'd be in 7th Heaven- the television show (I hope I get cast). Justin is the king of straight. Alan's subdued angst at not making the team but playing for a quality set-up reverbates in his lazy banter. These guys should do a separate commentary segment each week.

Best Opening Segment: I'm not sure if the producers where paying homage to ABC's Wide World of Sports or Hollywood Squares but the opening sequence was Quality (note capital Q).


We've got a lot to look forward to in the next episode as Old Old Guy (Ace Shoenrock where do I know you from?) joins the team and the Cougar/Shelby relationship gets stirred up. I suspect the next episode may be out this Monday.

03 April 2007

What Sucks- Spring Blizzards

I knew about it the night before but for some reason I assumed it would only be 3 inches and some wind. Therefore I removed my studded snow tire the night before thinking that I would hit more pavement than snow pack. I was wrong. Crazy wrong.
I looked out the window in the morning and saw no snow. I must have imagined I saw no snow because when I leave the apartment there is a good 4 inch cover of snow and no plowing has been done.
I battle my way to work falling once but almost falling again numerous occasions. I regret removing the snow tire. I have hardly any traction. I try not to turn green and take out my rage on the city, who has lifted not a finger to remove snow in the streets much less any sidewalks. (At the time of the writing of this I have yet to notice a plow beyond the private contractors.)
So it's April and spring has been with us for about 2 weeks. Blizzards like this should only happen in March not April. However, I have no hard facts as to the probability of snow in April. I assume we can get a little. But a blizzard! I only remember 1 other spring blizzard and it was nearly 10 years ago when I resided in Mo-Town.
As for me, I'll be taking another long trip home as the icy wind blows into me. Yes, it sucks, but I'll sleep in the bed I made. :(

29 March 2007

May the force be with Chad Vader

Those of you who don't scrounge around the far ends of the Internet galaxy are missing some great videos. I have become a fan of YouTube. It is a varitible smoragasbord of delight. (Although James would vehemently denounce it.)
Well one night as I was getting a dose of some YouTube and came across a series entitled Chad Vader put out by Blame Society Films from Madison, Wisconsin. It begins with Chad Vader, Darth's brother apparently, in a job as a shift manager in a grocery store. Chad is a spitting image of his bro but occasionally has a few problems with adapting to real life. Currently 7 episodes are available and I think the season finale is in post production as I write. The production is real quality and even includes a few special effects.

27 March 2007

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