31 December 2008

The year goes by quickly: 2008 in review



2008 will be the smallest output from the RoyceFiles since its inception unless I crank out something like 20 posts today. I've actually been doing some micro-blogging with Twitter this year that may have taken a toll on the real blog.

As I remember it, the year began with a slight injury I obtained playing soccer in December of 2007. There were a few days I couldn't walk very easily.

Also in January, I started my music making group. We studied music (and worship) related things and then jammed. I'm not sure if it caused the number of music team to double at HCC but it may be related.
If there is anything that could claim to be on the forefront of 2007 for myself it was film/video. I purchased equipment for a mini-studio in late winter and early spring. I filmed 4 short subjects this year. One of which has yet to be edited (its tenatively called Glory Rolled). None of them had a wide release. I also was on crew and cast for a 48 Hour Film Fest team (Team Testudo) in the Go this spring. The short film "Fantasy 10" can be found on the Testudo myspace page link I have above. It's rated PG-13. Currently I am doing props for a feature length film by the same production company. Also I got the ultimate roast this fall when my friends in Da Forks produced "Framed." You can see that in a previous post.
On the blog my choice for best story would be my coverage of the 2008 Fargo Marathon. Twas an exciting event topped off with an inspirational victory for a hometown runner over a touted Kenyan. My incomplete 300 bike tour series comes in second along with numerous posts on poverty for blog action day. I regret not having blogged the Olympics but the canoe trip article got slim. 1 post dedicated to the trip in which I purchased an expensive canoe that fits in the trunk of my car. Now this winter I need to get the seat repaired.

This year also marked the short lived return of a mustache. I didn't blog about it much but I had it for a little over a month.

In 2008 I also left a few things behind. First, in November I finished my musical comittment to River of Hope Church in Grand Forks. For about 4 years I was the chief musician. Recently, I left my 96 Buick for a 02 Dodge and resigned from the board of a non-profit organization.

Politics played in a bit this year. I wrote little about Obama or McCain and seemed to look 3rd party for inspiration. 3rd parties were really overshadowed this election cycle unless you count MN Independence Party Senate candidate Dean Barkley. He didn't win the election but as for now we have no idea who will fill Minnesota's Senate seat. Perhaps the Governor of Illinois will sell it to highest bidder. My thoughts on the Obama victory will probably appear later.

Well, it's time to come back and cross over to 2009, that last year you can wear those funny 2009 glasses. Hope all goes well for 2009. Keep in there folks.
Slan.

24 December 2008

Home for Christmas


I find myself in St. Cloud this morning. I decided not to take a long jaunt home after I got an extremely late start (8:45 PM). I stayed at a Travelodge in St. Cloud. It was small but quaint. It had a flat panel TV and wireless internet plus a little breakfast. Overall, it was a good stay and Priceline certainly helped me get a bargain. William Shatner you are the best!

As a special Christmas treat I've got a link to a Jack Benny Christmas radio show which you can download or listen to online. The Jack Benny programs are gems of the Golden Age of Radio and the Christmas programs are especially memorable. For a number of years they kept doing a Christmas shopping routine where Jack (who has a reputation for being cheap and miserly) would buy a gift for his annoucer Phil only to constantly need to change something about it thereby driving the clerk mad.

Happy Christmas to all



Here we are again
On the cusp of December's end

2008 went by in a flash

Yet a few words I will dash

To send greetings and merriment your way

For this fine Christmas Day

And let one not forget

It is better to give than to get

Yet even better still, a son came for prophecy to fufill

To beget life which we could not have

And to point us to the narrow path

So may this day bring you much mirth

As we together remember Jesus' Birth


Merry Christmas everybody.


11 December 2008

Framed- a tribute to myself by others

On November 1st I was treated to this incredible tribute to myself. Although I had very little to do with the making of this video (I think many of the ideas were lifted from some conversations.) it literally screams with my imprint even if I was portrayed as a sinister friend.
It's got 3 parts. I'm embedding the 1st part on the blog. But please check out the whole thing. It is a very cleverly put together movie.

10 December 2008

A little old- 73 year old plays on college team

Look what Intramural Glory started! Roane State Community college has a 73 year old guard.
Read about it in those New York Times baby!
So does IM get a cut of any money made on this venture. I mean it was IM's idea, right? Remember Ace Schoenrock? So this must be one of those reality becomes even more reality stories.

26 November 2008

It's soon to be Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!
Hope you will have a bountiful day and reflect on the many privileges and rights we may take for granted in the States.
Is it not odd that a day for gratefulness and prayer (at least the original intention seemed to include prayer) precedes possibly the most consumeristic day of the year. Now this holiday is know for its meal and what follows- sales and Christmas.
It seems that most Thanksgiving lore was taught in our elementary schools. It always included those 'hand' turkey and making a paper pilgrim hat. If you were fortunate you would of heard about the cornucopia, that old goat's horn which spewed forth the fruit of the earth. Legend has it that Zeus was raised by a wild goat and accidentally broke her horn off. In remorse, the Greek god returned the horn but gave it super powers such that whoever possessed it would receive whatever he or she wished for. Eventually the item also known as horn of plenty became associated with harvest and thus found its way into Thanksgiving. As for the turkey, it probably was assumed to be eaten by pilgrims at that supposed 1st Thanksgiving. No concrete evidence. Wild game could cover a lot of stuff. Turkey almost became our national bird. Just think if it did. We would be roasting bald eagle. ;)

12 November 2008

A letter that stirs up a lot of emotions

Looks like Dobson's political arm dropped a whole arsenal out just before the election with this letter from the future. I read through it and it definitely arouses your emotions. I surmise the evilest word to Dobson's organization is liberal. It is a rather imaginative perspective and I would almost classify it at Dobson's worst-case scenarios. I guess we could crucify the Focus on the Family Guy for such a document but he's got every right to say these things.
Here's sort of a rebuttal from Neue.
The rebuttal doesn't really contend with one of Dobson's main reasons the things detailed in the letter happen- Supreme Court. In fact I am a bit disappointed that it failed to address it. I agree Jesus definitely overcame through love. Yet there are some episodes I wonder about like the clearing of the temple or the woes to the Pharisees. The responses to the arcticle round out the discussion.
So now that Obama has been elected- what now? Are those who do not support him to resort to civil disobedience and rebellion?
Then again, the future has not been written for our eyes yet.

07 November 2008

Happy Birthday Billy!

Not much else to say but birthday salutations to a remarkable man. I suspect, however, he would rather be remembered at one who obeyed God and faithfully communicated the message of the cross to millions.
I never had the opportunity to see him live although he was in the Twin Towns for a crusade in the 90s while I lived in the neighborhood. I read a biography and the autobiography 10 years ago. I remember giving Just as I am as a wedding gift to somebody back then as well. I supported the BGEA for a few years and listened to their radio magazine program Decision Today. It is no longer produced.
What inspired me about him is that he has been able to bridge the partisan gap. In is autobiography and other places Graham has stated he is a Democrat. He is respected by those from both sides of aisle while not endorsing any political candidates. I guess that shows the Gospel supercedes the political divides- although I think it has much to say to say about politics.
A biopic came out a month ago about Graham's early years called what else Billy:The Early Years. I'm not sure the Graham organization endorses it.

01 November 2008

I joined Blue Man Group


Our envisioning of Blue Man Group. We only had about an hour to get ready so we were not picture perfect to say the least. I was surprised that the bald cap took the make up so well. I had more time I would have done the bald cap properly with spirit gum and latex. I only got it a little. As the night progressed the blue began to dissipate and wear off.
We won no prizes. In fact some did not know who we were portraying. I guess we need PVC instruments.
Getting the make-up off was a task in itself but having cold cream made it a little easier. I might do this again someday but probably not any time soon.

All Hallows Get Even


Hallow's Eve came and went without much fanfare. Well actually I could mention the weather, which finally was not near freezing. The temperatures approached the upper 60s and made masquerading out of doors more pleasant than previous years. I recall once during my childhood that a snowstorm dumped tons of snow and school was canceled. I think that 3 weeks later most of the snow disappeared.
Again I attend my company's costume party the previous evening. There were some real excellent costumes. Someone had literally transformed herself into Flavor Flav from Public Enemy. The resemblance was uncanny. The Captain, Tasha, and I went as the Blue Man Group. As the night wore on, we became less and less blue. Tasha took her make up off after almost 2 hours. Next year we'll do something without the make-up.
On the 31st I decided to do a little biking early in the night. I didn't see too many people out. Probably no more than 20. I went back home, ate dinner, then walked downtown. The place was crawling with masqueraders. Everthing from monsters on stilts to Where's Waldo to centaurs and mullet men. I even saw Obama come out of the Sports Bar. The trend for women seems to be less and less clothing. I saw a few women with not much more than underwear on.
My favorite of the night was the old timey weight lifters. It brought back memories of a Jesse Carey story on the Relevant Podcast. Too bad the picture did not turn out. They cracked me up when they passed me on Broadway.
Speaking of Broadway, it was the place to be. The sidewalks were strewn with costumed revelers. Most were outside the bars. It made for a good night of people watching. I spied no aquaintences that evening. I suspect most don't frequent downtown. I did however see Tasha as I was leaving about mid-night. She didn't see me and my picture of her back did not turn out. Too bad for me.
Well, tomorrow I'll seek out costume bargains.

25 October 2008

I joined the Village People...for a day


The audition process was long and competitive but I wholeheartedly but myself into it. The crowd energized me and I summoned those memories of discos from days of yore and then the hardhat fell off. In fact back in high school I won a disco dancing contest. This was long before Napoleon Dynamite pulled that stunt. I forget what I won but I suspect it was an LP of some kind.
I was not sure I'd make the cut. I tried to put it out of mind. But then I started to imagine doing "Macho Man" and having scores.....then it I heard it- my name. I ran to the stage, accepted, and joined the others in a rousing rendition of "In the Navy" followed by the barn burner "YMCA." It was out of this world. Disco is stayin' alive!

24 October 2008

Pod Reunion


On October 1st the Captain and I hosted a little Pod Reunion BBQ at lunch. The whole pod plus the adjunct and new pod members were able to attend. James unfortunately was not there for the pictures. With the fall weather co-operating, we devoured brats and hot dogs and even some Andouille Sausage (thanks to Matt) at the plaza behind my workplace.
I had been wanting to do this for a while but finally had the time to plan it. I think the Pod had great time and it felt great to bless some people. Unfortunately I forgot the NKTOB cups for the root beer.
The Pod in the picture is as follows (L 2 R) Tasha, Matt, Beth, and The Captain.

22 October 2008

Back from holiday


I had intended this Autumn holiday at Breezy Point to be one where I could do plenty of writing. The only problem- no particular place to write in the unit. The best place to write would have been the kitchen but the loud television made that absolutely impossible. I tried to make a nightstand into a desk in the bedroom. No go. It fit the laptop but was just a bit cramped. I did research instead- reading Christmas stories from the Guidepost book I referred to a few entries before. In the past I have written quite a bit at Breezy Point. But blockage kept me from the task. I wonder if Sinclair Lewis experienced any writing blockage the summer he spent at Breezy Point? Apparently we was able to write Elmer Gantry during his stay:
Sinclair Lewis during the early Breezy era, rented a cabin on Pelican one summer and wrote his novel Elmer Gantry. His book would become a movie and take its place among the finest of American literary achievements. One family member close to the Lewis-era in the lakes country says that the famous author would party at Breezy and on occasion bring the party home to his rented cabin. When Lewis had enough of the action he reportedly shot off a pistol letting the party animals know it was time to pack it in. It would seem not only was Lewis a prolific writer but an efficient party host as well! (from the Breezy Pointer, June 2006)
I only came up with a few notes, no parties, and no smoking pistols. I did try to play golf. That's a story in itself. I came to realize that when I play golf, it's not about strokes, its about not losing the balls. I lost 5.
Also on the downside, I returned home ill. Yep. Must of been the weather or that bike ride my father and I took. Its pretty bad. Seems like a flu or something.

16 October 2008

Get to know Ralph Nader

I suspect many of you may know or have heard of Ralph Nader. He's been a part of every Presidential election of this century and is an outspoken critic of corporations but a advocate for consumers. I wrote a few days ago that Ralph was coming to my town. I was unable to see him due to that lost keys fiasco (they are still missing.) A friend of mine did attend the rally and said Ralph was top notch.
I just read an interview with him done by Amy Goodman back in June. Amy pretty much does a good job of getting Ralph to discuss lots of his positions. [ed. note Amy Goodman would generally be characterized as far left liberal or perhaps a more pleasant term, progressive according to her wiki bio. Let's just say she has some baggage that some would be uncomfortable. She shares many of Ralph Nader's positions. From this interview you can see that she is rather friendly towards Ralph and doesn't challenge him on any points. Amy has enough material for another blog article but I'd rather not.] One of Nader's positions I was intrigued by was his plan for alleviating the global food crisis. Neither Obama or McCain have delved too deeply into that issue.
The interview is here.
In other third party news, a debate between the third party candidates is planned for this Sunday at Columbia University in New York, but nobody is going to show up. Well, one person will be there. The interviewer above mentioned above, Amy Goodman, will be the moderator. Perhaps this will be an easy payday if no one shows.

Poverty in Ireland

Well, it's a day late but since I usually write about Ireland I'll post the link to from the Combat Poverty Agency giving the usual rundown of poverty definitions and causes. It also has a list of effects of poverty and on the list was social exclusion. That would be interesting to study exclusion. Also interesting to study would be the increases in relative poverty as the Republic of Ireland's economy flourished during the 1990s into the 2000s. The organization has an unique curriculum to teach about poverty called Counted Out. Aimed at students, I've never seen anything like it.

15 October 2008

The prez race and poverty and AIDS/HIV


As expected, the debate started on the topic of the economy. Both Obama and McCain reiterated the superiority of their plan. I checked out to do a little research on each candidate's stance on poverty. They both agreed combating HIV/AIDS worldwide should receive more government attention. Obama specifically wants to double annual funding of such projects. McCain supports the President's Plan for AIDS Relief program.
So what's the connection of HIV/AIDS to poverty? To answer I will take a quote from an United Nations document.
Globally, the highest HIV prevalence rates are found in poor countries, but within regions such as Africa, it is not necessarily the poorest countries that have the highest prevalence rates. Nevertheless, poverty increases vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and exacerbates the devastation of the epidemic. Poverty
deprives individuals of the means to cope with HIV/AIDS. The poor often lack the knowledge and awareness that would enable them to protect themselves from the virus, and, once infected, they are less able to gain access to care and life-prolonging treatment.
[Population,Development and HIV/AIDS with Particular Emphasis on Poverty,The Concise Report. 2005. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/concise2005/PopdevHIVAIDS.pdf ]
The key words here to note are lack and access and in this case lack of knowledge and no access to care and medical treatment. That's probably a bit too simplistic as I am far from having a vast understanding the correlation. I guess poverty can act like a wall in these circumstances.
No doubt it is especially difficult for those children who are orphaned because of death of parents from AIDS. They are the most vulnerable to the deprivations of family, food, and protection.

The Bible exhorts Christians to be concerned about orphans and widows (James 1:27.) Some friends of mine decided to put that charge into action by organizing Reach Out to the Children of Kenya after visiting Kenya on a missions trip in 2004. Initially it helped about 20 AIDS orphans by removing them from an orphanage placing them with families in their communities. Sponsorships for each child helped these families offset the costs of taking in the orphan.

Each year a team returns to interview the orphans and audit the effectiveness of the program. So far it has been successful. In the past year the program has expanded to help widows keep their children and also has helped place orphans displaced by Kenya's election unrest. As of today 76 orphans/children are being sponsored.

Though this program is not necessarily one of the "front line" strategies, I see it as preventative. By giving a child access to education and food and most of all a family, I think they have a better chance of avoiding the AIDS/HIV pitfall. Most of all, by showing someone cares they are giving these children hope.

Alleviating poverty by giving access to clean water

A really well designed website, www.buyameter.org, concerned about getting access to clean water to some residents in Hale County, Alabama. The people who did some of the design of the site spent some time down in the area. The photographs are stark, yet stunning.
I appreciate clean water and I'm sure there are some there who would be very glad to have it. You would think this would be a problem in the States, but it still is. I suspect this kind of relates back to last year's topic, the environment, because pollution and heavy chemical have made some water sources unfavorable for human use.

Happy Blog Action Day!!

Today is Blog Action Day. I hope to get a few posts up about this year's issue: poverty.
The wiki entry states that about 1/2 of the world lives in that condition. The symptoms include malnutrion, lack of shelter...or in other words a laundry list of basic necessities. I think access to education also fits in there, too, as education may allow more informed decisions to be made.
Looking at the "backside" if the wiki poverty article (a.k.a. the talk page), I get the general sense that poverty is not a simple condition to alleviate by just restributing resources or managing resources better. Numerous POVs were being debated while trying to create a neutralish article.
While complex, I don't think that it is too complex a problem to do something.
So who is doing something? I'm going to give props to an organization called Rosa Loves. They have been around for only 2 years (they marked 2 years yesterday) and don't intend to be famous or rich but like what they are doing- designing and selling t-shirts and using proceeds to do good. Many of those good things are written about in the story section of their website- from an orphanage in Tanzania to a family in Bangladesh to another family in the United States whose house burnt.
What I like about them is that most of there works are based on or come about from a relationship. These micro-ventures suggest that a few people working together can make a difference- locally or internationally.
Finally I'll end this post with a quote from a Relevant Magazine interview with co-founder of Rosa Loves, Mike Fretto. Mike relates the message of Rosa Loves but it can also be a strategy to relieve poverty- "Be aware of the people in your own community who may be in need, and know your gifts and your resources so you may be able to bless them."

13 October 2008

Slander and more slander in the election

It's rare when a candidate is making a stump for themselves and they never compare or mention his or her opponent. Every soundbite I hear has some comments about the other candidate. I cringe when I hear them. Or even better, bash the President. The Democrats seemed to fare well with that strategy in the mid-term elections. Not to say the Republicans haven't used the same rhetoric before, but Bill Clinton came out pretty unscathed.
If you can create certain perceptions about a candidate close enough to an election you may lead the public to uncritically assume these are reality. Most of the time its a half truth painted nicely.
Right now a prevalent strategy is portraying someone guilty by association. Dems do it by associating Republicans as being in bed with George Bush. Enough people perceived this to be true last election and swept in lots of Democrats into office. It probably was a bit uncritical because there were no doubt some Dems who voted or agreed with Bush policy, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the economy and certainly Republicans do differ with the President. Now the Republicans are firing back with allegations of Obama's associations with some questionable people.
Quite a civilized campaign, huh?

Paddington Bear's 50th Anniversary


The marmalade eating bear from Darkest Peru celebrates his 50th birthday today. Google thought it worthy to deck out their portal with a Paddington theme.

Paddington and I go way back. We met somewhere when I was in elementary school. My mom was working in the thriving 1980's St. Paul downtown. That year Dayton's adopted a Paddington Bear theme in their children's department. Dayton's didn't do movie tie-ins. They almost always did themes based on books or public television shows or in this case a British children's book. My mother bought me a medium sized Paddington Bear and the abridged book. Paddington still resides with me. He sits uponn my book case along with Airman Bear. I'll need to post pictures.

Why is Paddington so enduring? Well, I guess he's a smart bear that attracts young and old alike. I perhaps a while ago some Paddinton books and they were no easy readers. These were chapter book of about a hundred pages each.

So why is he still with me after all these years? Well, the tag around his neck says "Please look after this bear." And I guess I have.

Paddington colouring pages here.

12 October 2008

What sucks: losing keys

I haven't done one of these in a while but I really think I should write about this one.
The other day I was getting ready to go someplace. I remember placing the keys to my auto in my pocket. I vividly remember it. Well, some time passes and I finally make it out to the car, I have no key in my pocket.
Strange, I knew I put them there but how on earth did they fall out?
I don't remember removing the keys nor do I remember exactly which pocket I placed the keys.
I scoured the car (it was open) and then the garage and then the apartment and then do it all over again. It takes nearly 2 hours and anxiety is creeping up my back.
I give up and use the spare set.
The keys are still missing. That sucks!

On my way to Blog Action Day


My 2nd foray into Blog Action Day is coming up. My entry for last year was tripe. Not very compelling commentary on the environment. But what can you do when you don't do the research? I guess you just make up things or as journalists might label it- spin it.
Well my apologies to those who read it. Of course, Phil won't care. He's not that type of guy as I found out earlier today.
But really, my contributions to help us become more sustainable are probably worthy to recount.
So far I've been biking to work and almost everywhere in town. It cut down on the carbon as well as saves me money. Another factor in there could be that it keeps me healthier and doesn't tax the health care system. I enjoy biking too. Does been greener have to suck?
Over the last year I have been cutting down on my plastic bag use by using a re-usable bag or recycling those darn plastic bags at the market. I wish they could extract oil from them bags to make some type of fuel.
Finally, I re-use paper. I have tons of paper from drafts of teleplays I have written and have used them extensively when I need to print something. My work allows us to bring paper from home to be recycled.
This year's Blog Action topic is poverty and I've done some reading about it. Relevant Magazine does a spotlight from time to time on people working to combat poverty. They did a short blurb about some ladies who make cards in order to support the microfiance work KIVA does. Perhaps Segue will blog about Bono's work to get lots of debt forgiven in developing regions.
Well that's about it. I do have one book recommendation and I hope it won't rain on keeping your holidays unmixed. I've been writing for an upcoming Christmas show and need more inspiration to I bought a few books at the Salvation Army thrift store (or family store as they call it.)
One that I have been impressed with is The Guideposts Christmas Treasury. It includes poems and stories concerning themes of the season like remembering and giving. I've read quite a few of the stories. Not sure if any will be incorporated in the show but it was 75 cents well spent.

08 October 2008

Nader coming to town


Looks like presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader is set to appear in my town this weekend. I might want to take a peak at what he has to say. He espouses a few things which I agree although is bit more progressive than I. I admire his drive to keep campaigning for President. I think this is like the 5th or 6th time he is running. I think 2000 may have been his best showing. I doubt I'll get any interviews but maybe a snapshot.
It would be cool if him and Ron Paul had debates.

When the bottom fell out

Well, I'm a bit late on this breaking story but I will put my 2 cents worth in.
Was it expected? Well, maybe.
A friend of mine told me a number of months ago that according to economic forecasters, we were probably due for a major re-adjustment a.k.a. depression soon. I guess nobody was listening or had the gall to offer a response. I guess he was probably basing it on patterns in flooding in the RRV. Every hundred years there typically is a massive flood and the levels are tracked and used to determine how to better deal with the next big one. In the RRV they built higher dikes and built more flood control ditches.
Let's hope the lessons learned during the Great Depression gave our leaders better ideas as how to deal. Just reading some of the Wiki article on it is like deja vu. Are we in for a big one?
My concern is whether McCain or Obama are ready for this test of balance as domestic issues are flaming while on the international front embers are still burning. Neither man really strikes me as having "The Answer."
McCain seems to be flayling at a popular figuire while Obama keeps giving pep talk after pep talk. Maybe I'm not pessimistic but their response to the economic crisis at hand seems rather blah. Then again what we've heard since mid-May has been smoke, mirrors, and chess like campaign with a large dose of slander. Let the records speak for these men (McCain & Obama) because I doubt we'll hear much lucid remarks in the next month.
Well, cheer up! I believe John D. Rockefeller said a bit after the 1929 market crash -"These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again"

28 September 2008

Paul Newman enters eternity


Actor, guy with his own line of food products , and auto racing driver/owner died this Friday. He notably appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting in addition to numerous other films. Mr. Newman got into the food business after some friends really liked the salad dressing he gave them for Christmas. He and friend A.E. Hotchner then founded Newman's Own, a grocery food maker that gives all its profits to charity. If that don't beat all. They make everything from the dressing to spaghetti sauce to lemonade. I really enjoy the ginger creme cookies.

Few people will remember Paul Newman the race car driver. My mother would have. She used to tell us that she saw Paul Newman at the Brainerd International Raceway.

Mr. Newman was battling lung cancer and died at home in Westport, Connecticut.

17 September 2008

Par Ki 93 Class Reunification


It came as sort of a surprise that my class would be gathering to comiserate 15 years after graduation. I put it off originally- I don't like driving to the TCs from Go. Well, I thought it over and paid the fee and planned to attend. The following is a commentary of the event.
It was held at the Grove's other golf course, Mississippi Dunes. The previous reunion was held at River Oaks. The Dunes is far superior with its riparian vistas and deck. It would seems an excursion boat could stop by with clientele. However, I saw no dockage.

Nevertheless, I arrived fashionably late at around 7:30 PM. Maybe around 25 classmates were already in attendance. I saw Tom W. (works for SuperMoms), Jeff R. and then Desi (totally shave head but looking slick) and then I saw Phil M (didn't talk to but he looked tough) and then Mark E (the red hair was shaved) and Joe Fabeck (very jocular.) Sarah , Carolee, Amy Not too many I was very close to but I knew about them so I could strike up a conversation. Out of the woodwork JG and Hard Cor appeared and Charlie Lentz looked like Tim Hoffman. Even a fellow from my Oatmeal days, PJ, was there. He espoused formerly Amy D. Most classmates were congregating near the bar where Coors flowed out complimentary. It actually tasted good.


My comrades made their entrances in the moments following mine- the Kevins and Alan but come to think of it not many of my comrades were there. A lot of those who I had AP classes were noticably missing. Then again, they probably went on to bigger and better things or moved to Europe. Still, fifteen is an unusual number to celebrate. I remember foregoing my 15th birthday because 16 was so much sweeter.

As happened at the previous reunion, talking overtook everything else except maybe drinking intoxicating beverages. I had one encounter with an intoxicated classmate. I knew her only a wee bit. But she felt like she knew me- it seemed like everyone there seemed to know me despite me not knowing him or her much. I guess carrying a briefcase in school can make people form relationships with you vicariously.

Unlike the last get together, a live band played R.E.M., Simon and Garfunkel, and think Indigo Girls. It was an all female band. I even think I heard harmonica. Kevin Myers really enjoyed them. They provided a good backdrop for the conversations being made. However, the main room got really loud after a while and I went out on the deck and spoke with some classmates I had not spoken to much when in high school. I had an half hour chat about data centers and how they need massive amounts of energy in order to increase capacity. It was rather businesslike.

Quite a few of my classmates tied the knot or pro-created in the past 5 years. I heard of a bevy of divorces, too. One fellow I chatted with had been married three times. I spoke with plenty of spouses including those attached to Alan, both Kevins, and Jeff R.

Amy and Corey D. arrived very fashionably late. They were hitched just after the 10 year reunion. Corey however is not of our class. I guess he is kind of adopted. He was in physics with many of my AP colleagues and claims we helped him pass the class. He was usually my lab partner with Andres or Bradford (other underclassmen.) Anyways it gave me great pleasure to see them again.

The food was all right and once again there were plenty of leftovers because most of us were jabbering and imbibing. Spicy stuffed mushrooms were unique.

As referred to above, I spent most of the evening talking or dare say I, repeating myself. I don't know how many times I told people I make maps, I live in Go, and ride my bike nearly everywhere. But where do you begin with somebody you have not seen in years. I almost went up to Sarah formerly Burns and challenged her to a foot race. Never happened. And as the night dwindled I did not get to speak with everyone. Probably 100 - 125 were in attendance out of a class around 280. Most, I discovered still lived in the Grove.

The only teacher to make an appearance was Mr. Detviler. He came near the end of the evening and shook a few hands and received a few hugs. He appeared more trim than my previous sitings of him. At midnight the bar closed and most of us lingered, then slowly made out way out to the parking lot. I happened to be the one from the furthest distance away this year. But that didn't dismay me. Overall this reunion was worth coming to. I felt remembered and encouraged despite my own thoughts about those things. Hopefully I will post some picts of the night or perhaps some blasts from the past.

10 September 2008

And I am on top of Twitter

You can now find that I am on Twitter. Currently you can see the entries in the sidebar. Twitter is probably best described as a micro-blog. I am not sure how much I will use it but I got on board mostly because Segue decided to get on to keep in contact during his jaunt across the pond to Soton. Another fellow I read, Lileks, also does Twitter although his appears a bit more cryptic. So don't think I did because of a trend or something. It is a bit like that message on IM or Facebook. Twitter just doesn't have all the baggage (at least none of which I am aware.)
Twitter seems to be made for the Text Messaging (TM) crowd, which I have not quite entered yet. I am thinking about it but why does Europe get all the perks and in the US TM costs extra? I am convinced that it is because all ages of people text in Europe and Stateside it is mostly youthly folks. The only caveat is that odd category- Blackberry users. They're like the prehistoric texters. They probably have a dialect distinguishable from typical TM from cell phone users.

21 August 2008

Not my interview with Karzai

Time interview with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai
Some points that Karzai brings up in particular is the presence of the international groups contributing to existance of miltias under being supported like quasi security forces. Also he suggested that the international community doesn't see the Afghan viewpoint and often decisions get made which seem correct by them but then results in worse that before. Government corruption allegations get discussed.
I read it and continue to realize how complex and delicate the state of affairs in Aghanistan can be. At this point, it appears there needs be more attention to "Afghanness" of how to aid Afghanistan rather than assert a western model. Doesn't history teach us that Afghanistan won't succomb to the foreign forces pressed against it? Afghanistan will belong to Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, I don't doubt good things are being done by the international community and hopefully will continue. Yet, the bad tends to rise to the top (or at least that's what we see or interpret) in the midst of various forces and pressures.

20 August 2008

500th posting


I lament that this is the 500th post of the Royce Files. Why? Well, I think I could have done much more. Granted I am not the most prolific of bloggers nor does my wit astound many. I guess its that cliche "old man" lament that I wish I could have ______ (fill in the blank).
Here's two I could have filled in the blank with:
Gone to the Olympics
Either as an athlete, journalist, or volunteer, I would have loved to have been at a winter or summer games. Granted I may still have time on this wish but my athletic prowess has dwindled. Preparing for a marathon is tough enough. I guess I regret not really incorporating much sport into my life between high school and after college. My greatest claim would being the overall winner of the pentathlon in junior high. Those were my greatest years on the track and in the field. It was only recently that I converted myself into a distance runner with much work.
Journalism and volunteering appeals to me because I get to be part of more the action. I would get to see the whole picture and tell (and see) the numerous stories. A good one- the other day, Afghanistan won its first medal ever. I admit I get Olympic fever. It invigorates me how sport becomes a transcending language. And how gymnastics, swimming, diving, rowing, speed skating, figuire skating, and skiing garner our attention for a few weeks. Just last night I was pulled in to watching the BMX supercross event. When will we see these sports more than just at Olympic time?
Took more opportunities in college
I guess in college I spent a great deal of time as part of one group which ceased to exist after I graduated. I look back and wonder if it was time well spent. I am not counting the prayer or discipleship components because this was a "religious" organisation which were meaningful and worthwhile. However, the time devoted to meetings and events and the administration took much time yet made little return on the investments. People may argue the experience was worthwhile but I did the same things with other groups. I definitely could have used the time to study better. I could have studied abroad. Or perhaps found an internship which would have given me a jump on work experience. Maybe I could have been part of the soccer club or wrote for the newspaper. I got my degree and then struggled to find a job which I enjoyed and was considered qualified. But then again I was a dual core. In college straddled 2 disciplines- science and arts. I wonder if I was good at either.
Yet, in retrospect, I don't regret these decisions. Still I ponder which method is ideal: break the doors down or let the doors open themselves; agressive pursuit or one day at a time.

Here's to you Ronnie Drew

Irish folk singer Ronnie Drew passed into eternity this week past. The founder of the Dubliners had been battling throat cancer. He was probably more recognized for his deep gravely voice although he had a big bushy beard up until he began receiving treatments for cancer for which you must say added to his recognizably. The elder statesman of Irish music leaves a legacy of music behind for us to enjoy. Bono even likes him.

13 August 2008

300: Ride through the South Dakota heat

This is the 4th part of the account of the 300 mile bike journey I took from my front door and back in early July.
Leaving Brown's Valley behind I entered South Dakota. It was a bit surreal as I passed many abandoned fireworks "shacks" and quonsets in the middle of nowhere. These places were literally on some country road, the only remnants of civilization for miles. One was particularly disturbing. Out front was a smoldering fire, probably made from the remaining fireworks and supplies. It made for an eery scene which I imagined terrorists had come and destroyed the festive July 4th ingredients. I digress.
Sisseton is approximately 10 miles from Brown's Valley. I made it into town around noon. A big Pow-Wow was in progress but I failed to seek it out as I sought for a place to lunch. Solemn emptiness welcomed me to the downtown of Sisseton. Not a sign of an open business. With heat rising I decided to eat at Taco John's mostly because they had the History Channel on the dining area tele. They also had the AC kicking out some chill.
I had intended to go to Fort Sisseton 28 miles further but nixed the idea as I rode through a veritable prairie desert to the west. A flat tire changed my mind added to the pain. I made it as far as the Nicollet Tower before deciding to change course.
The Nicollet Tower is an interpretative centre and an actual tower, dedicated to the life of Joseph Nicollet, the man who mapped a vast portion of the Dakotas and Minnesota in the 19th century. Well worth a visit. From the tower you can see portions of 3 states- SD, ND, MN.
After a lengthy stay, I set out for Sica Hollow, thinking that would be a good place to spend the night. I changed my mind when I realized I'd have to go west again to get to it. I changed course and decided upon Hankinson, ND.
On the way there I came upon a small town, Claire City, that had a pop machine which contained Mountain Dew Code Red for only $1 (Pretty remarkable in this day). At least that is what I thought. It turns out it was sold out so I chose Pepsi instead (Pepsi points for me again). I discovered in my time in South Dakota they perfer cans to bottles when littering so my Pepsi point collection did not increase much.
Into North Dakota I biked through about 10 miles of wildlife refuge. I arrive in Hankinson around 8PM and after a bite to eat at the covenience store head out to Lake Elsie to camp. The Lake Elsie beach area is a mess after the Fourth of July weekend with leftover fireworks a cans strewn all over. The bugs are bad too but what can you argue about for free.

12 August 2008

Ah, Oui Voyeguer


A few days ago I completed another trek through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). This time I partnered up with a fellow named Craig. It was a pleasant experience with very little excitement. I guess that is a little deceiving. There was a broken canoe seat during the first hours of the trip. However, beyond that mishap, everything went smooth albeit Craig was a camping and canoeing neophyte.
Originally, I was to go with Phil (you know the quotable beer guy) and a rather large party. However, Craig wanted to go but could not fit on the permit. Only 9 people per permit are allowed. I then decided to purchase another permit to accommodate Craig and anyone else who want a less "crowded" experience. No one else came forth. So Craig and I launched out from Kawishiwi Lake as the other crew 20 miles west shoved out from Little Gabbro.
This year I added another canoe to my collection. A few weeks before the 15 foot pakcanoe was vandalized at a resort I was staying. The thwart had been broken. Also realizing that my crew would be a bit big for the little canoe I felt I needed to obtain something more substanial. That's when I went ahead and purchased the 17 foot mango Pak Canoe from Pakboats. Its pretty much the bigger brother of my other canoe. (I also purchased another canoe pack, a sleeping bag, and another tent.)
This trip included a lot of river, 3 large portages, pictographs, 3 rain storms, and Mocha Moose Pie and 2 moments of lostness. I'm sure we covered roughly 24+ miles and always got a campsite. However, the wildlife that the guides bragged about was non-existant. A few beavers, a hawk, and some ducks were all I saw. No moose and no bears. Didn't even hear the wolves howl like last year. The route we were on was pretty busy up until Malberg. Coming out I think we ran into every permit holder for the entry point (I think its 9).
Again I am impressed with Ely. This town on the edge of the wilderness never ceases to please me. I didn't get to any of the museums but I did drink a few Dorothy's Root Beers and even got a 6 pack. I always leave Ely longing to return again some other day. I especially would like to spend more time at the Wolf center and Bear place.

02 August 2008

300: Down to the Valley


This is the continuing saga of my 300 mile bike tour into 3 states I completed in the beginning of July.

I spent a good part of the day in Morris with my friends. After a few shopping stops for supplies and a bite to eat (Willie's still has the cheapest sandwiches around), I head west on MN 28 towards Graceville somewhere between 2 and 3 PM. There wasn't much excitement from Morris to Graceville. I think there may have been a wedding in Chokio but most of the time it was flatland fields.
I stopped in Graceville and looked around. I didn't see much open. Seems small towns close up early on weekends. I went to the covenience store to stock up on water, then continued down 28. The topography did not change much. It still was flat but there was an occasional slough and lots of ducks.
Nearing Brown's Valley brought the most remarkable changes. It was a valley! At last there was something different. I rolled through the deserted town at 8PM and found the city campground and settled down for the night. The campsite was deserted too. I was the only customer at the respectable park with indoor plumbing and electricity. Other camping options were a bit too distant and scouting a little further aroused the attention of a Collie which chased me back to the campground. I pitched the tent under a crabapple tree, made dinner, then went to bed.
An amazing thing about Brown Valley, is that a number of years ago the remains of a pre historic man were found nearby. Apparently when they were analyzed, they were found to be from 4000 Bc or there abouts. Well no museum took the remains and so they were returned to the guy who found them. The bones then disappeared for some time. I have no idea if they are still around.

21 July 2008

Cruise In winning photo

My sister recently won a photo contest in our hometown for the monthly car show. It is located here. Pretty nice composition.
I think my brother in law also designed the T-shirt for this show.

15 July 2008

300: Defeating Norcross on 9


This is the continuing saga of a 300 mile bike journey from my front door and back, through 3 states, during the July 4th holiday.

Independence Day literally came in like a bang as earlier in the morning some hoodlums decided to light some big fireworks next to my campsite. I detailed this incident in the previous post but bring it up as a segue out of Abercrombie and take another dig at those delinquent juveniles. The thing is so weird because its like the brightest part of town with 2 security lights on all evening. I digress.
I am back on the road by 10AM, cross the Red River into Minnesota, get on US 75 and arrive in Breckenridge and Wahpeton around noon. I stop for a photo op at the headwaters of the Red and then go seek out lunch.
I decided to dine at Taco Bell where I ordered at huge box meal. It was filling and I also got some more Pepsi Stuff Points. I've been slowing accumulating the points by finding empty bottles with caps back in the Go. Since I began the trip I have added more to my collection much quicker as it seems the roadways are littered with empty bottles. I have found, however, that Mountain Dew must be the preferred beverage of the road because I see more Dew bottles in the ditches than any other soda.
After an hour I am back on 75 until it splits and then I follow MN 9. I have taken this road once before but failed to ride it out to my destination- Morris. That time I bonked, lost energy and hit the wall in Norcross. I didn't want to let that happen again. I needed to get to Morris to go a shindig in Hancock to watch fireworks.
At the 75 split it was 50 miles to Morris and the weather was superb. I stopped shortly in Tintah and was pleased to see they had a beverage machine. I purchased a cool water and was on my way. This area is rather flat and the grain elevators of the next town gave me some kind of short term goal.
It was nearing 5PM when I saw Norcross in the distance. I made it into town and re-loaded my Camelbak at the wayside rest. Finally, I made it out of Norcross and towards Herman and then Donnelly. The winds decided to go against me as I pressed to complete the last 9 miles to Morris. The mile markers scoffed as I kept at it.
Around 7:30 PM I entered Morris, stopped at Coborn's for fuel- namely an Amp and some peanuts. I then swung my my friends' home, took a bath and called for a "taxi" to take me to the Fourth of July Bash.
I celebrated the Fourth with a dozen or more children watching fireworks rather than having fireworks thrown at me. I am relieved. I also met a rock star but that's another post altogether. Additionally I would like to honor the incredible fruit flag dessert thing I ate. It was delicious.

14 July 2008

Remembering Sheldon Brown on Bastille Day


Sometimes news travels very slow even in the age of the Internet. For me at least it took me until just a few days ago to discover bicycle guru Sheldon Brown passed away in February- February 4th to be exact. Through his simple yet effective website sheldonbrown.com, he dispensed his wisdom of all things bicycle and more. I enjoyed reading the site when I needed to tinker with my numerous bicycles. He also wrote a lot about older bikes in particular the 3-speed Hub Raleighs. I still don't understand them but Sheldon made them interesting. I guess you could also credit Sheldon with influencing the revival of fixed-geared bikes because he wrote a bit about his own pieced together creations. It got me into searching for old bikes. He is probably also known for his unusual bike helmet with an eagle on top. I think the eagle even has name- Igor.
Anyways today is his birthday. He would have been 64 I think. I only knew him from peering into his life via his websites- I guess it was pretty vicarious. Nevertheless like hundreds of tributes to Sheldon have said before this (in different words of course)- the bicycle community is missing a distinct character in its pantheon. The informative website he built will continue to be a legacy and inspiration for those left behind. Keep on riding!

11 July 2008

300: the beginning


No, this is not an attempt to review or critque the movie (or graphic novel for that matter) of a battle between Spartans and Persians although this could certainly be considered an epic.
I completed a 300 mile bike tour of 3 states over the Independence Day holiday. The details I will divulge here in a few parts and possibly some pictures.
It all began on the 3rd around 8PM after 2 hours of packing and preparing the bicycle. I had intended to leave directly from work but that did not happen. I had not pre-packed enough and I needed to exchange a rear view mirror. Daylight would soon be waning and so I started the trek south, stopped at A&W for a bite to take away then continued spinning south out of town.
It was unseasonably cool yet comfortable and clear (and hardly any wind). Nearing 10 PM night descended calmly and I flicked on my lights. I was making good time despite the late start. I made a pit stop near the Christine graveyard to eat my Papa Burger and drink a St. Pauli Girl Dark(the only beer I had on the entire trip). The mosquitoes were thick as I expected outside the reach of vector control. The bugs wouldn't harm me once I got moving again.
I arrived at my destination, Fort Abercrombie, near 11PM. There was perpetual light due to a light at the river landing parking area. I made camp and went to bed only to be awoken somwhere about 2AM or 3AM by some hoodlums setting off a huge firework in the vicinity of my tent. I was not too happy but was in no manner to confront the multiple youths. They just disturbed me with their delinquency which could be forgiven but it didn't make me feel safe.

09 July 2008

I leave town and this is what happens

It appears that Go had been infiltrated by a bear while I was on vacation. I saw the headline in the paper when I was down in the Wahp. I thought the only bears in the region were in zoos. Well, go figure, wild bears have been sighted in Cass and Clay counties previously so a game warden said.
Bears in the prairie biom seems pretty weird to me. I suspect, since we are close to the coniferous region that bear may wander (and wonder too) into the Go region.
Fortunately this bear was not killed but tranquilized and relocated to the Pembina Gorge area, well north of this prairie land. About 5 years ago, 2 moose where shot and killed by authorites when they wandered into a neighborhood. The press on that incident was bad. Relocating a bear will probably go far to convince citizens that the city is kinder and gentler to animal kind now. Of course there is Phil, who would gun down any animal trying to be a nuisance, especially squirrels.

01 July 2008

100m Records

About a month ago a Jamacian sprinter broke the world record for the 100 meter sprint. I think it was somewhere around 9.72.
Well, the at U.S. track and field trials, Tyson Gay breaks the U.S. record in the 100 meters with a 9.77 finish. The AP released a headline stating "Gay sets US record in 100 with 9.77." The ambiguity of the headline must have been OK'd by an inexperienced copy editor. I made a double take when I read it. I'm sure other news outlets were wondering if they should give a cutline such as "sexual orientation matters little when on the track." I believe one new outlet changed the headline to "Homosexual sets US Record in 100m." Now that's just bad journalism. Not that I would know anything about it- journalism that is.
I wonder what Phil would say? He'd probably just retort "whatever."

14 June 2008

Down with the pile

As I was planning my upcoming cycling adventure, I cam across a story about the largest pile of empty oil cans in the world located in Casselton, ND. Built in 1933, the pile has been a sort of attraction for the town for years. In April the current owner challenged the pile's existence and gave the ultimatum that it should be moved by May 29 or be destroyed. Folks in Casselton got moving and just made the deadline by moving the pile intact to a temporary location. Currently they are taking donations to find this specimen a permanent home.
I should note I found a lot of other weird and wonderful attraction on Roadside America. This site is a hoot to peruse and despite the high fuel surcharges makes me want to see some of them. Hopefully on my bike trip I'll see a few and show them to you here.
Slan.

12 June 2008

70 year old football player

I think I wrote a while ago about a fellow who went back to college in his 50s and played on the football (American style) team. Well the local paper put out an article about an even older player, 7o years old to be exact. Bob Bonawitz of Willmar dons the #44 jersey when he plays from the Liberty. He was in for only a few plays this past weekend when coincidentally the Liberty decimated the Willmar Mustangs 78-18 in the Fargo Dome. Yes, Bob, is playing for a foreign team but a winning team. He really want to bask in the glory since Willmar has yet to win a game this season.

The Liberty are new edition to the sports franchises in town. They are a semi-pro football team. The first, to my knowledge, to play in the area. They play on the other side of the river and it appears they have used the internet to recruit talent. I wonder if any former XFL players are on the team?

At work The Champ dismissed the Liberty outright sighting he knew 5 players on the team, one of which had never picked up a football until recently. The Champ knows football because that's the sport he was christened the Champ so many years ago. Maybe he should sign up for the Liberty and relive the glory.

02 June 2008

Fargo Marathon 2008: Legendary?



I wonder if the marathon is stale news. Over 3 weeks have past since Eric Sondag out-foxed the competition to win the marathon. I tried to keep abreast of any news but haven't had any time to blog stuff that comes over the wire. However I did take a peak at Eric's blog entry about the race. It's in 2 parts, but I linked the 2nd part. Be smart and find the 1st on Eric's blog.
In other Marathon results, about 40K was raised for charity. This is split between the Children's Museum and I think a particular children's hospital in town.
The picture to the left is of Mark Knutson and partners running the marathon in the evening after the race in honor of Caroline Ruby Vetter. You can just barely make them out in the center. I was on top of the parking ramp waiting for them to pass. I nearly gave up. I didn't think the Moorhead portion of the course was that long.
Well, I gotta run. And I mean it.

21 May 2008

Fargo Marathon 2008: The Final Run

Late Marathon Crossing the Red, a photo of the Fargo Marathon director and companions running across the Main Avenue bridge nearing dusk as they run a marathon for Caroline Ruby Vetter.
They started at 6PM and it was about 8:30 at this point. Earlier that evening a few people cheered them on in the 8th St stretch. I also witnessed a group cheering them on near the end of the Old Milwaukee Trail at the Discovery School. This "event" was not publicized much. I think I read about it in a marathon mailing I received weeks before. You can barely make out the runners but they are in the center of the photo.
Of the people I knew running on May 17, meaning the actual races, I colleague and soccer team mate of mine, Chris Hass did the best. He placed 12th in half marathon. Others running that I knew included KT, Chris Myers, Mark M, Erin E and few execs at my workplace. Way to go!

48 Hour Film Fest: The People Have Spoken

Indeed it was crowd in the Fargo Theater lobby for the 7 o'clock showing of entries for the 48 hour Film Festival. I thought that this theater was bigger. I think if it seats 1000 then that's pushing the limits. Nevertheless, I was entertained by a wide variety of films (DVs more accurately) that made up the 12 on-time entries to the festival. One entry which did not make it in on time was screened as well and it was a top notch production.
Team Testudo arrived in full force with director Charles making a fashionably late appearance. Our film was screened second to last sandwiched between 2 fictional bio-pics. I remember most of the films but unfortunately their titles elude me. Well, not all titles. "No Shoulder," an entry in the drama genre was well executed with some excellent shots. However, it seemed to fall prey to the cliche that drama=yelling and fighting. Nevertheless, it was one of my choices for best film.
The other bio-pic which followed our "Fantasy #10" garnered the best of the show by the judges. They were not wrong. An experienced team put together the brilliant "Precious Metal." It harkens back to Edward Scissorhands except this orphaned misfit, Otto, "created" nuts and bolts and eventually a frictionless ball bearing. It's welled acted, cute, creative and even employs underwater photography. Watch this film!
Finally I will plug my team's film, "Fantasy #10."
You never know what you did until you see it on the big screen. During the first screening, the audience tittered throughout. I guess we may have been funnier than the comedy. I was amazed. Adam and Josh were incredible writers and actors but special mention must be given to Ray as required character Brad Billups. Ray ended up winning the best required character rendtion of th required character.
When all was said and done, Team Testudo took home the audience favorite award too. Quite a feat for a southpaw team.
You know, there should be something like this for the Fargo Street Fair.

20 May 2008

Fargo Marathon 2008: Play by play of men's race


Jeff Kolpack blogged the men's race suboerbly from start to finish but did not get his early predictions correct. He was probably quite surprised by Eric Sondag overtaking the Kenyan John Rotich in the last few miles. On Monday, Rotich's coach reported that Rotich injuried himself during the race and was not fatigued by his previous Lincoln marathon. He thus downplayed Sondag's strategic assumption that Rotich may not have enough to keep pace in last 2 miles. Sounds a little bit like rhetoric to me. Injuries in running can be the result of fatigue, lack of stretching, or over-exertion. There might be more. Nevertheless, even injuried, Rotich finished 3rd.
The men's half and marathon course records made this weekend were not too substantial. Neither broke the previous record by large amounts. I suspect the wind may have been doing a bit of damage. Fargo has yet to break the 2:30 barrier in the marathon despite a few runners who have bested that mark. The presence of the Duma Racing Club members really put some excitement into the 4th year of the Marathon with that possiblity. They deserve some props for coming up this way.
Hopefully next year more elite runners will come and create another fantastic race. Especially more elite women should come too because the women's races need a little competition. This year I suspect a lot of elite US women were going for the Olympic Trials last month in Boston. A Tico (aka Costa Rican) Gabriela Trana won the women's half with a time of 1:20.04 but well ahead of the next competitor. I doubt she is related to Jesse. The women's world record is 1:06.25
Slan.

19 May 2008

Fargo Marathon 2008: The Aftermath


Hours after most of the runners had completed the course, race director Mark Knutson and 2 friends laced up and ran the deserted Fargo course in honor of Caroline Vetter and I suspect raise money for leukodystrophy research. 5 year old Caroline succumbed to the disease recently. A mile of the marathon near Lindenwood Park was named for her.
I finished filming for the 48HFF at 5PM and wanted my fix of marathon. I caught up with Knutson and his posse as they arrived at the Lindenwood split and snapped a photo. I then furtively followed them through the south Fargo portions of the marathon up until the infamous Troll bridge. I only missed them in 2 sections: coming back from the turnaround and Condcordia. As they crossed back into Fargo it was getting too dark so I headed home satisfied to cover this run.

18 May 2008

My 48 hour film festival Fargo


The tough part is over. I filmed from 7am to 5pm for a fantasy film. It bent the rules a bit but the obligatory stuff was in there, including a wizard and a battle with a dragon. I also got to play medieval Elvis, which spawned another movie idea- Time Travel Elvis, he didn't die he just leaped into another time.
Well Tuesday night is the showing and I hope to get a seat. But how on earth does an event that hardly anyone knows about get sold out. It's not like any famous directors were competing in Fargo. I'll see what the competition (12 other teams) is really like. By my only understanding there are only 2 decent filmmakers in Fargo and I was working with one.
So show us the films!

Fargo Marathon 2008: The results

I had reported earlier, some Kenyans (ex-pat ones) had entered the marathon and half marathon. Just the mention of a Kenyan puts a bit of fear into your average competitive runner. I was quite amazed that any Kenyan runner would consider Fargo a worthy prize. There are 3 other marathons in the Midwest that bigger payouts and more notoriety (of course there are more races, but I digress.)
Well, they came and they did not quite conquer. Unfortunately I was not there to witness events but man it had to be exciting at near the 24 mile mark when a Grand Forks man saw his chance for glory. Leading the race at that point was Kenyan John Rotich. The thirty something Grand Forks man, Eric Sondag, got site of Rotich and with some cunning research he had done Eric raised it a notch and passed the Kenyan to win in 2:30.34. Read the coverage here. Sammy Malakwen, a Kenyan, did win the men's half marathon.
About 13,000 took part in the trio of races this Saturday with about 1,200 volunteers.

16 May 2008

Happy bike to work day!


I didn't see many biking today.
Okay, I did, but not at work. The rack at work was average capacity today.

These are bikes at the mass transit hub downtown.

Today, after fixing the flat on my C-200, the C-200 went flat again and at the wrong place. I was half way home and it totally went. I think they gave me the wrong inner tube and so I blew it up too much because no air would stay a moment in the tube. Also I need to get up to the Fargo Dome to volunteer. Bummer on that. I increased my pace, got home with only 15 minutes to spare and then relentless pedaled the Trek to the dome. I just made it. My only concern is why the Fargo Dome doesn't have a bike rack?

Fargo Marathon 2008: Catching up with a Myers

Yet again I volunteered myself to the Fargo Marathon enterprise and once again I became "Chip Verification." It has to be once of the best jobs ever. I get to meet people, joke around with them, talk about running, talk about where they are from, and encourage them to run far and run fun. There will be perhaps upwards of 13,000 participating. A few ex-pat Kenyans are also in line to run the marathon.
Well, this year I met a lot of Myers. A lot from Canada and some from the states and one from my storied past. Chris Myers might not be a recognizable name to most of you but you die hard fans of the Kevin Myers' Show will remember him as the peculiar doctor who says "It may be hazardous to your pancreas" in a few of the early episodes. Chris also is the elder Myers sibling. His venture up to Fargo includes running the half marathon on Saturday. He is running it with a friend, Steve Robertstead (sp?), who had lived in the Go many years ago. I wish Chris and Steve all my best.
More l8r.

14 May 2008

A big weekend ahead


48 Hour Filmmaker: Fargo 2008
If Bike to Work Week isn't enough then I shouldn't mention the Fargo Marathon or the 48 Hour Film Festival.
Once again I will be volunteering as a chip tester on Friday. Shortly afterward I will then join Team Testudo to work on the 48 Hour Film Festival entry. We've been planning since January in some way or other. Basically the deal is you draw a genre of film and then have to include a few required elements and then have 48 hour to make a film or in our case a DV. The team producer Beth has assembled looks pretty good. I'm part of wardrobe and make up and may make a cameo appearance if necessary. Should be a blast. I hope I can stay up.
You can view the finished works at Fargo Theater on Wednesday. I'll try and get some good stuff to post.
Slan.

Bike to work week


Bike to Work Week 2008 has garnered much attention as oil prices rise and green consciousness is all the rage. The week, which is still going on, is promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and hopes to raise awareness and interest in 2 wheeled transportation. I'm not sure if Sean Connery or Superman are members but I would welcome it.
Not much organization up in my neck of the woods although I have seen quite a few bike commuters. The rack at work was nearly full last week. Gas is inching its way to $4 and I suspect more will get the bikes out. I'd say we have a 65% bike friendly community. The only negatives are lousy community snow removal and aware drivers. The city does a great job at clearing the streets but the sidewalk clearing is crappy. The city mandates that residences are responsible for snow removal on the walkways but rarely have I seen it enforced. There a residence next door to me that only cleared the walkway 1 or 2 times. It makes for really difficult riding when the streets are too busy.
I've been looking at getting a bike trailer so to ultimately make my auto nearly obsolete except for long excursions. The trailers on the previous website are pretty hardcore. There is even a testimonial on the site that says somebody moved a refrigerator with one. I might just make one myself although I have come to like the Wike. They have an inexpensive kit that looks fine.
Finally, I will also put a plug in for Carfree Cities. The New Urbanists must be behind this carfree stuff. Really I think this is possible. Maybe not across the board but doable in certain locales. Their premise is a bit radical for even the liberals in these states. Europe probably is thinking of legislating these ideas. As I mentioned in the Train Day post, our forebears did away with possibility of fast and efficient mass transit by unleashing the consumerism on post-war America. Now that sound pretty ominous, but I will also add that from their vantage point in history that appeared to be just and fair after America suffered through the depression and the war. But I am going beyond what I desire to say- let's think multi-modal efficiency. Bikes for the short distances. Mass transit for longer. I could probably do carfree. I'm nearly 75% there. Who knows maybe even Phil agrees with me. He once had a bio-diesel vehicle.
Slan.

10 May 2008

National Train Day


“A train is one of the most beautiful ways to see America as you move around the country.”
-Al Roker, spokesman for National Train Day and weatherman

May 10th marks the first ever National Train Day in the States and also marks the date of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. I am pleased, however there are no events scheduled in the Go for this day. (The closest is Rugby, ND. Not even the home of the Empire Builder, St.Paul, could muster up enough to celebrate.) For a city [the Go that is] that owes its existence to trains, I am a bit dismayed. 2 historical stations still exist in town. One designed by Cass Gilbert. But I guess this burgh is looking to the future. But shouldn't the future include trains? Will there be another great era for train travel?
With gas prices on the rise, Amtrak ridership is up. I must admit I like the idea of train travel, however a few of our forbears of previous generations seemed to have dismantled the possibility of greater coverage of the passenger train system. Granted we are not Europe or Japan. We are massive. But are we not being bit in the buttocks by the gasoline powered automobile right now? Do we even have an infrastructure in place to deal with the possibility of abandonment of the automobile so quickly?
Well, my celebrations will probably involve looking for trains and taking their pictures. There are plenty of them a just up the street. Nearly a 100 a day come through.

02 May 2008

Global Day of Prayer

Not much to say about this Global Day of Prayer, except that I am amazed that it began in Africa and not someplace in the U.S. or Canada.
I guess here's some things that Royce Files might file under prayer requests:
  1. Phil gets an unlimited supply of beer and shares it with his friends
  2. Intramural Glory and Chad Vader get picked up by the same network
  3. Peace

01 May 2008

Wiki article of the day

Well, if it isn't Dr. Livingstone I presume.
Been listening to podcast on church history and this guy came up. Pretty cool. He had some ideas that were probably ahead of his time, like ordaining indigenous evangelists. He also makes it on the list of great world explorers.

28 April 2008

The danger of squirrels

A week ago I noticed this story about a vicious squirrel attack that resulted in the death of a dog in a distant part of Russia.
"The little beasts are agitated because they have nothing to eat," one man said.
Keeping food from this critters can lead to desperate measures.
If Phil saw this attack he would have brought a gun and showed these squirrel who was boss.

24 April 2008

Making creative environments

I'm writing from the city of EP. I am here for a conference of sorts about creativity. I am lodging at the Hyatt Place, a posh place which I will upload pictures. I got a night as a steal on Priceline.com. Thanks, Captain Kirk. The hotel also happens to be perched above my former collaborator's, Kevin Myer, workplace, KMSP. He's the creative force behind the Emmy winning Intramural Glory web mockumentary.
And this brings us back to the creativity conference. No, I'm not hawking Intramural Glory DVDs. I'm here to gain understanding on how to create environments which nurture creativity and art.
Here's two freebies of insight from Ron King, who I might add looks a bit like Rob Bell but doesn't have Nooma videos nor played in an Indy band.
  1. Don't be afraid to let others run ahead of you. You may feel threatened but ultimately it will be beneficial to cultivating uninhibited expression. Plus you don't want offense getting in the way .
  2. No fear of failure. Take risks will be valuable to quest to making creatives feel comfortable in creating. Don't get hung up on order.

21 April 2008

Pille strikes again

Former bandmate and RD, Keith Pille, made news on MPR about a month ago. His Nowhere Band web comic has been creeping through the velvety undergrounds of Twin Towns. I think I mentioned it a while back. Pretty funny.
Anyways MPR caught hold of him and did a segment about a month ago. You can see/hear it here.
In the interview Keith gives away why his former band Red Hay broke up plus you get 2 current pictures- mind you they are rare. Keith is pretty camera shy. The only photos I got of him make him out to be a R.E.M.'s Mike Mills in the Monster era. While we are on R.E.M., they just put out another album recently- ACCELERATE arrived on the scene like 2 weeks ago. It was weird because I read about it in the Financial Times. Stipe looks old yet agile. I digress.
Nowhere band has yet to incorporate any incidents of Keith's experience with Mr. Willie or Studly Party Tonight. Both bands were assembled just for a band contest at college. Studly Party Tonight was a very hasty band. I think we only practiced once or twice before we did the show.
Read Nowhere Band.

16 April 2008

Look for my new releases

Busy on nearly all fronts. I am fortunate that I have a video editor to handle all the footage I shot. I have revamped an old adage- if you get it, projects will come. A thus begins the humble return to the videomaking enterprise.
Anyways, just want to send out the alert that Outsourced Prayer and Department Store Jesus will be coming out this month sometime. I had a decent premiere of these projects a few weeks ago. I was surprised to see how long they were (~15 minutes each). I had another showing in Forx of the Department Store Jesus. Haven't had many comments about them. I will be making cuttings of these for distribution through the usual places on the web. A few un-cut versions of the DVD exist but heaven knows where those are.
More projects are in the mix. I looking at bringing back an old character from the Kevin Myers' Show days. In fact I have been toying with the re-emergence of Mark Time, Private Eye. I had a rough script about illegal Pez trading. It was only average. I think Mark Time might also be a someone else's character (possible Firesign Theater).
If anybody wants to make a film/video, feel free to make it known to me.
Slan.

31 March 2008

The cold war continues


It might be spring but the cold war continues as these two fellows guard the hinterlands of Shadrapistan in my latest movie. The basic premise is an American is trying to smuggle contraband into chumunist Shadrapistan and must make his way past the guards. Comedy ensues.

O my, it really is Jesus


I decided to try my hand at making a Jesus film. Hey, if Mel Gibson can do it, so can I!
My only regret is that our budget did not allow for us to film on location. Instead I used an old building downtown.
I'm going for a real modern retelling of the story with Jesus entering a department store and knocking over tables and doing the sermon on the mount from a balcony. Well, I need to edit this thing for an April 5th show, so good night