20 August 2007

Just not right

Today is my last work day in this department, and of course my desk got decorated ... that is fine, but my poor mouse, that's just not right.
not right

12 August 2007

So who will claim this one?

I received a text message today that said:
From 402 990 **** - I just wanted everyone to know I got a new phone number 402 990 ****.
Well thank you, if I can figure out who you are, maybe I'll call.

Real numbers hidden to protect the guilty.

08 August 2007

An experimental post

The roomie, aka Schmendrick, performed a three phase experiment last night:
  1. An experiment in rapid cooling: ie he placed a can of Dew in the freezer.
  2. An experiment in distraction related forgetfulness: ie he forgot he did it.
  3. An experiment in water based liquid expansion when frozen in a limited space: ie parts one and two led to a predictable conclusion.

When liquid water becomes solid, it assumes a crystalline structure which occupies more physical space than the liquid form.

At the end of these experiments, he performed a fourth, one he has rarely attempted before, and never at his own will ... he cleaned up after himself.

07 August 2007

Bring the sunshine

So a couple weeks ago I was riding in my car listing to Mercy Me on the CD player, and Bring the Rain came on. I like the song, so I was singing along and heard/sang "...if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain."

Ack! No. Jesus bring the sunshine.

Suffering is NOT the defining characteristic of Christianity, no matter what your Catholic aunt might have told you. God is just as likely, if not way more likely to provide us with gifts beyond our ability to ask for, as He is to call us to do something difficult that will cause us to suffer.

A well lived, joy and peace filled life can bring glory to God too. All too often we are much more likely to be ready to suffer for His sake than we are ready to enjoy the banquet of His victory. The King, our Lord, loves us beyond our comprehension. He shares with us the fruits of His creation, most of us are blessed with food, shelter, entertainment, friends, and nature.

Yes, we need to be taught, many times the situations in which we suffer and have "opportunities for growth" are of our own making. The times in my life over the last ten years that I know I have been tested and taught directly by God, have been few, but very difficult failures, I know what it is like to weep bitterly like Peter did at the crowing of the rooster.

It is not the suffering that defines us, but instead our willingness to do what our Lord asks us to do. If God calls you to a life full of blessings, our attitude is gratitude. If God calls you to do something difficult, our attitude is the same. All glory and honor to you, almighty Father.

06 August 2007

How humid?

This is what I found on my car's driver door window this morning when I left for work this morning.

phone photo 20070806 01.jpg

Seriously ... it's a frog, not a toad, I know cause I picked it up. How humid does it have to be to get frogs sticking to your car window?

04 August 2007

Surprise! You're on YouTube

One of my coworkers found this on YouTube, it's my birthday party! Cornstalker gets NO credit what-so-ever for this because he didn't tell me about it!

Ignore the glasses!

02 August 2007

Okaboji Weekend

The legendary Okaboji, home of the fabled University, and last weekend home to thirty GAMe members on a camping extravaganza!

We were scheduled to leave from Chad's house at 1400 on Friday. There was a lot of packing to do, I drove, but couldn't fit all of my gear and my three car-mates gear into my car. So some of our stuff had to go in the back of Brad's and Chad's truck.

SmileChild took charge and directed the packing up operation.

We hit the road by 1425, only :25 later than planned, not bad for a four car, thirteen person, one jet ski operation ... plus all the other peoples stuff we packed, and all the food for the weekend.

We took I-80 up to Sioux City, then US75 to LeMars, and some other roads to Okaboji. There were some odd sights on the road.

I wonder if that thing plugs into a cigarette lighter.

We got up there around 1800, only one stop, about 210 miles, and promptly got to work on setting up camp.

IM003835.JPG IM003836.JPG
Work is fascinating, I could take pictures of it all day long.

After camp was set up, we went to Perkins and it was the beginning of me being insatiably hungry all weekend long. After that it was s'mores, and SmileChild tried to play guitar, but the cops shut us down cause it was after 2230.

Saturday morning dawned, and I did too after not a good night of sleep. So I heard them loading the boat into the water, I grabbed my camera, and I jumped on right as they were pushing off...

My reward for all this effort was this kind of scene...

Alana enjoys the sunrise too. Probably the best photo I took all weekend.

Rob wants to know why we are up so early. The best part of this picture is Chad peering over the top of my hat, what is that look all about?

While we were up front enjoying the sunrise, people were actually doing stuff in the water, what a concept.

After breakfast, we stormed the castle thanks to a holocaust cloak Fezzik got ... no wait, nevermind.

After breakfast, Daniel, Kevin, and I took Lilly down to the beach where we played fetch / keep away for about an hour and a half with one of those squishy sponge balls, which Lilly ruined. She was obviously getting very tired from the game, but she wouldn't give up, she'd get the ball, go into shore, and wait for one of us, or a couple of little girls who were on the beach. I did one of those things where I picked up her front half out of the water and she kept dog-paddling with her front paws, that cracks me up.

Lilly in a drier moment ... she slept much of the rest of the weekend.

All this activity was followed by nap #1 for both me and Lilly. I had quickly decided after not a lot of sleep on Friday night in the tent, I was going to sleep the rest of the weekend in the car, so there is where I slept.

IM003916.JPG IM003914.JPG
Home, sweet home for night one ... and night two.

When I woke up it was lunch time, so, I ate.

After lunch SmileChild, Travis, and I went down to the swimming area without Lilly, and we goofed off and then got in a game of monkey in the middle, I probably haven't played that in years. Travis is in a neck brace, but he kept himself in the game pretty well (as well as jet-skiing, wakeboarding, and all around other activities). While we were playing, one of the boats came in, and then the jet-ski.

I have put the picture of the jet-ski in the shadows ahead of the story about it. An obvious case of foreshadowing.

I had talked SmileChild into a ride on the jet-ski. I'm not a jet-ski newbie, but this one was high performance and trickier than the other ones I have ridden. First try getting on was not a success, it rolled all the way over, nearly upside down. The safety key clipped onto your life vest, not around your wrist like I was used to. I get back on, safety key in, turn it on, go about ten feet flip over, I got wet, key came out, get back on ... repeat. After three spills, I get the hang of it, kind of like riding a motorcycle rather than the sitting on a motorized raft that my previous experiences with jet-skis had been. So I go back and pick up SmileChild, and we're off.

We make a few slowish zips back and forth in between the shore and the big boats, and frankly the thing was just too fast. I never got it up over 2/3 throttle, but we were having fun, maybe I was going to cruise around the lake a little bit. Well Chad was in the other boat, and saw we were riding, so he came over to tell me a few things about where to go and not and safety ... stuff I already knew ... he signals me over to the boat to talk to him, I go over, hit his wake and SmileChild goes off the back of the jet-ski, and I followed.

No issues yet, I come up out of the water to swim over and get back on, and I hear the jet-ski still running! What the *censored*? The safety key was still in the jet-ski, I don't know how it got dislodged, especially since it had worked at least three times. So, fortunately and embarrassingly, we were very near Chad's boat. Daniel jumps up and dives in the water, no life vest, and tries to get the thing. He misses. Next up, Chad, he dives and gets a hand on it, and manages to corral it. By this time it was slowly circling back around towards us, but I'm not sure I'd have been able to grab it out of the water.

So Chad is on the jet-ski now, SmileChild and I are in the water with life-jackets, and Daniel is swimming back to the boat. Chad says "I can't be on this thing without a life jacket, give me yours." So I did ... problem: I don't swim so well. Anyways and obviously everyone was okay, I made it to the boat without any struggle (hardly), and the only seriously injured thing was my pride. I can tell you this though, if I ever get my own jet-ski, I'll get the touring model. Oh, and that was pretty much it for me and the water for the weekend.

Next for me was nap #2, then dinner. A little later on, it was time for the stunt of the weekend, eight wakeboarders behind one boat.

Eight intrepid wakeboarders and one pilot.

Try as they might, they just couldn't get it going, and eventually the sun set and we ran out of light.

Then we gathered around the campfire, earlier this time, and SmileChild busted out the guitar and we got to sing.

One half of the best band you don't know ... yet!

The party finally broke up, SmileChild and I went for a walk around the campsite under a beautiful full moon. On the downside, our walk included several attempts at breaking our ankles in the dark and the worlds most uncomfortable swing set. On the upside SmileChild and I went for a walk around the campsite under a beautiful full moon.

Then I headed off to the car for a blissful nights rest. Um, I guess so, I slept right through until almost 0800. I completely missed one of the boats getting pulled over by the DNR, and I barely managed to get in on the end of breakfast. After breakfast we had a short service. Then it was time to get the boats in the water for attempt number two at eight wakeboarders at once.

This time, Brad has his GAMe face on, get it GAMe? LOL

Everyone in the water and...

Go! Despite the boat rail in the way, you can see all eight.

Since nothing could top that, it was lunch and pack up and leave.

IM003830.JPG IM003949.JPG IM003950.JPG
This is what your car-mates do on the way home after an exhausting weekend trip. What could possibly lure them back into a conscious state?

The ice cream capital of the world, LeMars, Iowa.

I have lots more great pictures in a set on my flickr.com site, you can view all 101 here. It was a great trip, and I slept well Sunday night too!

A nice shot of perspective

I have been struggling with myself lately, a whole lot of me me me me me, and I haven't been able to figure out a way out of it on my own. I know I am a lot happier, and probably more pleasant to be around when I am other-focused rather than me focused.

Life provides perspective all on it's own, unfortunately, it is usually the kind of things that are tragic, or news that is unwanted.

My cousin Steve has passed away at the too young age of 38 of cancer, leaving behind a wife and children. We knew it was coming, but regardless of knowing it was coming or not, the loss is tangible to me if for no other reason how it has affected my mother. It isn't that personal, because I am not connected so closely to my extended family, and but it doesn't change the tragic aspect of the event.

My mother and I talked yesterday, and she gave me the news, but then went off on a half hour tangential monologue that included several tasty, interesting, and completely TMI tidbits about family secrets that frankly, I didn't want to know. She also talked about some recent things about herself, post-occurrence that I should have known. *Sigh* moms.

The news about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis brought it all home for me. Sure the chances that Adriane, or any of the other Minneapolis girls or dancers were hurt are very very slim, but it still gave me pause.

My stated goal in life is to be a reflection of God's love for me to everyone, but I know (and I hope) my friends see that the most. I cannot tell you all enough how much I love and appreciate you, and how precious you are to me.