Friday, April 29, 2005

Farewell ODYouth...

This fall, provided I'm accepted, I'll be starting at the Carlson School of Management working on my Part-Time MBA. I plan on taking classes weeknights and on the weekend, which as I'm told by current students, pretty much destroys any thought of having a social life. And so will be my existence for approximately 4 years.

I am really excited about starting on this adventure, but at the same time I know it will be hard to give up a lot of the things I am currently involved with that make life so fun and rewarding. Most missed of these things will be my work with the youth group at Church of the Open Door. With the amount of time that school will consume and my inability to go on any of the retreats or be involved in any activities outside Wednesdays, I don't think I would be doing the youth any favors by spreading myself so thin. Connecting with the students really only happens well in a casual, fun environment; that typically means outside of church. As I hardly have time for such things now, I don't believe I will be able to continue on in a helpful manner.

I'll be helping out through the summer, but then my 2.5 year journey will end. I'll still be around, but I'm afraid I'll lose my connection to the church and the people I've gotten to know so well over the years. I certainly hope that doesn't happen, but it will be hard to maintain as close of contact as everyone else is starting off on new phases of their lives as well such as marriage, kids, and new jobs.

So to all you OD peeps out there, remember that just because we may not be doing youth group together anymore doesn't mean we shouldn't still hang out!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite Dance Video Update

I have recieved many requests to see the Nap Dyn dance I did for the youth group talent show April 20th. I will be getting a DVD of the dance from my uncle tomorrow and plan to encode a divx copy of it for everyone to get to. I'll post a link when it is all together, don't expect anything earlier than late next week.

Velvet Revolver Concert

I don't think it is any secret I am a fan of free stuff, well, then again, who isn't? So when a guy I know from work dropped tickets to the Velvet Revolver show tonight in my lap I think it is accurate to say I was a bit pleased. I got the tickets 3 hours before the show tonight, so it was a challenge to find someone who was available. I called nearly everyone I know (all 2 of you). If I didn't call you that means 1 of 3 things:

1) I don't have your phone number
2) You don't like good music
3) You live more than 40 miles away from the Xcel Center

If you fall into any of these categories, I recommend fixing your life. This was the only large concert I've been to aside from Counting Crows. I'm used to Cornerstone, where shows have a smaller, more local feel to them so this was a bit of an odd experience. This was a truly commercialized experience, the over done lighting, big ego rock stars, and yuppie suburbanites taking photos with their camera phones. It was all rather amusing.

Hoobastank opened for them and did a fabulous job. Hoobastank has a much cleaner sound, something that would almost lull you to sleep if it wasn't so driving. That is a good thing.

Keep on a rockin'!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

U of M Carlson Application Submitted!!!!!

It is finished! After literally 9 months of writing, reading, rewriting, rereading, second guessing, and re-second guessing, I finally it the submit button and have sent my application to Carlson off for review. I should know in about a month what my fate will be for the next 4 years of my life.

I want to throw out a big thanks to all of you who helped with reviewing my essays! I greatly appreciate it!

It sure will be nice to have a little more free time now, maybe I can fix up some stuff around the house now finally, or get some reading done, or sleep, or even buy groceries. Life will be grand!

I'm sure I'll find something I think is horribly important to fill up my time, something to tell myself that I'm building up a better, richer, more fulfilling future. To some extent I'm sure that is all true, I'm just trying to figure out exactly where it is I'm aiming to go other than simply "up." Finding purpose is always harder than it seems at the surface.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite Dance

As the song says, "I got canned heat in my heals tonight!" I finally did my talent show act for youth group, the NapDyn dance! Over a month of practice paid off. While there were a few small mess ups, I was very pleased with the execution of the performance.

Although I had the "Vote for Pedro" shirt, I didn't have the moonboots. I couldn't find any size 14 or 15's used or cheap. Ah well, my shoes worked and they were a lot easier to dance in than boots would have been.

A tape exists of the performance, I'm thinking I better get the original before it finds its way into the wrong hands.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Atlanta: Day 5

I’m really freakin’ tired. We got back to the cities by 11:00 a.m. I have figured the whole trip set me back approximately $119, significantly less than a plane ticket out there, and a whole lot more fun. I got less than 3 hours of sleep in strange cramped positions in the back seat. I’m done writing. I’m home and I need to crash.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Atlanta: Day 4

Today we went to President Jimmy Carter’s presidential library. As much as I disagree with the way he approached nearly every event in his term, it was a ton of fun. They had the most beautiful grounds I’ve seen. A Japenese garden, waterfall, pristine flowers, shrubs, and fountains. Inside they had gifts from foreign leaders, the navy suit he was married in, and millions of documents related to his presidency. Amazingly, there was not a single can of Billy Beer. You would think the $5 Senior Citizen admission I paid (apparently I look older than my years) would buy me the right to view a can of Billy Beer, I’m starting the think the value of the American dollar isn’t what it once was.

Now we are driving home. We are about 2 hours into the trip, only 18 to go! We stopped at a KFC for dinner in Kentucky. Big mistake. Kentucky being the birthplace of KFC they sure know how to theme a restaurant with grease. I don’t regularly eat KFC, this was only the 4th time I have ever eaten at one, so maybe I just didn’t know what to expect. My chicken was greasy to the BONE! How is that even possible? They would need to inject it in! I’m sure they are out to kill me. To add to the experience, just as I was picking up a large chicken breast, with all its greasy goodness pouring out, that “Summer Days” song from the movie Grease comes over the loud speaker. It couldn’t have been planned better.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Atlanta: Day 3

Today we went to Kennesaw Mountain, the location of a massive assault against the South, on the North’s way to Atlanta. I was surprised to see how busy the park was. There was a grassy area at the base of mountain where the battle began, a place where thousands of corpses littered the earth not 150 years ago, and today I saw dozens of families, kids, and elderly lounging in the grass. That is the kind of image that makes me realize how far this nation has come in the last 150 years. Wow. It is both a little funny and a little sad how little respect some people have for such areas. I have a picture in which a sign prohibiting ball playing and kite flying is clearly visible, and in the background there are people doing both. It reminds me a lot of historic underwater sites that so many people take for granted. This place was one of the most important battles in the course of the war, and I would think following some basic rules to maintain it would not be too much to ask of the public.

We walked a mile long trail to the top of the “mountain” and were able to see some of the original confederate dugouts used for the cannons and marksmen. These cannons are 1300 pounds, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to move these monsters up a mile of steep slope, even with animals.

Sunday night we went to a day after wedding party that was open to family and close friends at the house of my friend’s friend’s friend. Surprisingly enough I felt quite welcome. I would have expected with 3 degrees of separation I would have been thrown out on my butt after about 10 minutes. I was promptly offered a Heineken, a burger, a swim in their pool, a game of billiards, and a massage by a professional masseuse. I didn’t make it to the pool or the masseuse, but played the best game of pool in my life. In my first turn, I cleaned the table of all but the 8 ball. Of course I had to play it cool and macho (I have to keep up the image you know), pretending it was nothing, but dang, I probably will never do that again.

After getting back to my friends condo we took a swim in the pool. Late night swims can never be beat.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Atlanta: Day 2

We spent the first 5.5 hours of the day looking for a Waffle House, which I just learned is affectionately called the “Awful Waffle” by the locals. We finally found one in Tennessee, then from there we couldn’t escape them. They seem to own the whole south; but the waffles were much better than the nickname implies. I recently heard that the Waffle House chain was rated the dirtiest in the nation; I can see why. I’ve never seen a place where cleaning fluid is sprayed from a large bucket inches from where you are eating above your food on the floor and where the food is cooked. Then they literally hose down the floor while you are eating, I’m still not sure what the bits in the liquid that floated by my feet were. At least the food was good.

We arrived in Atlanta at about 12:30 PM EST, 20 hours after we left the Twin Cities. We kicked off the day with a driving tour of the city. I have never seen so much money flaunted. I saw several Ferraris, slews of BMWs, Lexus’, and Mercedes. There is even valet parking and front door parking so you can show off your money even while shopping. I’m told Georgia has the highest amount of debt in the nation, I can see why.

This evening we went to Stone Mountain, it is a massive monument dedicated to the leadership of the confederacy. The place started as a monument, but now the whole place is some kind of kiddy amusement park by day and a cheesy laser light show by night. It was a great look into southern culture. Georgians are very proud of their state, more so than any other state I’ve seen. Nearly every song played was relating to how wonderful Georgia was and how great the south is. Naturally, “Dixie Land” was a prominent feature of the evening. There were minimal fireworks to add to the show, something that helped to keep the pace and energy level up. It ended with a patriotic tribute to our troops, leaving the entire crowd feeling like they could each personally over throw a small country’s dictatorship.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Atlanta: Day 1

We left work at 3:30 PM CST, mostly due to my lack of wrapping things up on time. It always seems to be a challenge to get away in a timely manner. I’m going to meet a friend of mine from work who moved out to Atlanta to work at one of General Mills’ plants. I’m going with two friends from work, one of which has never been on a real road trip before. I have a feeling he is going to either kill us or himself by the end of the trip, we will soon see.

We have been doing shifts of about 4-6 hours of driving before switching drivers. Late night driving is actually a lot more fun than I remember it. There is something about screaming out the lyrics to songs on the radio at 3 AM while driving down an open road that can’t be beat.

Monday, April 11, 2005


I've been struggling with my mortgage company for the past month, trying to get them to give me credit for paying my March payment which they lost. Finally, after badgering them nearly every day and being treated like a liar, they found it. I asked them to refund my late fees, which they reluctantly agreed to, and today I got a letter saying that I have had the fee waived as a courtesy. A COURTESY??? Are you kidding me? They lose my money and now they think they are doing me a favor by not charging me for their screw up??? Something is seriously messed up with customer service in this world.

30 Seconds to Mars

Ok, I'm officially pumped. My favorite synthpop-ThrashRock-SpacePunk-indie-AcidEmo band, 30 Seconds to Mars has a new album coming out this Summer. The release date of August 18, 2005 was announced today. You can listen the complete first single at their website. Their first album was my favorite album of 2002 (if we don't count the Counting Crows Hard Candy release which of course is no contest).

Worth checking out if synthpop-ThrashRock-SpacePunk-indie-AcidEmo is your genre.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Pain of Biking

Today I did some biking with some friends from work. By biking I mean mountain biking. By friends I mean tournament competitors. And by some I mean over 20 miles.

A little over half way through our adventure I hit a log wrong and went over the handle bars, ouch. I scuffed up my leg a bit, but no permanent damage to anything other than my ego.

After the ride we stopped at a grocery store and bought a bunch of oranges, strawberries, and grapes. One of the greatest things about a hard workout like that is eating afterwards. There is nothing like the gut wrenching hunger pains ending when gorging yourself. Plus, the sugar high from all that fruit wasn't too bad either.

It was awesome, but wow am I sore. I'm planning to start biking to work, it is just under 8 miles, we will see how long that keeps up. I need to do something to get my legs in shape before visiting my sister this summer. If we are going to do any diving in Monterey I'll need to be ready for it.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Doing Great Things

I often wonder what it is that gives some people a passion to accomplish something and set tangible goals for their lives and others no more ambition than to make it home in time from work for their favorite TV show.

I ran into one of the youth leaders from last year today, someone I highly admire and rarely see. He has built himself up through various entrepreneurial endeavored and real estate deals, something I too would like to do once I have a firmer business foundation (hence my MBA pursued). So why would some people like my friend seek out to better themselves and others just coast (not necessarily financially)?

[Previously posted content removed]

Mr. Handyman

After suffering for 8 months with a garage door that would not close without a lot of help, I finally caved and bought a new opener. If you have ever thought of installing a garage door opener alone, I can tell you from experience that it isn't recommended. The process of removing the old one and setting up the new is a juggling act. Luckily I got a 10' ladder for Christmas this year so I was able to prop up the power head of the unit on there while removing the glide rails.

More power! Forget Farrari, this baby has a 0 - Open time of less than 5 seconds. You can check it out on the company's website. They aren't cheap, but it is the last door opener I'll ever have to buy for the house and the screw drive system is a lot easier to maintain.

Before this sounds like an advertisement, I should stop.