Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Blogosphere

I haven't been blogging lately, nor have I been following any of my friends' blogs very closely. I'll blame it on school, because that's pretty much accurate. But I just spent the last half hour or so reading through all of the blogs I usually follow and here's what I realized: the loss is mine. I have a bunch of enormously creative friends. The things they write, and the quirky videos and songs they post make me laugh. And think. But more than anything else, they make me appreciate my friends more.

I get way too wrapped up in school. Like to the point that I think God is getting on my case about it. Maybe I'll talk about that a little more in the near future. For now, I'm lucky because I know no one is reading this anymore!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Do You Tweet?

OK, so I'm not an early adopter when it comes to technology. And I have some very good friends who abhor Twitter. But after reading the cover article from Time magazine this week, I'm intrigued.

I signed up for Twitter before I read the article, but I haven't done anything with it. Do you use it? If you do, how are you using it and what do you like about it? Have you found any drawbacks? And of course, it you do use it, let me know your user name.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crackberry


I've always wondered why they call them that.

Vicki and I both got Blackberry Storms yesterday. Since then, with the exception of the time spent at work today, I think they have been the unwavering focus of our attention. Not because we want them to be, but because they represent endless possibilities. If you can make them work.

Actually, they do work fine, but because they have so much potential it seems to take FOREVER to get them functioning the way you want them to. And because I use a Mac, you have to use some third party software to get it to talk to the computer. At one time today, I had duplicates of almost all my appointments on my Entourage calendar. Then, when I got that fixed, I had lost half of my appointments on the Blackberry and couldn't get them back. Two hours later, I think I've got it straightened out.

Ahhh...feels so good. For about 30 seconds.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Catching Up

I haven't been blogging much because I've been getting back into the swing of school. Which means getting back in the swing of reading books other people want me to read instead of reading books I want to read. Even though that's annoying, sometimes it's just good to have to look at things from different perspectives.

We have three books assigned to us for this five-week class. One I really liked. The other two I could do without. The one I liked was John Ortberg's "The Life You've always Wanted." I love Ortberg's honesty and humor. The book is subtitled "Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People" and Ortberg presents pretty accessible ways to begin introducing the spiritual disciplines into your journey. For those who may have struggled with Richard Foster's "Celebration of the Disciplines" it's a great alternative.

The two books I disliked are Andy Andrews' "Mastering the Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success" and a book called "Fish!" by Lundin, Paul and Christensen. I'll start with "Fish!" It's a leadership/teamwork business fable along the lines of "The One Minute Manager." I think I've decided I hate the whole genre of leadership fables. Even if the principles behind the fable are good, the storytelling is so bad that you don't remember the principles, you only remember the bad writing. Andrews book, on the other hand, is just too much rah-rah "you can do it!!" for me. And I'm always wary of people who can boil everything down to, "Follow my steps and your life will be GREAT!!"

But overall, I'm enjoying school. Lots of writing, and that's a good challenge for me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some good economic news

It's good to see some positive economic news now and then. The following is from an aricle on the Cincinnati Enquirer website.

"Site Selection magazine has ranked Cincinnati fourth in the country, behind Houston, Dallas and Chicago, in its list of the top metro areas in the U.S. for new and expanded corporate facilities in 2008

The ranking focused on areas with a population of one million or more and was based on data submitted by the Cincinnati USA Partnership, the economic development initiative of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

This is Cincinnati’s seventh consecutive year on the top 10 list of Site Selection, one of the top trade publications in the corporate real estate and economic development field.

The State of Ohio also fared well in Site Selection’s yearly analysis, winning the 2008 Governor’s Cup Award for the most new and expanded facilities. This is the third year in a row that Ohio has held this position."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back to School

Many years ago, I made a series of decisions that I later came to regret. Among the most significant of these decisions was the choice to drop out of college. I had lots of reasons for doing so, including not having a clue about what I really wanted to do with my life. Nonetheless, as the years went on I realized that it was a hasty and ill-informed choice to make.

Some years later I was able to go back to school for a couple of years and earn an Associate Degree in Audio/Video Production. That was a great thing because I finally found a vocation that I really enjoyed and had passion for. And it put me on a weird journey that led to where I am today. But even while I've been incredibly grateful for that education and how God has used that on my journey, I've still had a nagging itch of sorts in the back of my brain that bugs me every now and then for not having finished a four year degree.

But now I have a chance to scratch that itch once and for all. In a few weeks I'll be heading back to school. I'll be enrolling in Cincinnati Christian University to (hopefully) finish a Bachelor of Science degree in Ministry and Leadership. I'll be going to school one night each week for about 4 hours. And providing all my previous credits transfer, I'll be able to finish in two years.

I'm incredibly excited right now. This is one of those things that I always hoped for but never really thought would come about. I'll probably be considerably less excited in six months, but for right now it's a great feeling. I think Vicki's nuts for letting me do it. She's already put up with two years of VLI. But then again, I thought Vicki was nuts for marrying me and I still think she's nuts for staying with me. So since her sanity is already in question I might as well make the most of it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Few Random Thoughts

Is there anyone- ANYONE- in public life that actually pays their taxes? Geez...this is getting ridiculous.

Government won't create the jobs needed to get us out of the economic mess we're in. People will. It will be common people who create not only new jobs but new industries that we don't even know of yet. It will take time, but it will happen. And I love Obama, but the government is not going to fix this.

I watch too many crime shows. But if you're my friend and you ever get arrested, do me a favor: shut up and get a lawyer.

I never cease to be amazed that our volunteer teams on the weekends do a better job technically than a lot of evening news shows that I watch. C'mon...the weather person is on at the same time every night...you should know when to open the microphone!

Madoff is just the latest example of what greed can do to otherwise smart people. How many times in life are we told, "If it sounds too good to be true..."

Even if I wanted to I couldn't get mad at Michael Phelps.

I haven't followed baseball closely in years, but I'm excited that pitchers and catchers report to training camp in a week or so. Maybe that just makes it feel more like spring isn't that far off. It feels like this has been a loonnnggg winter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The "D" Word

OK, so after a long time ignoring the obvious, I've decided I have to start paying attention to one thing in my life that I really have no desire at all to pay attention to: my weight. When Vicki and I got back from Gatlinburg, I did the one thing no sane human being should do after a vacation. I stepped on a scale. And it said I weighed 240 lbs. What the?!? I tried it again the next day and it wasn't much kinder...239.

I've tried to diet only once before in my life (and that was when I weighed about 15 pounds less than I do now!). Vicki and I did the South Beach low carb diet for maybe 6 weeks. I lost 15 pounds, but I was miserable. I don't know what it was, but I was ticked off all the time. Apparently carbs are really happy juice in disguise.

Anyway, I started exercising again right away. I actually like exercising, so that's not a problem. The thing is, I know myself pretty well by now. Exercise alone will get rid of the first 5 pounds, and pretty quickly. But then if I don't do anything else to change my eating habits, I'll be stuck. In the past, that hasn't been that big of a deal. But being stuck at 235 isn't going to work. I need to get back down to some realistically healthy weight.

I had gotten on the Spark People website (http://sparkpeople.com) after Dave spoke on the Physical Life as part of the One Life series. So a few days ago I started to use it to figure out what I need to do to lose weight. Apparently, I need to eat less! Well, really it was way more helpful than that. it gave me a target range of calories per day that theoretically over the course of a year will help me reach a target weight of 200 lbs. Secretly, I'd be thrilled if I got back down to 220, but according to the BMI calculator I should be more like 190-200.

So we're counting calories. The Spark People website actually makes it fairly easy, although you have to figure out their website first. It almost has too much information. But once you figure it out, it's really very helpful. It will be interesting to see if it helps me stick with a program this time. At least so far I'm not ticked off!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Perfect timing



Vicki and I have come to Gatlinburg for a few days of rest and relaxation. On our way here it started to snow around Knoxville, and got heavier the closer we got to here. For whatever reason, Tennessee must be the perfect place for snow. It sticks to the trees and hills and rooftops but (at least for now) not on the streets. Brilliant!!

Just outside of town we found ourselves driving through a winter wonderland. We stopped and got checked into our hotel room and then went back out and drove to the Smoky Mountains National Park. I can't tell you how absolutely, stunningly beautiful it was there. It's funny how the same snow that can make a wreck of the streets of Cincinnati can take on a completely different aura given the right setting. Our waitress at dinner told us it hasn't snowed like this in the two years she's lived here.

We came down here hoping to get a break from the cold weather in Cincy. We didn't get rid of the cold, but we got something much better than we were hoping for. God's got such good timing, don't you think?

Monday, January 5, 2009

New year, new project?


Vicki and I have been toying around with the idea of remodeling our kitchen for a couple of years now. We have a tiny galley kitchen that's both ugly and inefficient. Because of the way our house is laid out, there's no way to make the kitchen any larger, but we know we can make better use of the space that's there.

The problem is, it's a pretty expensive proposition. And it's made more expensive by the fact that several walls in our kitchen have brick on them that Vicki hates. That means the brick needs to come off the walls which will destroy the plaster behind the brick in the process. So all the plaster needs to come off and be replaced with drywall. And while we're at it we want to replace the flooring and the cabinets and most of the appliances.

So, here's the funny part. We're thinking about doing most of the work ourselves. We went to Ikea today and found a layout that we like that would work in our kitchen- we think. We figure we can do most everything besides hanging and finishing the drywall ourselves. So now I'm just trying to figure out if this is a really good idea and a smart way to save money, or if we've gone completely insane.