Victory is mine!

November.29.2004



This past weekend was quite possibly one of the single greatest moments in playing card sports history. In what can only be called an “instant classic” I finally won a game of Killer Bunnies. It was nothing spectacular really. In fact, I question if I should have even been alive at the end of the game due to a lack of bunny (which in retrospect I notice as becoming a trend of mine in that game), but I purchased one right at the end to pull out the victory. No longer would I be denied victory by this glorious game. No more would I be a pawn in this cruel game of chance. I had finally arrived as a Killer Bunnies Champion!

Until the next game when I was completely annihilated once again.

That a side though, the weekend was great. My wife and I are now proud owners of our own stove, washer and dryer (all of which were given to us as gifts for free which is always welcome). I am literally counting down the days until we move into the house at this point. I can’t wait to start doing “house stuff.” I look forward to creating a place that is truly our own that I don’t have to worry about losing our security deposit when we try and move.

Some of the more interesting concepts for the house are the following:

1. Stadium seating in the TV/Computer/Videogame Room created with some mason blocks or maybe even a wooden platform if I feel really handy.

2. A coffee table made out of clear plexiglass which would also be the aquarium for my turtle in addition to any other aquatic life. Kills two birds with one stone: gives the turtle more space to roam around and it would be a great conversation piece.

3. Model train around the top of at least one room with potential for a tunnel into additional rooms in the future. This would probably go in the TV/C/VG room also.

4. Finish off the basement and turn it into a boardgame/pingpong area complete with laminated table tops for Risk, Killer Bunnies, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit…all the classics.

5. The previous owner has a makeshift darkroom established in the basement. I would like to see that come to completion so it is a working darkroom. It would really allow for some great art in the house as well as allow my wife to get deeper into a hobby she already enjoys.

And that is just the short list. I have big plans for this house. Big plans that will likely keep me busy until I am about 53 years-old. I just need to prioritize and start knocking them down. It will be a good time.

Don’t be deceived by the cute face and floppy ears. That mammal has a death wish…(more on this later)

So this weekend was pretty horrendous for me. I am actually quite surprised I even came to work today after the extreme beating I have just received. Let me recap:

Loss #1: Badgers Vs. Hawkeyes



I kind of had a feeling this one was coming. The Badgers were invincible for most of the season but once Michigan State derails you it is probably hard to rally back. And I am also convinced that to win away at any Big Ten school is pretty close to impossible.

Loss #2: Finding out my turtle is really a girl

This isn’t so much a loss as it is a kick in the pants. I have had a pet turtle for about 2 years now and was told it was a male when I bought it. Therefore I named it Stuart, a cute yet masculine name.

Well, on Sunday I went to the pet store to buy some turtle food and my wife and I were looking at the other turtles (she wants one of her own despite the fact that she is afraid to touch the one we already have). I was looking at them and noticed that some had vicious looking claws. I asked the store clerk why that was and I was told that was how you can tell if you have a male or female. The friggin’ claws.

So it turns out “Stuart” is really more of a “Stuarta.” Crap.

Loss #3: Winless streak at Killer Bunnies continues

For the past few weeks, my wife and I have been playing Killer Bunnies with Joshua.Michael and his wife. We always have a great time and the addition of the red deck was the equivalent of discovering America when all we knew was Europe.

Unfortunately, I have yet to win a single game. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not bitter about this, in fact, it is almost comical. If you are unfamiliar with the game, there is a great deal of luck involved, but I refuse to believe I am really this devoid of luck.

Last night was a crazy game that had momentum swing literally to every player before it finally ended. When all the carrots were gone, I had no bunny in front of me, therefore I lost my carrots along with my slim hopes of victory.

Loss #4: Videotape stops in the middle of the 3rd quarter

The one reason I didn’t want to go to play Killer Bunnies was because I wanted to stay home and watch the Packers play the Texans. I had a feeling it would be a good game (and it was), but I also wanted to spend time with our friends. I had some inner turmoil, but ultimately put my trust in a videotape and left to lose again at Killer Bunnies.

When we came home, I was careful not to see the score before I started the tape. I found myself fast forwarding through commericals at first and then between snaps and even through kickoffs. I just wanted to know the final score and go to bed (it was about 12:30 at this point).

And then it happened. The tape stopped. Half way through the 3rd quarter, Packers losing 13 to 3, and the tape stops. My weekend officially was in the crapper. Guess I’ll just have to look online…

Win #1 (and only): Packers beat Texans 16-13

I’m pretty sure God doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome of organized sports, but for some reason I prayed a little before I checked the final score. The game was already long over, but I didn’t care. In retrospect I think the movie Simon Birch put it best when it says that if God is concerned with our bake sales (or the outcome of a Packer game) we are all in a whole lot of trouble.

At any rate, I clicked on ESPN.com and quickly scanned the headlines: nothing. I look over to the sidebar and there it was: 2-min. Drill Sgt.: Favre, Pack win on final drive.

I swear I heard angels sining when I read that. I quickly clicked on the article and read over the game summary. Turns out after the tape ended the Packers got their act together and won the game as time expired on a 45-yard field goal (similar to the end of last week’s win over the Vikings). A wins a win though and the Packers are still in first place in the NFC North!

So that was my weekend in a nutshell. Filled with heartache and a roller coaster of emotions, it was a weekend for the ages. Sure hope Thanksgiving weekend is a little bit less of a downer. Not sure my heart can take many more of those!

Yesterday was interesting. Work was beyond crazy. I did a bunch of experiments and one of them gave such promising results that it has taken priority over almost everything else I do. I enjoy the challenge and the blatent direction, but it doesn’t do much for my already overloaded schedule.

My rather pathetic best friend ended up playing SOCOM 2 for about 3.5 hours last night. He was “waiting” for me to join him, but in the midst of me actually having a social life I didn’t get home until 11 PM. He was just quitting then. I told him I will play tonight, but I never know what my life will be more that 2 hours into the future.

I had a disturbing event happen to me yesterday as well. As I was coming home for lunch, I was traveling down one of the busiest streets in Mankato when blam-o out of nowhere a deer comes out and gets hit by the minivan in front of me. I watched the deer helicopter into the other lane (thankfully no cars were coming) and then the minivan pulled off to the side of the road. I looked back and saw the front of the van was totally bashed in but the driver was fine. I continued driving and figured everything was fine when I saw a 6-point buck running towards my car. Luckily I saw it coming and slowed down and honked my horn, turning him back into the residential area he came from.

I couldn’t help but think that if I had left work about five seconds sooner, I would have had a deer in my lap. My car is considerably lower to the ground than the minivan was and I’m pretty sure it would have been the end of my car. Sure would have been a headache to deal with.

Feeling pretty tired this morning. I really wanted to just stay in bed…forever.

We had the Turkey Hunt last night which was pretty fun. I was a little frustrated by some of the questions, but it’s no big deal. I don’t mind losing, I just don’t like losing when things aren’t fair. Probably a product of my overly competitive nature.

Then as soon as I got home, I started playing SOCOM 2. Seriously, that game is destroying me. I know the game is like a year old, but the online play is pretty amazing. Just being able to interact with people makes it so addicting. It doesn’t hurt that I get to play it with my best friend from Minneapolis too. Always a bonus.

Unfortunately all this chasing turkeys and killing virtual terrorists has gotten me pretty tired. I went to bed at 11:21 PM last night. I don’t think I will be up that late tonight. I would bet 10 at the latest. But then again, I have been wrong before…

Pretty busy day here at work. I am waiting for a phone call right now so I thought I would rattle this off before I forget. It’s looking like I will be putting in 50 hour weeks until the end of the year. If we hadn’t just bought a house I might be complaining, but we can use the money.

Speaking of which, in exactly one month we will be in our new house now! Kind of scary, but exiciting all the same. Last night a girl from the youth said she has some relatives that are willing to give us their washer and dryer for $60. It’s down in Iowa, but her dad is willing to get it for us. Sounds like an answer to prayer to me…

Wild Turkey Hunt

November.17.2004

Tonight should be interesting. We are having a “Wild Turkey Hunt” with the senior high youth I work with. Bear with me as I try to explain this ridiculous idea.

Okay, so we have a turkey locked in a cage. A real turkey. With claws. And a beak. We split the kids into groups (the small groups we meet in weekly) and we go around town trying to find clues, like a scavenger hunt. Each clue we find gives us a number. This number is then eliminated from the numbers on the padlock. At the end of the night we should have 3 numbers for the combination and be able to free the turkey.

That all sounds fine and good, but what happens when the turkey gets loose? Do I get to chase it? Is it going to claw my eyes out? I have concerns…

I am really looking forward to it though. I am excited whenever I get to hang out with my guys. They are all great. I am really lucky. They all respect me and it’s been great just watching them grow over this past year. It will be sad when they all finally go off to college, but at least I have a full four years with these guys. Hopefully I can have an impact on them in that time.

But back to the turkey. Last night I made a video in iMovie for it which is pretty hilarious. Let’s just say it has some classic music on it. The whole movie is about 4 minutes long, but I think the kids will like it. I hope so, I spent about 2 hours on the thing…

Pigskin Persecution

November.16.2004

Sorry it’s been a few days since I posted. I actually wrote a really long post on Saturday but then my computer crashed and I lost it before it got posted. Kind of frustrating.

On Sunday at church they had a special “Persecution Sunday.” I thought it was kind of weird to be almost celebrating something so horrible, but I am glad I was there. Pastor Murphy gave a great sermon on how little we know about persecution. He gave the example of how Christ often prayed for the world, even when the world wanted nothing to do with Him.

I found this really interesting and started looking at my life in light of this concept. Do I really know what persecution is as a Christian? Even if I was constantly spouting scripture and asking people “Do you know Jesus?” in the grocery store, would I be truly persecuted? Of course not. At best I would be looked at kind of funny.

As my mind continued to wrestle with this, I looked around the sanctuary at the few people who were wearing purple and gold. This Sunday was a very big deal in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The big Packers Vs. Vikings game. It was one of the games that people looked forward to all year long.

Being born in Wisconsin and moving to the home of the Vikings’ training camp certainly has it’s hurdles too. Even my wife is afraid to wear her bright yellow Packers hat in public. I have to reassure her that people won’t make fun of her (even though I know there is a good chance they will).

And that’s when it hits me. As a Christian, I am accepted and my message is more or ignored. But as a sports fan, I am looked at quite differently. I am despised for things that I haven’t even done. People dislike me for the team I associate with. Something seem backwards to you?

So what would it take to be persecuted as a Christian? Well, I don’t know. I suppose if I did something that made people angry, that would do the trick, but I’m not sure that is the goal. I mean, Christ made people angry, but not for being mean, just for being so different that he challenged their ideals of life.

Maybe that’s all it takes. Maybe all I really need to do is continue on with the ideas that the Bible presents (which are often in direct contrast to mainstream society) and eventually people will find my way of life so unnerving that I am persecuted…but do I want that either?

The Temptation of the Fog

November.12.2004

As I was pulling up to the parking lot at work today, I looked past about a 100 yards and saw a pretty mysterious looking cloud of fog. I normally would dismiss this as simple weather, but given my recent internal questions about my career, it seemed rather fitting.

Nearest to me was my place of work; easy to find and familiar. However just beyond that familiar scenery was a world that was covered in mystery. It could work out better than my current situation or it could mean I live a life of regret and “I wish” statements for at least a few months. In simple terms, leaving is a gamble.

That’s not to say I haven’t considered it though. I did a little research and found a position just across the street that might be more challenging than my current job. Heck, sometimes I think working at a grocery store would be more challenging though.

But in the end, as it is with most things in life, it comes down to people. Even if you work in the fog, you can still hear the voices of those that are important to you. Where I currently work I have a great group of friends (not just co-workers) who I know care about me and want me to succeed. I’m not sure I am willing to gamble all of that.

And even better than all of that, I have a group of people here who are willing to support me in my faith. I never thought I would have a job that would allow me to be encouraged by other Christians while I was working. My boss alone is one of my current Christian rolemodels. Not to mention that the president of my company sings in the worship band at my church on Sunday mornings. How great is it to work somewhere and know that the decisions they are making aren’t just to make money, but also keep in mind the teachings of Christ.

I guess that’s why the fog is so scary at times though. You never know what is lurking in there. Fortunately for me I don’t feel the need to risk venturing in there as long as I have such a rewarding situation right now.

For some reason I have a harder time dealing with Thursdays than I do with any other day of the week.

I know most people find Mondays to be the ending of all human existence, but they aren’t that bad really. You are typically coming off a weekend refreshed or at least with a few great stories to tell your coworkers. Tuesday is okay too since you are still not burned out and “at least it’s not Monday.” Wednesday is the official middle of the week making it a sort of mental milestone.

Then there is Thursday though. By now I am typically burned out and ready for it to be Friday. In addition to that, Thursday is typically the day that I fast.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting down on fasting. I love it. If I didn’t appreciate it, I wouldn’t be doing it. It can become a bit difficult considering the broken state my body is already in on Thursdays though. As if I wasn’t already under attack spiritually, I go and fast leaving myself even more open to attack. Good thing I have trust in my God.

So that’s my difficulty with Thursdays. They are a day of not quite being at the finish but being far enough from the start that you quite say you don’t want to run the race. You are committed to the week and you might as well limp across the finish line. Somedays I just wish the limping came with a little less effort.