Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Things will likely be sparse here this week. This Thursday is the last week of my college class and I have a personal 6-page paper due and a 12-page paper from my learning team. I also found out that the person that was going to teach for me this Wednesday was called out of town for his job. Now I have to scramble and come up with something to teach to the kiddies. At least some of the pressure is off; we won't be doing music this week.

I was able to make some good progress on the power shed Saturday. We may be running off the inverter before too much longer. There is a one-week break between this class and the next, so I will have some uninterrupted time to work on things. Sunday was typical. We didn't have anything after church, so we were able to come straight home and chill out. Well, I had homework, but what's new. At least we didn't have to be anywhere. Yesterday was just work and homework until around midnight. As usual for me, writing papers is slow work. The biggest problem is the need to hit a certain page count instead of just saying what I have to say and ending. I was taught to be concise. If something could be said in a sentence, don't write a paragraph; if something could be said in a paragraph, don't write a page; etc. Because of that teaching, I have a hard time "fluffing up" a paper to hit the required page count. Gotta love modern education.


I heard a good one on NPR's Marketplace this morning. Some British guy was preaching how great the world will be when everyone has an ID chip, RFID tags track everything we own, etc. While admitting that Big Brother would be watching our every move, his conclusion was "Relax! It's good for business!" Great philosophy; it's OK to turn the world into a police state as long as the stock market keeps going up. Like a brainless, former coworker once told me, "I don't care what happens as long as my 401K keeps going up." Maybe we deserve the current transformation from citizens into subjects.

Granholm continues to make a complete pain in the arse of herself. A couple weeks before the filing deadline, she decided to save money by requiring 1099's to be submitted on magnetic media instead of paper. Great idea, but dumping that on people in the middle of January when the filing deadline is January 31 is just plain stupid. Now she's doing the same thing for the Michigan 1040's, again only a couple weeks before the filing deadline. All tax preparers that do more than 200 tax returns are required to file their clients' Michigan tax returns electronically. This is all to save money, of course. Expect to see an audit about five years from now stating that millions of dollars were lost because of computer errors, media problems, and the staff being overwhelmed. Good job Jenny! That giant sucking sound you hear is Michigan going down the toilet!


Another interesting article on what is and isn't life. And the search is on for the source of methane on Mars. Either possibility is interesting. We could learn a great deal from a lander sitting on fresh lava. The second possibility is, of course, dynamite. But I've talked about that before. The next five years could prove interesting for evangelicals.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Yesterday turned out to be long and hectic. I messed up and thought I had another can of gas for the generator, but I didn't. The truck was almost empty as well. I was trying to get my homework done before I left for class, but I had to cut that short to stop by the gas station and still meet up with my ride. By some miracle, I got to our meeting place on time. After half an hour went by, I thought I had better check messages at home and see what was up. Sure enough, he had called to tell me that he was sick and wouldn't make it. I headed off to school, which went pretty well. The drive home was interesting; monsoon rains up to Cadillac, then rain and light fog getting heavier until Manton where it was pea soup. I drove between 15 and 25 mph the rest of the way home. I fell into bed at 2:00am this morning.

We had an appointment at the bank to re-mortgage the house to cover all the money we spent last year that we've been floating from credit card to credit card. That took a couple hours, but it's done and we should be setting good. Everything will be automatic from my check to the account at Northwest Bank, then auto-paid on the mortgage the first of every month. We don't do anything.

After work, I'm meeting Debbie at Ruby Tuesday for dinner, then we have a deacon/deacon's wives gathering tonight at one of the deacon's house.

Well, gotta run.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The deacons' meeting last night went late. Lots of hard questions about the current state of the church (and the Church). I had a long conversation with pastor afterwards about some unrelated subjects. The bottom line is that I rolled into our place around 12:30am this morning, did some homework, then fell into bed around 2:00am. That made getting up this morning interesting.

Anyway, busy day at work, then youth group tonight. That will make for another late night. I have to finish my part of my study group's final project before Wednesday at some point. Probably 2am tomorrow morning. At least it isn't my turn to drive to Grand Rapids.


Opportunity is sitting on a Mars beach. I know that 99% of the people in this country are more concerned about Courtney Love's breasts on The David Letterman Show (specifically how they can adjust the TV to make that fuzzy stuff go away...), but it's hard to explain how big this is. How much bigger it could become. Anyway, I've said it all before. This is just one more piece of an exciting puzzle.


Speaking of breasts, I think the FCC is fighting a losing battle on the breasts-on-TV front. If Bush is re-elected, that may delay the day of full frontal nudity on American broadcast television by a few years. But we will eventually follow the example of the Europeans where full frontal nudity has been a staple for several years. I know that conservatives like to blame Hollywood, but the bottom line is that we will have fully nude people prancing around on normal broadcast and cable television (they've been in the theaters and pay channels for decades) because that is what the vast majority of people want to watch. I give it a few years for female breasts on the after-11pm shows with full nudity to follow given the inevitable quest to see who can push the envelope further faster.

Anyway, I need to hit the road.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Well, Monday was a Monday. All day. On the way to work, the Check Engine light came on in the truck. I have On-Star, so I hit the big blue button, a very agreeable lady came on the line, performed a remote diagnostic. According to her, the truck was sending a very serious code related to the transmission. I headed for the dealership, left the truck there with the information that On-Star had given me, and walked to Burger King to wait for Debbie to come to work. The phone is still in the cabin, so calling her to come pick me up didn't make any sense, and her work, the dealership, and Burger King are all about a five-minute walk apart. After she showed up to work, I walked over and took her Tracker back the cabin and worked from home. I came back into town around 4:30pm and stopped to pick up the cabinet screws for the bathroom medicine cabinet, then went by the dealership to see how many millions of dollars they were going to rip me off for. Of course, according to their transmission mechanic, there were no stored codes in the transmission for today, just some old ones from a couple months back. He drove it around to try to see if it would code again. Of course it didn't. So no problem, but I still had to pay $75.

Thanks, On-Star!!!

Actually, it's hard to assign blame; on the one hand we have a proven-to-be-incompetent garage. On the other, an unproven system staffed by people that I am certain are neither experts in electronics or mechanics. It's hard to say who's wrong. In any case, the code is gone and the Check Engine light is off. The dealership said it was probably the cold. Great. I have a $45,000 Like a Rock (tm) Chevy that can't operate when the temperature is below freezing. According to the dealership, it also cannot be reliably operated in any environment that contains ice, snow, slush, mud, or dust. One supposes wet pavement doesn't do too much damage...

At least the evening was normal. By the time we made and ate dinner, the evening was more or less over. I did some reading for school, then fell into bed.

So that was yesterday. The weekend was uneventful. Saturday, we picked up the medicine cabinet for the bathroom. Other than changing the oil in the generator, that was pretty much the day. My brother-in-law came over Sunday after morning services and helped install the cabinet. They only sent three cabinet mounting screws. The cabinet is four feet long, so I felt it need more support than that. Like I said above, I picked those up Monday and finished the job. We had a youth event after Sunday evening service, so we didn't get home until 10pm. One of the teens needed to talk, so I was on the phone with him until 11:30pm.

So now that everyone is caught up, I don't have much to say about today. Work, then a fast trip to Rapid City for a hair cut, then back-track into Kalkaska for the monthly deacons' meeting at the church. I need to lay some heavy stuff on everyone tonight, so it will be interesting to see how long the meeting goes.

That's pretty much a rap.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Survived week three of MGT313. This class is certainly going a lot faster than the last. I feel like I'm actually getting something out of it. There is a 10-12 page paper due in class five, so if things get a little spotty here, that's what I'm doing.

The weather is starting to settle into the typical Michigan spring pattern of sunshine, snow, rain, sleet, slush, and mud. All within a five minute time period. The temps are fluctuating from the teens to nearly fifty degrees F, so you're never sure what you should be wearing.

Not much else to talk about other than that we will be heading up north to Pelston tomorrow to pick up our bathroom vanity/cabinet. It will be nice to actually be able to see what I'm doing when I shave. I'm still picking away at our power situation trying to get things hooked together and working. It looks like at least two of the batteries are beyond saving. That will cost around $600 to replace. We really need more capacity, but we can't afford it right now. Once the heating season is over, I can at least cut down the amount of time the generator is running. If I can get even some of the batteries in shape, that will help as well. With the trip to Pelston, it won't be likely that I get much done this weekend.


There doesn't seem to be much going on other than the Pakistan action against al-Qaeda suspects. It's been an open secret since we invaded Afghanistan that the Taliban and al-Qaeda were drifting in and out of Pakistan with the support of at least some Pakistan military and government elements. How high those reached has never been clear, but everyone pretty much accepted that any serious attempt to root out al-Qaeda would result in the overthrow of the current government. People openly friendly with al-Qaeda in control of nukes seemed to be the nightmare scenario no one wanted to even talk about. Conventional wisdom says that this action by Pakistan's central government will meet with strong resistance in the Taliban-controlled areas of the country. If we are lucky, the Taliban got the message of Afghanistan: we will remove anyone from power who harbors our enemies. The problem is that we have muddied that message with our subsequent actions. Iraq has no nukes; we don't like Iraq; we invade Iraq. North Korea is strongly suspected of having nukes; we don't like North Korea; we file a sharply worded protest with the UN. One can only hope that the Taliban doesn't learn the lesson those actions seem to teach. Musharraf isn't all that popular in his own country and barely controls the Taliban areas and parts of his military. The Taliban are a lot closer to obtaining nukes that, say, Iran. All the hard work has been done; all they have to do is topple Musharraf, which may not take much of a push.

And while we are distracted by the Middle East, things are heating up in Taiwan. Someone tried to assassinate the president, and France and China are planning joint military operations in the Taiwan Strait. China generally makes this a regular feature of Taiwan elections as an implicit threat to not elect anyone with a strong nationalist bent. Why the frogs are butting in is unclear to me, other than to be the typical pain.


The Mars rovers are reaching the end-game. NASA is turning off the collision-avoidance software so they can cover more ground in the little time they have left. Both have collected strong evidence for something remarkable: liquid water on Mars. Not just flash floods triggered by volcanoes or meteor strikes. Lots of standing water for a very long time. I suspect Mars is now the top priority at NASA. There are more probes and a sample return mission already on the board. Now NASA knows exactly where to go and what to look for. It wouldn't surprise me to see more surface missions added, and sooner rather than later. Evidence of microbial life on Mars will shake things up pretty good. Maybe this will be the spark to revive the interest in human space exploration that died with the Apollo program. Consider: these rovers have spent three months covering an area not much larger than a baseball field. A human geologist, even encumbered with a p-suit, could have been far more thorough and gathered far more data in a single EVA than the rovers have. Plus, we would have samples to study with every piece of lab equipment available at our leisure back on Earth. Rovers are a first step and can help us know where to send the people and what they should be looking for, but we should be way past that point in 2004.

And it is nearly time to go home, so I need to wrap things up here at work.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

It's Thursday, so that means I'm in Grand Rapids. The nice thing about blogging is that I can update from anywhere. Much more convenient than the old way. I never got around to posting yesterday from work because I was trying to catch up on homework. But I see Debbie picked up my slack.

I think there must be something in the water in Lansing that makes all the politicians retarded. Some whiny woman was going on about how horrible, racist, and no good car insurance companies are because they charge people that live in Detroit more than people who don't. For people with IQ's over 80, I think that falls into the "well, duh" catagory. Where am I more likely to crash my car? Rush hour on I-75 or driving more or less alone on Plum Valley Road in Rapid City, Michigan? Is my car as likely to be stolen from the Munson parking lot as it is from a lot on 8 Mile? I guess if you make a political career out of race baiting, and don't have enough intelligence to do anything else, you will grasp at anything.

Well, I'm supposed to be working with my learning team, not blogging. Later.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Happy St Patrick's Day!
I guess I will have my turn when I want to post my meandering thoughts on our new site. More later--
time for me to get back to work.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I got a lot of small jobs done last night. I had intended to get online and check e-mail, but I never got that far. Instead, I typed up the minutes from the last deacon board meeting, printed out music and song sheets for Wednesday's youth group and at least started looking at some of my homework for Thursday. There is a lot of reading, so I'll need to crank that out tonight. I do have to write a paper on stress and burn-out. That ought to be easy; stress and burn-out have been pretty much my life for the last year and it keeps getting worse. There just seems to be more and more to do and less time to do it in. I did get one reprieve; it doesn't look like anyone will be going to the State Teen Bible Conference this year. I'm disappointed in a way because it's a good boost for the teens and for me. But I really couldn't afford to loose another weekend of working on the house. I have  to start making some serious progress.

It looks to be a nice day today, although it started out cold. The truck temperature was only 19 degrees F this morning. The weather liars are saying it will hit 40. We'll see.


Granholm, the govenor of Michigan, made some big speech yesterday. One thing that caught my attention was that, according to her, not enough Michigan high school graduates are going to college and that's why the high tech businesses aren't flocking to Michigan and why the economy stinks (it really isn't that bad, but we all know how to tell a politician is lying; their lips are moving...). In fact every high school graduate must attend college to save the Michigan way of life, blah. blah, blah. Every  high school graduate? Is this woman on dope? Think about the people you graduated with. I doubt more than half of them have any business in a liberal arts college. Trade school? Great idea. Tech school? Wonderful. College? No way! Our colleges are already struggling with masses of freshman who can't read, write, or do simple math without using their fingers. Our govenor now wants to cram people who are even less  qualified into our colleges. And for what? I don't care how many years of school you force them to take, someone on the left side of the IQ bell curve will never  be a computer programmer or an engineer. That same person could be a fantastic electrician or plumber or car mechanic, but he can be those things without a liberal arts degree. Me thinks Ms. G must have put a little too much coke up her nose at some point in her life.

In Iraq, two car loads of people were machine-gunned to death in "drive by" shootings yesterday. One was a bunch of Baptist missionaries trying to get a water treatment plant working. No good deed goes unpunished. Expect to see more of this. Our military has done an excellent job of containing the worst of the large-scale attacks, but there is not much anyone can do about small-scale random violence committed by people that can simply disappear into the general population. The war zones in nearly every American city are a good parallel. What are you going to do? Arrest everyone? We could try the Roman method; kill one hundred people for every Roman soldier killed. No concern over guilt or innocence. Simply kill the first one hundred people you find. If you do that four or five times, the local populace becomes very effective at self-policing simply from a sense of self-preservation. We won't do that, and I'm not sure that I would want to live in a country that would. But then again, I don't think it is possible to carry freedom into the Muslem world on the points of our bayonets. Our president and his neo-conservative advisors seem to think they can. If Kerry has a single functioning brain cell (not something I would assume out of hand) he will re-run Nixon's 1972 campaign; law and order in our streets, and bring our soldiors home.

Spain: Laura Mansfield has an interesting commentary on the WorldNetDaily site. I'm not sure I completely agree, but she may not be far off. It's worth reading in any case. One thing is certain; giving the enemy what it demands after an attack simply guarantees more attacks. But the question is, does al-Qaida care what we are doing in Iraq? On the one hand, it's pretty clear there were at best tenuous ties between Sadaam and al-Qaida. On the other hand, there is a big difference between running away in the middle of the fight and choosing to not go and fight in the first place. The countries with military forces in Iraq are essentially forced to stay at this point, until we can get the situation on the ground stabilized. Talking about how things would be if we hadn't invaded falls into the shoulda, woulda, coulda catagory, unless we are prepared to learn from the experience when faced with similar situations in the future. Given recent history, there doesn't seem to be much chance of that. But maybe now we will look at what I think it is still an open question; whether or not having troops stomping about in Muslim holy places supresses or invigorates terrorism.

And that should be enough.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Whew! I'm glad the weekend is over so I can go to work and rest. The fun started on Friday. Debbie and I took the day off work to go to a leadership conference in Grand Rapids with a dozen or so people from our church. I intended to use the morning to catch up on some chores. I started with an oil change for the generator. That turned out to be a big mistake; after I changed the oil, the generator wouldn't stay running. So we dragged it down to the garage, took the truck to the cabin, loaded up the other generator, dragged it up the hill and hooked it all up. Everything worked ok at that point, but we were out of time. So we missed the Friday session at the conference. We put the time to good use doing a lot of things that have needed to be done for weeks.

The snow continues to fall. We had several inches of wet snow Friday. I had no time to plow so I had to make some fast arrangements to get the church parking lot cleared off for Sunday. Fortunately, the one thing that is abundant in Kalkaska is snow plows. We made some other phone calls to make sure we had all our bases covered for Saturday, and fell into bed around 11pm.

Saturday, the alarm went off at 5am to get to the church by 6:30 to catch our ride to Grand Rapids. At least I didn't have to drive. The conference was awesome, as always. It will take weeks just to digest all the information that was thrown at us. We got home around 7pm, had "dinner" at Dairy Queen, and chilled until bed time.

Sunday morning, up early and off to the usual stuff for Sunday: Bible Study, Morning Worship, lunch, nap, choir practice, Evening Worship. After evening service, most of the people that were at the conference headed over to a couple's house that lives out by us, for some food (naturally) and to share what we found interesting, thought-provoking, etc. at the conference. We ended up hanging around afterwards talking until after midnight. After getting home and taking care of everything, I fell into bed around 1:30am.

Monday morning was still cold, blowing and snow. This is really enough. We've started talking seriously of moving to St. Kitts. I never thought I wouldn't like winter, but I'm just tired of it right now.

And the weather gods have taken mercy. Shortly after arriving at work, the clouds blew out and the sun started shining. The temperature is still only 28 degrees F; slightly below average. The weather liars are saying it's supposed to get back up above freezing tomorrow and stay there, but I've heard that line before.

Not much planned for tonight. I need to drag the laptop to the cabin, check e-mail, download some information for my homework, then get busy on the reading for class on Thursday. There is probably a paper due or some such; that always takes me a lot of time. I write very slowly (which is helpful to those that can't read very fast...) largely because I'm never quite happy with how I've phrased something or supported some point. The end result never satisfies me, but it seems to make the instructors happy.


Haiti continues to be a boil on the face of the earth. Aristide seems determine to die a martyr; I say let him. He has advocated class warfare the entire time he has been in power and this weekend's events are pretty much the expected result. True there are horrid inequities in Haiti, but somehow I don't think destroying the nations infrastructure and means of production is going to elevate the poor into the middle class. I could be wrong on that, but I don't think I am.

Spain suffered a loss of life in the bombings on Thursday proportionally equal to the deaths we suffered on 9/11. And no, it wasn't Basque separatists. Expect similar attacks in other major western cities to follow. Islam has declared war on the West and the sooner we pull our heads out of our butts and realize these are not isolated, individual incidents, the sooner we can stop playing cop in Iraq and truly engage our real enemy: Islam. But we won't. That would be intolerant and no "crime" carries a heavier stigma in our society today. Ah well, we had a good run. Better than most. We can take comfort in that as we weaken ourselves internally and die slowly from a thousand cuts from the outside.

Iraq: the meatgrinder continues as does the trickle of body bags. I see there are rumors of a "selective draft." What a splendid idea; send the best and brightest oversees to be blown up by suicide bombers and leave the dull, witless, and lazy to run things (into the ground, one supposes) back home. Just splendid.

Enough. Lunch is long over and I need to get some things done.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The weather managed to stay nice all day yesterday. Too bad I only experienced it through a window. Homework and getting ready for youth group tonight consumed the entire evening.

Anyone contemplating purchasing a Mac should see this first. Pretty funny stuff. The problem is that there is more truth there than most Mac worshippers... er... users would like to admit.

Martha Stewart revisited: What is important about this case is where is indicates the US is heading. It's not a positive direction. Go read Jerry Pournelle's mail for Tuesday. Then read this. Then be afraid; very afraid.

On a related note we have Fred Reed's most recent column.

And I think I've depressed everyone enough.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Today started a little gray, but turned into a great day, weather-wise. No big plans other than working all day, finishing up homework for Thursday, and getting a lesson ready for youth group tomorrow. I already have a good idea of what we will be covering, so I should be able to get that together in a couple hours.

I had intended to get my homework done last night, but I wasn't feeling great and ended up falling asleep on the couch when I was supposed to be reading. I went to bed early and still could barely drag myself out of bed this morning. Spring thaw is always a rough time for me, so I'm hoping that's all it is and not something serious coming on.


Haiti continues to exterminate itself and it's all our fault because the Marines won't go charging all over the country killing people. Of course, if we did, I'm sure the same people would be pissin' and moanin' about human rights violations. To add insult to injury, that worthless nigroid Aristide is suing the United States for "kidnapping." Fine. I say we dump his stupid black ass back in Port-au-Prince and withdraw the Marines. I figure he'd stay alive for all of five minutes. We'd be doing the Haitians and humanity a favor. The Congressional Black Caucus is sticking it's nose into this as well. Like any of them have a clue as to what really happened (Side note: Are their whites in the Black Caucus? If not, isn't that racist? Can there be a White Caucus?). In my opinion, the fact that members of congress align themselves with scum like Aristide because he is the same race disqualifies them from serving in congress on grounds of diminished IQ. But that's just my opinion. Of course this is my blog; if you don't agree start your own blog.


Evidence for substantial water on Mars continues to trickle in (ha). NASA is being very careful in their announcements; this is such a huge thing I'm sure the pressure is immense to get it right. Understand we are not talking about flash flooding as a result of ice melt from an asteroid impact or some such. These are multiple layers laid down over a long time in standing water. In the past, the best evidence always had a non-water explaination. This time, there isn't one. It was water, lots of it, for a long time. This could get interesting; a wet Mars will immediately trigger a no-holds-barred search for microbial fossils. The results of that research could be a huge body blow to fundamental Christianity and creationism.

And that's likely enough for now. I need to finish eating (which I can't do while typing) and get back to work.

Monday, March 08, 2004

The weather this weekend was typical for Michigan in March; utterly miserable. Saturday wasn't too bad, just gray and raining. Then at some point during the night it switched to snow. It never got below freezing, so it was a couple inches of wet slop on top of all the mud from the rain.


Snow of course meant I needed to get to church early to plow the parking lot. We didn't make it very early, so we were plowing around people trying to park and walk into the church. Other than that little adventure, it was a typical Sunday of teaching, morning service, evening service, etc. The one atypical part was a farewell party after the evening service for our interns that are heading back to their home church. Being Baptists, there was food. Of course. In any case, we wish Dave and Megan well as they continue to prepare for the mission field in Brazil.

When we got home last night we watched Bruce Almighty. It was pretty funny. It's too bad that there are a couple scenes and some language that make it unsuitable for use in the youth group. One theme in the movie regarding answers to prayer is that what is good for you may not be good for someone else (or everyone else), which is something we discuss a lot. In any case, it was a good way to relax before bed.

What can you say about Monday's other than they are Monday. Friday, I had brought home all the stuff I was working on for Munson. I took it out of my backpack to make room for the stuff I needed for Sunday, so guess where it was when I got to the hospital this morning? Yep. At home. (sigh) I had some other less urgent things to keep me busy for the morning, then drove home and worked the afternoon from the cabin. Being brain dead is so wonderful.

On the political front:

Is everyone sick of presidential politics yet? Well guess what; we get to listen to this crap for seven more months. We were looking at getting a good antenna for the house so we could at least have the basic broadcast stations, but I don't know if I want to. At least home is a No-Kerry-Bush Zone. This would be a good time to be out of the country.

Haiti - now here is some encouragement for those that think Iraq will be a stable democracy by 2005. We've been mucking around down there for over a decade and the place has no functioning police, military, courts, or government. This is right in our backyard, dealing with a culture we at least have some inclination of how it works. How we will ever succeed in Iraq, I have no clue. Worse, I don't think those in charge have a clue either.

Speaking of Iraq, we continue to feed a soldier a day into the meat grinder. Meanwhile a bunch of unelected, unrepresentative people signed a piece of paper. Wow. Iraq is a good example of why democracies are not stable. The people that founded this country were smart enough to know that and created a republic instead. We seem to have lost that knowledge somewhere along the way. If we create a democracy in Iraq, it will be one man, one vote, once, followed by civil war. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear I won't be.

Martha Stewart - Jerry Pournelle has a good analysis of what this verdict really means. As Jerry often says, at least we were born free...

SCO - Now these morons are suing Daimler-Chrysler. I worked for krauts for many years. They have a very low BS threshold. Between IBM and D-C, it won't matter how much money Bill Gates gives them, they are dead men walking. (Random thought: If the Mafia uses Linux that could be literally true. Could we get that lucky?)

Well, that should be enough to keep everyone busy for a bit.

Friday, March 05, 2004

I survived another late-night drive home from college. It was raining and 44 degrees F in Grand Rapids when I left. The temperature dropped steadily as I drove north. By the time I got to the truck stop outside of Reed City it was only two degrees above freezing. I had hoped to get some info on conditions further north from some of the truckers, but everyone there was heading the same way I was. I hit freezing rain in Cadillac (no surprise there) but 131 hadn't started to ice up yet. I managed to get home around 1:30am this morning.

We should have received our grades from the last class, but didn't. This is typical of what we had to put up with throughout the class. Normally, I know what my grade is going to be, but in this case, I have no clue. There is no excuse for running a class in such a disorganized manner.

I didn't get to work this morning until 9:30am, so I'll be sitting here half the evening. The plan is to have dinner at my parents house so we can check on things and water all my mom's plants (the parental units are basking in 70 degree temps in Florida). While we are there, we can watch Joan of Arcadia  and whatever else is on the boob tube. We can't get any reception in the basement and there currently isn't a TV in the cabin. We really haven't missed it much, but there are a few shows we like to catch and Joan  is one of them. This way we kill two birds with one stone. We get to watch our shows and we fulfill our obligation to check on the parents' place and try to keep my mom's plants alive. We both have a black thumb, so that is more of a challenge that it sounds.

Anyway, lunch is over and I have a lot of typing to do today. Fun stuff.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Bad news first thing this morning. My wife found out that a former interim pastor of ours died last night. He was at our church when my Grandmother died and got my mom and her sisters through a pretty rough patch. I didn't have a chance to talk to my mom before I had to hit the road this morning, so I don't know how she is taking it. I'd like to be able to go to the funeral, but at this point, no one has any information.

In any case, it's Thursday, so that means that I'm off to school to get ejukated. We are starting a new class this week. I hope it will be better than the last one. We had the instructor in a previous class, so I'm hopeful. Part of the problem is the material. I'm in a series of management classes (my degree is a BS in Management, so go figure...) that just seem to be very repititious. This string of four classes could easily be consolidated down to two, maybe even one, without changing what is covered. I'm also not that interested in the material. It has been very difficult for me to maintain any level of interest in what I'm doing. I didn't want this program to turn into just checking off boxes; I wanted to learn and use what I was learning. I just keep telling myself that it's only ten more weeks, then I get back into the kind of classes I enjoy.

Yesterday evening, I found myself deep in some serious conflict at the church. The conflict part is nothing new; sometimes I think that's all ministry is. What's ugly this time around is that instead of a conflict about ideas, this is a personal attack on me. I don't see a positive outcome at this point, but who knows. I've run for public office in the past, so I've seen dirty politics up close and personal. But secular politics has nothing on church politics for just pure venom.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

As much as I dislike the term "blog" the concept is irresistable. I guess I'll join the sheep and share my boring life with the world. Actually, this will eventually replace my current web site which has essentially morphed into a blog.

Not much to say today. The weather here in northern Michigan is gray and depressing; about par for March. Today is work and youth group. We will be continuing a discussion of creation vs. evolution. It's not much of a debate in my mind; the evidence for an ancient earth is simply overwhelming. The problem is that I can't come out and say that. All I can do is poke holes in the "scientific creationism" positions (unsupported assertions, really). I'm sure I'll get hammered by the church leadership for what I'm doing at some point, but for now, I'm getting away with it.

If anyone is really interested in studying up on the origins question, The Talkorigins archive is the best place to start.

Well, lunch hour is nearly over, so I guess I will get back to work.