Random Ramblings at 1:00am

I was hoping to write something prolithic this evening, but after a long day like today we’ll have to settle for random tidbits – very random…

-My iPod got shipped today!  That’s awesome news!  The bad news is that it’s coming from the other side of the planet – Shanghai China!  I was pretty surprised to find that it was coming directly from the plant, but I guess that’s what I get for asking for an engraved one…

Oh and if you’re curious about what I engraved on it (as I know you’re VERY INTERESTED: two lines from the Dave Matthews Band song – "Two Step": Celebrate we will, life is; short but sweet for certain – Very appropriate for my compulsive spending

As relaxing as last week was, this week is really kicking my butt…  It seems there are deadlines at every part of my life – work, school, NCSC – and they’ve all snuck up on me this week. Ugh..

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

Wow!  Where has the time gone!  One would think that not having school for a week, combined with a dead work-week would mean that I would have a lot of time to keep my postings updated, but somehow that wasn’t the case.  Part of it was pure laziness, but a good part of that is because things have been just as busy throughout the Thanksgiving break.  I hope everyone had a very nice Thanksgiving break.  Mine was fantastic.  It was filled with good food, good times with family, and a nationally-televised Broncos win on Thanksgiving day was the cherry on top!

It would be pretty boring to offer a play-by-play account of my break, but I thought I’d offer some highlights and updates:

#1 Update on the Drummer Wannabe Situation

I’ve made many postings about this in the past, but this an update on the situation we have in our choir with the tambourine player.  Well last weekend we played the Mass of a Joyful heart, which has been the primary exposure of this issue, so I asked the guy running rehearsal if we could go through the Mass parts (even though they’re automatic for us), and while going through I finally stood up between the songs, went up to the tambourine player and politely told her that she’s using the incorrect technique.  By not holding the tambourine with your stationary hand, you’re causing the instrument to rattle during the off-beats, which is what’s causing phasing between the group.  I then spent a few minutes and showed her the appropriate way to play tambourine (and yes, there is an appropriate way to play a tambourine groove pattern – you don’t just rattle it around).

At that point I felt pretty good about myself, I took a moment that has been a proverbial thorn in my side and turned it into a teaching moment that was constructive.  I know the other people in the choir appreciated it, because I got a few winks and nods from other choir people. 

Unfortunately, while this effort was productive, we did not produce the desired result. Drummer Wannabe seemed so embarrassed about the "incident" that she put the tambourine away, picked up her mandolin or midget guitar (or whatever it is) and played that instead..  Since then one weekend has passed and while we did not play Mass of a Joyful Heart (we won’t until 2006), she left the tambourine back in the storage room.  I’m happy that we not longer have this issue, but I feel a little bad about her being embarrassed about it.  At the same time I tried to do what I could to constructively resolve the situation, so we’ll see what happens.

#2 Tragedy leads to stupidity

Well tragedy struck on Thanksgiving – and the victim is none other than my iPod.  On the evening of November 24th I broke out my iPod to share some music with my family, only to find that when the iPod powered up it produced this winding sound, as if it was having difficulty writing to a sector in the iPod hard drive.  Hoping that this was caused by a loose connector, I decided to perform surgery on my iPod.  Using a plastic guitar pick as my scalpel, I opened up the case only to find that all the connectors were securly fastened.  This leads me to the conclusion that my iPod’s hard drive is corrupt and needs to be replaced.  Finding a replacement hard drive is easier said than done.  An exhaustive search over the Internet left me with a few options.  I could pay anywhere from $175-250 for an unofficial replacement hard drive that isn’t even guaranteed to work, or I could send my iPod in to be repaired (which didn’t even offer any pricing estimates).

So here’s where the stupidity comes in…  After weighing my options, and taking everything under careful consideration, I found myself back on the Apple web site Friday night, putting a new iPod video in my shopping cart.  I entered my credit card digits in, and by this time next week I should have the new iPod…

Ugh…  So now I’m torn.  It’s horrible that here I am at Christmas time – buying something for myself.  Verrry considerate…  Also, it seems pretty dumb for me to throw money at something that barely lasted over a year for me.  On the other hand, I thought I did a pretty good job of getting my money’s worth out of my iPod.  I take it to work with my every day and plug it into my laptop, blasting tunes while I’m working.  I use it when I’m at the gym (which I need to be doing more during this time of year – but that’s another situation), I use my iPod when I’m practicing drums, the iPod is amazing for car-trips, and when I travel on planes listening to all of my music has greatly shortened all of my flights.  So I built up a little case of justifications to soothe my conscience.  But I still feel guilty and a bit impulsive…

More to come..  This week I am going to have to have a discussion that I really don’t want to have – about NCSC, J23 and where everything fits…  Basically I’m going to have to convince our University/Campus Ministers that we need to stay involved with NCSC.  The fact that I even need to have this conversation is frustrating to say the least.  We’ve been members for upwards of 15 years, and now ignorance is causing us to lag in our support…  My hope is that this is another "teaching moment" where I simply need to help make them aware of NCSC and how it benefits our Campus Ministry.  My fear is that they’re intentionally withdrawing from programs like these, and I’m going to turn this into a Campus Ministry/Parish debate…  We’ll see how things go…

Operation: Coldplay

Matt and I are now in the process of getting ready to execute Operation: Coldplay Ticket Grab.  Wish us luck!

My little "sure-fire way of getting tickets" isn’t working   So now to go to plan B and trust in our Fast Internet Connection…

Updates to come…

Update: Well, we got ’em!  Section 118, Row 17.  So we’re in the back, but we’re on the lower level so that’ll be pretty sweet  

I’m more bummed about my stategy not working…  Oh well.

A screen shot worth saving…

Something funny to share from last night…  Bethany was over and we were putting new music on her MP3 player from my collection.  I got everything set up on my computer to transfer music directly to her mp3 player and turned her loose (I actually went to practice some drumming).  Then Bethany mentioned something about not being sure if the files were copying over.  I got back on the computer to look at what was going on…  I shrunk down the two windows (the window with my music + the window for her mp3 player) and saw that there was a window saying "Waiting: The Creative Zen Mico (My Zen) is busy." I then dragged the window around, finding another window behind it, so I did it again, and again, and again…  Next thing you know, I have the screen shot below…  What’s funny is that the files were copying over, but it was only handling a series of files at a time (the others were waiting for that series to copy)…  Well, the picture’s worth a thousand words (click on the picture for a larger view):

We did end up copying the music over, but it took a while

Team West Retreat Successful!

Last weekend was a very exhausting and jam-packed, but also was one of the most amazing weekends I’ve had.  Last weekend we had our fall NCSC Team West retreat, bringing our regional team over to Fort Collins for the weekend.  Unfortunately our California members weren’t able to come out due to the distance, so our team was a big smaller this time, but we made up for our numbers through our accomplishments! 

With all of the chaos leading up to the retreat, I was getting nervous about what to expect.  In all of the difficulty of locking in a place, I wasn’t able to do all of the busy-work until Thursday night.  But through the grace of God I managed to get everything done, with time to spare.  I took Friday afternoon off from work to grocery shop and to get everything gathered.  Leanne came up early and was a big help as well.  We actually got done early enough to watch Batman Begins while we were waiting for everyone to drive in – not bad!

Everyone from New Mexico arrived about 7:30, and we got everyone settled and took them down to everyone’s favorite Fort Collins watering hold – Old Chicago’s!  It’s kinda funny because Old C’s was the first place the National Team went when everyone was in town.  We had a good team dinner and then we went to Walrus for ice cream.  We tried to keep Friday low-key considering we had to be up early the next day for the retreat.

Saturday we got up early (7:30ish) to eat breakfast and head over to the Scotch Pines Clubhouse for our retreat.  The clubhouse turned out to be pretty decent.  In some ways it was nicer than the space we would of had at Heatheridge – the view was a bit nicer and the rooms were broken out giving people more privacy if they wanted it.  They had this ugly red and green carpet, which basically looked like someone laid wrapping paper all over the floor. 

There was also this weird sculpture that was hung above the fireplace:

But during one of our breaks team members decided to decorate it (they called it "decorating the Christmas tree") with all of the random stuff that we brought for the retreat – mainly snack food.  Here is their work of art:

Ummmm Yeah….

The retreat was fantastic.  We ended up covering everything that we had in the schedule (wow!), and our discussions were engaging and thought-provoking.  I am really excited about our plans for our Regional Time at Conference.  I think we’ve put together the magic formula to keep students interested, to make them stakeholders in our regional success, and also to make discernment a worthwhile and life-giving process for everyone.

We also got our shirt design and banner figured out, began planning for LA Congress, and actually did our own leadership discernment process.  One of my favorite parts was at the end of the day, when one of the members of the Spirit Fire student leadership team at John XXIII joined us.  First he asked us some questions about our Conference experiences, and it was really neat to hear the diversity and wealth of experiences that everyone on the regional team has experienced.  Afterwards we had a good conversation about Evangelization, FOCUS and what are some things we can recommend to the future National & Regional leadership teams.  By the end we were all really tired, but we accomplished so much.  I am really happy about this weekend.

That night we went out on the town to celebrate our accomplishments, eating dinner at Hu-Hot Mongolian Grill, then went over to the Drunken Monkey, the new bar down the street.  They opened up a few weeks back, and they’ve really cleaned the place up.  The bar stools are actually swings hanging from the ceiling, and there’s actually a cage by the door, that I guess you need to dance in order to get out.  We had a lot of fun, as you can see below:

Again, we tried not to stay out too late, because we had an even earlier morning on Sunday.  We woke up at 6am (ugh) and drove down to Lafayette to go to Mass with Fr. Bob.  It was such a nice experience and a very enjoyable Mass, we then went out for our team breakfast (where I had to break out of early) and the team went home.  The rest of my Sunday was awesome as well.  I planned on going to to Sophia’s (my Goddaughter’s) dedication, which also happened to be in Lafayette.  But because of my inability to follow directions (arggh), I ended up being a 1/2 hour late and missing her dedication.  I was so bummed out and frustrated with myself.  I got to hang out with Sam and Sophie for the rest of the service, and we went back to their house afterwards for a nice lunch and some good times with their family – an awesome Sunday morning!

Needless to say I was tired when I got home, and ended up dosing off watching the Broncos game later on…  I was so blessed to have this weekend go so well.  In the last few days I got some really nice emails from my regional team members, which really affirmed me in my decision to stay back from DC and do the meeting.  I’m thankful that everyone was able to be there, and we had such a productive and fun time.

However I’m still recuperating from this weekend, and I feel sickness knocking on my door.  I need a little more rest to fully recuperate, but so far so good

See all of my Team West Retreat Pictures