Monday, June 27, 2005


Quick note here. Today marks the occasion of my blog's thousandth visitor since I started tracking them in April (I've had the blog since December however). So thanks all for stopping by!

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Update (soon)

Sorry folks, I've been extremely busy the last few days with homework. That's why I haven't been able to keep up with your blogs or even look at Edgar's Burke pictures. I have big homework assignment due this afternoon, but then hopefully things will quiet down a little bit. I'm hoping to have an update tonight or tomorrow (assuming I don't get another ultra-huge assignment right away).

Friday, June 17, 2005

John Calvin, Batman Begins, (And My Trip Ends)

Yes folks, what you see is real…there actually exists a John Calvin bobble head (Natalie owns this one).

Our appointments went well overall on Thursday. We had a couple of problems because there might be some regulatory hoops to jump through in Indiana we haven’t encountered in any other states, but I don’t think that it’ll be too much trouble. Thursday night we got back to Indy, went to dinner, and then had the rest of the evening off.

I was able to meet Natalie at her house about 9:15 and meet her family. Then we headed over to the theater to see Batman Begins. It was excellent; I highly recommend it to those who are even passing fans of the Dark Knight. We are both fans of the cartoon (especially Batman Beyond), so it was a lot of fun. Then we went to Steak ‘n Shake (naturally) for a couple hours and had a blast. BTW, this is an FYI announcement that we discussed for this fall: Unless something else comes up between now and then, we are planning a big hang out at Steak ‘n Shake after the Cru Call Out/Kick Off the first Friday of the semester. The general plan is for a whole bunch of us (usual After Cru movie night group, Cary/Windsor people, and anyone else who wants to come) to meet there and have a good time (simple enough, right?). Oh, yeah, one more thing: the price of admission for those of us with cars is that we need to bring freshmen along with us so they can start getting to know people right away. Doesn’t really matter how you get them there (ideas: inviting them nicely, bribing them, hog-tying them in the trunk, or, as always, DUCT TAPE), just so long as they come.

Natalie and I at the end of the night:

BTW, my apologies to Kathy and anyone else in the Indy area that I didn’t try calling, although you can blame the Facebook in this case. I used the new “Where your friends are going to be this summer” and “Where your friends are from (hometown)” visualizations, and apparently they aren’t all that great. Sorry Kathy, despite your profile clearly saying you’re from Indy, when I clicked on the little bubble listing people from Indy, your name didn’t come up. Sorry again, I wish I could’ve seen you.

Friday we had one more payment seminar (appointment) and then we hit the road back to Chicago. David caught his flight out of Midway and we went home. Tomorrow I have my first lesson in my course to become a flight instructor, which will probably turn into a 4+ day/week class plus LOTS of homework.

Edgar just finished his time on the Burke, so he should get back sometime on Sunday. Watch his blog (link in the right column) for an update talking about the trip and (hopefully) pictures. Welcome back to Rebecca, who's been away for a month working. Do you live anywhere near the quakes that we've been hearing about on the news? (her blog is also linked to on the right for those of you who are interested)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

On The Road Again

Once again, I find myself updating the blog from a hotel room. This time I’m somewhere on the south side of Indianapolis for the night. I’m here with my Mom and my uncle David (owner of the company).

We drove down earlier today, making a sales call along the way and stopped in Lafayette for a half hour to have frozen custard at Culvers with Shane. It was awesome to see him, especially because up until now, I haven’t seen anyone from Cru since I moved home. The day just got better because while we were driving from Lafayette to Indy three things happened.

First, we passed by a spot along Highway 65 where some friends and I once had a flat tire on the way to Indy Christmas Conference my second year at Elgin Community College with Crusade Chicago Metro. I don’t remember the entire roster of who was there that day, but it did include Jacob Voss, Tony Santana and I think Dan Leera. We stayed on the side of the road for 45 minutes waiting for the tow truck to arrive because we didn’t have a jack (it was Jake’s van, so blame him. The long and short of it was that we did have a jack all along, but that it was in a place on the car no one suspected it and we didn’t discover it until the whole ordeal was over.

The second thing that happened was that Natalie Beltz called me back. I had called to see if she wanted to join Shane and I at Culvers, but didn’t hear back from here until it was over. Why is her calling back so significant that I would mention it? Am I just that dull that I have to tell you every little detail? Far from it! Turns out that she is going home to visit family in Indy the same two nights that we are in town, so I’ll get a chance to hang out with her tomorrow night.

The third thing of note was that I got a call from Chip! He was stuck in traffic in L.A. and remembered that he had been planning on giving me a call for a few days. So I didn’t get to talk with him long, but it was really cool to hear from him. He’s working for The Aerospace Corporation this summer and having a good time; including work on orbital mechanics for satellites, a topic he actually enjoys (you know what? If you find orbital mechanics fun then it’s pretty safe to conclude you are wayyyyyyy too smart for your own good! jk).

In other news, I finally replaced my digital camera that broke a month out of warranty a couple summers ago. I got a Casio Z750, which is an ultra-subcompact 7 megapixel with a decent 3x optical zoom lens that actually resolves 7mp of data to the sensor (a contrast to my old 3mp camera that performed like a 2mp because the lens wasn’t up to snuff). This new camera is almost the same size as the old one, except it’s nearly a centimeter thinner and has a much larger screen (2.5”). The big advantage of this camera over other tiny cameras I considered is that it has a full set of manual features, which I enjoyed so much on the old camera that I’m willing to pay more than I originally budgeted for them. Here are a couple sample pictures from the new camera:

This picture of my Dad is the first picture that I took with the new camera:

You guessed it: Scott in his natural state at 9am:

This is my loony uncle David:

And finally, Shane, for those of you who haven’t met him:

That’s all for now, so have a good night!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Causing Trouble

Not much has been happening lately (hence the lack of recent posts). Work has been pretty dull. Saturday afternoon was Toby’s birthday party. We played some Smash Bros (I’m terrible), MarioKart (surprisingly good for not having played in 6 months), watched a movie, played some more MarioKart, and then a few of us headed over to Steak ‘n Shake for some food. We were so nice we didn’t even sing to him!

One piece of good news: I got my diploma in the mail yesterday! I know officially have an Associate of Science degree from Purdue!

Jordan McCroskey (aka “Durga”) spent the night here Saturday, which was good because I haven’t seen him in forever (Christmas or even last summer, I can’t remember). We had a good time, especially when we were mercilessly pummeling each other in Worms: Armageddon.

My friend John came to visit church on Sunday morning. I know him from college class in previous summers when he was a student in the area learning to become a mechanic. Now he’s graduated and living with family in Ohio, but he might be moving back here later this summer. He is known as being crazy and certain trouble, so I thought it perfectly appropriate to get a couple of pictures with my cell phone and edit them to put on here. He wore this nice suit, telling us he was trying to look “respectable” (but we all know better). ;)

Here are the original shots as they came out of my cell phone:

And here is the final result:

I have a business trip to Indiana from Wednesday-Friday this week, including stops in Indy and Muncie. We’re doing sales presentations for area schools. I doubt I’ll have time to stop and see anyone though, but it should be a good trip. That’s about it for now, so I should head upstairs and join the party (this afternoon is Scott’s graduation open house for friends in this area and it’s just started).

(Actually, as I post this the party is now long over. I just finished writing the post but didn’t have time to actually upload it before I had to head upstairs)

As usual, comments are always welcome!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Anna Playing Pool

As promised earlier, here is a picture of me using Anna as a pool cue at the party for Scott last Saturday:

I just finished the Hitchhiker’s books today (although I just found out that there might be one more book in the series). Definitely enjoyed it; some parts were brilliant (ex. Babelfish, Infinite Improbability Drive, Marvin, the constant inter-relatedness of everything in the series, and the Guide’s perspective on flying) and other things were just plane odd (ex. the starship Bistromath). My Mom sort of enjoyed the movie, but was quite perplexed by all of it. I think it was just a little too bizarre for her liking, but I was able to explain a lot of the things to her.

Now, to bed (after I finish this episode of Stargate, of course). Please note that I’ve added a couple more friends’ blogs to the links list on the right for your reading pleasure.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

America’s Leveling Line (or rather, plane)

Listening To: Rufus Tree: Dying To Live (their new CD which came out just a couple of days ago, it’s pretty good).

Well, I’m back in Chi-town. Time to finish telling you about the trip.

Wednesday we visited the schools of Fergus Falls and the city of Fergus Falls and then drove out to Breckenridge, which is just across the river from North Dakota. The land out there is so flat I coined it “America’s Leveling Line.” Like I mentioned in a previous post, it’s so flat it makes Indiana look like the Rocky Mountains by comparison. Now I offer proof; a panorama shot from the side of the road on our way back from Breckenridge:

Click on the picture to load it in a separate window so that you can zoom in and see just how flat it is. Zoom in on the horizon and you can see that the ground is perfectly level as far as the eye can see. [Edit] Oops, I just found out that Blogger resaved the image as only being 1024 pixels across, so you can't zoom in on it. I'll have to try to figure out a way to post the image elsewhere and let you link to it. [/Edit]

For those of you not from MN, the rest of the state is not at all like that (very hilly). Minnesota also boasts that it has nearly 15,000 lakes, which I sorely miss living in Chicago and Lafayette. Natural bodies of water are awesome!

We stayed the night in Buffalo, MN and then drove to another small town (the name escapes me at the moment) to do a sales call to the schools there. That was a huge headache because we thought our appointment was at 2:00pm (turns out it was 1:30) and things just went downhill from there. At 1:48 I was sitting in Burger King finishing my lunch and my mom frantically runs up to the window (she had been in the car checking her voicemail) and waves for me to rush outside. As soon as I get out there she tells me we are late for the appointment and they don’t have a lot of time to talk to us.

So we jump in the car and rush over to the District Office to meet them. My Mom runs inside while I get a parking spot, but as soon as I was about to park she comes running back outside and tells me we are at the wrong place. The guy we were going to meet with had his office in the High School about a half mile away instead of the District Office. So we frantically drive over there, my Mom runs in and I park. I grab the briefcase containing the laptop and head inside. I find my way to the office lobby and she’s sitting there waiting for the guy to come get us. As we were sitting there we were talking about how just about everything was going wrong, and my mom says “What else could possibly go wrong with this appointment?” Just then, her cell phone rings and it’s the guy we were going to meet telling her that he wants to have the meeting at, you guessed it, the District Office! So we rush back over there and once again she goes in while we park. Well, we were finally at the right place and he leads us to the meeting room where there are six others that we are presenting to. Then we find that about half of them only have 20 minutes before their next meeting (we’re 45 minutes late by now), so we give one of the fastest sales presentations we ever have and they seemed to really like it. A couple of them were sitting with us until 3:30 asking more questions. I have a feeling they’re pretty well sold on RevTrak.

Then comes one of the best parts of the trip (and the one I had been looking forward to all week). We drove back to the Twin Cities and spent the night with the Pedro Family. The Pedro’s are old family friends that date back to when we first moved to White Bear Lake when I was 5. In fact, my brother and I used to go over to their house some days for afternoon nap when we were little. They are a homeschooling family with 10 kids, spaced out in age from 19 to under-1. So I spent the majority of my time from when we got to their house to when we left the next morning playing with the kids, especially the little ones. Here’s a shot with me, Joshua (8), Anna (6), and Jeremiah (3) all stacked up in the back yard:

And another similar shot with me, David (12), and Joshua (8) stacked up, with Anna (6), Timothy (10), and Jeremiah (3) lined up along the back:

This is Carissa (14) and baby John (one of the most mild-mannered babies in the world):

Our Moms together:

So yeah, that’s the Pedro family (I didn’t even include pictures of Mr. Pedro, Tom, Daniel, and Rebecca). We had a blast. I especially spent a lot of time with Joshua (who wants to learn to fly), Anna (one of the cutest little girls ever), and Jeremiah (he’s crazy, and he has more energy than a supernova). Hopefully I will get a chance to see them again before the summer’s over.

I thought it might also be nice to throw in a picture of the graduate, so here you go:

BTW, in answer to Amy’s question, the Scott I was referring to in the joke was my brother. Since the majority of you won’t have any chance to ask about the joke, I’ll just tell you:
Q. Do you know what a polygon is?
A. A dead parrot.

Anyways, I just finished Life, The Universe, and Everything, the 3rd Hitchhiker book. Tonight I’m taking my mom to see the movie. That’s about it for now, so have a good one.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Namesake Cometh

Alternate Title: We’re All Dead

Well, it looks like Grand Moff Tarkin (the real one, not me) isn’t nearly as dead as we thought. How do I know, you might ask? Simple: he’s coming. Here. Earth. Now.

And why would I offer such a silly proposition? Well, maybe reality is closer to sci-fi than we all thought. (I offer photographic evidence later.)

What you are about to see may disturb you. Actually, it probably should disturb you, considering the end of the world is nigh and all that. Sorry, I don’t have an exact timetable for you, but I expect it will be sometime soon.

[Side Note]
Your chances of being able to down a few pints, eat a few peanuts, and thumb a ride on a passing flying saucer with an old friend you just discovered was actually from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse (and not from Guildford, England, as you long thought) are about nil. So unless you just so happen to possess an Improbability Field Generator (in which case you need to give me a call ASAP), it would probably be best if you were to lie down and place a paper bag over your head as the deadline nears.
[/Side Note]

NASA recently released the following photo taken by the Cassini probe orbiting Saturn. This picture was taken in the visible light spectrum at a distance of 1.3 million miles from the subject. The rings in the foreground are those of Saturn. Except for the magnified comparison section (covering an otherwise completely black area of the image), I have not edited or altered this picture in any way. Allow me to emphasize again that this is a real image from Cassini.

As you can see, we clearly have a major problem on our hands.

In truth, the item in the picture is actually Saturn’s moon Mimas (247 miles in diameter), so there isn’t much immediate threat. (However I still want a call if you have an Improbability Field Generator at your disposal)

Coming in a few days: More updates of our trip, including a giant picture of what I’ve coined “America’s Leveling Line,” which we visited today.