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Showing posts from October, 2012

Faking It With Zeal

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My wife and I have been a part of the Middle School Ministry at church for the past three years. Prior to that, I worked with my son's Boy's Club group at church for four years from grades 2 through 5. The tasks have changed a little over time, but the goals are essentially the same. Provide a safe, fun, encouraging environment for our kids to establish their young faith while helping teach them the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

How am I qualified to this task, you ask? I frequently ask myself the same question. The answer is I'm not. I have no theological training to speak of. While my faith is strong, I would not say that I have any firmer grasp of the Bible than the guy sitting in the pew next to me. One might think that I should be good at teaching kids to be able to do the job. Well, wrong again. Nothing special there either. Just average in my dealings with young teens.

What I do have is a willing heart. Couple that with a bit of old Catholic guilt and deep-f…

Obsession Defined

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It's that time of year, mid fall, when I take my trip up north in pursuit of one of the greatest fish in the freshwater ecosystem. I'm speaking of Esox masquinongy, aka the Musky. I always look forward to this trip for a couple of reasons. For one, it's the last blast of fishing for the year. While I probably could get out once or twice more now that I have a kayak, I always look at it as my last chance on the water. 

Secondly, fishing Musky has become my newest passion. It is so uniquely different from fishing for other fish, that I want to learn all I can about it; become better at it; catch a bigger one. As I describe in my account of my first experience, it is not so much like fishing for them as it is "hunting" for them. They are few and far between, these creatures, so you have to be crafty, incredibly patient, and a little johnny on the spot to get them.

They are called the fish of 10,000 casts for a reason. They're finicky and smart. It takes serious w…

Shouting Down A Hole

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I was hoping I could leave the ATT post as a single ranting post and be done with it. Their corporate arrogance and ineptitude make that impossible however. Bear with me for one more post as I try and put this problem to rest forever.

I called back today to tell them I hadn't received the forms to declare my employment/discount eligibility via email like I was promised on Friday. Well, of course the first guy couldn't handle it because only customer service can do that. So, I was promptly transferred to someone cleverly disguised as a friendly customer service clerk. She was pleasantly patient and seemed to be eager to help. Well after repeating my name, address, and my wife's last 4 social security digits another time, she assured me that if I were to take down the 14 digit account number and give it to the representative at the first number I called, it would all be done.

Seems easy enough, right?

Wanting to finish the procedure (and being 20 minutes into the process at…

...And I'm Not Gonna Take It Anymore!

I got the chance to deal with ATT again this week. This company might have the most confusing and ill conceived upgrade/data/transfer phone plan that has ever existed. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

About a month ago I got a new smart phone. As part of the move to the new phone, we wanted to begin a Family data sharing plan. We were originally set up with Donna and Sarah both having a 2 GB plan and Ben and I with nothing. So when we got my phone, we opted to upgrade to a single 10 GB plan. Part of the incentive to go with a 10 GB plan was that we were supposed to receive a 15% discount that I get from work.
The following Monday I get a text that the discount had not been applied and will require proof of employment. Two seconds later I get a text saying the discount WAS applied. So, which is it?
Well, because of the way billing cycles work, we had to wait a couple of weeks to find out if all of this shifting around really took effect. Guess what? 
It didn't. 
It turns…

The Story Behind The Stories

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I went to another writing event last Friday night. It's an event called the Friday Night Free For All and it takes place at the AllWriters' writing studio in downtown Waukesha. It features readings from four genres including poetry, memoir, fiction and novel excerpt. Usually a guest speaker is also featured, but this particular event used a panel of students who submitted their work to the Ampersand Review. These poems were supposed to be "Found Poems" which are poems compiled of other snippets. These could be literature quotes, movie titles, or in this case, email subject lines.

I realize that these events are not for everyone. You have to appreciate books, stories and storytelling. It also helps to be familiar with the writing process, though that's not requirement. Many of my friends would not be caught dead at something like this, and I really don't hold that against them. As I said, it's not for everyone.

The fact of the matter is that I really do e…

Relative Alter-Ego

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I am about halfway through my deceased uncle's (Jack) second manuscript. Recall from an earlier post that I was given both of his books by my brother to read at my leisure. It turns out that he had acquired them from Jack directly in an attempt to get some publishing interest. My brother has had a couple of books published and so Jack figured Tom might be able to help him out. From what I understand, Tom tried to market them to a few places, but none bit.

The second book is titled LUM'S and it is about two brothers who own a grocery store in North Central Minnesota. The plot is a tad slow and is centered around their attempt at expansion of the business. With both books I am learning a lot about my uncle, but also using some of the skills I've learned in my writing workshop to see why maybe these books didn't catch any interest.

None of it is meant to detract from my admiration for his effort and all of the work that went into each. As a fledgling writer myself, I har…