Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fourth Advent & Solstice

Today is a super double Yuletide holiday as it is both the last Advent and Winter Solstice. Today the last purple candle should be lit. The last candle is the shepherd candle.

The scripture:
Luke 2: 8-15
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

Sing While Shepherd Watched Their Flocks by Night

The shortest day of the year was an important holiday for many pagans and pagans are fun. Solstice is the day for drinking wassail. It is also customary to give a portion of the wassail to any fruit trees or other plants that you would like to thrive in the coming year. Pour it on the ground and the base of the plant. This makes them magically fertile. The focus of the day should be the darkness and awareness that more light and warmth are on the way. To remind myself of this I did not use electric lights, but relied on puny candle light. It's nerdy, but it was kind of fun and old-fashiony.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Advent

Today is the day you light the rose colored candle. Most people use a pink candle for the rose candle. We all know that roses are red, so I use a red candle. I refer to the rose candle as the Virgin Mary candle. I do this because whenever you see uber Catholic paintings of Mary there are roses coming out of her fiery heart.
By the liturgical calendar, today is Gaudete Sunday. (Gaudete is Latin for rejoice) So, rejoice and stuff.

Here's the scripture:
Luke 1:26-35
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God

Sing this one:
The Angel Gabriel

I also watched one of my most favorite movies: A Christmas Story. It always makes me feel Christmasy and I find it to be geniously hilarious.

After the film, I went to a Messiah Sing-in. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Sing-ins. I think the 'Messiah' is one of Western Civilization's masterpieces. I think that's why I have a hard with a bunch of people who don't really know the music trying to sing it. Much of the genius is ruined when people who are not classically trained try to perform it. It's like going to see Hamlet in a church basement. I go to sing-ins anyway. It's never good, but it's usually fun.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Second Advent

It’s time to light the second purple candle. Seriously, do it now!!!!

The second candle is the Bethlehem/Manger candle, so try this out:

Luke 2:6-7

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

(I’m keeping these readings short because I know how bored you get.)

Sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. But sing the British version, the melody is much nicer.

I also watched my collection of Simpson’s Christmas Episodes. Not traditional, but definitely worth the time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Advent

This year I discovered that I am the Christmas Police. Everywhere I look, people are celebrating Christmas wrong. I saw Christmas Trees and lights on houses in the middle of November. People seem to have forgotten when Christmas begins and I’m putting the smack down on them.

The Yuletide season begins 4 Sundays before Christmas (or the Sunday after the feast of St. Andrew). This is according to the liturgical calendar. I contend that if Christians are going to pretend Christmas is a Christian holiday, then I’m going to use their calendar to determine the beginning of Christmas. This year it begins today, November 30th.

I celebrate First Advent by putting up the tree and other decorations. I also light the first purple candle on my Advent Wreath. Many of you may not use Advent Wreaths, you're celebrating wrong.

Here’s what you need for a wreath:
3 purple candles
1 rose colored candle
1 white candle
Something to hold them
Greenery of some kind

The first candle is the prophecy candle. It would be appropriate to read Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

You can also sing the beloved carol, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Get a pdf

I also drank some Julmust that I found at IKEA. It’s some Swedish Christmas beverage. It tastes kind of like Coke, but less acidic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am the Pope

As I mentioned in the last post, I was the Pope for Halloween. I have actually wanted to be the Pope for quite a while, but never did. I ordered a costume, but it was to short and wasn't all that fancy. My friend, Rusty, who is kind of obsessed with making awesome Halloween costumes said she would lengthen it. Then she decided she would redo it just for fun and that is why it's so freaking awesome.
There are advantages to working in an office with professional photographers. Groovy professional quality photos of me in a Pope costume is one of them.

Full Costume

Exorting Pope

Stern Pope

Basketball pose Pope

Studious Pope

Praying the Rosary Pope

Posing Pope

GQ Pope

Cute Pope

The reason I’m going to hell

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween of Spooky Doom

Halloween is my second favorite holiday. I like the spookiness and candy and especially pumpkin carving. I'm a bit obsessive about pumpkin carving and it's not uncommon for me to carve 4 or 5 during the month of October. This year I only made 3, I was lazy.

Spooky pirate ship with a fancy light I bought.

Scary belfry with bats and stuff.

OK, it's supposed to be Obama's logo. The pumpkin was really hard and I couldn't cut it very well, so it's not as good as I had hoped.

This year was the first time in a long time that I decided to dress up. I decided to go as the Pope. Most people would have more sense than to be the Pope. That's why I'm different than most people.

Here is a sample. I'm hoping to add some fancier pics later.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

HighEdWeb 2008

October 5-8

Every year there is a conference of higher education web professionals (nerds). Since I am now in that category, I went to the conference with my coworker Laird. We got to travel to famous Springfield, Missouri. Alright, it's not famous. I had never heard of Springfield Missouri until I found out I was going to a conference there.

About Missouri

I have only briefly been to Missouri in the past, but it seems to be a pretty nice state. I hear that it is one of the Midwestern states, but I saw a Waffle House while there. I maintain that Waffle House is Southern, and that it's waitresses don't have all their teeth. Even though maps and the majority of Americans think Missouri is midwestern, they are wrong. Missouri should have thought before allowing Waffle House Franchises to turn their state southern.

Missouri State University
The conference was hosted at Missouri State University. The campus is really quite nice. The buildings are a mix of old and modern. Quite different from the 1960's square brick building thing that ISU has going on.

This is the Library. The tower is a carillon.

The Conference
It consisted of presentations and speeches about what's going on in the world of higher ed. websites. Pretty dull if you're not involved in that sort of thing. Occasionally dull if you are.
I learned a number of fancy things that I can use here. There are number of social outings associated with the conference. Most of them involved everyone getting drunk. They had a Guitar Hero contest and an outing to a Discovery Center that were pretty enjoyable.

Here I am at the Discovery Center playing with a freaky gyroscope chair.

I Eat Fancy Japanese Food

One of the highlights of the trip was a dinner I ate at a fancy pants Japanese Restaurant. It was very modern in it's decoration and food. It was also one of the more expensive meals I've eaten.
These pictures aren't the best. The restaurant was a little dark and I didn't want to use the flash and stand out like a tourist.

1. Gyoza

2. Lobster Sushi

3. Black Cod with shitaake mushrooms and a mild wasabi risotto.

4. Tiramisu

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Southeastern Idaho State Fair!

Woot! Good times!
I enjoy going to the fair. There's food, farm animals, worthless crap you can buy and rednecks. Rednecks galore!

This year I went with my friends Chris, Kristen & Andrew and their baby. It was really crowded, there was some terrible Country music concert that night. In spite of the crowds, I had a good time.

Here are the foods I consumed:


Turkey Leg

Funnel Cake (I forgot to take a picture of it before I ate it.)

Chris was still hungry so he tried to eat the baby.

Then we looked at the farm animals. They looked delicious. Except for the goats, they have devil eyes.
This cow must have been promiscuous because it was branded a HO.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Exciting Labor Day Extravaganza!

This Labor Day I decided to take a trip to Boise. Why Boise? 3 reasons.
1. My Parents just moved there and I wanted to see their house.
2. My friends Dawna and Joe adopted a baby in June and I still hadn't seen him.
3. I bought one of my parents cars and they still had it.

My parents house looks kind of dumpy on the outside, but is nice on the inside. I didn't take any pictures and I should have. It was a fun bonding weekend since I got to assemble furniture with my Dad. Then we all had a meal of crappy Chinese food. Really, it was terrible.

Then we went to Dawna's house and saw Owen. He's pretty cute. Here is a picture of the two of us being cute. (well, Owen is being cute anyway.) For more cutesy Owen stuff, check out his blog
And here is the car I bought.

It's a 2007 Honda Fit and it's pretty fancy. The payments are a bit more than what I want to pay, but that's life. My old car had 190,000 miles and I'm sure it will fall apart soon.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I should be not fat

I realized yesterday that it was my half birthday. That means in 6 months I'll be 30. It scared the crap out of me. I'll be 30 years old and have nothing to show for it. I thought, "Maybe I could get a life by then." I realized the odds of that would be slim. So I thought about what I could do that would make my birthday less depressing. My doctor has been telling me for more than a year that I should be less fat.

It is my goal to be not fat by February 1st.

This means I will have to lose about 40 pounds. That's probably a lot to lose in 6 months, but I need something to feel good about dang it!

I will post updates on my progress. If I do bad, feel free to leave comments such as:
"Fatty fatty fat fat!"
"You so fat, you fatter than my fat Momma!"
"You are an eyesore. I'm sorry, but someone had to say it"

One of the things that made me think this was a good idea was a picture I saw on my cousin's facebook. It reminded me of those weight loss infomercials where a lady who lost a bunch of weight sees an old picture of herself and begins crying and blubbering about how fat she used to be.

Ok, so before you think I have crazy anorexia body issues, you should realize that I'm kind of sarcastic. But seriously, I'm a fat cow.

Current weight: 240
Body fat: 25%

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Grandpa: not as old as trilobites.

Yesterday, we commemorated my Grandpa being alive for 85 years. It was a big family shindig. (Shindig is a weird word, digging shins would be incredibly painful.) We all got together and ate way too much food. Then we ate dessert. Dessert at these family gatherings is an event. We always makes sure there are 5 desserts, in case someone doesn't like something. We are fat.

I took a moment to reflect on my Grandpa's life and think about how long 85 years is. He can remember getting electricity in his house as a child. He lived through the depression and fought in WWII. He survived Reaganomics, for corn sakes! He also inadvertently taught me one of my favorite pass-times: purposely mispronouncing words.

Like many elderly people, he says things that are horribly inappropriate. We'll laugh about that later when we stop being mortified. And, like anyone else in the family, he can drive us crazy sometimes, but I hope he sticks around for few more birthdays.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Idaho International Choral Festival

Singing for joy or screaming in terror?
July 15-20.
I told a committee member I would volunteer to help for this year's choral festival. I've been involved in the past and it was fun hearing choirs from all over the world sing in Pocatello. In late June I got a call saying they wanted me to be chaperon for the high school honor choir. I agreed reluctantly. I remember going on choir trips in high school, I remember that I was obnoxious. I was kind of dreading being a chaperon. I would have to stay in the dorms with them and make sure they don't die, etc.

It was at the end of the phone call that I made up a new rule for myself:
When you volunteer, you need to be more specific.

The day came and I went to meet up with the other chaperons and high school kids. I was not in a good mood about it. After a while, I realized teenagers say and think hilarious things. Not all of them are intentionally hilarious, but I take what I can get.

They were pretty well behaved (I mean, they're nerdy choir kids. They'll probably grow up to nerds just like I did) I learned that I can not only tolerate teenagers, but that they can be enjoyable.

There were some great choirs this year. The Romanian choir was extra magical. I assume this is because a large number of them are vampires and have been singing for hundreds of years.

The Taiwan Children's Choir was especially good. Children in Asian cultures seem to be so much more disciplined than American children. I remember when I taught violin lessons to two Korean kids. Before the first lesson, their Mom said, "If they not listen, spank them." I told her that I would never spank a child because backhanding them is more efficient. At any rate, they were the best students I ever had.

All of the high school boys were in love with the girls from the Lithuanian choir and that amused me. I'm sure the Lithuanians found them cute and slightly creepy, but I'm sure teenage girls feel that way about boys too.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn

I went to the Malad Welsh Festival. It was Welsh-a-riffic. I figured I should go since I've been trying to learn Welsh. I was a little disappointed in the booths this year. Most of them were just booths with people selling stuff- stuff that didn't really relate to Wales. However, the 'Taste of Whales' booth was awesome and hopefully a joke. There was no whale, but they served some welsh food, which is just a different type of bland English food. Mmmm...bland.

There was a pretty groovy lecture by Ron Dennis, retired professor of Portuguese and Welsh, about the history of the Welsh in Idaho. It seems there were a lot of Welshy Mormons that settled in Idaho and Utah. They also sang a lot, as his wife demonstrated by singing Welsh songs. They sang so much, in fact, that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir began as a choir of Welsh immigrants.

I also learned that the Welsh and Irish have begun wearing Kilts in an attempt to be more celtic. At least that's what they say. I think Celtic men just want to wear skirts, but are afraid of what people will think unless they have an excuse to wear them.

If you have Welsh ancestry and are not afraid of Malad, you should go to the Welsh Festival. Go connect with your heritage and stuff.

Here are some useful phrases for when you go:

Bore da
Good morning
Twll dîn pob Sais!
Down with the English!
Gad lonydd i fi! Leave me alone!
Galw'r heddlu!
Call the police!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I gave in to the Evil

I caved. I decided to get a blog. It's mostly to keep track of my incredibly exciting life. By exciting I mean boring. I'll talk about my adventures and my brilliantness. That will be interesting for sure. By interesting I mean boring.

I never had a blog before because it just seems too trendy. I'm not trendy and I don't try to be, but I decided a blog could be fun. It may really come in handy if I get a life and someone is actually interested in it. By interested I mean bored.

P.S. Boring.