Posted in Fitness

New Bicycle — one GIANT step toward the triathlon


My new bicycle finally came in yesterday.  I picked it up today from RiverMarket Cyclery. It is a 2015 Giant Escapade 2, color dark blue. Looks nice, and rides even nicer. Had a nice break-in ride home.

I picked it up today, but they were too busy to finish outfitting it for me.  So I’ll be dropping it off Monday before work so they can install the rack, lights and odometer. Would have enjoyed knowing what pace I was actually setting on the way home as I experimented with the various gears.


The Escapade is a 24 gear (3 by 8 shifting), and the shifters are levers you press. Each side has two levers, one to go up, one to go down.  Actually the levers shift in and out on the display. So the same lever that shifts the 3 gears up shifts the 8 gears down, and vice versa. Took my hands a little bit of coordination to get used to that.

The gears are so quiet and smooth, and the bicycle itself is so much lighter than the Magna I purchased from Target 2 years ago.


I took it out for a second run this evening while it was still light and when the temperature had dropped down to a comfortable range — which didn’t prevent me from perspiring freely as I always seem to do.


I noticed that when I try to go from 3 to 2 on the front gear, while the back gear was in 8, it always wanted to go to 1 instead of 2. It has to be in the middle of the back gear (3 or 4) to shift successfully into 2. But it doesn’t have the jump sense of my old bike when it does that. I will have to ask about that at the shop on Monday when I am picking it up again after getting the rest of the fittings installed.

All in all I like it, and am looking forward to getting it fully outfitted.

P.S. — I did spring for a bottle holder today — which they were able to put on, and purchased a sport bottle at Target that fits it nicely.  It is a Zulu one-touch flip lid glass sports bottle “engineered for athletes.” It has a rubber wrap and is made of annealed glass — both of which are supposed to prevent breakage.





Posted in Fitness, Reviews

Back on the Fitness Focus

I am competing in a triathlon in 2 weeks. Maybe it is time to get serious.

Of course, it was less that 2 weeks ago that I got drafted into competing in the triathlon.

In previous blogs I have mentioned my attempts to get a personal trainer through the local community center to help me focus and give professional guidance to my workouts. But that didn’t pan out. The one trainer just didn’t seem to understand me, despite simple direct statements, and none of the others could mesh their schedules to mine, despite my attempts to be flexible. They finally had to refund me my personal trainer package I had purchased.

But today I am back on the fitness focus. I got to start-up my sessions with Jesse Samborski again.  I first met him at the community center while he was working there, and was disappointed to find he was no longer at the community center when I came back from my wrist injuries.

So, refund from trainer package in hand, I was able to roll over to Jesse’s personal studio: Jesse Samborski Fitness. Simpler and smaller than the community center, it certainly had enough to wear me out fast enough.

The strategy today was to work on my endurance by pushing fast and hard to raise heart rate, so that when I am actually doing the endurance swimming/biking/running, I pace myself well and never have to reach that extreme level.

It was easier to get back into the workout with Jesse at his new place than if I were starting with him as a first-timer. But even from the beginning I was reminded why I liked him before. He is bright, cheery, encouraging, and focused on understanding me and what I wanted.

Back at the community center I first went to him to get better strength and shape for my swimming. Since he wasn’t a swimmer he didn’t always understand the specifics of what I wanted, but he kept asking questions, focused on me, and educated himself.

I don’t need someone to be perfect, or to communicate perfectly.  They just need to stay engaged and let understanding come. It is something I have learned through my inter-cultural communications at work.

Enough digression. We did stage coaches, wagon wheels, donkey kongs (interesting names for these exercises, eh?) and a couple other exercises in rotating sets until my efforts were obviously flagging by the final set.

Exhausted, and it felt great.  All that was left now was the 3-mile bicycle ride to get back home (did I forget to mention that I warmed up by riding my bicycle to his studio?).

When I mentioned to Jesse that I was riding the bicycle home, he said he should have left me some energy for the trip, to which I replied — why start now. I’d always been riding my bicycle for my earlier workouts with him, and somewhere I found the energy to get home on the bicycle each time.  Just some good practice in building up my endurance for the triathlon.

Posted in Uncategorized

Journey to a High School Reunion — Tenth Grade




1982 – Tenth Grade.  The seniors that year were 7th graders the year TTBHS was created. They were the first class to go all the way through the high school. Thus the yearbook was dedicated to their class.


The yearbook was also done In Appreciation of Mr. Wyse. “from directing choir and the play to teaching Speech and Accounting” his credit notes.





Which reminds me of a high school memory.  I don’t know if it was actually 10th grade, but I do remember taking a one semester accounting course at TTBHS. Had an accounting project where I had a difference to find: $999.99 was the difference.  I searched and searched. It turned out to be a penny difference one place, and a thousand dollar difference somewhere else.

That was the only accounting I had before I started working at the bank back in 1998. And yet because of it I knew more than a lot of B.A. and B.S. accounting majors where the practical parts of accounting were concerned when I started.


And a lot hasn’t changed in my accounting experience. One problem is usually the sum of a small error and a big error wrapped together.


By 10th grade we were up to 30 students in the class. I find it interesting looking at the pictures, and realize who was in the class in any one year.


From my own personal extracurriculars, I see that music was an important pant (no surprise), and that I also was there on the soccer team to warm the bench most games.


The senior play was little women, and even though it was the senior play, our class was well-represented in the cast. Being the largest class in the school tended to give us that sort of influence.


So, once again I ask, anyone reading this, do you have any recollections of your 10th grade year.  Specifically, anyone from TTBHS, what do you remember of this school year?


Posted in Church, Politics

Obama and Romans 13:8

While taking a trip earlier this month, I saw this scrawled on the back side of a billboard on I-64 while headed westbound in Indiana — graffiti-style:

Obama was appointed by God — Rom. 13:8

I found this a very interesting idea. My mind instantly thought of:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.

Romans 13: — wait a  minute Romans 13:1.  What exactly is Romans 13:8?

Owe to no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Now I am entirely clueless, as a Biblical scholar, how Romans 13:8 relates to the assertion, so I’ll go on the assumption that Romans 13:1 was the intended reference, and make my commentary on that basis.

Whoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same; For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:2-8)

I think the graffiti political commentator intended that people be encouraged to not resist or disagree with any suggestion that Obama had for us. But I think that he missed the point about the “tribute to whom tribute, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.” The Bible verse intends a limited sense of being subject — to anything or anyone but God.

Christ gave us this sense of limits when he said “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” Matt 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25

And what exactly is the role of government, and how we should be subject to it?  Well, Paul, in I Timothy 2 gives us an expanded view of his comments from Romans:

 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

So, the goal of a Christian is to pray for the government to leave him alone, not to meddle with him. Considering how Paul’s life, and the life of most of the first century apostles and a lot of Christians ended up, you can see why an unobtrusive government would have been preferred.

The government of our graffiti commentator certainly isn’t the unobtrusive type.

Which brings us to the point that scripture encourages us to be wise, and respectful, but to know what to yield unto whom, and to give what is God’s to no one but God.

A good concluding thought is this one said to the Jewish Sanhedrin in Acts 5:29 –” Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

We are encouraged to live as peacefully as possible, but to always remember that our primary allegiance is never to the government. That is why governments down through the ages have not trusted the church, and tried to co-opt it, to make us tame and supportive of their goals, when a true read of the Romans 13 passage tells us that governments are intended to support God’s goals, and are only successful when they do, and in fact can be measured and judged by how well they do or don’t support God’s goals.

Posted in Uncategorized

Witchfinder review hits Barnes & Noble

I submitted the below review to the Barnes and Noble website yesterday. It went up without a hitch. Which surprised me after the couple of weeks I have been wrangling with them about the review of Pixie Noir that I have posted but that no one can see (at least my wife can’t see it when she looks it up, and I only see it after I try to post a new review and it tells me I already have one up). So enjoy the below:


See Link

Witchfinder is one of those books that you need to plan free time to read – or else you will find yourself neglecting the things you should be doing to see what happens in the next chapter.

Sarah Hoyt does a wonderful job of world-weaving – or in the case of this book, multi-verse weaving. There is an obvious complex and rich structure to the worlds where her story takes place, and yet you don’t lose the story by admiring the world.

The story itself has multiple strands. In other authors that gets to be a problem keeping track of exactly who everyone is. With Witchfinder, I found myself fascinated yet not lost. About a third of the way through the books I had finally met all the main characters, and events had thrown them apart on what seemed like a dozen divergent paths, never to come together again. And so I had to keep reading to see how events would bring them together again.

Let me just say that the ending managed to be both surprising and yet expected – and quite satisfying.

From my perspective Witchfinder has a niche all its own. It qualifies for the genres that it has been classified as, yet Hoyt always manages to go beyond genre in an enticing and addictive way.

Posted in Uncategorized

Memorial Day at Worlds of Fun


The. family was at Worlds of Fun today at opening. The lot wasn’t exceptionally full. We passed the Spinning Dragons — still being tested and not open. Went to the Patriot — not open and no estimate of when.  Just beyond that was the Steel Hawk, the new ride of the season. We had seen it running when we were at Oceans of Fun on Saturday, but at the time it looked like a test run — we didn’t see any feet sticking out. Today that was confirmed.  We were close enough that we could see the seats are still wrapped in plastic.


So we went back to the ferris wheel. Since we were the first people on, and the only people, we were able to ride it faster than normal, and got to go around about twice as long before we got off.


By this time the Spinning Dragons had finally opened, so we got in line there. We had a modest wait before getting on. We had a discussion on how to load to get maximum spin. Nathan and I couldn’t decide whether balanced or unbalanced distribution should get a better spin.


Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun have started these “fun network” monitors to watch while you wait in line.  They play music videos, advertise park specials and have games, trivia, etc. The only problem is that they overlap and distract from the ambient music of the rides you are waiting for. Actually, when we came into the park, we were greeting with three overlapping sound zones: music for two rides and a conflicting ambient sound. Disney does a much better job of realizing that sound is part of the whole experience and watching their sound zones.


Nathan wanted to ride the Viking Voyager, but the women didn’t so he and I rode while the women played photos. Again it was a question of how to sit and weight distribution. He sat all the way to the front, and I sat all the way to the back. Turned out to be a fun plunge, but didn’t really get wet (that was a score for me, since I wasn’t interested in getting wet).

We did a lot of pick and choose with the rides today.  No line for the Sea Dragon, so we rode that and got swung back and forth.  Betsy noticed a young lady opposite us who seemed absolutely terrified, with her face buried in the shoulder of the hunk she was with, while he just seemed to sit there and smile.  I noted he missed a real opportunity there — he should have put his arm around her and let her bury her face in his side.  At the same time, Carly, behind us, was so calm while riding that she was observing a turtle in the water below us.


By this point Betsy had enough spinning around, so the remaining three of us got in line for the Prowler. Nathan and Carly went first, and I went on the next car after them.  They were only running one car, so I was able to take a few pictures of them while waiting, and then pass my camera off to them so they could snap a few pictures of me.

When I came off the Prowler the three of them were down by the souvenir photo display, where a hyperactive clerk had shut off the monitors and told them not to take pictures of the monitors — when all they were doing was holding their cameras while walking through. So I didn’t bother even trying to look at my picture after the way the clerk had insulted my family. Betsy took it in stride, but I think Nathan, my rule-follower, was a little shocked at being accused, since the camera was closed (though he did try to understand the other person’s point of view, wondering if there was something about the way he was holding it that made him suspicious).

On the way back out the kids decided to do the Zulu.  I have enjoyed the Zulu the couple of times I rode it, but by this point I had reached my limit of spin for the moment. So they rode and came off bouncy and excited.

From there we took the long trek over to the Mamba.  Only the kids rode at this point, and the Mamba was the longest line wait.  Again, they were only running one car at a time.

We cut back through the middle to get to the Flying Dutchman.  Nathan didn’t ride, so used the camera while the other three of us rode. From there we meandered out, checking on the Patriot, which was still closed.


Posted in Uncategorized

Musician Parent Sunday at AUMC

It  wasn’t a scheduled event, but today the parents of our organist came to visit him from Utah, the mother of our music director was also there, along with the parents of his fiance.

David and Colleen Bott, parents of Seth Bott, organist, were there, along with Aaron Redburn’s mom and Shannon Lowe’s parents (If I were a better “journalist” I would have gotten all their names down.  Anyone that wants to feel free to fill them in in the comments).

Special music was done by Aaron Redburn and Sandy Keeney. It was a guitar and handbell rendition of Amazing Grace with Aaron singing along with his

That was followed by a resounding choral anthem: Christ Has Won the Victory.

Both songs can be heard on the audio tracks below.

I enjoy doing these Sunday music blogs.

Posted in Family, Reviews

Oceans of Fun opens for season

Family tradition, though I think we might have missed last year, is being at the gate of Oceans of Fun at opening time on opening day. One year we even got on the Oceans of Fun blog/Facebook page (something like that/one of those things) with our pictures and comments. (I think that was Betsy and I, on a Friday, when the kids were still in school).

Anyway, so that meant today we needed to be there by 10:30 a.m. for opening. When we woke this morning to a downpour, and the forecast continually talked about T-Storms, my first thought was whether the park would actually open. But a check of their website, and Facebook page, both showed the park open today, so we decided to go.


We got there about 15 minutes early, and were checked through the main gate to wait at the gate of Oceans of Fun. And right after that they let us in the 15 minutes early that being a season passholder earns you.

The weather was misting on and off, but the temperature was in the mid-60s, and the water temperature was actually slightly warmed instead of being frigid. Perfect temperatures for playing in the water.


We noticed that they had done a lot of improvements. A lot of fresh paint was evident. There is a lot of new poolside seating, along with several new cabanas for rent. At the wave pool they even have a timer to count down the time until the waves start. No actual clocks, of course, which has been our main (though itself a minor) complaint throughout the years.

The improvements include a lot of new seating next to the Kayak pool and cleaning out the area for using the kayaks. I don’t remember exactly what it looked like last year, but the pool itself has a much cleaner, fresher, more open and inviting feel than previously, I was the only one in the family to try the kayak’s today, though the other members do enjoy kayaking.


One of the things I noticed about the improvements was that there are actually less concession stands around. Kiosks that cluttered the entrances to the wave pool and paradise falls were noticeably absent. A concession truck below the wave pool, which they had introduced last year, is still there, and seems suitable to the task. I think this improvement, focusing the refreshments into better quality and controlled areas than so dispersed, will have an overall improvement on the quality of the Oceans of Fun experience.

Last year next to the wave pool they had put up a whole new set of slides — Shark’s Revenge (tube slides) and Predator’s Plunge (body slides). When the park opened, Shark’s Revenge was still being tested, but the body slides were open.  I am the only one in the family to use those body slides, so I rode each of them once. By the time I was finishing the third slide, the tube slides were open, so I motioned the kids to come on over and enjoy.

The weather kept the crowds down. That isn’t good for the park overall, but was good for us.  We enjoyed being able to do everything we wanted with basically no lines.

More rain is forecast throughout the rest of the weekend.  We will see what it means for attendance — ours and everyone else.

Posted in Writing

Poetry — a poem of subtle ecology

                                                       THE WILD BLUEBERRY


Towering pines

clothe the slopes in

needles, shadows, moisture.

Squirrels play

in the branches.

An Indian

passes by,

leaving no mark.

Then a white man,

axe, rifle, frying pan,

comes to the hollow.

Trees come down,

sun falls to soil,

warming, enlivening the ground.

Grass grows,

birds come,

deer and fox.

A scraggly bush,

warmed by the sun,

shoots its thorny shoots

into the air.

Wild blueberries grow in the slashings.


Men brought deer to the hollow

by clearing trees;

man drove deer away

with bells and hounds.

The slopes of the hollow thrived

with blueberries.


Laws change.

In the 20’s

dad saw the return

of the deer,

who love the leaves

and twigs

of the blueberry.


deer graze the hollow

like cattle,

more plentiful than cattle.

“There may be a blueberry

bush or two

on the hill”

dad says.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Concert of Sacred Metaphors — Job

With this post I am halfway through this intermittent series.  This is a series about my one solo concert, and the 12 songs I performed. This is song number six.  I had six songs in the first half, six songs in the second half.

The first half of the concert were all songs by Michael Card; the second half were various hymns of the faith.

To end the Michael Card section I chose what I believe is his longest song — The Job Suite.  It summarizes the entire book of Job in under 9 minutes.  It is called a suite because it is written in four sections and in three voices:  Narration, Job’s Lament, God’s Response, Job’s Response.

I consider the Job Suite one of 3 or 4 signature songs for me musically through my life to this point. It is also the one of those songs that I get to perform the least. I mean, taking 9 minutes out of a church service (most of my singing opportunities are church) doesn’t happen — the song is way too long from that perspective. And my other venues (Renaissance, caroling) don’t have openings for songs of this style.

So the likelihood that I will perform this anytime soon is very small. But if anyone thinks they know a place I can perform it, please let me know.

This is my dramatic piece. I don’t move around a lot, but I do use a lot of subtle body motions and changes of expression to deliver the meaning behind these words.

Squeezing a whole book of the Bible, its core essence, into one song, is a mean feat, but Michael Card manages it here. He picks up many of the unique wordings from the book of Job and plays with them through his lyric.  You need to listen closely to get all the subtleties and brashness that he inserts.