Saturday, July 29, 2006

Marathon Tips

I like reading about pro inline skaters. I've learned quite a few training and race day tips. There is one tip though I've not read about yet, so I guess I will claim it as my own, and if another inline skater ever stumbles by this blog then they'll benefit from something. Skating 20 miles or more produces much body sweat. Water is not only helpful to rehydrate yourself but also to wash the salty taste out of our mouth from the sweat that drips in it. Here's the tip: Make sure to wash your hair the night before a long skate in order to keep your sweat from tasting like pomade. Unfortunately water does not wash that taste out for quite a while. I suppose the alternative is to make sure you use really good tasting pomade.

24.2 Miles

I started out today just wanting to skate for a full two hours. According to my training regimen today was supposed to be at least a 24 miler. In fact, from here on out I am suppose to taper down my distances until race day, so if I didn't hit 24 today I probably wouldn't in the coming weeks. Since I didn't want to drive anywhere I just headed out from my house to see what distance I could cover. I decided to combine two routes I've been training on.

This post started with me saying I wanted to skate for two hours. I didn't actually want to do anything this morning. The temp was 80 when I woke up at 5:45 a.m. My knee has been starting to bother me the last few days. I am generally tired and on the edge of exhaustion. My attitude is at a sour point. So, before skating this morning I had all these things going for me. Nevertheless I walked out of the house and said to my wife, "See you in two hours."

You probably guessed by now, I did it, skated for two straight hours. I used the old handy dandy google pedometer to trace my route and found I skated 24.2 miles. Perfect!!

The temp was 81 when I finished and I burned 2280 calories. Three weeks left to race day.

P.S. For you locals, if you happen to see my wife around this weekend at church or just out and about, please congratulate her for staying married to me for the last twelve years. Tomorrow is our anniversary. I love you Carla!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Landis' Tour Win Could Be Lost

Reports are out that Landis failed a drug test during one of the final stages of the Tour de France. He does have a dengenerative hip problem and might have been taking medication for it, which may have skewed his testosterone levels over the top. With sensitivities incredibly high due to the huge doping scandal that occurred before this year's tour, it will be interesting to see if Landis gets a fair "trial" among his peers and the media. I'm guessing that he won't. Just take the clue from Fox's headline. Landis hasn't necessarily tested 100% positive...yet. There is further testing to do.

I do like Landis' mother's honorable response to the report though. She shoots straight and doesn't lay down the "my son can do no wrong" card. She says "if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win."

"I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are," she said in a phone interview from her home in Farmersville, Pa. "I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me."

This Is What Makes Me Laugh

I mentioned it before. I find NBC's The Office to be hysterical!! Absolutely some of the best (consistent) humor I've ever seen. I think the best part about the show is the premise of it being a documentary and the fact there really is no framing or build up to punchlines, because there are no punchlines. My wife and I ordered season 1 from our Blockbuster online account and just watched it a few times over. I am looking forward to the release of season 2. I know season 2 is available in iTunes for $34.95 but I won't spend the money. I've thought about it but how foolish can I get?

Lately I've been humming a well know Christmas carol. My inspiration comes from the pilot episode of The Office. You must watch the clip below to know why I am so inspired. You don't necessarily have to watch the whole thing but just pay attention to the very short scene at roughly the 31 second mark.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lamenting With Others

This morning my family endured another step in the process of being refined by God through suffering. Someday I will blog about the specifics of this complex trial, but for now, thinking it's wise and honoring to God, I will stay pretty general. I just have too many emotions and scattered thoughts swirling around to saying anything glorifying about what my family is going through right now.

I have been through much pain in my life. Frankly, I've caused a lot of it. I trust God everyday to lead me through the consequences of some of the choices I've made in the past. I continue to grow closer to Christ. I trust the same Christ today...that He will lead me and my family through this trial that was brought about by someone other than myself.

During this time of suffering my wife and I have been most encouraged by the support of our brothers and sisters (in Christ.) These people know us, past, present, and future. I thank God for them! What makes these people so great is not just that they know us, it is that they know how to suffer with us. Suffering with someone else is a crafted skill and our supporters have it. Praise God for that as well!

What does it look like to suffer with someone? To actually lament with people? It is much more than feeling bad for someone, or even saying you will pray for them. I did say it is a skill but in a sense I believe it is a gift. Here is a great blog post that explains what it looks like to practically suffer with someone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tour Winner Raised In Mennonite Community

I got (somewhat) into the Tour de France this year, at least more than I ever have. It is probably because I like individual sports and because of my own training for the St. Paul Inline Marathon. I was surprised to learn that the winner this year, Floyd Landis (an American), was raised in a Mennonite family and community. I guess I am more surprised at the nickname the media has chosen for him...The Mennonite Menace. Good for Landis though, I am glad he won and that another American takes over after Lance Armstrong's retirement.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thinking Right About The End Times

One of the top three shifts that I've gone through in regards to my own knowledge of God is in the realm of Eschatology (aka the end times, aka the second coming of Christ.)

Thanks to JT over at Between Two Worlds for pointing out this article by Kim Riddlebarger. The article is a fantastic summary of what I now think and believe to be the truth about when Jesus is coming back, who the antichrist is and what to expect from life between now and the last day(s). (I also give much credit to my Friend and Pastor Tim Porter for steering me right in proper end times thinking.) I highly recommend you take three minutes to read the article.

(HT: JT)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Praise and Worship Skate

I planned 24 miles today. Frankly I am worn out from this past week. I spent much time in intense prayer over my family, receiving grace from devoted friends, and pursuing Christ's reign.

I did rip off 15 miles though in an hour and ten minutes. My body was relaxed the whole way along, the temp was actually a bit too cool, but I'd have to say this was one of my best training skates (I've had two really good ones up to now.) I am categorizing today's skate as a praise and worship seemed the longer I went, the closer I skated toward Christ.

I have four weeks to go. I am feeling really good and perhaps a tad over confident. Honestly, if race day conditions are like things went this morning, I think it is possible I could finish in 1 hour and 50 minutes. Without risking getting burned out I will train the next four weeks trying to improve upon my 12.5 mph average.

P.S. Uhmm. How many miles do you think I needed to skate in order to have seen Jesus? Oh, did I say that out loud?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sin Deserves More Of The Credit

I like this because it helps frame the "why" of our trials and how crummy life can get sometimes. Perhaps you and I are too focused on a mindset of God teaching lessons through trials so that we finally get life right. The fact that sin is rampant in this world, that sin itself infects everything must be acknowledge more. BUT God is good! God is glorified and Christ's reign is spread when we simply turn to Him in our sorrow, pain, and trails.

I do think we are to learn from every event in our lives, but in order to glorify God. God loves us and because we are His, He is for us, He is out for our good in a world of sin. Someday all of life will be shalom, the movement toward that someday has already been started. The good news is that Jesus came, died, and rose again...those are the events that initiated the movement toward Shalom. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

P.S. Please don't skip reading the link I made in the first sentence. The article is incredibly relevant to me during my family's present hardship. The article may also be of benefit to you now or when you encounter trials.

P.S.S. The only thing I don't like about the article I linked to is the bad reference to cats.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Four By 40 Blog Is One

Happy Birthday to Four By 40!

The real life hilarious storytelling motherhood blog Four By 40 celebrates it's one year anniversary tomorrow. No I am not desperate for a post today. Since it is my lovely bride's blog I wanted to be the first to report on it achieving the one year in the blogosphere milestone. Congratulations to Four By 40!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

22 Miles

Now we're talking. This morning I skated 22 miles in 1:45. Last week it was 20 miles in the same time frame. I averaged 12.4 miles per hour. My brother-in-law Dan rode his bike along side me and this helped out big time. There were times where we were going 20 miles an hour. That's humming. Try to imagine the pro skaters averaging 20 miles over the course of the entire marathon.

Some other interesting stats from today's skate. I burned 2200 calories. Heart rate averaged 160. I actually managed 12.6 miles an hour for the first half of the skate. Lastly, I started at 6:30 am and the temperature rose 10 degrees by the time I finished.

This was my best training skate so far. I have 24 miles in my sights for next week. With five weeks to go I will start to taper my distances after next week.

Friday, July 14, 2006

With The School Year Approaching Its Time To Get Your Cleaning Supplies

The other night I visited the local Target and Wal-Mart stores in search of the ultimate squirt guns. I found myself reminiscing the Christmas season because approximately one quarter of the floor space in both stores was dedicated to school supplies. Already?

I've been wanting to rant about this subject for some time.

The schools provide, in a circular rack like a gift card display, a list of school supplies that should be purchased. The lists are customized according to school and grade level. Fair enough. The lists are indeed helpful. However, the lists are so detailed and long, there exists many implications that I got to thinking about. One being that the lists are not provided for convenience but rather as a means of communicating the extent of the dire fiscal straits public schools are in. Also, the lists are so matter of fact and exact with purchasing expectations that the message is loud and clear, everything on the list is an absolute requirement and must be purchased. Or else what?

I know, you think this rant is founded from the typical argument, with the property taxes I pay why do I have to buy anything other than basic schools supplies? Yes, that is part of it, but why be so exact with the lists and why are the items needed in such volume? Besides, I know that most of the supplies are not going to be used by my own children. On the first day of school most of the supplies come out of a student's backpack and are inventoried and stocked in classroom cupboards and shelves. I witnessed it last year at my son's first day of school. So, it's a group sharing thing. All the students of a classroom contribute an entire years worth of school supplies. For example, one of the items on the list was a glue stick. But the list called for eight glue sticks. What, aren't there about 25 kids in a classroom? You see, that's 200 glue sticks. What if my little girl is extremely efficient at applying glue to her art projects? What if she only uses three sticks throughout the year? I guess I expect to see five sticks return with her at the end of the year.

What am I getting at? Not sure. Just ranting like I said. I am not against every student getting access to much needed school supplies. But, like I said, with the taxes I pay why do I have to purchase all the supplies from the list. This whole school supplies list thing is a joke and it alone proves that our public schools are messed up (not like that needs proof.) My frustration is based on principle.

Here is another sad part to this commentary. My family will purchase every item as required from the list, for both of my school age children. Mainly, here's the sad part, because I know that the teachers themselves would buy the supplies with money out of their own pocket if the parents didn't. You see, the teachers may have made the lists but the reason why the lists are needed is not their fault. My wife, currently a stay at home mother of four, served close to ten years as a public school teacher and I used to go classroom supply shopping with her. Again, with the taxes I pay, and the taxes the teachers pay, and the low income teachers make, neither one of us should have to buy the supplies to fill these lists.

Finally, what really sends me over the edge is the fact that a half dozen or so items on the list are not even school supplies but cleaning supplies like disinfecting/antibacterial wipes, kleenex, and napkins, cotton balls, and I also noticed ziploc bags are required. Exact amounts and exact brands are stated, that's what gets me. Why doesn't the school district cover these items? Why? For the love of.....Pat, why?

For the record, my wife and I send our children to public schools because it is the best option for us right now. We homeschooled my older son for the first three years which I think was a great thing for him. I happen to like the neighborhood public school they attend. But, I just think these lists are flat out wrong. I suppose now I am starting to repeat myself and so I should wrap this post up. Fine. I just don't like having to pay for all these school supplies, especially when some of them are not technically school supplies. Ok?

What Are You Thinking About?

I think I've posted this before. It is so good it deserves another posting:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Are GPS Enabled Cell Phones An Invasion of Privacy?

For a time in my recent past I sold Cell Phones and GPS enabled software to businesses. I presented to contractors, service providers, taxi companies, and any business with a mobile workforce. What I found was widespread acceptance of the technology by office and managerial staff and a quiet rebellion against the tracking devices among the field staff. Primarily the beef from the field workers had to do with "big brother" and "black helicopter conspiracy" defenses. Like I said though, the rebellion was quiet, small, and manageable. Now however, it appears some employees are getting a bit more bold in expressing their resistance. Twenty employees of Massachusetts' Building Inspection department have been suspended because they refused to carry GPS enabled cell phones. The employees are working with their union claiming the GPS tracking is an invasion of privacy.

I disagree and don't buy the "invasion of privacy" arguments. At the most basic level (this should go without saying) company provided cell phones are rightfully owned assets...of the company. A business has every right to keep track of their assets. Besides that though, what in the world does an honest employee have to complain about? What if the GPS tracking systems were actually in the vehicles that the building inspectors were provided? Would they choose not to drive the vehicle? Would they chose to drive their own vehicles, and thus by default choose to fill the tank with their own gas money? I doubt it.

How about this? Where are all the employee complaints about other means companies use to track the activity (and productivity) of their employees? This is what I get a kick out of. If you are an employee who is supplied a company computer to do your job, are you aware that your every move....yes, your every move throughout the day is traceable?

If a company is actually trying to invade your privacy, which in most cases they are not, they probably wouldn't come right out and tell you that your cell phone has a GPS chip in it. I understand the fears of potential abuse by management of such tracking tools, but the way I see it there is a reverse accountability as well. For example, if a manager accuses an employee of not being somewhere on time and the employee knows he/she was on time, a review of the GPS log will prove it and the manager will be discredited due to incompetence. If the incompetence shows itself too many times, guess what, that manager is no longer a manager.

The resistance to GPS enable cell phones by employees has its roots in ignorance. The technology is new and fascinating and that causes a certain degree of fear. Understandable - fear of abuse, yes, but fear of big brother, no.

Random Thoughts

One of these days I will get around to posting more than just random thoughts. The last thing I want to sustain is a vapid reputation in the blogosphere. But, you see, I like to make fun of myself, and I like to throw up high, lofting softballs for others to swing at and thus giving them their own chance at making fun of me. In addition, a foundational piece of pursuing Christ's reign in all of life is to live by the admonition in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." So, the way I look at it, posting my random thoughts and making fun of them is a literal way of following 2 Corinthians 10:5. Ok Porter, so my attempt at convergence in this post is not panning out, sorry.

Random Thoughts

Pool Maintenance: This morning I patched the eleventh and twelfth hole in the blow up ring around my family's pool. As I am cutting the small pieces of patch material I think to myself, "Good, I have enough material for another ten patches or so."

Pool Hygiene: This morning I checked the pool to see what effect the entire bottle of algae killer had on things after it had the whole night to work. The water was not as green as last night but I made the following justification for allowing the kids to swim in the pool today, "The St. Croix River has more algae than this and I was going to take my kids down there last night. Pool is open!"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Interviewed for eWeek Technology Magazine

In the internet age this is probably the best I am going to do with the 15 minutes of fame thing.

100 Days

It has been 100 days since posting this and I have not wavered from my April Fool's Day resolution declaration. I am not ready to post any before and after pictures yet, probably will never do that, but here is a short report on some keys stats I follow to track progress:

April 3, 2006

July 11, 2006


Body Weight



-16 lbs

Body Fat %



-4.5 %




-15.35 lbs




-.66 lbs

Frankly, I've had better results with total weight loss in less time but my goal is not to lose weight. That is right, I am not trying to lose weight - I want to maintain 174 lbs of muscle and decrease total body fat. It is a modern day fitness myth that losing total body weight is healthy, transforming body mass from fat to muscle is better. I would like to get under 20% body fat, perhaps even get to 15% by fall.

I actually would like to add more muscle but that is hard to do right now with the heavy cardio training I've been doing for the inline marathon. Even after the marathon I will continue to cut body fat until I reach my target percent. Then I plan to focus on adding some muscle.

I would like to say that my wife Carla has stuck with it for 100 days as well. She too has had great results. She is a trooper. We lift weights together three days a week!! I am proud of her!

I celebrated this morning by skating 7.6 miles in 38 minutes. Good skate!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

20.5 Miles

Very pleased about this morning's 20.5 mile skate! Very pleased! It took me 1 hour and 46 minutes so that is just over 11.5 miles an hour. Two factors slowed me this morning from my target 12 mph - hills and rain. I took a route this morning that brought me right in front of Porter's house. In fact, it is exactly 10 miles from my house to his. But wow, talk about hills! Then with about 6 miles left on the way back to home the rain came down hard. Skating in the rain is very tricky because things grease right up and it is impossible to skate depending on the road surface and wheel hardness. Fortunately this morning I did not run into problems even though I was slowed down to keep things safe, the last thing I want right now is a fall with injury.

Besides this being the first 20 mile skate of my training, I am most pleased with overcoming the mental challenges I faced since about 7:00 pm last night. I had 20 miles as my goal and knew I needed to get to bed early. But, I really wanted to spend some time with my wife and so we stayed up until 11:00. I got up at 5:00 am this morning and did not want to skate. I was hoping it was raining out when I looked outside. Nope. I kept telling myself I just do 5 miles and then do 20 tomorrow. I started out and the first 10 miles all I wanted to do was turn back. But, as usual, right at 12 miles (or so) the endorpins surged and I was good to go. I am telling you there is nothing close to the kick of that kind of energy. I finished 2o miles but I believe I could have gone another 6, soon I will be doing that. The marathon is August 20th.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mentos and Diet Coke

In preparation for building my own mentos and diet coke bomb, I've been watching many, too many, videos on Google Video and YouTube. This video shows a couple of humorous spillovers.

Laughing Joyless Pseudo Christianity

This Christian stuff always makes the news and perpetuates secular bewilderment and imminent hatred of all things Christian. What good is it doing? What a joke!


A good working definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Often I contemplate my own insanity. Now, fortunately, I have this test to help confirm that yes, I am insane.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pursuing Christ's Reign By Praying For Contentment

This prayer for contentment couldn't come at a better time for me since my family's minivan started on fire. Frankly, reading the prayer brings tears to my eyes because I know in my heart what I really long for and what I will eventually have completely and totally.

Spider-Man 3 Teaser

"How long can any man fight the darkness before he finds it with in himself? "

I learned this morning that Spider-Man 3 is set for release May 2007. Sweet!

Here's the teaser.