Yesterday was the first day of school. Not the first day ever, just the first day of Fall Semester 2005. It is going to be a change after three months of summer break. Every year I wonder if I will be able to do it. I am genuinely excited to learn, however I worry about being able to keep up. I'm taking Russian 201, Russian 305L (Medieval Literature to Pushkin), and a one credit independant study, which is eight credits, which is the most I've ever taken while working full time.

I don't think it will be as difficult as some of the math classes I've had in the past, but it will be a lot of studying. I have been praying that I will be able to spend enough time on God, Shannon, work, school, and Chi Alpha. It's a challenge. I welcome your prayers too.
Ah, what to do while 50,000 mugshot .jpg's compress...

Well, how about a Russian Lesson in celebration of the new school year. Yes, it is that time already. Summer seems to have gone by so quickly. Sorry in advance to any readers who don't happen to speak any Russian for one reason or another. You're welcome to stick around, it probably won't be too bad.

After hearing some children today, Pavel asked me, "whose kids are at the office?" I told him I didn't know and went to check it out. After finding out that they were Janice's kids, I came back and said something like, "эти Джаниса дети." (those are Jancice's kids) He told me that isn't quite how you'd say it. You'd say, "эти дети Джанис." That was interesting, I wondered why you wouldn't change the ending of Janice to show possession.

After some thought and examples, Pavel discovered a rule. It seems that you do decline names like Jim, Lance, and Linda, but you don't decline names like Shannon, Jamey, or Jeffery. Do you have a guess as to why?

This is why: Russian female names end in "а" or "я" (ah or ya), while Russian male names end in a consonant. So if your name is like a Russian name, in that it ends with an "а" or "я" if you're a girl, or a consonant if you're a guy, your name is declinable. Congratulations. But if your name isn't like a Russian name, like Jess, then your name is indeclinable. Sorry, but look on the bright side, Джесика is.

Argh! Still compressing. There has been 10 seconds left for the last 30 minutes.
Eric Lippert, one of my favorite technical bloggers, recently wrote about the age old question, "why do mirrors reverse left and right, but not up and down?" Check it out.
Yet another weekend of summer break has gone by, and school is about to start. Despite the work that needs to be done on the house before I'm swamped with Russian homework, I decided to go climbing in the Bitterroot Saturday with Scott and Zach. Well, that was our goal anyway.

Before meeting Scott and Zach, I went to the Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market is a great way to start a Saturday. I bought some vegetables, and got to speak some Russian. Then, I bought some empanadas and got to speak some Spanish. Empanadas are so good. As usual, I saw Rocky selling coffee, and then I ran into Rachael with her new camera (part of the 3 for $2 at a garage sale deal).

Once Scott, Zach, and I got up to on the mountain, we spent a couple miles hiking around until we gave up and decided to just go to Kootenai canyon. Even though it was sure to be busy there, at least we could get a few routes in before we needed to be back to town.

That didn't work out as planned either. After passing the turnoff to get to the sport routes, we decided that we better just bag it for the day. That didn't stop us from jumping in the creek, or I should say it didn't stop the dogs and me. Scott and Zach got their feet wet. Zach helped me build a little dam to raise the water level about six inches, and Scott threw a stick which I raced Sierra for. She's slower than you'd think in the water.

We got back in town in time to see Helen play the cello. Helen is an old friend of lafalda's, and she is very good at the cello. Which is a very good instrument to be good at. It was such a treat; thanks, Helen.

Afterwards we headed over the the new Montana Club for dessert. If you go there, you must try their bathrooms. Not only do they have a magic water faucet that turns on when you put your hands under it, but they have a magic soap dispenser and a super-powered hand blower.
Here at Missoula County, where I work, we replace computers on a regular basis like most companies and agencies. This creates a lot of old computers to get rid of. So if you are in the market for a few old computers check out our stuff on ebay You may be able to get three old PCs for a buck or other interesting things.

I guess they do surlpus a bit different at schools in Richmond, VA. People got a bit out of control trying to get a $50 iBook. The riot including chair-wielding, stroller-crushing, and falling old men was also reported on Slashdot and CNN.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the West, prepare to welcome back Sylvia!
Well this last weekend was another packed one. Friday, I left work early to go volunteer at the fair. A couple of years ago I joined the Sons of Norway. It's a Norwegian heritage society. I joined because they were offering language classes and I had the time, but once I started at the U of M, I no longer had the time so I quit going to Norwegian class.

I still work the booth at the fair, because my aunt asks me, and I have a hard time saying no. Besides, I get a bunch of free vikings. What are those? They are like meatloaf on a stick, battered, and deep-fried, and everyone loves them! They are the fair food in Missoula. That makes it easy to trade them for fried bread, gyros, or whatever else you want at the fair.

Jamey, ed, and Rocky stopped by after my shift. Be sure to check out ed's photo stream for some great photos. Just click the link off her homepage. Shannon was going to come too, but she wasn't feeling too hot, so I went home and we hung out and watched the old Russian movie Вий based on the classic Gogol novel.

Fall instantly hit on my shift. Around 5:30 it started pouring, and got really cold. I had to stop by the mall on my way home and buy a cool new Etnies sweatshirt from Zumiez for the ride home. It cooled down to about 40 degrees that night.

Stay tuned for more...
I have talked with friends before about staying up really late, and the effects it has on your mind and body. lafalda has said she would like to stay up really long sometime if it didn't weaken her immune system so much. J.J. has told me that he has tried staying up for fifty hours at a shot, but failed becuase his friend didn't keep him awake. I have spent nights awake playing video games, and your mind begins to play tricks on you when you are really tired. You see the game still when you close your eyes.

Usually I'm not into posting these second-hand news items, but this is pretty interesting while seriously unfortunate. Just a few days ago in South Korea, where gnat happens to be, which also happens to be the most connected country, a man video gamed himself to death. They say he died from exhaustion after playing simulated battles for 50 hours nearly non-stop. Apparently this kind of death has been reported twice before. Once before in South Korea and once in Taiwan.
One of the fun things about using a tool like statcounter is that you get to see what searches brought people to your site. I don't seem to be very popular with Google, but I seem to be surprisingly popular with MSN. The following searches led people here, in parenthesis is my current rank:Maybe someday if I get some really good questions I follow in Eric's lead, and provide answers as a public service. Although I was thinking of doing a cartwheel, roundoff, front-flip photo shoot...

In other search news, did you know that Google can be extremely helpful when competing in radio trivia contests? Jason in my office just won a bunch of stuff off the radio. They named about a half a dozen characters, and he answered the movie title, the year it was released, and the voice actors for all the characters.


12:00 PM | 7 Comments

Well, I orginally started this blog to write down stories of wonderful things God was doing in my life. I'm not saying that it isn't that now. Certainly, my friends and the great times I have with them are gifts from God, but my orginal intention was to write down more miraculous stories. I don't think I'll go back to that plan, I really like how this is going now, but for old time sake, here is a story from times past.

It was somewhere in 1998 while I was in the Air Force, and living in the dorms in Montgomery, AL, when my trumpet-playing friend Ryan kept telling me we should start a Christian ska band. I always thought the idea was a bit far-fetched. We had a trumpet and a guitar, and I was not exactly a seasoned guitarist as they say.

Well he kept on suggesting it, and then my friend Andrew got in on it too. Andrew played alto sax, and could sing ska. If you don't know what ska is, it's one of those things that's easier to hear than read about. It is like rock, punk, and Carribean horns all put together. So now it was the three of us talking about making a ska band. I think we wanted one because we really liked the bands Five Iron Frenzy, The Supertones, and The Insyders, and because Ryan played the trumpet. So we wanted to start a band, but it really takes more than that. Weeks and months went by and we just kind of kept it on the back burner. Then one day, up in my dorm room, we decided that if we wanted to do this band, we just had to set a practice time, show up, and let God take it where he wanted it to go. I looked at it like the bread and fish that God would multiply.

We scheduled the date and when it came around, it was still just the three of us, but we were going to do it anyway. Andrew, I think it was, managed to reserve the base chapel for us to use, and I think he's the one who found Dex the trombone player. Dex was an excellent singer, but we needed him on trombone. That night before heading over to the chapel, we were thinking, "you know we really need a base player. Does anyone play base?"

"I think Jared plays base," someone said. So we went and bugged him in his room. He said he used to play base a little, but he didn't have a base or an amp. We told him he should come with us anyway, and maybe they would have one at the chapel he could use. He said he didn't think so, but as we were walking out of his room, Rob, a guy I worked with, yelled down from the second floor out of the blue, "Hey do you know anyone who wants to buy a base?" as he held up a base guitar. We were blown away, and said yeah. Jared came to practice that night.

We prayed and played, but we didn't have a drummer. We prayed for a drummer. The next week a drummer showed up. He was Christian and interested in starting the ska band with us. That's how No Longer Blind formed.

It was really kind of funny that we were all computer programmers in the Air Force. I'm not sure what that meant other than we all had the evenings and weekends off. It was just like a regular job, except you wore a uniform. We started out by playing for youth groups mostly. We always played for free, but every now and then people would give us a small sum of money which we would use to buy band stuff like uniforms, merch, and mics. A ska band needs uniforms.

Playing for one youth group led to another, and before we knew it we were driving to Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina several times a month. We got to open for some bigger names like The Normals and Skillet. I remember a fun band called Shaded Red. We played in a field on a trailer with them and The Normals.

So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I just posted the CD demo we made, but I also want you to know that God can take normal people with average talent, and make a great thing that blesses lots of people. Trust me, most of us had average talent, but God put it together for something bigger than the parts.

Here is our music from NLB v1.0:Feel free to copy and distribute.


10:25 AM | 4 Comments

A big thank you to ed, lafalda, rael, and a double thanks to jamey for coming over Saturday and Sunday to help pick colors, paint, tear out carpet, pull nails, and eat pizza. You guys are great!
Well, I just finished a mighty fine A&W Root Beer Float which was delivered straight to my very own neighborhood via a vintage ice cream truck. While there were several kids purchasing ice cream, sadly I think the rest of the neighborhood hasn't caught on, or they were inside playing video games. It's a nice evening too.

Maria, the ice cream truck operator, was kind enough to grant me an interview. If you see her around, or hear Christmas music, be sure to pick up an ice cream. Enjoy.

this is an audio post - click to play

Straight from her business card. Here's her information:

Westwind Wagon
Available for all your Special Events!
Grand Openings, Rodeos, Birthday Parties, Sports Events, Horse Shows!

We serve ice cream, hot dogs, frozen bananas, beverages, and more!

Vintage Truck, Self Contained
Licensed & Insured

Maria Freeman
(406) 825-3230 cell 370-6506
freeman at blackfoot dot net

(that email address is to keep the spam bots away, humans know to change the "at" to "@" and "dot" to ".")

And for that ice cream truck music:

this is an audio post - click to play
Hey there, sorry to keep you hanging for so long. I know it was almost as bad as the Star Trek season ending with Captain Picard turned into a Borg and not knowing what was going to happen for five months - almost. Fortunately the summer blog break is not as long as the summer blockbuster break, but enough of all that let's get to what's been happening.

Where we last left off, I was working in the yard on a Bible study. It went really well, and we all got to water balloon Peter playing the part of Stephen. Then on Saturday I joined ed, rocky, lafalda, rael, jamey, and other non-blogging friends at the outdoor cinema. Every Saturday during the summer, some community-oriented citizens show a movie on the side of an old school building. Anyone can come and watch for free. They were showing Pee Wee's Big Adventure, which I must add was much better than I remember. If you haven't watched it in years, I would suggest checking it out. Since the motorcycle is now running, I rode it there. Here's a nice picture of Jamey checking it out.

Sunday, Shannon and I went up to the lake (Flathead lake is "the lake" by the way). My brother and his wife were there along with my parents and a bunch of other family. I got some waterskiing in, and we went to this cool restaurant/bar on the lake. My dad anchored the boat in the bay and rode in with my uncle because they just didn't have enough dock space. Unfortunately, Shannon and I had to work on Monday so we came back to Missoula that evening. However, I got off work at noon, and went back up on the motorcycle. Shannon had to work. I decided to stay the night, and just come back early on Tuesday before work. It was a cold ride home in the morning, but worth it.

Wednesday, we played Russian Scrabble at the Shack. Really, The Shack is the best place to play. I got lucky with the letters and won for the second time in a row!

Thursday, I attended a great Bible study of Acts 10 and 11 taught by lafalda and Rocky. We also had a guest named Brent, who is taking his family to Ireland where they will be college campus missionaries. It was exciting to hear from him.

Even though I had to miss sci-fi Friday on the Scifi channel, I had a blast working the BBQ at my aunt an uncle's company BBQ. Quite smoky, but worth the money and fun. Peter and Krysty came along to work the big inflateables for the kids. I think they had a bunch of fun too. It was great seeing a bunch of the family. Here's a photo of two of my cousins.

Saturday I worked on dismantling the huge cat house I built a couple of winters ago, and then in the evening, Shannon and I went to the outdoor cinema with Aaron. Aaron's a great high school friend who I haven't seen in about five years. He was just visiting from Reno. Before we went to the movie we stopped by the mall to get some Hoagieville, and check out the rules on the Dance Dance Revolution contest. I just may enter. Well, I need to wrap this up. I'm heading to dinner at Fiesta En Jaliso to bid farewell to Dawn who is leaving for Kazakhstan on Tuesday.