Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shiny Toy Guns

I am writing this post immediately after the last post, but it is such a vast change of topic that I thought it should go in a different post.

On Friday, for some reason, I really wanted to do something fun and hang out with St. Olaf friends. So I pretty much sat around all morning moping and trying to bury the feeling with homework. Then, I finally got out of my pajamas around lunch time and in the process looked at my cell phone (which was in the pocket of my jeans) and discovered that I had gotten a call from Scott, one of my St. Olaf friends. I called him back and discovered that he had an extra ticket to a Shiny Toy Guns concert that night. So all of a sudden, I had plans for the evening, going to a concert of a band I like a lot, with a friend that I haven't seen for a while. It doesn't get much better than that.

The concert was at the Varsity Theater in Dinky town, so I biked over and met Scott. We had a chance to catch up for a while before the concert, which was really nice. I was his JC when he was a freshman, and now he is a JC, so we were able to swap JC stories, which was fun. The concert was also excellent, although my ears were ringing for a while afterwards. Overall, it was really nice to just let go and forget about grad school and just hang out with old friends for an evening.

There was a lot of lights at the concert.

There was also a lot of smoke.

It was good.

Reformation day


For those that are unaware, today is reformation Sunday, which is a day to celebrate the heritage of the Lutheran church. I remember my first reformation Sunday when I was going to church at St. Olaf. It felt a little weird and I felt a little a bit like an outsider, because I was still pretty new to the Lutheran church. Church today felt quite a bit different than that reformation Sunday. I no longer feel at all like an outsider to the Lutheran church and especially not at my particular congregation (Como Park Luther Church) even though I have only been going there for a couple of months. I realized today that I've become more and more Lutheran.

For one, the Lutheran liturgy feels very comfortable and familiar. This is especially the case because there are a lot of Ole's at my current congregation, including one of the pastors. The stained glass windows even came out of the same shop as the windows in the St. Olaf chapel, so it isn't really a "new" congregation for me per se, just an extension of one I was already part of.

My Lutheranization, is not merely an aesthetic though. I find myself affiliating more and more with their doctrines and ways of looking at Christianity. Working at a Lutheran camp probably did a lot to contribute to this. In particular, the way I read scripture is falling more into line with the Lutheran approach, where scripture is generally categorized in Law or Gospel (although both can often be found in the same verse). Here, Law serves to tell us the way we should act, although there is no way we are actually able to fulfill the Law. Gospel on the other hand is "good news" that tells us about salvation from our fallen state. (Of course what exactly does that fallen state look like? Good question. Read C.S. Lewis.)

The other aspect of Lutheran doctrine that I have grown to embrace is the emphasis on vocation. That is, part of our life as Christians is to find what we are called to do and to use our gifts from God. Thus, the vocation of Mechanical Engineer glorifies God just as much as the vocation of Pastor. Granted, that makes doing my homework an issue of being a good Christian. Makes homework seem pretty darn important if you think about it too much.

So, yep, I guess I'm a Lutheran now. I guess I better get baptized, cause that's a big deal in the Lutheran church.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


One of the best parts about where I currently live is the commute. When I don't want to bike, I have the campus connector bus. Now, while some people may not consider walking 15 min to a bus as the ideal morning commute, I actually quite enjoy it. The walk is across the fair grounds, which, for the most part are empty. With the fall colors, it is especially beautiful and inspired me to bring my camera along for one commute.

There are chainsaw sculptures all over the fair grounds. Sometimes they startle me at night, because it looks like there is a person standing next to the sidewalk.

Why do they line the road with concrete sphere's? I don't know, but they look kind of cool.

The last five minutes of the walk are along this fence which is not the most pretty...

...except that now the leaves are bright yellow.

Surprisingly, this is one of the few pieces of litter I have seen. I would have expected a little bit more on the fair grounds.

At the end of the walk is the bus, which runs every 5 minutes, so there is never a very long wait for the bus.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A role model

I aspire to be a little bit like Dave Weins when I am in my 40's. Nice family, nice friends, able to take down the most popular racer in the country.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I had my first exam in grad school last Thursday. It was in Digital/Analog Control, which, so far, has essentially been a math class. I'm not sure how well it went, because I'm not used to in-class exams. It was all stuff that I could do relatively easy if I had a enough time to work through it, but because we had limited time, I choked on some stuff. I probably should have done more review so that I would have all the stuff in the front of my mind instead of having to dig for it. Oh well, I'll have to keep that in mind for future in-class exams. I'm used to the Physics take-homes from St. Olaf which where ridiculously hard, but I could crank on them for 15+ hours.

I've been dog sitting for the girls that live downstairs this weekend. It has been loads of fun because the two dogs are really nice dogs. (It might help that girls are in vet school, so they know how to take care of animals.) The dogs totally know the routine better than I do. So when I walked in this morning and let them out of their kennels, they promptly went to their food bowls. After I fed them and they ate, they went over to the door because I needed to let them out. Outside I was sitting on the stairs letting them run around. As soon as I stood up they ran to the door so I could let them back in. Once inside they promptly went into their kennels. I thought it was really cute.

This afternoon, I took the dogs for a walk, which was an adventure. The dogs were tugging on the leashes the whole time. Either they were trying to run ahead, or they were trying to stop and sniff at stuff. If one dog stopped to look at something, the other would immediately run back to see it. I must have looked ridiculous because I was laughing and getting pulled around by the dogs for most of the walk.

I wanted to stop and sit down for a little at a picnic table but then the dogs promptly climbed onto the picnic table. It was really funny, because one of the dogs climbed up first and then the other dog didn't want to be out done, so he climbed up too.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Very little excitement happened this week. The only thing out of the ordinary was that on Wednesday I hung out with a lot of St. Olaf people that I haven't seen for a long time. That was really nice. I also managed to put in 50 miles of commuting in 2 days.

For the weekend I'm at my parents house, because it seemed like a nice place to go to study for the weekend. I brought my camera along for the ride home and got some good pictures.

My new bike commuter image. T-shirt, rolled up jeans, sketchers (more wind proof that running shoes), and a big bag.

A somewhat artsy picture through some kind of construction frame. Note, this and the previous picture where taken by putting the camera on a 10 second timer while using burst mode.

The sun was setting over Saint Paul as I headed through Indian Mounds park on top of the bluffs.