Old News

Archived news items from July 2000
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Sunday, 30 Jul 2000 [22:17 CDT]

Today has been one of those days....

Things started out well enough. I woke up early, and got to have a leisurely morning and still got to church ten minutes early. Once the first service started, though, my troubles began.

During the first song I broke a string, knocking my guitar out of tune. Of course, there's no time in the first set to change strings or anything, and my guitar had been doing so well with regard to strings that I quit getting out my backup guitar about a month ago. So I just sat there and sang for the first set.

Then, I ran about frantically during the welcome (between the first and second sets) fishing out my backup guitar from the closet and getting it plugged in. Of course, pretty quickly I discovered that it was out of tune and by this time the congregation was waiting on us to begin again. So I didn't play during the second set either.

Well, the first service got out earlier than usual, so I sat down to put on a replacement string. Of course, though I had lots of spare strings at the church I didn't have a single G (the one I'd broken) in the whole building. So I rushed home (in the twenty minutes between services), changed the string, tuned my guitar, and rushed back. Then in the remaining five minutes before the second service started I got my guitar retuned, my backup guitar plugged in as well and tuned, and my tuner hooked inline so I could check the tuning of my main guitar between songs if need be.

Of course, during the welcome something went wrong with the plug on my guitar and it started spitting static and then wouldn't play. So I had to sit out for the first song of the second set again. Fortunately things started working again by the second song and finished out well.

Of course, all this frantic activity going on wasn't noticed by most of the congregation, and both services went excellently, even if I felt a bit panicked the whole time. Just goes to show you that God's presence doesn't depend on my ability or whether or not I'm in control.

After church I stayed to help with the construction that's still going on. We pulled up all the carpet in the sanctuary (the new carpet comes in on Thursday) and did lots of cleaning and some more painting. At one point (around lunchtime) three of us were carrying a roll of carpet out to the trailer to dump it. Pastor Brian was in the lead, I was in the middle with the roll up on my right shoulder with my arm curved around it like you'd carry a barrel of ale or something, and Clifton was bringing up the rear.

Brian opened the door (it swings outward, hinges on the right) and then sort of sped up like you do when you want to get through a door before it closes. Of course, neither of us behind expected that, and I was dragged forehead-first into the metal door frame. Bong!

"Ouch!" I said and let go of the carpet, sort of reeling off to one side.

"Are you okay?" Clifton asked, who'd seen the solid contact occur.

What happened?" Brian asked, who'd only heard the thud and felt the roll get suddenly heavier.

"I don't know. Am I bleeding?" I replied.

They looked at my forehead at the red indentation. "Not yet," came the reassuring reply. Upon a closer look they were able to determine that the skin wasn't broken at all. Since I hadn't hit a corner but had just hit the door frame flat there was no bleeding at all but will probably be a bruise.

It didn't hurt except at the moment of impact and never even got bad enough where I would have taken a painkiller, even though it did throb a bit. I don't think I had a concussion (i.e. no real physical damage) though I was maybe mildly in shock for five to ten minutes (sort of stunned emotionally). There's a nice little knot there now.

Anyway, I'm guessing there's no more to the injury than the barely perceptible headache and the red knot, since I worked up at the church for about another eight hours after that happened and seem to be doing fine.

So it's a good thing I'm going to bed. Taking a long car trip, trying to cross the street or any other form of tempting fate probably wouldn't be a good idea today.

I'm in good spirits, though. We got the desktop in the new sound booth!

Thursday, 27 Jul 2000 [20:32 CDT]

I got a surprising email message on Sunday - from Graham Mitchell, a middle-aged Australian farmer! He and his wife Lois are new to the internet and after doing a search on his own name found my web page! Among other things, he said, "The influence of our Lord on your life is a joy to behold. May I encourage you in your walk of faith in the sure and certain knowledge that he has many blessings in store for you in this world and the next." Such kind words are always nice to hear. It's good to see my passion for God is clearly visible from my web page; it's intended to be. Hopefully it's a clear to people I meet personally, especially my students.

In other, more commonplace news, I think I'm back on a school-year sleep schedule. I got up this morning at 6:15, which is maybe 45 minutes earlier than my average waking time all last year. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up.

I've been at school almost every day this week, and today I started putting the network cabling in, an extremely distasteful process for me. I'm nearly half done, and just before I went home today I borrowed a nicer ladder from the tech facilitator, which should help a lot. Hopefully I'll finish up tomorrow.

I also got to look at my tentative class schedule for next year and it looks like Computer Science III is going to have its own class for the first time. Last year the six CS-3 kids just came in during various other periods, and since I didn't have any planning periods at all and had never taught it, I never really gave them much direction. Still no planning periods this year, but with them having a class to themselves, I'll be able to blaze a trail and get them doing something. Then next year I can refine it.

Progress on the construction at Lakeline still continues: the church has been repainted and the new stage now has stairs. We also emptied and demolished the old sound booth. The new one is not yet ready, so the sound board and stuff are sitting on two big tables in front of the new sound booth. Most of the electrical work is done, and we're basically just waiting on the new carpet and for the new sound booth to be finished. And then we're done!

Also, all the paperwork for the CD is falling into place. I hope to be able to send it off for duplication on Monday. We'll see.

Finally, I finished Wizard and Glass last night. It was excellent, and I highly recommend the whole Dark Tower series to anyone who hasn't read it.

Thursday, 20 Jul 2000 [23:07 CDT]

I did finally hear from the CD manufacturing people, so know I know all our options and their associated costs. I met with the guy doing our art and so now he's working on it. For a change there's not much I can do except wait to hear back from all the people I contacted. I expect the album to be available around the beginning of September, but if things all fall into place quickly it might be as soon as mid-August.

My summer vacation is drawing rapidly to a close (I think I overuse that phrase; oh, well). We go back August 7. I've spent some time up at the school for the past two days and have gotten my computers all set up (though not yet networked) and the student desks moved into place for the first time. So assuming I were to clean the little bit of extra junk that's still hanging around I could actually hold class in there now. I'm excited about having the extra capability of lecture time not in front of the computers.

I'm also trying to get a handle on AcaDec things. With the worship leader transition and the CD, my mind hasn't much been on AcaDec.

I'm now 250 pages into Wizard and Glass, which was the reason I'd been reading the gunslinger series again, anyway (because Mom got me the new one a while back and it'd been so long since I'd read the previous ones I'd forgotten everything). It's very good. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it before school starts, since I presume my time for reading will shrink quite a bit once it does.

And I forgot to mention this in the last update, but my brother went back to Marshall. He never was able to get a job here in Austin (two long stories which I won't relate here), but has got rent-free housing for the next semester in Marshall and a good chance for a part-time job. So rather than spend more time here (enjoyable as it was) he decided he ought to go ahead and get back. The wedding is December 30.

So it's just me and the cats again.

Monday, 17 Jul 2000 [00:54 CDT]

Just beat Diablo II with my Clvl 28 Amazon. Maybe now I'll be free and actually be able to get some work done. And start reading Wizard and Glass again.

The worship leader search committee today made a public announcement that we'd found someone, and since they said his name, I now can, too. His name is Bob Carlton. I'm helping him move into his new apartment Tuesday morning, and from then on he will be showing up to rehearsals (starting that night, I presume) and we'll begin working on the "pass the torch" service on August 6. I'll lead worship for the first part and then say a little bit about why there's a new guy coming in. Then Brian says he's "doing something special" for me, but he won't tell me what it is. I'm scared. Anyway, after "something special" is over, Brian will interview Bob and let the congregation find out a little about his experience, philosophy of worship, etc. Then Bob will close us out in worship.

I'm pumped. Now that we've found the guy I've got senioritis pretty bad. He could start tomorrow as far as I'm concerned, but I guess I can wait for the formal process to work its magic. Nothing new on the CDs except that the company I called on Friday about duplicating the thing didn't call me back. So I'm going to call them after I get some sleep.

Thursday, 13 Jul 2000 [22:35 CDT]

Still enjoying having a week with not much to do. The gold master for the CD is now done, and I'm making progress on licensing issues and will call the duplication people tomorrow. Hopefully it'll be done by the beginning of August.

I haven't played much Diablo II since Saturday, but I have spent a lot of time up at the church. As part of our expansion, we rebuilt the stage with a much higher and larger one. It looks great! They actually let me do some building on it, so hopefully the parts I did will hold up.

Also, many of you know by now that my time as worship leader at Lakeline Church is coming to an end. The church has grown to the point where they really need someone doing it full time. I've reached the point where there's a lot of growth that could be happening in the music at Lakeline which isn't because I lack the time or expertise to get it done.

So I've decided to let someone else take over with more skills than I and someone who can do it full time. I thought about quitting teaching, being the full-time worship leader, and developing the skills, but my passion is really for teaching.

The worship leader search committee has been sifting through resumès, CDs, and videos for the past several months, and they've found someone who seems like a match made in heaven for Lakeline. This person has met the search committee, the staff, and the worship team, and everyone who's met him agrees that he's the one. There are still a few more things that have to be done, including a church vote, but assuming everything proceeds according to schedule, he'll be starting the first Sunday in August.

Of course, I'll continue to play and sing with the worship team and basically do whatever else is needed (including woodwork, apparently) until God calls me somewhere else. Which isn't going to happen anytime soon. (Thought you could get rid of me so easily, did you?)

You know, I haven't read any of the Gunslinger series (I'm on Wizard and Glass) since I bought Diablo II....

Saturday, 8 Jul 2000 [19:49 CDT]

Not much happening this week. I've been playing a LOT of Diablo II, and I'm now a little way into Act III. What a great game!

My mouse is now working, also. As I suspected, it was a problem with the new motherboard; flashing to the newest BIOS fixed it. And as a happy bonus, there's now a BIOS option to change the multiplier on the internal cache. Now how cool is that?

I finally bought myself a direct box for my guitar, so now instead of plugging in to an adapter and then the snake, I just use the DI box. Doesn't really give me any extra functionality, but it's a cleaner way to connect. Oh, and I guess I now have an option to lift the ground.

Not much else of note. Still working on getting the CD produced, and things are falling into place quite nicely.

Now, my Clvl 23 Amazon is calling....

Monday, 3 Jul 2000 [12:52 CDT]

Many things have been afoot at the old "Circle K", so here's the lowdown.

My birthday was Saturday (July 1). It appears I share a birthday with actor Dan Akroyd and lead singer of the B-52s Fred Schneider. So for my birthday I bought myself some computer hardware, making this the first major upgrade on my computer in two years. My new system:

The new system is up and working fine except that my mouse sometimes freaks out. But my video drivers are working consistently for a change. I benchmarked Unreal Tournament on the new system, and played a heavy carnage game against eight bots, and averaged over 40 fps at 1024x768 in 32bit color with all the bells and whistles turned on. In a small room I get over 70.

I also have been buying some video games to play on my nice new system; I previous bought Unreal Tournament, which I think I mentioned. My major coup was Diablo II, which I managed to pick up at Electronics Boutique the day it came out. My brother and I have been playing quite a bit, and it's even better than the original. I also finally picked up Half-Life, which has been on the wishlist for over a year. I got the "Adrenaline Pack", containing both Half-Life and the excellent add-on Opposing Force. Of course, I've been so busy with Diablo II that I haven't even installed it yet.

Of course, I've updated my wish list, so if you're feeling guilty about not getting me anything for my birthday, then feel free to purchase me anything off that list. ;)

In other significant news, the Lakeline Church praise team had a concert on Friday night, which we recorded on a DAT. We will be producing a live CD from the recording, which should be available in August. I'm still trying to contact all the authors of the original songs to secure their permission to record their work and to pay royalties where necessary, but the hard part (the recording itself) is over and sounds pretty good.

My parents came down this weekend to see the concert and to celebrate my birthday. We had a great time and I don't think I've ever been out to eat so many times in such a short span. We played Putt-Putt golf on Saturday, on a whim, and that was fun. Surprisingly, I ended up winning, with a score of 49 on eighteen holes. Of course, this is 13 over par, but who's counting?

Also, last week I took my brother to go see Guy Forsyth play at Antone's, and he invited a guest onstage for a few songs. Her name is Carolyn Wonderland, and she sings and plays blues guitar as well as anyone I've ever seen play. In fact, I was so impressed that I went back last night to Antone's to see her, as she was opening for Guy. Of course, I got there late and missed all but one song of her set, but it's not like it's punishment to watch Guy Forsyth play either.

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