Monday, May 30, 2011

Brat Fest 2011

We spent 3.5 hours yesterday celebrating the wonderful hotdog/sausage looking thing called a Brat Well, we hung out at the Brat Fest for 3.5 hours...but  I must confess, I only consumed 1 brat.

The surprise of our time there was listening to the Charles Walker Blues Band. They were actually quite good and fun to listen to. The last few times we've gone, we've shown up ealier in the day when all the highschool bands are playing. The Charles Walker Band was actually quite leigit. So that was nice.

The funniest part of the three hours occurred in between the Charles Walker Band and the next band. I guess that this year there was a WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) show going on simultaneously at the Allient Energy Center. So during the last song, about 8 security guards appear all around the stage. I started wondering if there might be something bad or political going on. There were several "people's brat fests" going on this year in protest to Johnsonville supporting Walker. But no, all the security was for one of the Irish fighters who came out and was encouraging people to come enjoy the "spandex display" going on next door.

I wasn't sure what was funnier, the fact that he was encouraging us to come enjoy spandex or that there were 8 security guards protecting this relatively unknown person from the brat filled sedated crowds. (Although I guess it could have just been a part of the "act").

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fun Things to Take the Parents to:

Wisconsin Historical Museum - The current special exhibit is "Odd Wisconsin". Did you know you can see a jar of skunk oil? I forget how it relates to Wisconsin...but I do remember that it's kind of gross.

Wisconsin Dells - No, I did not take the parents on the water slides...but we did go to a restaurant where a small train brings out your food. Quite exciting.

Frugal Muse - Yes, this has become quite the tradition to stop at when the folks are in town. The Frugal Muse is a resale book shop that is very well organized and cheap.

Governor Dodge State Park - Waterfall, lake, hot weather, A&W for lunch (by the way, do you know what A&W stands for? Allen & Wright), everyone falling asleep in the car on the way home (except the driver...that would have been bad).

Famous Dave's BBQ - Dinner served on a garbage can! (Mom and Dad are going to think we only eat at strange places.)

So I guess there are some fun things to do in Wisconsin!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tea Kettle Scum Collector

I found this in a kitchen shop this past weekend. I'm really curious to see if it will work. I guess you leave it in your tea kettle, all the minerals in the water collect on that instead of the pot. I'm a bit skeptical but for 2 bucks, it was worth a try.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shallow Small Group

As a small group leader, I found this quite funny:

Ahhhh....sometimes I think this type of group would be soooo much easier. But I'm grateful that all the "deeper" small groups I've been in have actually brought me closer to God and created much stronger friendships.

First saw this on

Monday, May 16, 2011


The craziness has begun! Somehow I convinced my sister to come out to Madison for 2 months. Not sure how I did that. Basically she is coming to intern with InterVarsity's writing team for the summer. So she'll be living with us, going to work with us, eating with us, sitting across the isle from me, and hanging out with us for the summer. Are we crazy? Maybe. It's been a really long time since I've spent this much time with my sister. While I don't anticipate any drama, it'll be interesting to see if we revert back to our old family roles or if we've matured enough to have an adult relationship now. Overall though, I'm excited to have family within a mile of me. Living so far away from family has it's I'm hoping we can cherish the time that we do have together. The nice thing is that there is so much to do in Madison during the summer that I think we're going to stay very busy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Future of Higher Education

I just noticed that a talk about the future of higher education by Professor and InterVarsity board member Santa Ono was posted on the audio section of

It's a bit on the long side but interesting to listen to...especially if you are working in higher education: Santa Ono Talk on Higher Education (

Monday, May 09, 2011

Back to School

Well kind of....

After nearly 10 years of being out of college, I signed up for a 6 week continuing education class at our local community college. It's a basic html course, but so far it's been helpful in getting a broader background into the whole html world. I've been doing a lot of html coding for work but haven't really known why I was doing certain things. So it's been nice knowing the meaning behind the language.

The best part of the class has been just learning. I had been so intimidated by trying to take a class again fearing that I wouldn't have the time or that I wouldn't be able to keep up anymore. But 6 weeks has seemed manageable and since what we're learning is so practical to my job it's felt easier than trying to learn something totally new.

In short, it's been fun and I'm already thinking about what class to take next.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

InterVarsity Alumnus Lendol Calder

InterVarsity Alum: Lendol Calder on "Uncoverage" from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Interviewing Lendol Calder this past month was fun for multiple reasons. First I got to coordinate the interview with Matt which means not only was this a written piece but also a video piece. It was different thinking through what elements of Calder's story would be better communicated through written words verses via video. In the end I like how the article and video complimented each other.

The other reason I loved interviewing Lendol was that Lendol Calder basically influenced my whole college history experience. Some of you know that I was a history major in college and at the time I distinctly remember there was a shift in the way certain history professor began presenting their materials. And I'm willing to be that much of that was due to Lendol.

Lendol was named the 2010 Illinois professor of the year and he's been in the spotlight primarily because of the teaching method he encourages. He strongly advocates that survey history classes shouldn't just try to cover large amounts of materials and focus on time lines but rather history classes should help students think through various events in history and find meaning within various accounts. So instead of reading a history textbook, students might read various primary sources of an event and are then asked to write papers about those events. From my experience, the classes I took that didn't focus on the textbook were much more challenging, fun and are the ones I still remember today.

It's fun to know that InterVarsity alum like Lendol are having an impact in the academic world today.

You can read the full article on Lendol here:

Monday, May 02, 2011

Glass Blowing

It's Art Fest time at the office...well actually it's the Spring Art Institute where different people in the office put on classes to hopefully inspire everyone to create something for the Art Fest in the fall. One of the classes that was offered was a glass blowing class at The Vinery (

To be honest, I was slightly intimidated by the idea of playing with molten hot glass and blow torches but I decided it might be fun. It was.

I have to say the whole process to get a glass ornament hot and then blown into something resembling a round object was really quick. I was kind of surprised by that. It only took about 2 or 3 minutes per ornament. But it was fun. Half the fun was not really knowing what it would look like in the end. But I think I got a few pieces I'm happy with.

Now that I know what I'm doing, I kind of want to go back and try it again. Anyone want to go with?