2005 Reading List

This past year has felt even worse for reading than 2004. But I guess it always feels like that. It’s just been bad lately because I’ve felt like I can’t get through a book to save my life. It just takes forever to read, no matter how much I enjoy it. I guess I need to read more than three pages at a time.

Oh well, there’s some good readin’ in this list, and as long as I am reading, it can’t be that bad.

Continue reading 2005 Reading List


12 – Days since I’ve posted an entry on this blog. Not nearly as long of a drought as it feels like.
62 – Days since I’ve posted an entry on Spacebar. Now that’s a drought.

1,400 – Miles driven last week in the span of three days when I went to Kansas with my parents to pick up a wardrobe and tried to go to a friend’s wedding.
1 – Kansas ditches I drove through during a snow storm in an attempt to get to said friend’s wedding.
14 – Hours I spent in the car on Saturday after driving through a snowstorm, giving up on making it to the wedding, and then re-routing my trip through Nebraska.
75 – Speed limit in Nebraska, God bless ’em.
3 – CDs I bought in Des Moines, Iowa to keep me awake for the final 230 miles home.
1.5 – Times I was able to listen to each CD before they jammed in the CD changer the day after I got home.

13 – Average hours per month for youth group events (four 2-hour Wednesday nights, one 2-hour meeting, one 3-hour special event).
16 – Hours we spent at youth group this month (two 2-hour Wednesday nights, one 4-hour Christmas party, one 8-hour Operation Christmas Child/Chronicles of Narnia event).
20 – Hours of youth group events we skipped out on (two 8-hour clean-a-thon events to clean up the church’s new addition, one 2-hour Wednesday night, one 2-hour meeting).

215 – E-mails in my inbox needing to be sorted, deleted or (gulp) answered.
8 – Other e-mail inboxes on my computer that we dare not count how many e-mails they contain.
1,894 – Total unopened e-mails on my system, thanks in large part to spam, publicists and e-mail newsletters.
4,241 – Unread blog entries in Bloglines (not counting the Craigslist classifieds).
120 – Total blog feeds tracked in Bloglines.

30 – Days until the baby’s due date.
14 – Working days Abby has left until the baby comes (assuming it comes on the due date)
10 – Days left in 2005.
7 – Days until my anniversary.
6 – Days until massive 11-month freelance project is due.
3 – Days until Christmas.
1 – Working days Abby has left in 2005.

The Power of Saying ‘No’

I always thought learning how to say “no” would be one of those difficult life lessons that takes a lot of time and effort and failure before you finally master it. It turns out when you get busy enough, it’s really easy.

I’ve been saying no a lot lately. I’ve said no to about six or seven different jobs in the past couple weeks. I said no to being on vestry at my church (fancy Episcopal word for deacon or elder board). I said no to helping our youth group clean the new addition to our church. This morning I said no to going to the men’s breakfast group (OK, so I forgot, but I think that’s my body’s way of saying no). I’ve said no to friends lately. And I’ve said a big, huge no to the pile of dishes in the kitchen and the pile of laundry in the bedroom.

I’m not sure how that last one helps, but it seems to fit.

Not Growing Your Business

I’ve never understood the mindset that a business always has to grow. Yeah, it’s depressing to see your business shrinking, but isn’t that bound to happen? You can’t grow forever. I’ve always thought providing for yourself (and employees, if you have any) should be the goal. If you can grow that’s great, but all you really need to do is stay stable (which will often mean growing just to keep yourself where you’re at).

That’s why this article piqued my interest. Ah, kindred spirits.

Voting is Fun

I just exercised my right to vote. Literally.

I walked the four blocks or so to my polling place on a sunny, November afternoon with the temperature in the upper 50s. Not bad. Reminds me of my walks to the bus stop. The best part was crunching through the bright yellow leaves that layered the sidewalk beneath some of the late autumn bloomer trees.

And I also got to participate in democracy, casting my vote in the St. Paul mayoral and school board elections.

Church Marketing Sucks on Blogging Church

Today I appeared on the Blogging Church podcast along with Brad Abare as we talked about blogs and Church Marketing Sucks with Terry Storch, who is working on a book about church blogging. It’s kind of peculiar to go back and listen to an interview like that.

The more I do interviews the more I learn that preparation is very important. Now I know why folks like Bono and Franklin Graham have the same stories they tell all the time. You come up with a good line and you use it. Being a writer I know what it’s like when someone doesn’t say anything worth quoting. You make the writer’s job a whole lot easier when you say something quotable. And usually that means coming up with good lines ahead of time.

Continue reading Church Marketing Sucks on Blogging Church

Gas Prices Drop, Energy Prices Rise

I paid $2.10 per gallon for gas today, a 30% drop from what I paid two months ago when it was $2.99 per gallon. The media has finally realized that gas prices are dropping, though in my area at least they’re falling far below pre-Katrina levels. I’m not complaining, but this seems pretty bizarre.

Especially considering that oil company profit margins were up 62% in the third quarter. Oil company incomes for 2005 are up 30 to 50 percent over 2004. Apparently I’m not the only one scratching my head. The Senate is also investigating high oil company profits following the recent spike in gas prices.

Of course Congress doesn’t have to look far for the blame—the energy bill passed in August gave $4 billion in tax breaks to the oil industry, equivalent to 40% of Exxon-Mobil’s net earnings last quarter, which were already up 75% over the same period last year.

So was the Katrina price-spike for real? I’d like to believe quick responses in the wake of disaster brought the prices back down, but I’m not so sure.

Continue reading Gas Prices Drop, Energy Prices Rise

Immovable Type

If you’re getting a 500 server error on my blog, I’m aware of the problem and trying to fix it. It appears to be showing up for .php files created after the start of November. So my November archive and any individual entries created in the last two days won’t load. I had a similar .php problem before, though it doesn’t appear to be the same issue this time.

Maybe technology should move up on my list of things I hate about blogging. I love technology as much as the next twenty-something geek, but I really dislike technology when it doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. I want to spend time writing and reading and doing fun stuff, not changing the HTMLUMask to come up with the proper file permissions so my server can display my .php files. What the hell does that even mean?

Update: The site should be fixed now. Apparently it was a problem with the permissions of the new folder for November entries, fixed with the DirUMask. Something that probably should have been caught last month, but oh well. Technology: Can’t live with it, can’t watch TV without it.