Category Archives: Basketball

Roundball Oracles – Year 15

It is time once again for the greatest sporting event of year. It is that time known as March Madness. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Once again, I will be sponsoring a pool. There is not cost to enter the pool, except for pride.

The winner gets a trophy. The dead last place person gets a trophy known as The Sara.

By winning, you get your name etched on the list of immortals:

PAST ROUNDBALL ORACLE CHAMPIONS

Past Roundball Oracle Champions:

2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Paul’s repeat championship definitely puts a target square on his back.

But I said that there are 2 trophies. The 2nd trophy, The Sara, goes to the adult that finishes dead last, while trying. A person can not tank on purpose and win The Sara. The reason The Sara winner has to be an adult is that I don’t want to mock children, to their face. Probably a better rule would be that to “win” The Sara, you have to be at least a teenager. I have no problem mocking teenagers to their face. I do it pretty much every Wednesday night at Youth Group.

Past “The Sara” Winners:

The Sara

2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole – now Bardole-Foley
2016 – Laura Priest – now Miller
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

The Sara doesn’t have the long storied history of the championship trophy, but it will get there. I have no doubts.

Last year, 35 combatants threw their hats into the ring. Here are the standings from last year:

2018 STANDINGS
RANK TEAM NAME SCORE CORRECT BEST SCORE BEST CORRECT CHAMPION
1 Paul Golden 248 40 248 40 Duke (175)
2 Dawn Krause 243 38 243 38 Villanova (132)
3 Christopher Bennett 243 37 243 37 Villanova (153)
4 tim peterson 232 41 232 41 Michigan St. (165)
5 Michelle Haupt 232 35 232 35 Villanova (182)
6 Nate Miller 230 37 230 37 Villanova (159)
7 Jordan Toot 224 33 224 33 Villanova (108)
8 Corey Faust 223 34 223 34 Villanova (153)
9 Angie DeWaard 221 34 221 34 Villanova (201)
10 Rachel Johnson 219 39 219 39 Kansas (178)
11 Lowell Davis 215 38 215 38 Virginia (152)
12 Benjamin Baier 213 33 213 33 Virginia (112)
13 Derek Dohrman 205 36 205 36 Virginia (155)
14 Cathie Raley 204 35 204 35 Virginia (138)
15 Bill Wentworth 200 34 200 34 N. Carolina (97)
16 Sean Gildersleeve 198 35 198 35 Michigan St. (145)
17 Linda Bennett 195 36 195 36 Kansas (145)
18 Jesse Howard 195 35 195 35 Duke (146)
19 Olivia Baier 188 33 188 33 Virginia (133)
20 Toby Sebring 185 32 185 32 Arizona (148)
21 Russell Kennerly 184 33 184 33 Virginia (161)
22 Jackson Faust 182 32 182 32 Auburn (124)
23 Sean Clubine 173 33 173 33 N. Carolina (151)
24 Jason Baier 173 30 173 30 Virginia (159)
25 Michael Augustin 167 31 167 31 Virginia (186)
26 Brandon Kahler 166 33 166 33 Kansas (133)
27 Nader Parsaei 166 33 166 33 St. Bona. (170)
28 Andree Jauhari 165 32 165 32 Virginia (145)
29 Elizabeth Nordeen 165 32 165 32 N. Carolina (173)
30 Carrie Baier 162 31 162 31 Gonzaga (144)
31 Laura Priest 158 32 158 32 Duke (125)
32 FHMeiners 156 31 156 31 Kansas (167)
33 Becky Perky 152 32 152 32 Kansas (168)
34 Will Baier 148 25 148 25 Marshall (113)
35 Robert Henning 141 28 141 28 Kansas (156)
The rules are as follows:
Round 1 = 1 point + seed
Round 2 = 2 points + seed
Round 3 = 4 points + seed
Round 4 = 8 points + seed
Round 5 = 16 points + seed
Rounds 6 = 32 points + seed
I can tell that you are already sold and just want to know how to get into this competition, so that you can battle it out and possibly get your name on “The List of Immortals”. It is easy enough, just click on the link below:

Roundball Oracles – Year 15

Good luck! I know you will fare well!

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 181 – FACELESS PORTRAIT

FACELESS PORTRAIT turned out to be too daunting of a theme for many. Or perhaps the ice cold weather caused many creative juices to freeze up. The good news is that it will actually be ABOVE freezing on Saturday. Of course, we will also get freezing rain, so I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 186 - FACELESS PORTRAIT - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT
Carla Stensland

WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 181 - 8
8

8! What a great theme! But kind of confusing. Why 8? The reason is because 8 is the theme category for the 2019 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. The largest and most prestigious photo contest in the state. People actually enter from all over the country.

Rather than giving my description of an 8 image, here is the info straight off the sheet:

Next year is the 80th Anniversary of the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon, so we are going to focus on the 8’s. This isn’t about just taking photos of the number 8. The challenge here is to look at the world around you. What do you see? Now, you might say as photographers we do already, but did you really take notice of that something next you that may be in the shape of an 8? Or maybe, you come across a subject in your travels that is in a grouping of 8.

A few tips to help you with this assignment. First, remember that the number eight can come in all shapes, sizes and directions. Second, if the subject is in a grouping of eight, try taking photos of the grouping at all different angles. This would be a great opportunity to set your camera on Aperture Priority to learn how to shoot with a depth of field. Third, if
might be an ever greater challenge for this assignment, but it might be possible for you to come across a group of eight items that is also in the shape of an eight.

The typos in there belong to the Iowa State Fair and actually aren’t mine for once.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations.

HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

+++++++

That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very eights Monday.

Selfie Project – January

Loyal leaders may recall that I started up the Selfie Project again in 2019. At the end of every month I will check-in with it to share some of my favorites from the month.

If you don’t want to wait until the end of the month, you can follow me on the Instagram to see what I have done and where I have been.

To follow me on the Instagram, scan my Nametag below:


Instagram Nametag

Spoiler: For January I’m not sure I did anything all that exciting. Although I did leave Iowa once to visit the Miller Triplets in Kansas.

Here are my favorites:


December 31, 2018
December 31, 2018

January 4, 2019
January 4

January 8, 2019
January 8

January 10, 2019
January 10

January 12, 2019
January 12

January 14, 2019
January 14

January 16, 2019
January 16

January 17, 2019
January 17

January 18, 2019
January 18

January 20, 2019
January 20

January 21, 2019
January 21

January 22, 2019
January 22

January 23, 2019
January 23

January 25, 2019
January 25

January 26, 2019
January 26

January 27, 2019
January 27

January 29, 2019
January 29

January 30, 2019
January 30

January 31, 2019
January 31

Hopefully I will be interesting in February. There is a baby I need to visit up in Minnesota. A baby I need to visit down in Des Moines. If the weather gets nicer, I could spend some time pursuing THE TOWN SIGNS PROJECT or I could spend the entire month hanging around the house with Naima.

The struggle is real!

+++++++

Here is a big update on my pursuit of a drone:

  1. Car paid off. – I got the pink slip daddy!
  2. Training Budget Reimbursement – Bought about 10 books and signed up for an online portrait photography class that I will discuss someday.
  3. Purchase Popcorn Maker – The Union Street theater has procured its very own popcorn maker from Flat Earth Joe. The one that was borrowed from Andy’s friend of a friend has been returned.
  4. Computer Upgrade – I have completed upgrades on my home computer. I’ve put in a solid state drive to run the OS and the applications, I upped the RAM to 16 GB and I replaced the video card with a video card with twice the ram and that is capable of running 3 monitors.
  5. Figure out the effect of the Iowa GOP Tax Scam – The Iowa GOP Tax Scam will indeed result in me paying more taxes. There is about a $7 effect on my paycheck, meaning I am getting a tax cut of roughly $200. (Assuming the withholding from my paycheck is being done right.) However, since the Iowa GOP Tax Scam made it so a 6% sales tax is levied on all online purchases, I will be taxed well more than the $200 benefit. For example, I’ll pay over $100 in taxes on purchasing the drone that I wouldn’t have had to pay before the Iowa GOP Tax Scam became law. 
  6. Rear Brakes – I had the rear brakes replaced on my car last night. It costs me about 40% of what I was expecting Win!
  7. Computer Mine Bonus – I did indeed get a Computer Mine Bonus. I can’t complain about it one bit. 
  8. Bank Fraud Resolution – I am going to consider the bank fraud situation resolved. I haven’t received a letter saying that it is a done deal, but the bank did place the $350 that I requested in my bank account as a provisional credit. The investigation is still to be closed by January 31. I have a naive faith that the investigation will end in my favor. Otherwise, Credit Union Time?
  9. Federal GOP Tax Scam – The Tax Scam didn’t effect my tax refund at all. It was almost like it wasn’t meant to be a tax cut for lower class and middle class people. It is almost like it was a cash grab for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations under the ludicrous precept that some of the benefits would trickle down to us poor folks. I can say this with 100% certainty. I respect a person that believes the earth is flat way more than I respect somebody that believes in the Laffer Curve. 
  10. Change Jar -I have added some change to the change jar, including the change I won in a football pool at the Computer Mine. However, I am still probably 2 inches short of being almost full. I should effort to go through the cushions of my couches. If I can get within one inch, of the top of the jar, I will call this quest complete and proceed to order my drone.

That looks identical to last week’s drone update. This is because it is identical to last week’s drone update.

Here is what is different. I’ve decided not to wait until the coin jar is full to pull the trigger on the drone. I pulled the trigger last Friday and it should arrive to be safely caressed in my arms tomorrow.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to actually use it due to the weather, but I will monitor the weather closely. It is possible that the first day of decent weather I’ll take off of work and go play in the skies above us. No higher than 400 feet and not within 5 miles of an airport.

I know what you’re thinking, you snagged your reward before achieving your goals. That shows a lack of discipline. This is very disheartening, considering you have been yammering on and on to anybody that would listen that you are going to be more financially responsible this year.

This is true. My main goal of 2019 is to be lest wasteful with money in certain ways. However, the benefit of that is that I get to be more wasteful in other veins.

My way of being more financially responsible is to have set some goals.

Goal #1: Decrease my actual debt load my a certain amount of money. I’m not heavily in debt. I have a house payment and some credit card debt. However, while I don’t have a car payment, I want to hammer on my debt and get it below #X by the end of the year. I’ll report on my progress here, because congratulations, you just became my accountability buddies.

Goal #2: Figure out why my website is costing me so much more money than I ever intended. I have partially concluded this goal. I actually (I know people should do these things) sat down and reviewed what my webhost was charging me. I discovered that I was paying $10 a month for something called Website Builder, that I don’t use. I built my website with my own two hands and Vest’s two hands and WordPress. They are also charging me like 8 bucks a month for PHP 5.2+. I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I need that, but at the very least, I’m saving $120 bucks a year on this website.

Goal #3: To stop wasting so much money going out to lunch at work. It is not an exaggeration to say that in 2018 and the years before I went out to lunch, on average 4.5 out of 5 work days a week. If I conservatively estimate the average lunch to be $10, I probably spent $200 a month on lunch. That is $2400 a year. My goal is to only eat out for lunch 20% of the year. I estimate that just by bringing lunch from home, I can save $1800 a year. The good news is that I’m on track this year. In January there were 22 work days. I went out to lunch one time. I’m currently at a 4.5% eating out for lunch percentage. My worry is that I will get burned out on eating in. So I’m going to try to mix it up as much as possible. If you have any cheap, healthy lunches that are easy to prepare either at work or on the Sunday before the work week starts, throw them my way. This week I’m eating overnight oats. This space is a place where I might also share some of the recipes I come across. I have to thank American Ninja Steve for introducing me to overnight oats. I’m not making his recipe yet because it involves lots of exotic ingredients I need to be able to track down like flax milk and hemp heads. But when I make that for a week, I’ll share that recipe here.

Goal #4: Save money by buying used lenses. I’m still torn on whether or not I’m going to buy a new camera this year. It has been almost 3 years since I bought a new camera and I’m getting the itch. However, I am vexed on what camera to buy. I’ve thought about crossing over into the Sony mirrorless realm, but that means a whole new camera mount. The other option is to buy the camera that is above my camera in my current platform. That camera sells for about $3200. That price tag is going to take me a lot of meals of overnight oats to justify in my head. Especially with my debt lowering goals. While I don’t know about buying a new camera, I have compiled a list of lenses I want to buy this year. I’ve decided to hit the used lens market this year as I can save sometimes as much as 30% by going used. Some of the lens I want are pretty cheap, but some are not. The exciting news for you is that every time I get some used glass, you’ll get to read an exciting equipment review! Yay you!

Goal #5: Up % of the paycheck that goes into savings and 401K.

But none of this explains why I felt it was okay to pull the trigger on the drone with the change jar still 2 inches from the top.

There are two reasons for that:

#1. Through my works and luck at the computer mine, I had $325 in Amazon gift cards burning a hole in my virtual wallet. In my wildest dream, there isn’t $325 in the coin jar.

#2. I recently ordered a new photo toy called arsenal for $185. It is a camera attachment that allows you to control your camera with your smartphone. Now I can already control my camera with a smartphone, but there is limited control. It basically throws the camera into automatic and you get what you get. Arsenal allows you to control pretty much all the main settings on the camera. Plus it is supposed to do its own focus stacking and HDR. Plus it has some pretty sweet time-lapse settings. However, I got an email that they can’t make it Arsenal work with my camera and don’t think they ever will be able to. They refunded me that money. Although to be honest, that $185 isn’t going toward the drone. When the refund hits my account it is going towards some glass. Not sure which one I’ll pull the trigger on first. But don’t worry I’ll let you know.

So where is that change jar money going to go. Well, one camera purchase I am dedicated to this year is the Sony RX0. Therefore, when the change jar is full I will take it to the bank and then order up the Sony RX0.

This concludes your Tuesday camera equipment purchase updates.

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 88

My favorite church service of the year is undeniably the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve.

The last 4 weeks at Youth Group we have been having our own Advent Candle series.

It culminated on Wednesday when we lit the Love Candle and then the Christ Candle and then had our own Candlelight Service.

It was the perfect time to take Page 88 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT:


Photo Journal - Page 88
Page 88 – Take a picture inspired by your favorite poem

I took this picture in the worst way possible. I put the DSLR on a little tripod in the front of the room and controlled it with my smart phone, while running the ceremony. The results were less than spectacular, but they are what they are. I’ll set up for success next time.

Here are a few of the other photos:


Page 88 - Alternate

Page 88 - Alternate

Page 88 - Alternate

Page 88 - Alternate

The poem that is my inspiration for these photos is “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

I first came across the poem in the movie AKEELAH AND THE BEE. If you haven’t seen that movie, I highly recommend it!

+++++++

Here is your weekly reminder that the theme for this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is PHOTOJOURNALISM:



PHOTOJOURNALISM

A PHOTOJOURNALISM photo is any photo that can be used to tell the story. It doesn’t have to be the kind of story that the “New York Times” would report. A small company newsletter would still count as PHOTOJOURNALISM.

The editor of the “Boone News Republican” is a subscriber to this blog. You never know, you could catch his eye and you could be launched on a PHOTOJOURNALISM career.

Reminder that Monday is Christmas Eve. Plan your submitting accordingly.

Happy photo harvesting!

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 170 – SPORTS/GAMES

The theme of SPORTS/GAMES got at least a few people going for this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions!



Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 170 - SPORTS/GAMES - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard

WEEK 170 - SPORTS/GAMES - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard

WEEK 170 - SPORTS/GAMES - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 170 - SPORTS/GAMES - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 170 - SPORTS/GAMES - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:



PHOTOJOURNALISM

PHOTOJOURNALISM! What a great theme! But what is a PHOTOJOURNALISM photo? This might be a tough theme. It might be really easy. Obviously, not many people work for the Boone News Republican. However, anybody can take a PHOTOJOURNALISM picture. Basically this is a photo that records an event that is newsworthy. The bar for newsworthy can be extremely low. It doesn’t have to be something that the New York Times would cover. It can be an event that a small company newsletter or a blog might cover. Remember that social media is little more than micro blogging.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations.

Remember that next Monday is Christmas Eve. While that is holiday, Photography 139 doesn’t take any days off. So plan your submitting accordingly.

HOUSEKEEPING

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

+++++++

That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very newsy Monday.

Naima Car Ride

I still haven’t got back to THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT, so instead of that, enjoy these pictures of Naima riding in a car.


Naima enjoying a car ride.

Naima enjoying a car ride.

Naima enjoying a car ride.

Naima enjoying a car ride.

Naima enjoying a car ride.

Yes, I was driving while I took these pictures. I’m pretty sure that is safe.

+++++++

Here is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SPORTS/GAMES:


WEEK 170 - GAMES/SPORTS
SPORTS/GAMES

A SPORTS/GAMES photo is any photo that involves creatures involved in SPORTS/GAMES. Or a pictures of SPORTS/GAMES equipment.

Happy photo harvesting!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Week 169 – Family

There was somewhat of a rebound for FAMILY and this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. There is still hope!

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions!

Cathie Raley

Kim Barker
Micky Augustin
Angie DeWaard
Christopher D. Bennett
Tamara Peterson
Michelle Haupt
Andy Sharp
Andy Sharp
Andy Sharp
Becky Parmelee

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:

SPORTS/GAMES

SPORTS/GAMES! What a great theme! But what is a SPORTS/GAMES picture? A SPORTS/GAMES picture is any picture that that involves people that are engaged in SPORTS/GAMES. Or a picture of anything used in SPORTS/GAMES.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

  1. The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.
  2. Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

+++++++

That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very sporty Monday.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 168 – COMMUNICATION

Looks like another rough week for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Only a few people were able to communicate the theme COMMUNICATION. Might be time to look into retiring THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions!


WEEK 168 - COMMUNICATION - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 168 - COMMUNICATION - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 168 - COMMUNICATION - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 168 - COMMUNICATION - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 168 - COMMUNICATION - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 169 - FAMILY
FAMILY!


FAMILY! What a great theme! Unless your FAMILY sucks, then you have more problems that dealing with THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

So what is a FAMILY picture? A FAMILY picture is any picture that involves a FAMILY. Now some people have a really strict DNA based definition of a family because they weren’t hugged enough as a child. Don’t feel constrained by somebody else’s definition of a FAMILY.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

HOUSEKEEPING

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

1. The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

2. Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

+++++++

That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very familial Monday.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 2

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

I woke up on the cold hard floor of the Methodist church in Saginaw. I got dressed and prepared myself mentally for the day.

Here are some pictures from the day:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Based on the amount of stores that cater to both, Texans LOVE donuts and pornography. I imagine some probably do both at the same time. I’m not here to judge.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Statue in the church’s beautiful courtyard.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Fountain in the same beautiful courtyard.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Their women’s group made us a delicious breakfast.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A staple of every Methodist diet, egg casserole!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The lady who made us the breakfast did taunt us with a description of dish she described as “too much”: Breakfast Lasagna. Sign me up lady!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Myrtle.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Donovan discussing the courtyard.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jaxon still thinks it is a thrill to pump gas. I’m not afraid to exploit his youthful enthusiasm.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Gas station breakfast food. Hard pass.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The church televises their worship services into their fellowship area. We get it, you’re good with technology.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Congregating to worship an awesome God!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We went to their acoustic service. It was great music lead by a great musician!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
They sit in the front row at our church too…

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The lady in the middle was a Pastor at the church. The one on the right was a member of the congregation that recently became a Pastor and was getting assigned to her first church. She gave the sermon. I loved this worship service. There were two things of note that happened. 1 funny and 1 tragic. The funny thins was that they discussed a couple in the church that had gotten married the previous day in “Detroit or Chicago. Some Yankee town.” The tragic thing was a member of their congregation was killed in a car accident on the previous day. He left behind a wife and 2 small children. Happy Father’s Day.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Maci taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Summer taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jentry taking Communion

Something else unique about this church was they did the light a candle thing in the corner. This is something I’ve always affiliated with Catholics because I’ve only ever seen it in Catholic churches. Really, mostly in movies. I lit 2 candles.
Shortly after the worship service, we hit the road for Vidor. Another 7 hours or so in the van coming up!


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We stopped in a town where a buffet was recommended to us by one of the Saginaw Methodists, but it required a 30 minute wait, so instead we went across the street to a string of fast food restaurants: Jack in a Box, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Subway, and Texas Burger. I recall an unsavory taco experience at a Kansas City Jack in the Box on another mission trip with Shawn Karber. So Jack in the Box was a hard pass for me.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I went to Texas Burger because I might never get a chance in my life to try Nolan Ryan’s Texas Beef Steak Fingers.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
They taste kind of you how you imagine.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The next stop was Buc-ee’s in Madisonville, I’ve always been a big fan of Buc-ee’s. At least since Carla, Mom, Alexis, and I stopped at one on our way to see Elainie graduate in San Antonio.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
If you’ve never been to a Buc-ee’s, it is the single greatest gas station chain in the world. It is the exact opposite of that Road Ranger in Illinois.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I wanted to buy a Buc-ee’s hat to make it my official Mission Trip Hat, but none of them were my flavor.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The last 2-3 hours we drove through some major rain. But when we got to Vidor: BASKETBALL!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
On Sunday night we worshiped and we prepared for the next 4 days of hard work.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Worship!

After the worship service I found out I was part of The Cowboys. At YouthWorks they split you up into several teams. You work with that team the rest of the week on chores and at your work sites.

The Cowboys consisted of:

Humble Narrator
Tiffany
Kari – from Missouri, but really Madrid, but really Boone (who turned out to be my cousin)
Anna
Jordan
Kolbe
Maci
Mackenzie
Megan
Ellie from Missouri
Jake from Missouri

In the next 4 days, the pictures will concentrate heavily on those people because these are the people I spent the majority of my day.

The Cowboys had breakfast prep on Monday, so I had to make an attempt to get to bed early, to rise early. Even though trying to sleep the first two nights of a mission trip is a fool’s folly.

Not pictured:

Kolbe really, really likeS the song CARAVAN.

The Town Sign Project Vol. 6

On Saturday I decided to look for Town Signs for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT in the Story County area. Here is what I was able to track down:


Roland, Iowa
Roland, Iowa

McCallsburg, Iowa
McCallsburg, Iowa

Zearing, Iowa
Zearing, Iowa

St. Anthony, Iowa
St. Anthony, Iowa

Bangor, Iowa
Bangor, Iowa

Clemons, Iowa
Clemons, Iowa

State Center, Iowa
State Center, Iowa

Colo, Iowa
Colo, Iowa

Collins, Iowa
Collins, Iowa

Maxwell, Iowa
Maxwell, Iowa

Cambridge, Iowa
Cambridge, Iowa

Zook Spur, Iowa
Zook Spur, Iowa

Xenia, Iowa
Xenia, Iowa

A few things of note from this collection:

Roland has a “nicer sign” than the Roland Rocket sign, but if you think I’m going to choose a nice sign over a sign that celebrates one of the greatest Cyclones of all-time, you don’t know where you are.


Roland Town Sign
Velkommen to Not Making the Cut Sign!

Zearing used to have a sweet sign:


Zearing, Iowa

Then they replaced it with the lameness that is their current sign. This is the worst sequel since GREASE 2.

Bangor isn’t a town. I’d say it is a place where an agriculture company stores trucks and a park with a creepy swing set.


Abandoned

I literally couldn’t find anything that said Bangor. There were the remains of a sign post that may have held a sign at one time in the park. There is a Bangor church and cemetery just outside of what I would consider Bangor.


Bangor Friends Cemetery

I just can’t figure out why there are several signs directing people to Bangor, but nothing telling you that you are in Bangor. I don’t know another unincorporated town that gets that much love!

Zook Spur and Xenia are both ghost towns. The best way to describe them is that there are maybe 3 or 4 houses that are closer together than is normally the case in the country. Zook Spur is just south of Madrid. Xenia is just east of Woodward. I wish somebody cared about Jordan enough to put a sign up around there. Unfortunately, Jordan wasn’t too tough to not die.

I don’t know that I’ll have time to go sign hunting again this weekend. I start a bunch of consecutive weekends of graduations and birthday parties and more graduations and Mother’s Days this weekend. But we’ll see. We will see.

++++++++++++++++++++

When I road trip on SaturdayS I listen to NPR. If you’ve spent time in a car with me on a Saturday morning, you already know this fact.

If you know that fact, you also know that one of the purposes of this here blog is for me to store things that inspire me, so that I can reference them again at a later date. Sort of an online idea box.

While I was cruising around the back roads of Story County (I was desperately looking for a Bangor sign) I was listening to the conclusion of THIS AMERICAN LIFE. The episode began with the story of a group of students of color, mostly black, that were painted as anti-Semitic by the media after a field trip to see SCHINDLER’S LIST went awry.

While this story was fascinating and scary, it isn’t the story that hit home hardest with me. That was the last story of the show.

The last story of the show was about the experience of a man, who’s sister was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11, visiting the 9/11 Memorial a few days before it opened to the general public.

Part of it I found really poignant and I think it will strike a chord with anybody that he been through tragedy, which means pretty much everybody.

I think now of every war memorial I ever yawned through on a class trip, how someone else’s past horror was my vacant diversion. And maybe I learned something, but I didn’t feel anything. Everyone should have a museum dedicated to the worst day of their life and be forced to attend it with a bunch of tourists from Denmark– annotated divorce papers blown up and mounted, interactive exhibits detailing how your mom’s last round of chemo didn’t take, souvenir T-shirts emblazoned with your best friend’s last words before the car crash. And you should have to see for yourself how little your pain matters to a family of five who just need to get some food before the kids melt down. Or maybe worse, watch that pain be co-opted by people who want, for whatever reason, to feel that connection so acutely.

There are three recording booths for people to tell their own stories of the day or remembrances of loved ones who were lost. A man exits one of the confessionals, sees me, shakes his head and says, “Amazing idea.” I enter, sit down, and stare at the screen and say Shari’s name and how I was 3,000 miles away that morning and didn’t even know she was working there until I got the call at 6:00 AM, and that I wish I had seen her more in those last years and remembered more about her and had something better prepared to say, and that I wished my kids would have known her, and that she’d think it’s pretty f*cking weird that I’m here talking about her to an invisible camera in the bowels of a museum dedicated to the fact that she was killed by an airplane while sitting at her desk. And at some point, the timer is up.

When this story was over, I just sat in my car. In Bangor, Iowa. Realizing that the way I look at certain museums has been changed forever.