Sunday, January 29, 2006

On the Road Again

I hit the road again tomorrow (Monday). I'll probably have two seven hour days, followed by a 10-hour day. Your prayers, which have been much appreciated over the past several months in this time of transition, are still needed. Thank you so much. I hope to post again sometime next week, once I get settled in Orlando.

Just a reminder, updates pertaining to my ministry with Wycliffe are available at my website.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Car

new car
Originally uploaded by Chris Winkler.
As promised, here's a picture of the car. I parallel parked with it for the first time today and did a lot of jockeying around town, and it's becoming more natural.

Tomorrow, I'll drive when my parents and I go up to Sault Ste. Marie to visit my brother, so that should be lots of good experience. Plus, they can let me know what I'm doing wrong in my handling of the manual transmission.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Piece of Baseball History

I'm feeling really good right now. I just bought tickets to the inaugural World Baseball Classic. It just so happens that one of the first round pools will be held in Orlando, where I am moving in a week. Two tickets to watch the Domincan Republic play Australia. The DR should annihilate the Aussies, but the DR team is stacked and since it's the first time it's ever happened, it'll be watching a piece of baseball history. Plus, tickets were really cheap (comparable to outfield plaza at the Oakland Coliseum).

The only bummer is that the DR/Venezuela game was already sold out (an hour after individual tickets went on sale). But I can live with that. The DR team tentatively has Vlad Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano, Sammy Sosa, Albert Pujols, Miguel Tejada, and a ton of other stars.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Back Home

Five hundred miles and only five stalled engines later, I am back in Michigan. The manual transmission of my new car (a '98 Jetta) is significantly easier than the vehicle I learned on (an old pickup) and by the time I made it home, I was able to drive fairly smooth. Some things are still pretty rocky (e.g. starting out in first from a stop), but I LOVE the feel of it and the control I have over what the car is doing.

If I'm ever able to master it, I don't know if I'll ever go back to an automatic. (Of course, most of the rest of my life will be spent living in countries where they've never heard of automatic transmissions.) I'll put up a picture of the car soon.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Another Mall Experience

A few weeks ago, I posted about my dislike--and fear--of big suburban malls. Yesterday, I was forced to spend time in the biggest of them all: the Mall of America!

Because of my need for a cheap flight, my plane landed in Minneapolis yesterday morning at 8 a.m., Central Time. This meant that any of my friends in the area wouldn't be able to pick me up for several hours. Since it was cold outside and the mall is just a short train ride from the airport, I wound up at the Mall of America.

Thankfully, I discovered that it didn't open until 10 a.m., so I killed some time in the airport before heading over. I also had the brilliant idea of how to kill a large chunk of time, cheaply, at the mall: seeing a matinee movie. So following lunch and watching the three-hour "Munich" (an excellent film, another Spielberg classic), it was time for my friend Andrew to pick me up.

Not nearly as painful a trip as it could have been!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Side Effect of Too Many Cop Shows

Last week, a friend took me out in his truck to give me a lesson in how to drive a manual transmission. I will be flying to Minneapolis in a few weeks to pick up my new car--which is a stick--and I figured it would be good if I knew how to drive it.

But I consistently did two things wrong. Like all beginners, I often let up on the clutch too quickly. The other mistake: slamming the gear shift around. I think my friend was worried about me going from first to second followed by the gear shift being ripped out of the floor.

As I thought about this in the days that followed, I made a realization. Perhaps it happened when watching an episode of Magnum, P.I., the show I watch daily during lunch. My slamming of the gear shift came from watching all these cop shows (e.g. Magnum or Rockford). Whenever there is a chase scene, and the cars have a standard transmission, the shifter is thrown around hard to stress the urgency of the situation. As I discovered at the high school parking lot last week, actually driving a stick is NOT like that.

Now if only I can pull a U-turn like on TV...