Friday, October 30, 2009

A busier month ahead

It looks like I am booked to preach for six different congregations in the month of November. This will be the first month that I will have preached every Sunday since August 2008.

My schedule, for those of you who are interested, is as follows:

Nov. 1, 11 AM, Presbyterian Church of Mt. Washington, Pittsburgh

Nov. 8, 11:15 AM, Tunnelton Presbyterian Church

Nov. 15, 11 AM, United Presbyterian Church of Freeport

Nov. 22, 11 AM, United Presbyterian Church of New Kensington

Nov. 29, 9:30 AM, Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, Kent; and 11:15 AM, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Lewisville

I think this will also be a lifetime record for me, as I don't believe that I have ever preached for six different congregations within a single month.

Giddyup.JPGIn honor of this record, I updated the firmware on my nüvi (well, that's something I have to do about monthly anyhow because of changes to the GPS satellites) and I went to the Garmin Garage to download a new vehicle avatar: Giddyup. Now I can feel just like a circuit rider during November.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Some of the cool things I saw in Minneapolis

This past weekend I visited Minneapolis for the first time. I spent most of my time there working on business for the Advisory Committee on the Constitution. But I did have a bit of time to look around at the part of the city near our hotel. I flew in a few hours before my meeting began on Saturday at noon, used the light rail to get close to my hotel, and walked down part of Nicollet Mall; Sunday morning I took a walk before breakfast, and walked around the area for a couple hours after my meeting ended on Monday at noon before I headed back to the airport.

I thought the city was very attractive, and I am looking forward to when the PCUSA General Assembly meets there in 2010.

photo of Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet MallI had researched how to get to from the light rail stop at Nicollet Mall to my hotel. Google Street View helped me orient myself in advance, so that I would recognize what landmarks I would see — as long as I was going in the proper direction. But I chose to use Nicollet Mall as the route to get close to my hotel; Nicollet Mall is a pedestrian mall, so unfortunately the Google Street View vehicles have not captured images of what a beautiful street it is.

Of course, I had to stop at the Mary Tyler Moore statue in front of the Macy's at the corner with 7th Street. It's not that I was a big fan of the show, but while the show was in its first run, it was one that I watched, largely because I didn't have cable.

There are lots of larger statues in downtown Minneapolis, and I really appreciated the art being made available to the public everywhere I went.

photo of fountain on Nicollet Mall

On Sunday morning I took a walk early to get breakfast and a cup of coffee. While I was walking down 6th St., I saw flashing lights like an emergency vehicle slowly approaching me in the distance. As they got closer I saw that they were three police motorcycles followed by a crowd of something that seemed to be moving low and close to the ground. Then I saw that what was following the police were a group of people in racing wheelchairs. A bystander explained to me that this was the Wheeler division in the Twin Cities Marathon. I saw about 20 participants in this division, and was very impressed.

photo of Wheelers in the Twin Cities Marathon

On Monday I was warned traffic for a football game that day might complicate my trip back to the airport. Everywhere I went that afternoon I was seeing Vikings jerseys and cheesehead hats. This Minneapolis camoflage would not work in Pittsburgh.

photo of fans wearing Vikings jerseys

Monday afternoon I also hung out a bit at the PCUSA Polity Conference and caught up with a number of old friends. No General Assembly event would be complete without seeing the Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and Moderator Bruce Reyes-Chow, two cool people.

Photo of Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and Moderator Bruce Reyes Chow at the podium of the OGA Polity Conference, October 5, 2009

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The difference between "vacant" and "vacancy"

There are things one notices while spending a weekend with a group of people who care intently about choosing the correct word for the purpose. Keith Geckeler pointed this sign out to me on the way to lunch on Saturday.

A parking garage would be "vacant" when it is empty. It would have a "vacancy" when it still has a free space for a car. It would be "full" when there is no more room for any cars to park.

Someone may have saved a letter by not spelling out "VACANCY", but this sign saying that no one is parking in the garage might not encourage a customer considering using it. It might be nice to know there is room, but does one want to be the only or very first customer of the day? (Do the locals know something about why no one else is using the garage?)

On the other hand, the "occupied/vacant" distinction on an airplane restroom door makes a lot of sense. I would not be sure what to do if a sign in that setting said "VACANCY", suggesting that there might be room for more people inside.

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