Monday, October 11, 2010

New camera and trip to the apple farm

Originally uploaded by kim belcher
For my birthday, Matt got me a Nikon 90. This weekend (a bit early) I tested it out. I took a bunch of pictures of the kids on Friday on a trip to the playground and a Mexican place. Saturday we went out to the apple-and-pumpkin farm and did a corn maze together. I took loads of photos and uploaded some of them to flickr. Check them out!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Today, after I had climbed the hill of three crosses, I got out of the rut and readied myself to follow Holy Spirit Trail.

Now look at you, trying to analyze my allegory. What is the hill of three crosses? What rut? What do I mean by Holy Spirit Trail?

No, see?

I stopped half way up to take a photo of the bushes near Holy Spirit Trail. They are called Burning Bushes. You can see the reason why; they are already turning red here in central Minnesota, although when I used to live in Illinois I think it happened in late October.

At the top of Holy Spirit Trail there are two radio towers and a water tower (though perhaps if my eyes were more spiritual it would have looked like a font). There is a parking lot that looks like it was just built and has never had anyone park in it.

There are two picnic tables looking equally unused.

I stood on that one to get a couple photos of the northwestern parts of Monticello:

When I did, I noticed this trail. It looked less taken.

I followed it. Wouldn't you?

But not too far. The best kind of path is the one that you still don't know where it ends.

So pretty soon I turned around and descended Holy Spirit Trail, crossed the road and its rut, and went home to have lunch. Tonight Thomas told me that the hill of three crosses reminds him of God because God died on a cross. You can see it from a distance in the 6th image above. Does it remind you of God too?

This is the church which I assume I have to thank for having had a Holy Spirit Trail to climb:

You can see that as I turned the clouds broke open and the light finally came through. And that is all.


You think you're clever, don't you? I can see you there, thinking this is something sophisticated -- that this post is a subtle critique of our cultural patterns that want to distinguish literal from metaphorical, bodily from spiritual... something like that. There must be more to it than a walk and a bunch of pictures.

But really, don't you think you're overanalyzing the whole thing?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here comes the flood!

In other news, I'm getting ready to teach another semester here at St John's. Next week I'll be preparing my newest version of "The Biblical Tradition," our introductory course on the Bible. I might need this cartoon!

Here's my textbook list if you're curious.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thomas's first real RPG

Thomas opened his presents from Matt and I today. Two of them were a set of 6-sided dice and a book to play his very first real RPG. When he's opening presents, he's often unexcited about them. He's too busy thinking about the presents to actually appreciate or enjoy what any one of them actually is. (One reason we had a no-present party this year.)

By the afternoon, though, after his (awesome) party at Space Aliens, he was ready to sit down with Eric and me to play Faery's Tale. I had read over the sample stories and decided to use "Jack and the Beanstalk" since Thomas is familiar with the Kellogg version and so would have a better sense of what to expect and thus what he could do to overcome the challenges. Prepping the adventure was basically effortless, as you just make up challenge ratings on the fly for the things the players suggest (and Thomas is too young to be critical).

He had no trouble with character creation, although he was a little mystified with the results ("why do I have 5 spirit? what if I want 10 spirit?"). He loved the opening gambit of the adventure, when I asked each player what their character did yesterday and used their answers to set up their meeting. In the middle of their first conversation, when they had gotten to know each other a bit, I had Thomas's pixie overhear Jack's mother crying from the front of the house.

Thomas eagerly flew up the beanstalk to rescue Jack before even waiting to hear the end of what Jack's mother had to say, almost leaving his new friend behind. Luckily, Eric had chosen to play a Pooka, so he could change into a bee to follow along.

The funniest part of the adventure was certainly when they had freed Jack from his cage. By the script, the giant wakes up at this point and gives chase. When I said they heard the giant in the hallway, Thomas's eyes were like saucers. He was totally in the narrative. He looked at Eric. "My character says, 'Ok, guys, time to get out of here!'" Eric said.

"Ok," Thomas agreed. "Bye, Jack!"

Eric and I burst out laughing. "I think maybe we should take him with us!" Eric replied.

They did manage to get Jack out, and Thomas immediately said, "Let's play again!"

It took me about 10 minutes to prepare another fairy tale adventure. We're supposed to play after dinner.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010