News for May 2010

This Friday and Last Thursday

Hey!  Who knew?  Welaware will be playing once again this Friday, June 4th at 9pm.

We’ll be in a line up with Erik Ritland at 808MPLS.  It’s a new venue that I know very little about, but you too can learn a little at!/the808mpls?ref=ts. Even if you don’t have the Facebook you can still see it, and it’s the only site they have for now.

One thing I do know is that they don’t serve alcohol so that makes me think they might be all ages.  So if you’ve been wanting to damage your kids hearing, by all means bring ’em out.

In other news, the Star Bar was an interesting affair.  Crazy Chester brought in a ton of folks and Welaware brought in more than expected – and we thank you!  Erik Ritland brought in more people than the Star Bar has probably ever seen at midnight on a Thursday.  At least that is my guess.  Making the music was great, but man there’s a reason I don’t actively seek out club shows anymore.

A note to club owners/bookers – nobody cares about your venue.  People want good music and a good atmosphere.  You can foster this by treating the bands well (and trust me that doesn’t take much) and running decent sound (that takes a bit more, but having the soundman within 50 feet of the board at some point during the set might be a start.  Oh, and teaching him/her what the knobs do wouldn’t hurt either)

To sum up – give the band a couple free drinks and a halfway’s decent soundman and your venue will succeed.  It’s why I’d play Station 4 over the 400 Bar any day.

But that’s just one mans opinion.

Erik Ritland  has a blog about the Star Bar – check it out here:

Peace out, see you Friday.

Posted: May 31st, 2010
Categories: music
Comments: No Comments.


This last Friday I had the distinct honor and privilege of being part of the St. Paul Area Synod Assembly.  I’m not one to give away secrets, but I’ll let you all in on my success as a musician.  I am continually surrounded by others who can teach me.  So it was for opening worship under the leadership of Mark Ertl and alongside the vocalists Sue, Bonnie, and Sean.  And then again in the evening as I led a vespers service with Justin Rimbo, Micah Taylor, and Jason & Erin DeBoer-Moran.

My song “Work of God” was featured in the morning and a slew of Humble Walk friends showed up to play hand drums on it as angel puppets (as seen in the photo) came dancing in.  Thanks to Heart of the Beast for making that possible!  In the evening I put together the vespers from my own music, including a sacred heart inspired arrangement of Psalm 141.  I was short a Magnificat so we used a Taize arrangement and the congregation hit it out of the park as they sang in a four part canon.

For someone like me who gets cynical anytime the church starts to look like big business it was a bit of stretch to be part of the assembly.  But to be present and to see the vitality of this group, to be part of this cloud of witnesses, to be made small, and to be loved… I’m filled with gratitude and a deep appreciation for the organized side of organized religion.

Thanks to Micah Taylor for once again taking photo documentation.

Posted: May 25th, 2010
Categories: music
Comments: No Comments.

The First One Hundred

Last weekend I had the privilege of going down to St. Louis to visit my best friend Jim and his lovely wife AnnaMarie.
In high school we were pretty big into mountain biking but over the years we’ve both moved towards the simplicity and practicality of riding on the roads.  We get together about once a year or so and if possible we get some biking in.  Some of it better planned than others.  Not unlike our getting lost in the Mark Twain National Forest in high school.  A four hour ride that turned into ten.  A few years later I drove down to visit him when he lived in Columbia MO and we ended up continuing the drive till we got to some admittedly great single track in North Carolina – around the Nantahala National Forest as I recall.
So when he picked me up at the airport on Friday morning I asked him if we had anything planned for the weekend and he said, “Have you ever done a century?”  (For those of you who have better things to care about, a century in cycling refers to riding 100 miles.  There’s also the more European metric century which is 62 kilomiles.)
The fact of the matter is that neither of us had ridden a century and in fact we both had 85 miles as our longest ride to date and for both of us even that 85 was a bit of a distant memory.
We went out for breakfast at The Rooster and talked it over a bit more.  The more we talked the dumber the idea sounded.  The dumber the idea sounded the more we thought we should do it.  We’re a heck of think tank.
A ride like this demands certain preparations so Jim and I got to work looking up training tips on the world wide web.  There’s a lot of information out there and we were dealing with some time constraints so we had to do a little gleaning.
We maximized our efforts by prehydrating as we surfed the net.
Another tip we picked up on is the importance of saddle time.  My inner MacGyver kicked in and I developed an innovoative technique to get maximum saddle time along with maximum comfort.
Now I know how the Dyson guy feels.  Breakthroughs like this come once in a lifetime.  It’s nice to have that checked off.
By our calculations we had 6 more hours to train at this point.  I had brought riding shorts and a helmet and was able to borrow the rest of the necessary gear from Jim, including a bike.  Unfortunately all his cycling jersey’s were a bit small on me.  Normally I’d be fine in a t-shirt but the forecast said it might rain and it seemed like a good idea to pick up something more conducive to wet riding.  We went to REI and I found this great jersey on sale.
I’m guessing it was on sale because they made it upside down.
Back in the car I spent a little more time training by continuing my prehydration.
The rest of the day involved raising the seat on the Salsa Casserole I was borrowing from Jim and eating shawarmas and french fries.  Of course we weren’t so presumptuous as to call this food.  We were men in training.  This was fuel.
Ah, waking up at 5am.  Oatmeal, bananas (the first of many), and the energy drink of the gods, coffee.
We had a 45minute drive out to where the ride began.
It looked like it might rain.
Yep.  I’m thinking the weatherman’s 60% chance of showers was a bit optimistic at this point.
We arrived at 6:30am, registered for the ride, came back out and as we got ready it started to sprinkle.  I decided to take this last shot before leaving the camera in the car.
Originally I was going to take it along, but it looked like it might just get a little wet.  So no more photos till after the ride.
By mile two it was pouring.  By mile three we were soaked to the bone.  The rain continued in varying degrees for the next 70-80 miles.  It did let up between 12 and 1.  Coincidentally this is when we stopped for lunch and were debating whether or not to to go out for the last 35 miles.
Every 30 miles or so you came by the starting point.  This made for an easy out.  I broke my ride into thirds.
Part 1 – Distraction.  I figured if I talked enough I wouldn’t even notice the riding.  This pretty much worked.
Part 2 – Completion.  I pretty much tucked in behind Jim and conserved my energy, my theory being as long as I made it through this loop I’d only need enough energy left to begin Part 3.
Part 3 – Begin.  Yep, as long as I began this loop I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  It was like Pascal’s wager but on a bike.  And it worked.  As we finished Part 2 I was hurting pretty bad and ready to throw in the towel (also borrowed),  but Jim in his wisdom and more fit position suggested we have lunch and then decide if we wanted to start the last loop.  Well lunch made all the difference.  That and the fact that it had stopped raining.  My legs felt better.  We headed out.  It started raining again.  Not so bad this time and it stopped for the last couple of hours of riding.  Sometime after 3:30pm we crossed the finish line.  The first one hundred miles.
Posted: May 19th, 2010
Categories: bike, friendship
Comments: No Comments.

Elsa Armstrong

Elsa (recently turned three) learned to pedal a little bike like this about 10 days ago.   It has an 8 inch wheel and the crank is connected directly to it.  You could call it a fixed gear, but it doesn’t have any gears.  It’s just fixed.

We most often bike to church and when we do my eldest rides her bike and Elsa rides in the trailer.  Elsa’s recent ability to pedal her own bike coupled with her recent coming of 3 years of age has given her a new found sense of power and determination.  So yesterday she told me she wanted to ride her bike to church too.  Why not?  Worse case scenario she hops in the trailer.  So Lydia rode her scooter, Elsa rode her fixie, and I walked behind with my bike and trailer.

Turns out I didn’t need the trailer.

Elsa biked the entire way to and from church, for a grand total of one mile on her wee little bike powered by wee little legs and a great big determination.

I know it was mother’s day, but still I couldn’t be more proud as a father.

Posted: May 10th, 2010
Categories: bike, family
Comments: 2 Comments.

Welaware Live(s)

We may not be Knight Crawler, but darn tootin’ Welaware will be crankin’ out the hits on May 27th at the Star Bar.  Mark your calendars now!  We’ll be playing with Crazy Chester, the cover band that mysteriously started getting gigs when they replaced their bass player… that’s right, I was replaced.  (per my request).  Also playing that night will be Erik Ritland, a man with quite possibly the Twin Cities most handsome backing band.  That would be Jake Brown and myself.  Also playing will be the super fun and speedily rockin’ Gravity Always Wins.
Seeing as Welaware plays out once a year, you’ll probably want to be there.  And if you have any song requests let me know asap and chances are we’ll do them.  If there one of ours at least…
Posted: May 7th, 2010
Categories: music
Comments: No Comments.

blest be the bikes

Check out my thurible I’m proud of my thurible.
Jodi will probably blog about the blessing in the next few days at
Micah Taylor takes nice photos, eh?
Thanks to Joe Autumn and Scott for all the mechanic skills.
And thanks to Express Bike Shop for the old freewheels.

Posted: May 3rd, 2010
Categories: bike, diy
Comments: No Comments.

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