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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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- Carla Rolfe
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Monday, February 20, 2006
Winter Ride.
A couple of months ago, I put my key into my 2000 Dodge Caravan (yes, I have kids), and something odd happened. The key wouldn't turn. Not that the van wouldn't start, but that prior to actually having a chance of starting, the key itself would not turn in the ignition.

It was as if I had the wrong key. I pulled it out, tried again, and vroom! The van worked fine. I think I said, "Pffft" in my mind, and forgot about it. But a couple of days later it happened again - this time in a parking lot. I had stopped in at a staples to buy a laser printer, and when I got back in the van to go - the key wouldn't turn again. I fiddled with it for about 20 minutes pulling it out, putting it back, etc. and suddenly, and inexplicably it worked.

By that point I was concerned. This was not "right" as far as I was concerned.

Now, I like to give a lot of history so my points make more sense contextually - and that is why I mention that I typically buy Japanese vehicles: they are simply better made - they wear out, they don't break down, there is a difference. Every vehicle I have ever had from Japan has been solid, and every vehicle I have ever had from an American manufacturer has been less than solid.

I had a Dodge Dart (straight six) that would start in any weather - I don't care what you did to that car it would start. I expect you could have hauled it out from the bottom of a frozen lake, chipped the ice away just enough to turn the ignition, and it would have made the whar-whar-whar-whar-whar sound that it makes no matter what the weather is, and after a few turns it would have caught and started. Thus I am not frowning upon American vehicles (or Dodges in particular) and their ability to do what they were designed to do - that is I have no complaints about the ability of the motor to start once ignition actually takes place. My beef with American vehicles is that they break down, some three cent piece goes, and because it is buried beneath the dash or the steering column it takes $700 worth of labor to fix it, and the vehicle is useless until you do. That sort of engineering baffles me.

Not that I think it was an American Engineer who made the decision, I picture the board room meeting like this:

Engineer: Well, we could fortify that piece, but that might triple the cost from three cents to nine cents. Likewise, because of the wear and tear on that piece and the pieces connected to it, we might want to put some bracing in there to minimize the wear - and we could position it so that if we do have to change it we could minimize the labor costs in repairing it.

Manager: Listen tech-boy, we already have an after-market division, they worry about that stuff. My reputation depends on my producing this vehicle as cheaply as possible, who cares if the thing wears out - our primary goal is sales, not service - and if it should break, we cash in on the labor.

Engineer: (screaming as they drag him from the room), you can't do that to people - one day they will see what....(door slam)...

The point is I am not a great fan of how the 2000 Dodge Caravan works - it breaks down in costly little ways and this bizarre key thing is just the next straw. Before you mechanics star wondering if it isn't the immobilization chip in the key - I don't have one of those. The keys have no chips, it isn't that I wiped a key and only one key doesn't work - none of the keys work, and none have chips in them. I expect it has something to do with the locking of the steering column - it doesn't seem to lock when this happens - but that is neither here nor there. The bottom line is that my van is a cash vacuum, and I hate it with all my soul, but in a thankful, Christian, way ;-)

On Thursday last week we had a friend over for supper, and afterwards I drove him home. I parked the car and shut it off, and it has remained locked there since. I have sat there trying to turn the key - fidgeting, hammering, turning the wheel, trying to shift it, playing with the tilt - you name it, I have done it in the freezing cold.

It ain't moving.

So on Sunday morning my family stayed home from church. As a member of our leadership team, and as the primary teacher for the adult bible study (basically a 45 minute interactive sermon), I both look forward to that time, and am expected to show up. The walk to church takes about 45 minutes in good weather. By 8:30 a.m. I was still unsure on what I should teach. The service starts at 10:00 a.m. - so you can do the math. I have learned not to fret over such things. It isn't my message after all, so I don't mind going to the pulpit with nothing, God is able to give me something just as I need it, and He has done so many times. That being said, my stated preference is to go with a full study in hand, and to that end I stayed at home and prepared (that is, I prayed). By the time I was done I had a few verses, nothing special, but I have learned to trust the Lord even when I have only a little.

Glancing at the time, I knew I wasn't going to make it, and though it wasn't too late to call anyone, I had been playing with the idea of riding my bike to church. At this point it might be prudent to remind the gentle reader what Winnipeg looks like in February:

That isn't my family, that is another family altogether, whom I don't know, but the photo is right on the money. Snow, and lots of it. I should mention it is also cold.

Yet, because we are Canadian, we are used to snow, and even as it might seem odd to some to cycle in it, we are a pragmatic people, almost stupid in our pragmatism, but I digress. It is enough to say that no matter what the weather, you will find die-hards cycling in Winnipeg. I am reminded of the old movie version of the Wizard of Oz where someone riding a bicycle flies past the window during the twister - it was probably a Winnipegger.

So I rode to church and it was great. I really enjoyed it, and didn't find it all that difficult - church is only a couple of miles away, so it was no big jaunt.

This morning however, I checked the temperature - only ten below - that is practically spring up here in Manitoba. Our blood is like syrup most of the year, and ten below is practically shorts and tee-shirt weather. I knew that because of the windchill it would be colder riding - but I couldn't ask for better weather to cycle to work in.

So I made up my mind to cycle to work. I wasn't sure what to wear, surely my rain pants, long underwear and jeans, as well as my waterproof hiking boots, mitts, flannel head band, and riding helmet - but what do I wear on my torso. I don't want my neck to get too cold, nor to I want to be bundled up so tight that riding is difficult. I opted for layers. A good plaid quilted thermal shirt under a flannel pull over - and my rain jacket over these as a windbreak. I took an extra flannel jacket in my back pack, in case I needed it, and left for work.

In the summer, the 10 miles to work goes pretty quick - usually between 35 and 45 minutes depending on traffic. I anticipated it taking at least an hour, as the road conditions will be slippery, meaning I don't want to turn with any celerity or I may wipe out and get run over by some other vehicle - surely, if it is slippery enough for me to wipe out, it is too slippery to expect 2 tons of screaming metal to stop for me.

To make a long story shorter, it took an hour and a half, and I was quite winded for the effort. I have to qualify that a bit - I think it is lunacy to ride a bike in February on busy Winnipeg streets. It is only "risky" to do so on not so busy streets. The snow on the "not so busy streets" is not so packed down as on the busy streets, and that makes peddling through it more work than one would expect - work that is exaggerated by wearing bulky clothes and not being able to drink any water (the water bottle freezes solid in about ten minutes).

So by the time I got to work I was feeling pretty tired. I should have had breakfast, or at least drank a bit more before heading out. And no one mentioned anything about how hard a frozen bike seat is??

The trip home should be fun. I think I won't be doing this again for another couple of months.
posted by Daniel @ 10:03 AM  
  • At 12:04 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger David said…

    Would you please come to my house and explain to my kids that they don't need rides everywhere they go even if it's cold? I'll gladly buy you a plane ticket. Better yet, if you ride your bike, I'll still give you the price of a plane ticket. Come on, what do you say?

  • At 1:26 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Wow! That sounds harrowing. I have had a Dodge Caravan for about 7 years now and have had no such experience. I would hate to have to ride a bike in the snow. You are a trooper!

  • At 2:10 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Riding in the snow is definitely a Winnipegger tradition. I always thought it was the stranger people that did it though. Wow, I actually know a winter bike rider, scary! :)

    I know how you feel about vehicles though, it is really hard on our maculinity when we have no clue what the problem is.

    God bless,

  • At 2:12 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Actually, except for traffic, the bike ride was awesome! I was over-dressed of course, but once I shed a layer it was quite nice.

    David, I will begin riding this evening, but don't expect me there till spring.

    Rose - Perhaps it is just the 2000 caravan? Maybe it is just my caravan?

    You must remember, I love cycling, so don't think of it as bad. I never drive to work, I either cycle (in the summer) or take the bus. The van was mentioned by way of introduction to why I bothered cycling (that is, because I had to ride my bike yesterday for church, it was upstairs and road ready this morning... hence I road in to work). I should have made that more clear in the post I think. ;-)

  • At 3:03 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Gordon said…

    I hate it when that happens.

  • At 11:18 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I have about a dozen bibles or so, amongst them is the MacArthur Study bible - and it is by far the one I turn to for reference the most. I prefer the NASB myself, followed by the ESV, I like the KJV for the sheer magesty.

  • At 7:06 PM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Away From The Brink said…

    I had the same key problem with my Toyota Camry after a few years. At first, the key would not work in the door locks (strangely, it would still work in the trunk lock).

    Then it started working with difficulty in the ignition. Sometimes it would not turn at all, but with some futzing would finally turn. I figured it had to be the key itself, as it was quite visibly worn.

    I went to the local Toyota dealer, and they cut me a fresh key. Using my old key as a template for cutting a new one would not have resulted in a functioning new key, but only duplicate the worn key. But all they needed was my VIN and they were able to cut me a fresh, factory quality key from a master key they have in the parts department.

    The new key worked in all my locks and ignition like a champ.

    Maybe you can get a new key for your van, a pristine one made from their master key, at your local dealer.

    And being a Michigan native, I understand what you mean by the way American cars start in cold weather. I attribute that to the fact that most American automotive engineers live in Michigan, and they have to get to work also.

    Maybe your ignition needs a shot of lock lube, the graphite stuff, and a de-icer as well. That stuff saved my bacon a few times when I lived in Michigan. Perhaps it can save your Canadian bacon.

  • At 10:58 PM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thanks Gregg, I tried all the lube stuff already ;) - and I have more than one key. No, it is the ignition cylinder. I am hoping to get buy with only have a pay a few hundred to have it replaced.

  • At 6:31 AM, February 22, 2006, Blogger Kim said…

    I remember when I was in 1st grade, living in the North end of Winnipeg, and my dad had to walk to work because we simply didn't have the money for him to even get on a bus. It was January, right after Christmas.

    I also remember when we lived in Saskatchewan and my next door neighbour and I would do a happy dance when the weather was -15 degrees because we could bundle the kids up.

    Now, riding a bike in February is another thing altogether.

  • At 12:17 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger David said…

    Daniel, I had this happen to me several years ago in Minneapolis. I got done with work at about 11:30 one night, locked the store, and went to my car. It was extremely cold, dark, and I wasn't very well dressed. The ignition wouldn't budge. I took a channel-lock plier from my toolbox and cranked on the ignition switch until the lock broke, started the car, and drove home. I didn't need a key to start it anymore after that, but it didn't cost anything, either.

  • At 5:24 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    David - that was a very tempting alternative...

  • At 5:52 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger Dan Sudfeld said…

    Like Kim, your tale brings back memories of growing up in "Winter Peg." I used to love the blizzards - when the only mode of transportation available is snowmobile. I remember driving down Pembina Hwy on a "sled" along with a bunch of others. It was quite surrreal, but wow, was it fun.

    A sled is one thing, but a bicycle?... Ugh!

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