Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flow MINI Raleigh Grand Opening

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Back in January a handful of us THMMCers made it over to the new Flow MINI Raleigh when they first opened.  Things were still being constructed at that time.  I've also been over there a couple times for some service the past couple months as they've been in a "soft opening" phase.  But the big day finally got here - the official Grand Opening on May 15, 2010.

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The day's festivities started early with a scavenger hunt in the Raleigh area.  We gathered at Flow MINI Raleigh at 8:30 a.m. to receive our clue packages and we were sent off.  For this hunt, my co-pilot was my son William.  Our first goal was the Observation Park at RDU.  Luckily for us, we were traveling with a pack of MINIs on 540 over to the airport and the lead MINI knew where they were going.  After finding the answers to some trivia questions and getting a pic of the control tower, it was off to Crabtree Valley Mall.

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At the mall we probably picked up some time as we were supposed to find some MINIs in the mall.  William had been there a few times with his Nanny, so he knew right where to go.  After that, we shot over to North Hills Mall where a British Car Show was gearing up.  Got a pic of William with a classic and counted classic British cars.  Also, we got to see a Tesla out there.  We then shot over to the original Snoopy's on Old Wake Forest Road - a location I knew well since it is across the street from an auto shop that my father worked with.

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After that, we headed downtown for pics and clues at several locations like the Executive Mansion, the Capitol Building, the Museum of History, Mordecai Park, and one of the convention centers.  From there we headed over to the Farmer's Market.  I really hate going over there during these scavenger hunts as it is always very frustrating trying to find the vendor that has your next clue.  We then rode over to the NCSU campus for some info at the Bell Tower and then Cup A Joe.  I got to see the new streetscape project on Hillsborough Street.  That really makes things different compared to when I went to school there.

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We continued on out of town with stops at the Vet School, the Hunt Horse Complex, Carter-Finley Stadium, and finally the Museum of Art, before heading back to Flow MINI Raleigh.  We didn't win the scavenger hunt, but I felt pretty good as we found all the clues, answered all the questions, and got all the pics we were supposed to get.  And at one point, William even noted that "this is fun."  Flow provided us with some lunch and we checked out some of the MINIs (they have a nice convertible S in Chili Red).

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Near the end of our time there, we got to talking with the balloon lady.  She wasn't having much luck as there were very few kids there.  After politely declining her entreaties to make a balloon, William finally relented and agreed to let her do a little face painting.  We figured she would just do a little something on his cheek.  But no.  She did a full on paint job over his entire face, making him look like a wolf (including eyes painted on his eyelids).  We got a good laugh out of that and I noted for William that he had made the balloon lady happy to finally have something to do and we noticed another young boy who got his face painted after seeing it could be done.  So that was a little bit of happiness he brought to two people at a small cost to himself.  So that was a nice little life lesson to close out the day.

Flow MINI Raleigh did a good job with the grand opening.  The scavenger hunt was fun, we got some free food, and got to spend some time seeing other THMMCers.  And I got to spend some time with my son doing something fun and a little bit offbeat.  Be sure to check out the photo gallery for all the pics we had to get as part of the scavenger hunt as well as some others.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Infamy?

Last week TWISTER from the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club sent me something interesting that his daughter had received.  It seems she was stopped at a vehicle checkpoint over the weekend.  No problems for her, but whatever agency(ies) was(were) conducting the checkpoint was handing out some flyers.  She managed to send a pic of part of the flyer to TWISTER as shown below:

License Plate Law Flyer


As you might be able to tell, it was noteworthy in that it shows a pic of a MINI.  And as TWISTER accurately surmised, it was none other than my MINI WUF.  You can find the original pic here on the blog.  You'll note that they blacked out one of my badges - it was the one reading "HUMMER ESCAPE POD".  Not sure why they wanted to black that out, but left all the FLOW MINI info.


I can't see the entire flyer and haven't been able to find the agency that produced it (though I do know it was not the NC Highway Patrol).  So there is a chance I am wrong on this, but it does not appear they gave proper attribution for the photo per the CCL I use.  And just basic etiquette would suggest you'd contact the person to at least let them know you are using their pic (and/or ask permission as may be appropriate).  I guess they may be picky about license plate frames - copyright law, not so much.


So without the attribution, my contribution is anonymous.  Yet my MINI has some little bit of fame (maybe 10 seconds worth - long enough for recipients to toss the flyer).  Maybe I can add this to my photography portfolio, no?  In the meantime, make sure your license plate frame is good to go in NC!!!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Be Somebody

After missing a few weeks for various reasons, our Prepared Christian class got back into the swing of things a couple Sundays ago.  Last week's chapter was on the doctrines of humanity and sin and before jumping in to a discussion on what it means to be human, we were given this quote (at the beginning of the chapter):
God made man to be somebody - not just to have things.
-Brotherhood Journal

After class (we were still working on the chapter this past Sunday), Pastor Mark sent us an "assignment" to help drive home some of what we were studying.  The assignment included a link to a video of Tamara Lowe doing a little "rap":



Yeah, she goes pretty fast in trying to point out to her audience a little bit about what matters and what doesn't matter.  And we were to examine a passage from C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity:

These then are the two points that I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.

Finally, Pastor Mark pointed out that a similar idea can be found in Romans 7:14-15:
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Out of all this material (and another bit I'm about to mention), it seems there are two main concepts to consider.  First is the whole idea of what it is to be human.  Second is a bit on the nature of sin (hmmm...and the chapter was on the doctrines of humanity and sin - seem to go hand in hand, eh?)

The material clearly points toward the idea of inescapability of sin (the red squiggly lines say that is not really a word!).  We know how we ought to behave, we fail to do that.  As we discussed in class, sin is so much a part of our nature that we can't escape even if we try.  Perhaps those paying attention to the Bible or their preachers will think, "of course!" - it is only through our belief in and faith in Jesus that we are able to be freed from sin.  But I think both Paul and Lewis are trying to say that even when we understand and really know that "law", we will still end up sinning.

If that is the case, clearly we need to examine our response to our sin since we can't avoid it or escape from it.

For some reason though, I find myself drawn a bit more to this question about what it means to be human or to be somebody.  Pastor Mark mentioned that we might want to read The Velveteen Rabbit (which I found on-line).  I suppose the whole story applies to our attempt to understand what it means to be somebody, but I particularly liked this little bit near the beginning of the story when the Velveteen Rabbit is discussing the process of becoming Real with the Skin Horse:
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time..."

I think that is something that lots of folks lose track of - that our lives and what we strive for take a long time.  It doesn't help that we live in a society/culture that values the instantaneous.

I do like how the Skin Horse expresses the process of becoming real - "You become".  I guess a lot of people would naturally ask, "you become what?"  They kind of touched on this in the Raising a Modern Day Knight book, how men seemed to be defined by their career.  But I think the Brotherhood Journal and  Williams are looking even beyond that.  I hope there is more to me than just being a CFO.

Unfortunately, while all this reading has raised a lot of questions and "hmmm..."s in my mind, I don't think I'm any closer to any answers.  It has only been two weeks though and as the Skin Horse says, it takes a long time.  So I'll have to continue to ponder the idea of becoming.