Wednesday, September 26, 2007

pensieri nel passare...

...which means "thoughts in passing", in Italian. I don't really speak much Italian, mostly just musical terms. But I hope to go there soon, probably Rome. We want to celebrate our 25th anniversary (next year) in Italy. Because we think that would be really cool. What follow is a stream-of-consciousness spiel:

This seminar thing that I'm attending, which I mentioned previously, is alternatively interesting and then sometimes not-so-much. Which reflects not in the slightest on the presenters and their program so much as it reflects on my perceptions of how applicable it is to my vocation. The quality and content of the teaching is quite commendable. At the end of it, Lord willing, be a Certified Church Consultant. We had reasonably engaging sessions today on demographics and marketing. And one guy, Bob Adams, conducted a very interesting overview of contemporary myths and trends relating to megachurches, emerging and missional type churches, multiple site and multiple venue churches... Okay, I know that may all sound very boring, but it wasn't. Bob is a really smart guy who has compiled a lot of bonafide research about such things and he presents it very well. I was pleasantly surprised that some of my personal notions about these things were actually at odds with the facts. Who knew!?!? Learning is good even though my brain is now tired.

I have eaten twice now at my favorite Mexican restaurant en todo el mundo. Danal's Mexican Restaurant is on O'Connor Road, a couple of miles south of Hwy 183, down the street from Irving High School (from whence Nancy graduated) in Irving. I took a picture but can't get it online at the moment. When you are in the D/FW area, you must eat there. We always do. Once, after driving all night straight through from Indiana on the way to my in-laws house in Hillsboro, we stopped at Danal's in the early morning and waited in the parking lot until they opened. I hope to go at least one more time before I leave on Saturday. It is not fancy, but it is just the best Mexican food anywhere. The tortillas are made fresh on-site daily and the warm salsa is like none other. Everything they make is great, but I recommend any of the enchilada dishes.

After attending Gateway Church's 10:30 AM service on Sunday morning, I went straight to the big gun show. My brother-in-law, Steve Hockett, is an antique firearms dealer and one of the best gun shows in Texas is the semi-annual one at Market Hall in downtown Dallas. It was a lot of fun, hanging out with Steve and his friend, One-armed John. There were some amazing guns for sale and show, both old and modern, of every size and description. There were a couple of interesting museum-type displays, too, including an impressive collection of large calibre antique machine guns. Another booth had a terrific display of some 2 dozen vintage Kalashnikov AK-47's, modified, in various versions, and collected from all over the world. And there were some gorgeous, authentic, old Cowboy gun collections. It was great. Guns are cool. I am going to have to go shooting more when I get home.

Last Friday, I visited one of my friends here, Buzzy Murphy, of Murphy's Music. Buzzy has a great music store. He is a customer of mine, I've known him for years, I graduated from high school with his big sister, and his family has had a music store in Irving since just after Texas declared independence from Mexico, I think. Any way, business-wise, I take care of him and he takes care of me. I had brought one of my guitars with me on this trip to practice, but when I got here I decided I wanted some type of small, personal headphone practice amp device. So I called Buzzy and then stopped by so that he could make me a crazy deal on a Boss Micro-BR digital recorder. It's a tiny little thing, but the Micro-BR makes the perfect personal practice tool, with it's built-in drum machine, excellent guitar tone, and (really basic) 4-track recorder built in. It also plays and records mp3's, and will even do "time-stretching", which means you can load in, say, Stevie Ray's version of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and slow the playback speed way down so you can play along with it and learn the tune. It was cheap, it sounds great, it is smaller than a Louis L'Amour paperback, and it is very shiny. I am pleased.

That is all...I've got to get to bed. Today was long, tomorrow will be longer.

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