Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"SAY" by John Mayer

This is definitely not a MBPYNHO post.  But I really like this song. It was written for the movie, "The Bucket List," which I have not seen but heard good things about.

Let me know what you think.

h/t to JP, who knows a good song when he hears one.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter at FCWC

It was a great Easter weekend at our church.  In all three services, we were blessed with extraordinary attendance.  Our pastor, Dave Anderson, delivered a great message and there were many people who either recommitted their lives to Christ or took steps toward a first-time decision to accept Christ.

Among the numerous worship elements in play was a drama that featured as it's figurative and literal centerpiece a humongous cross, 38 feet tall.

The drama was an adaptation of a script and concept from Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.  Nancy was the driving creative force behind the building of the cross, as well as most of the other artistic elements, but it's realization in our service required a huge team effort by a couple of dozen talented and gifted people.  Here are some photos.

The cross was constructed first from pieces of aluminum triangular trussing.  Then pieces of pressed foam insulation boards were cut and strapped to the trussing with heavy-duty nylon ties.  It was made in two pieces that were ultimately bolted together to form the cross.

After much work and careful fitting, our artists painted the blue foam, scoring and sculpting the face of it with a propane torch.  More painting and touch up followed.

Here is a picture of the finished cross on the stage with some preliminary lighting.  This picture was taken at the drama rehearsal on Saturday.  The basic idea of the script is that this huge cross has crashed through the roof of the house, literally through the middle of the dining room table.  But the family who lives at the house ignore it, going to great lengths to avoid discussion or mention of the cross.  One of the lines mentions something to the effect that they only take note of it at Christmas and Easter.  It was very funny, but also compelling.

Above is a picture from the Saturday night service.  For more pics and detailed info, check out Nancy's Flickr page.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oops, I think I dropped my fork...

Would you, could you eat some pie?
Could you, should you in the sky?

Dinner in the sky.  Would you do it?

I saw sushi in one of the other pics so, yeah, I would definitely do it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal'

I really liked this article about politics from David Mamet, one of the most popular screenplay writers and successful playwrights.

I know, it's politics and it's David Mamet.  But, trust me, it's very good, reasonably short, and well worth your time to read it.

UPDATE:  The Village Voice is evidently having some server problems.  The above link is good, but it appears not to be working consistently.  I have found this article referenced on other sites and have had trouble accessing the original from those sites as well.  I suggest trying again later...sorry about that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Food Court Musical

This is the coolest thing you will see today. There are few forms of performance art that I dislike more than a "musical." But this, this is outstanding....it would be so much fun to do something like this.

After you watch this clip, go to their website and read about this thing. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, March 07, 2008

April in Rome

The Colosseum

In April, we are going to spend a week in Rome.  As in Rome, Italy.  While in Rome, we intend to do as the Romans do.  

As in most things of life, when it comes to international travel arrangements, who you know is more important than what you know.  Thanks to our pastor, we were able to secure an amazing deal on a great apartment not far from downtown.

Yesterday, we ponied up the bucks for the airfare.  Getting there really isn't as expensive as one might expect, only about $2600.

Between now and our departure, we will be thinking about and planning our itinerary.  We intentionally did not latch on to some kind of tour package, preferring instead to chart our own course.   We will certainly be doing some touristy things, and we hope to spend at least a day in Florence, but we really wanted the freedom to explore Italy on our terms.

The Snopes Amazing Music Machine

This is an entertaining animated music video from a couple of years ago. It comes, typically, as a forwarded viral email, with a pretty rough video copy, obscuring much of the detail of the robotic device, making it look like a real, if improbable machine. The Youtube link above actually has a fairly good video copy. The following introductory text is usually included:

This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa.

Amazingly, 97% of the machines components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft , Iowa , yes farm equipment!

It took the team a combined 13,029 hours of set-up, alignment, calibration, and tuning before filming this video but as you can see it was WELL worth the effort. It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian.

That this little fable isn't real doesn't change the fact that it is really an excellent animated music video. But for the rest of the story, and it is an interesting one, be sure to go to:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rene' Martinez - Texas Guitar Whiz

A transplanted Texan is still a Texan. Regardless of where a Texan goes, Texas goes with him. I think I will always identify strongly with Texas, not simply because it is the land of my birth and the place I lived most of my life. Texas, as an ideal, is in many ways, reflective of not only what is best about being an American, but also of what has always been great about being an American. There is something special about that place. Hey, these aren't my rules, I'm just reporting what I know to be true here.

I suppose it is remotely possible that if I were from Kentucky, Tennessee or, God forbid, even California, I might feel the same way. That somehow some part of the essence of the place of my formative years, goes with me wherever I go. But I doubt it.

All that to say that, since moving to Indiana in 1999, I have not really missed much of the life left behind. I love living in the country and it is very meaningful to me that we live on a patch of ground that has been in my family since James Madison served as Secretary of State. About the only thing I miss is the mix of ethnic cultures that exists in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I miss having a choice of 5 or 6 excellent Mexican restaurants or barbecue joints within a 1-mile radius of home. And there are a handful of friends and family that I miss seeing as often as I used to. But not much more.

The only other thing I've missed is not having ready access to a high-quality, guitar repair shop. I am fortunate in that I can do a lot of the basic maintenance, and even a fair amount of hot-rodding and customization. I haven't met anyone around here, though, that I trust to do any kind of major surgery. Some things simply cannot be done by a hack, such as fret job or a full transducer refit in a valuable acoustic. Only a real craftsman, a seasoned professional artist, can do these things. Such a person can breathe new life and energy into an instrument, whereas even a well-meaning amateur can maim, cripple, or kill a beloved tool and friend.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across this excellent article about Rene' Martinez. In Texas, for years I always had my guitars repaired and serviced at Charlie's Guitar Shop which, in the world of guitarists, is simply a mythic place. Well do I remember as a 22-year old kid, hanging out there one rainy Saturday afternoon, listening to Bugs Henderson holding court, playing the blues on some old Strat plugged into some old Fender amp, and wandering through the happy chaos of the cramped shop, admiring the wonderful guitars, vintage and new, hanging from the walls. People came from all over the southwest to drop their guitars off for repair, to talk to Charlie and Rene', and to take in the magical ambience of the place. Over the years, Rene' Martinez worked on my mid-70's Gibson Hummingbird (may it rest in peace), my 1976 ES-335TD Sunburst, and at least one of my Ibanez solidbodies, as I can recall.

I didn't know him well, personally, but I remember Rene' Martinez as the considerate and humble artisan that this interview portrays him to be. And his work was unimpeachable. It didn't seem to matter to him whether it was a cheap beginner's guitar or a seasoned custom instrument owned by a pro. He seemed to take the same careful and caring approach, regardless. Every guitar that passed through his hands was better for the experience, whether it was mine, Stevie Ray Vaughn's, Johnnie Winter's, Carlos Santana's, or John Mayer's. It's a blessing to me to see him doing so well.