Monday, February 28, 2005

joyeux anniversaire

Happy Birthday dp and BAM!
From your cyberdeck community.
Thanks for being a part and contributing.
Please click here or here to load me into your computer and I'll serenade you with that ubiquitous tune.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

promise of spring

Had to drive into “town” this morning to get a special fan clutch removal tool. As I was heading down Irmo Drive, I saw the two tulip trees beginning to open their blossoms. I immediately remembered their first appearance last year because I blogged about it then. I also thought that it wasn’t this early last year. February? When I got back home, I got to work on the truck, but kept thinking about the tulip trees all day.
I took Allison to work this evening so I’d have a way to get to church in the morning and then came home and built a fire on the deck, got the kids some roasting sticks and hot dogs, put the condiments on the counter and told them to fend for themselves.
Dan and Esther came over and fended for themselves as well and when things settled down inside, we sat by the fire under the partially veiled, just-past-full moon and listened to Norah Jones and The Blind Boys of Alabama while I silently lamented that Allison wasn’t there.
When I came inside, I googled tulip trees on my blog to find out what the date was last year. It was Saturday, March 6, one week to the day later than this year. I wondered what the difference was this year until I read the post. It seems that the full moon was precisely one week earlier this year as well. I wonder if Full Snow Moons and tulip trees have a connection? But the day similarities didn’t stop there. It seems that on that tulip tree/full moon day last year I also built a fire on the deck, though there is no record of what music accompanied the moon rise.
I probably won’t expect to see lots of blossoms on the way to church in the morning, but I will believe the promise that spring is on the way. Perhaps even a little early. God knows I need it. It has been a long cold winter, even here, in the Palmetto State. I will welcome and embrace some fresh color, warmth and new birth.


Friday, February 25, 2005

it could be worse

Isn’t there some clever proverb that says something like, “it could be worse”, but in a much more eloquent way? It almost seems like a false optimism to always be saying that regardless of how bad it seems, it could be worse. I can almost hear Marilyn, Dr. Fleischman’s receptionist, responding quietly to his complaining with this remark.
But honestly, if you seriously examine the situation when challenges strike, you can often see what you’ve been spared. This has been especially evident to me in my rickety vehicular life lately. You’ll remember that back in January we lost a transmission only 3 hours from home, at the end of 19 hour drive from Austin. We had driven through hours of nowhere, nothing but fields, no exits, no cell towers, no nothing. We could have broken down in Mississippi and been 10 hours from both ends of the trip and no way to get help.
You’ll also remember that on my birthday, Jack and I drove up to see Switchfoot in Allison’s truck because I didn’t trust mine to make the trip. Of course her truck broke down and cost us a long night and morning trying to get moving again. As it turned out, the part I needed was easy to find and I was able to repair the truck with a single cheap wrench and a sore thumb. Though, I was grateful that it was fairly simple, and that it had happened to me rather than Allison, I couldn’t help but thinking I’d wished we’d have taken my truck instead.
Well yesterday I realized why we didn’t take my truck. 12 days, and fewer miles than the trip to Clemson later, my truck broke down on the way to work. This time, it wasn’t a single wrench and sore thumb job. My water pump all but exploded, spraying down the engine and sending billowing antifreeze smoke all over. Now this was on my way back to work for he first time all week because I’ve been down with the flu, and this is the thanks I get for making the effort? It was also pouring rain and downright ugly outside and I’m sitting beside the interstate with smoke billowing and an engine light flashing. When I peered under the hood to attempt a diagnosis, I remembered that when I couldn’t find the right part in Anderson to fix her truck, I’d considered asking Allison to take it off my truck and bum a ride to bring it to me. That memory struck me then because when I looked under the hood, I noticed that the tensioner and idler pulleys on my truck were in opposite places than they were on her truck. I would have explained to her, by location, which one to bring, and she’d have come 100 miles to bring me the wrong pulley.
So the moral of these stories is that next time you hear me say, “it could be worse,” rest assured that I know what I’m talking about. As a matter of fact, I probably won’t say that at all. From experience, I’ll probably know exactly what that worse thing would be, and I’ll just say it, specifically. It could be worse, it could be my motorcycle.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

b-day 3

It is raining again. A single warm, sunny day and a second, warm, overcast day and the full moon is blotted out and the rain falls. Hard. Just like Monday, Will’s birthday.
My second son turned eleven at 4:30 Monday afternoon while I tossed and turned in the sick bed. After Allison brought the Motrin and I began to think again, I was able to hear them sing “Happy Birthday” and I made my way to the kitchen door to say it myself. Will said, “Thanks dad, I love you.” Later, he brought my gift to the bed; a pound of Sumatra and a 16 oz. thermos. O how I love Sumatra. Maduro caffé. Thanks, kid.
But what does Will get? Third in a line of three birthdays in eleven days. His day invaded by an ill dad, an all-day electrical storm, and a science fair project. All the while, he smiles and gives.
You’ve got the patience of Job, son. All your life, you’ve had to wait for the squeakier wheel to get the grease. Never demand, never cry.
Well, I know what I’m giving you next year for my birthday. I’m giving you my birthday. Next year, you get the first birthday of the year. You will turn twelve, eleven days early and I will turn forty-two, eleven days late. We both win. You can have your lemon marangue pie first and I’ll wait for my peanut butter meltaway cake.
Despite the fact that I involuntarily missed your birthday, I have done a lot of reflecting on it. I believe you’ve grown more this year than in any other single year, both physically and otherwise. You’ve learned so much about yourself and about everyone around you. Even I, the fighter of time, am excited to watch you continue to grow this next year. You’ll have to be quick because this year, you only have 354 days.
I just realized that I’ll have to give you two gifts next year. I’ll give you my birthday and then it will be your birthday, so you’ll have to give me a gift too. Then on your birthday it will be my birthday, so I’ll have to give you another gift. Sheez. That sounds like a thought sequence that you would have.
I’m sorry your birthday blog comes two days late. Early next year.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

24 hours of midnight

I just awoke from spending 24 hours in Poe story. I woke up yesterday morning with a knot in my gut and within a couple hours, I was freezing and every muscle in my body was aching. I went back to bed and turned on the electric blanket, and drifted off to the sound of heavy rain and excruciatingly loud thunder. All afternoon, I drifted in and out, continued to hear loud thunder and at dark, lay there with the room flashing with lightning, but couldn’t quite figure out how to call to Allison for something to kill my headache or calm my muscles. Finally I figured it out and she brought me some Ibuprofen. In no time, I broke out in a sweat, my head eased a little and quit spinning, and I was able to think 5 words in a row that all seemed to be a part of the same thought.
I got up and walked slowly about for a few minutes, ran a bath and submerged myself for a while. When I got out of the tub, I was all weak and wobbly again, and my heart was racing so hard I couldn’t stand up. So I grabbed a towel and stumbled to the bed, soaking wet, where I found myself 16 hours later with a splitting headache and sunshine beating in from the window beside me.
That is where the Poe story doesn’t make sense, because a few minutes later, as if she sensed I was back among the living, Allison came in, opened the bedroom window so that I could hear the birds singing, washed a spot on my face and kissed me. The Poe version would have ended with the lightning eerily illuminating my delirium.
I’m not yet sure where this version ends, as I am still weak and am not yet sure what the absence of Motrin would allow. But at least I’m typing.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary…


Saturday, February 19, 2005

some days 2

In every day there is beauty,
and joy.
In every day there is everyday,
and melancholy.

In life, they exist simultaneously, each as powerful as the other.
But in a life, they seem to manifest themselves separately,
one eclipsing the other. Overwhelming. Smothering.

Is one able to choose which emerges today?

In some days there is an everyday joy,
without need of beauty.
In some days there is a melancholic beauty,
a pervasive gloomy silence through which
filtered sunlight glistens in foggy mist,
dampness dries the noise of the world, and
far-off whispers are warm lips at our ears.


Friday, February 18, 2005

13 februaries since I was 28

As of today, at 5:35pm, I am the father of a teenager. Jack turned 13 as soon as track practice was over. He got me a tee shirt that says, “Not all who wander are lost,” and a Life is Good cap with a cup of coffee on the front. His chosen birthday dinner was tacos, and his cake choice was that peanut butter chocolate thing that I always choose. Like father like son.
I gotta tell you, this is a very difficult birthday blog. Usually I don’t mind putting my reflections, feelings and emotions out there on the blog, but I am honestly speechless in this one. Thirteen. This is a milestone. And I sit here at the end of the day in humble silence. Some of you know the gravity of the job that is ahead for me as model, mentor, emotional punching bag, ATM, dad. Those of you who do, I’d appreciate your prayers, support and advice.
On this end, I am overwhelmed with dichotomous emotions as I mourn the loss of a little boy and am overjoyed at the emerging of a young man. Grief and pride. Fear and anticipation.
Last night, in anticipation of the changing of the number, Allison got out the photo album that documents much of Jack’s first few months. There are dozens of pictures of him decked out in his striped bib overalls, his Mickey Mantle number 7 uniform, only a diaper, in his birthday suit. We left the album on the kitchen table for him to find this morning. Allison said something to Molly about being sorry we didn’t have as many pictures of her as a baby. She didn’t seem too bothered by that, she said, “well mom, when you have your first baby, you don’t know if you’ll ever have any more babies, so you take hundreds of pictures.” I think she’s on to something there. But the truth is when Molly was a baby, we had two boys hanging from our arms and constantly needing. There was absolutely no way to pick up a camera and take photographs. When Jack was a baby, we would sit and stare at him for hours with no distractions or interruptions. I could use an entire roll of film before he changed positions. Try and sit and stare at a baby with two boys running around the house looking for trouble.
So Jack, I know that this cheesy blog post is not worthy of such a momentous occasion as this. But what I feel can’t be expressed in words. It can be expressed in hugs though, don’t make me stockpile them. Please don’t ever grow too big to lay your head on my shoulder like you did last week at the Switchfoot concert.
Reach for my hand, I honestly think I can help you through these next 10 years. I’m growing too, you know.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

double shot

This summer, I attempted to see Rush twice – in Irvine and Atlanta. I actually heard them twice, but alas, I had to sell my ticket at the gate and listen from the parking lot in Irvine and wait 3 more weeks to see them in Atlanta. I’d have seen them in Charlotte as usual, as well, but somehow, the tour began earlier than I thought, and that one slipped by me. So out of 3 possible concerts on a single tour, I saw only the Atlanta show.
I was not about to let such an opportunity pass me by again. So, tonight I headed back to the second Brubeck concert. I was sure it would be different enough to make the second night worthwhile. Different it was. Both nights, they played “Take Five” as the last number. The similarities between the two nights ended with that piece. It was the only thing they played both nights, otherwise the entire set was different, and the title, motive, and meter, were the only similarities between the two performances of that piece. As a matter of fact, the entire set and personalities of the players tonight was from a very different era. The set tonight was much more progressive, and some tunes, even contemporary. The solos, even Brubeck’s, were more daring, varied, mind-boggling. Brubeck played a lot more solo piano with some outrageously inventive versions of a couple of popular tunes that caused the drummer and bass player to look at each other and raise eyebrows. Last night’s spoken wit, was reserved for witty musical quotes in improvisations, and humorous melodic and rhythmic phrases that caused Brubeck to get tickled with himself several times. Another magic concert.
Tonight I sat on the front row, less than ten feet from the piano, where I could see Brubeck’s facial expressions up close and hopefully become the recipient of some morphic resonance.
Have you ever listened to someone improvise and wonder just how much of it is actually improvised. Wonder if you hear it again tomorrow if it would be just about the same. At least based on the same bag of tricks. These guys tonight, played from completely different personalities and characters than they did last night. Rather than make the whole experience more plain, tonight’s concert just raised last night’s on the magic meter, as a moment that will never happen again. Can’t be repeated. A screen capture destined for the memories of 200 fortunate individuals who happened to come together on a particular night at a particular place where this particular magic happened. A different magic than tonight. A different magic than tomorrow. A rapid in the flow of time, never to be repeated.
Why would someone go to hear something that was unpredictable, risky, shifting, changing? Something that promises to be different from anything that has proven safe and foreseeable? Why would someone wake up tomorrow and walk out into an unpredictable, risky day?
Jazz is a lot like life - flowing – each day may have essentially the same motive, chart and changes, but we’ve got to play it as it comes, responding and improvising according to how the other players are responding and improvising. As unpredictable as it may be, it has the potential in the end to come together as something beautiful. I guess you just have to practice.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005


As you look back over the years, do you have memories engraved indelibly on your mind that consist of so much more than a mentally visualized still-life snapshot? Memories that consist of smells, sounds, temperature, emotions that aren't remembered, but still felt as strongly as ever?
Do you remember with each of those memories, being in the moment, or the next day, thinking, “That is a moment I will never forget”? Gathering around you all those smells, sounds, temps, and emotions so that they would stay with you forever?
I’ll bet everyone has those memories, but few of them could have been anticipated. In any given wonder-moment, we bask, we absorb, we gather, we dream of reliving it for years; but often it is a different moment entirely that stays with us and causes us joy years down the road, and these often take us by surprise.
But this should be of no surprise. Art is the same way. We think we know now what will last, what will stand the test of time, but we can’t possibly know how it will play against what is to come. In this way, we can’t even know in ourselves, what memories will mean for us down the road. At the least, we experience a moment with our current circumstances, emotions, situations, etc. At most, we experience a moment based on what we’ve known so far. Gee, that’s the best I’ve experienced in my whole life. But we can’t know what experiences are to come and where any given moment will fall in the scheme of importance in shaping who we are years from now.
On the other hand, there are memories of a type that are born of other memories. Categorical, maybe. We feel that a moment will last because it brings to mind other memories that we have. Often these moments do last because they get added to memories in a particular category. Sometimes, deeply lasting impressions are made when two or more of our categories converge. I have some very important memories of musical experiences. The most important of these memories are the ones I shared with Allison, who has a category of her own in experiential recesses of my mind. So certain music can trigger specific memories with her, certain memories can bring to mind specific music. Both bring back atmosphere and emotion. We both have memories of hearing Harry James, and James Taylor, in concert while in college. The Pittsburgh Symphony at Heinz Hall centered an evening that no other subsequent Pittsburgh Symphony concerts could equal except that they bring to mind the memories of that first one. I have musical memories without Allison, but they are only half memories without the support of the categorical context.
Last night, we made a memory together, and I am sure that this one can be manufactured and preserved if only (and maybe preferably) as a booster memory for some older ones that needed some reminiscing about now. We spent two hours last night sitting and watching and listening, from 20 feet, to whom I believe to be the coolest musician of the century, Dave Brubeck. At 84 years old, he adds carefree joy and experienced wit to his coolness. He speaks to the piano and causes it to sing back whatever his ear asks for, drawing from the hidden recesses of his improvisations, quotes and manipulations of every composer imaginable, nodding to his influences, manifesting his memories, adding himself to a categorical memory sequence and drawing from our minds every magical memory that we ever experienced. How is it that you can check off one guy on your “old geezer concert tour”, and feel like you’ve experienced an entire generation of performers?
Allison, thank you for experiencing Brubeck with me. Please engrave “Take Five” on your aural memory, never forget that blue-bird-flute-flutter on “Over the Rainbow”, or the excruciatingly slow, longingly bent note on “Stormy Weather” in the Harold Arlen birthday tribute. I hope the smells of coffee, realm, and the sound of a stormy sax improvisation, all combine to create an entirely new memory that is only yours and mine.
Didn’t that flute flutter sound strangely like a butterfly emerging?
That’s where you’ll find me.


Monday, February 14, 2005


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.


Friday, February 11, 2005

like al pacino's cash

As many of you know, our family does the gift giving instead of receiving on our birthdays. But don't tell the grandparents, they still give to us on our birthdays. My gift to Jack this year was a surprise Switchfoot concert. So I picked him up from track practice a little early and we drove up to Clemson for the concert.
I took Allison's truck because it has a heater, and to be honest, I didn't trust mine to make it up and back. After our Austin extravaganza last month, I thought better safe than sorry. So after the concert, we're driving back up I-85 and made it almost to Anderson before the tensioner idler pulley's bearings seized and screwed the pulley off. First I lost power steering and then the battery light came on. I muscled the truck across three lanes to the shoulder and got out thinking I'd find a shredded serpentine belt scattered all over the engine compartment. Instead, I found, by feel, the pulley a foot from where it should have been attached. I thought if I could get it screwed back on with my hands, and then replaced the belt with my hands, we could possibly make it to the next exit and get off the interstate.
Now you've got to remember that a couple months ago, it took me 45 minutes to replace the belt on my truck even with a wrench for the tensioner. This thing packs about a ton of pressure, and requires a wrench so small that you have to Elastawoman to get your hand down there and fight the pain of the wrench cutting into the palm of your hand while you use your free hand to thread the belt through a mouse trap maze that requires a college degree to solve. Last night I did it in 27 degrees in complete dark with my bare hands while tractor-trailers blew by me at 80 miles an hour. That's what a little fear and adrenaline will do.
I got the truck to the next exit before the pulley screwed off again, called a cab and found a motel to wait for the auto parts stores to open. This morning, we got another cab and were driven all over the place to every store looking for the right part. When we finally found it, I had the truck back up in about 20 minutes, but we were about 9 hours behind schedule.
Jack missed half a day of school and I had to rearrange some lessons.
I wanted to ask him which was the best gift, the concert or missing school. Though the missed school for an emergency was pretty cool, I think he really enjoyed the concert, as did I. He sang almost every song with them at the top of his lungs, and accurately predicted the last song and the encore.
So there you have it. A fun way to celebrate 41. Another year. Another adventure. Gone, like Elvis and his mom.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I realize that this is the beginning sentence to a lot of my blog posts, but while I was in the shower this morning, a piece of a song lyric began to haunt me. I don’t know where it came from, or what fertile soil I’d provided for it to take root, but take root it did, and by the time I was driving to work, the entire song was playing in my head. I began to think of the profundity of the simple, outrageously ridiculous lines of the song. Of course the lyric was from Neil Peart (shock).
January’s readings in the Celtic book of Prayer had essentially been a blog on the lines of the hymn, Be Thou my Vision, so it occurred to me to blog the lyric of this song. When I got to work, I had no choice but to quote the lyric to my first student:

I can learn to resist
anything but temptation.

He just kind of developed an odd look and said, “well, what else is there to resist, but temptation?” “Precisely,” I said.
The punch comes in the realization that we tend to get a false sense of righteousness from resisting things that have no allure for us. Our false righteousness results in judgment of others who do have to fight temptation with the things that cause us no problems. The self-righteous man feels good about himself because he does not, for example, abuse alcohol, and looks down upon those who do. What he fails to consider is that there are plenty of people who claim no righteousness at all, but who have no struggle with alcohol abuse.
Perhaps the bottom line here again is that we’re deceived into believing that our goodness comes from avoidance of things that we think aren’t good. But as we all know, deep down, our goodness does not come from not doing bad, but from doing good, and our righteousness comes from neither.
When we think that resistance causes us to be good, we will list things to resist from worst to least according to the magnitude of our own temptation with these things. This way, we will have a better chance at avoiding the worst, and thus feel better about ourselves, and of course, worse about those who do struggle with the things that cause us no struggle. Of course the things that tempt me are nowhere near as bad as the things by which you are tempted.
In this way, we begin to believe that we are resisting bad things although they cause us no temptation, and this is a good thing because we need an avoidance behavior measurement tool to feel good about ourselves.
Thus Neil Peart's statement that we can resist anything but temptation speaks to our spending time feeling good about things that are easy for us and don't bother with the bad things that require change, development, transformation in ourselves.
We look for ways to feel good about who we are, rather than becoming someone we can feel good about.


Tuesday, February 08, 2005


The modern expression of Christianity is quickly becoming a delusional religion.
We spend fully half our time thinking up new names to call a something when we don’t even know what it is. Discipleship. Spiritual Formation. Growing. Experiencing God. In any given week, we will invent more names.
Once we’ve invented the name of the week, we spend the rest of our time teaching how to attain it by following prescribed methodologies and disciplines that will help you apply principles to your life, and thus make you closer to God. Honestly, I can only think of one time where it is recorded that Jesus ever spoke of this kind of method for finding God.
A certain ruler had come to Jesus asking how to receive eternal life. When Jesus mentioned the 10 commandments, the man said that he had followed them all since his youth. Then Jesus said he was still missing one thing, to sell all he had and distribute it to the poor so that he could have treasures in heaven, and then come and follow Jesus.
At first, this does seem like a methodological approach;
1) Follow 10 rules (He lists 5/10),
2) sell everything and give to the poor,
3) follow Jesus.
But if you look at it again, the man didn’t ask how to grow spiritually or know God better; he asked how to have eternal life. This is kind of ironic because I’ve never heard anyone preach these things as a means to eternal life, though I’ve heard thousands of sermons on salvation. Rather, we place the methodological approach on one of the things that Jesus listed as required for eternal life – discipleship. A relationship with Him. But our desire for discipleship is not as one of the means to eternal life (beginning now), as Jesus has listed it. (In fact, I think discipleship was His entire point; that the man’s things and stuff were what was keeping him from following Jesus, that discipleship WAS the means to eternal life but the man couldn’t do it as long as he was following his stuff.) Rather, our desire for discipleship is as a means to more peace and happiness after we receive eternal life, though Jesus warned us that to follow him would bring a world of trouble.
So we present it as, “now that you’ve received eternal life, you should be discipled, while Jesus said, be my disciple so that you can have eternal life. Fact is that Jesus talked to this man right in the midst of his going ‘round teaching how to be his disciple. So that must have seemed clear. We though, turn discipleship into 7 steps to follow. This, no doubt, would have been easy for the man Jesus was talking to, because that is where the conversation started; Jesus outlined some steps, and the man said he’d always followed them.
The point that I’m trying to get to is this. The seven steps don’t work. Following six principles of discipleship doesn’t work. We do them, and because they didn’t accomplish the point, we begin to think the point was following the steps or principles. At that point we become disciples of the steps and principles rather than disciples of Jesus. We don’t feel closer to God, but we feel very disciplined, separate and religious. We begin to equate disciplined, separate and religious with closeness to God. It is not something that we love. It is not something that we would call a relationship, though we call it a relationship. All the while we’re going about doing these things, teaching these things, defining these things, we just don’t get it. We pretend we get it, because everyone else seems to get it. Everyone else is going around pretending, so we all just keep our mouths shut. No one has the guts to say, “I don’t get it. I’m supposed to know God, to feel closer to Him, to actually love Him. But I don’t feel any of that.”
We eventually come to believe that the pride we feel from successfully following the steps is in fact a love for God. This pride keeps us asleep, and repulses others. And we become entirely delusional about what it means to have eternal life, abundant life, to be about Kingdom business.
The only possible way that we could teach bogus approaches to knowing God and spiritual growth and believe in the slightest that what we are teaching is true and that we know it because we have experienced it, is to have entirely confused the good feeling of successfully following a regimen or fulfilling a resolution, with actually accomplishing what the regimen was meant to accomplish.
This is delusional. We believe the wrong thing to be true. We teach the wrong thing. We cause people to believe that because our methods didn’t change them, they haven’t done them correctly, all while we know deep in our hearts that our methods haven’t changed us either.
Maybe we shouldn’t feel all that bad about this. Aren’t all the world’s religions delusional? I don’t think we’re practicing the religion that Jesus Christ taught. The culture all around us recognizes that we don’t teach truth. Maybe we had the last chance to present something that could be embraced by a skeptical culture. But we blew it by presenting something else. We lament that the culture now believes there is no truth, or that truth is whatever you believe to be true. But how can we blame them when we’ve given them no truth to accept or reject?


Monday, February 07, 2005

who am i?

Melded reality
Simultaneous confusion
Each must be embraced separately
Experienced simultaneously
Surrendered completely.

Utter vulnerability comes at this moment
in every aspect of one's person.
Body, Mind, Spirit.

It is here that we exist -the eternal caged by the temporal;
The natural man and the spiritual man
living together in an earthsuit
that knows only the immediate,
that responds to anything it is told-
That is damaged by lies of the mind and emotion;
That damages the mind and controls emotion with lies that
it's damage is permanent,
even to the spirit.

Who lies to the body to try and steal it from mind and spirit?
Who lies to the mind that the body is of no consequence?
decaying clay and water?
But was it, too, not animated with the breath of God?
But the spirit can know that all is redeemable.

Melded reality.
Simultaneous confusion.
Spirit redeemed,
Mind transformed
Body cleaned.
Completely surrendered.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

guest blog 2.0

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for. You'll remember that a while back, I was having trouble finding time to blog, and so I had my son, Jack to fill in for me. Today, I have for you, guest blog 2.0. In his first guest appearance as a writer rather than a character, here is poet, artist, philosopher and knower-of-all-things - my second son, Will. Please welcome him to the cyberdeck.
(sound of applause)


Saturday, February 05, 2005

shakin' like tremolo

Two major feats accomplished today. One of them was short-lived, but much needed. I finally got to take the windhorse out for about half an hour. I ran it hard out the country until the wind found its way up my sleeves and inside my jacket and the sun began to go down. So I came home so Al could go to work.
The other major feat wasn't as short-lived. You'll be suspicious when I tell you what it was, but honestly, the project had started before Jan reprimanded me last week. I tried to install a CD player for Allison on Monday, but really, all I accomplished was removing her old Ford factory tape deck. That took about a minute, and the rest of the day was spent trying to get the new one to receive power. I wired and re-wired and trouble shot, and second guessed, and finally decided the new CD player wasn't any good. So I took it back to the store and swapped it for another one. When I got back home, it took me about 5 minutes to get the new new one wired and working. Ha, so it wasn't my fault. But once I got power, it became evident that sound was going to be another story. I thought I was at the easy part - just trial and error until learn what wires go to what speakers. Not so easy. Nothing worked in any combination. So I got online and googled wiring diagrams for Explorer factory speakers. What I found were dozens of queries from guys doing exactly what I was doing, but getting nowhere. I was still getting nowhere when it was time to run the kid taxi service and so Allison drove around all week with the dash board detached, a big hole in the dash and a brand new CD player laying in the floorboard. I've installed CD players in every vehicle I've ever owned without the least bit of trouble. But try to impress your wife with a surprise that involves male know-how, and get emasculated by a truck.
After Jack's basketball team survived the first round of the play-offs this morning, I came home to tackle the CD player again. I tried out a week's worth of what ifs but was still beaten by the existing wiring. Finally, I removed all the existing speakers and by-passed the wiring to confirm that the speakers could actually be driven by the new unit. They worked fine. So Molly came out and helped me re-wire all the speakers, and put everything back together.
Finally, we were ready to actually install the new player, which took precisely 47 seconds. Molly and I were both proud of our handiwork. When Allison came out to go to work she had a new CD player to sing to her all the way to town. And you'll never guess what she brought out to listen to on the player's maiden voyage. You guessed it, Third Day, "Wire". How fitting. But she didn't know. I think that was just God's little gift of laughter as a reward for persistence.
So she drove off listening to Mac and Co., but I walked back into the house with my own tune going in my head.
Life's the same I'm moving in stereo
Life's the same except for my shoes...


Friday, February 04, 2005

(e) motion

One of the four principles of muscle function that we guitarist live by is the principle of freedom through movement. It is easier to avoid the build up of tension while a muscle is moving because although it requires energy to move, it is constantly releasing energy that is not needed. This is no doubt why many people find a leisurely walk at the end of the day quite relaxing. When a muscle is not being used, or is intentionally kept in a constant position, it tends to build up tension and becomes tight and confined.

It has seemed unnaturally cold here for quite some time. So I've not been on the windhorse for a good long while. One of the many side-effects of cowboy - windhorse separation is brain atrophy. Now I don't mean atrophy of the entire brain, I have certainly been using a lot of it. I still have to go to work and form coherent sentences, and play guitar and such. But there are sections of the brain that are accessible only when riding. I am sure that if they were to hook up one of those imaging machines to the brain of a windhorse cowboy while he is riding, they would find their screens lighting up in places on the brain that they thought evolution had not yet given us the ability to use.
Somehow the windhorse inspires thought beyond the immediate, the apparent, even the intended. The physical proximity of the road, the speed at which it passes without ending, causes the brain to chase thoughts as twisting, rising, falling and unending as the center line. The surreal experiences of engine roar and rural silence, exhaust and fresh air, vibration and smooth fields, hot pipes and cold wind, cause the mind to find subtle, unexpected connections and turn opposites to counterparts that play together to create something impossible one without the other. The speed at which the road signs fly by while the trees and houses in the distance slowly fall behind exposes the layers of perception and faulty reality all around us.
Tonight on the way home, in the truck, I tried to pretend I was riding. It gets easier every day as various things break or fall off my truck. Soon I'll probably just be driving a chasis down the interstate. Anyway, I was fairly successful in re-creating the windhorse experience in the Explorer this evening, and many thoughts were chased. I got all these great ideas for thought unpacking and couldn't wait to get home to sit down and write. I came in the house, grabbed a glass of water, and sat down at the computer to spew the thoughts forth. Nada. The thoughts and concepts were still there, but they just sat in that hidden unknown portion of the brain that won't light up without the bike. No noise, no wind, no thoughts, no words, no motion, only emotion.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

some days

Some days, at first awakening,
Falling rain sounds like peace.
A steady, soaking drizzle,
a faint obbligato that soothes
the din of the day.
Harmonizing, cleansing, replenishing, nourishing.

Some days, at first awakening,
Falling rain sounds like grief.
A constant, flooding torrent
that displaces deeply buried emotions and
floats them to the surface.
Flooding, polluting, drowning, corroding.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

communis cordis

two fourevers are 8
but two 8s are 15
8 = 2 x 1
1 and 8
do and do

existing as surely as two separate entities
but with timbre so close one confuses the other
a frequency phenomenon

One is twice the other -
but only with the other
One is half the other -
but only with the other.

Resonating in sympathy
A shared frequency starts the other to singing
Infinite partials sounding together
Each exciting the others

I sing your song,
you sing mine.