May 2005

AHQ29 May 2005 06:30 pm

Jewel recently stole a copy of the ancient, long-out-of-print Upon This Truth album from me, and I was made to listen to it this afternoon. Even though it was in the background, believe me I heard everything.

This was an album we made during and just before a big learning curve, for the group as a whole but especially for me personally. So this whole recording is crammed full beginning to end of things that soon after it was completed I recognized as varying from bad mistakes to just poor musical choices. If you can make sense out of that sentence, you’re a better reader than I am a writer. Goodness. But, that’s the beauty of blogging, stream of consciousness.

Anyway, one of the songs on there brought back a disturbing moment from bygone days of aged history. As it played, my mind drifted off deep into the ancient past……..

AHQ was singing for the small Sunday morning service at the Rock (in fact, we were standing just in front of this fireplace!). We got up and opened the set with “Just a Little Talk With Jesus.” Man, this was a long time ago.

We sang the first verse and chorus, then I pulled my trademark lead-singer move. I messed up the words.

I first became aware of this phenomenon years before when I ran into the King’s Heralds in a Corvallis Burger King (Rob and Dave, there’s your links). They told me some stories about Jerry Patton (one of my all-time favorite lead singers) and his propensity for forgetting the words. I came to realize that one of the marks of a good lead singer is his occasional lapse in the lyrics department! If that’s all it took I would be a truly great one, but alas, I think there is a little more to it.

At any rate, we went to start the second verse and for some reason I started with the words to verse three. I had great confidence, if nothing else, and boldly sang over the other three guys until they reluctantly joined me on the words to verse three. Oh well, when you pull an egregious error in the middle of the song you just press on and deal with it and try to make the most out of the situation.

We shoulda tried that.

There was a problem, and we were too green to handle it. We had a key change coming up at the end of the third verse before we went into the chorus for the last time. It’s been so long I don’t know if my recollection is accurate or not, but I think we sang through the third verse and then went back to finish with the second. Now this key change was vital, it weren’t no half-step job, it was a big, several-step move. We totally changed around the last chorus, switched up the stacks and I don’t know what all, so we had to have it. But we came to the end of the second verse, sung as if it was the third, and NO KEY CHANGE!!!

My part was actually holding the note straight across, the other guys did the moving for the key change, so there was nothing I could do. I thought what in the world, why didn’t you do the key change!!!! It was the words to the second verse, so I don’t know if they just couldn’t justify doing the third verse key change to the second verse words or not, but it didn’t happen for whatever reason. And we were left dangling in the breeze to mangle the chorus.

And mangle it we did. Oh my goodness. So far away from the right key, we were fishing around for parts and mucking things up like nobody’s business. It was painful.

You always want to start a set with a strong song. You want to open with a bang. It’s best if the bang is not the result of the group’s implosion.

AHQ27 May 2005 10:27 pm

First of all, listen to an AHQ song from the past. We used to sing Jesus Hold My Hand (608KB, this is just the third verse and chorus) fairly often, we never recorded it though. This is a live cut from a concert we did at East Fairvew Mennonite in Milford, NE, sometime in ’03 I think.

The following is one of my favorite AHQ stories. I’ve told it on stage a time or two, and it goes over good. Probably because it involves a tenor and everybody loves funny tenor stories!

One time years ago AHQ was on the road in Colorado. We were singing at a small church in the evening, and we got there sometime in the afternoon. I forget exactly how it was, but somebody from the church let us in and then left or it was already unlocked or something. So no one from the church was there. We set up some recordings on a table in the foyer and went down in the basement to warm up and practice a little bit.

We weren’t there completely by ourselves. Konrad’s brother and another friend of ours had come with us and were sitting in the back of the auditorium, out of sight from the foyer. An elderly couple arrives early and walks in to the foyer, not seeing our people in the auditorium and unaware they could be heard. They start looking at the tapes and CD’s we had set up.

This was a small church, and they could hear us singing down in the basement. We were singing Jesus Hold My Hand and By was way up high doing his thing. They start discussing among themselves (referring to a CD), well, is this the group that’s here tonight? It can’t be, there’s a girl in the group downstairs!

ITF Business&Music&Tech26 May 2005 11:04 pm

Ordered my new studio sound card today! An ESI WamiRack 192L. Pretty sweet little piece of equipment. I was planning on eventually upgrading to something like this, but with a new recording project coming into the studio I needed to do it now. So that worked out good.

Tomorrow is my first official gig with Vocal Witness. We’re singing at the Haiti Benefit Auction Friday night at 7 (I think) in Shipshewana. Any ITF constituents there make sure you say hi.

This morning I was listening to the local news radio station. The dude was talking about the number of executions in Hoosierville this year and he said something to the effect of “Already this year three inmates have met their Maker.”

It just sounded funny hearing a formal announcer talk like that during a serious newscast. It came across pretty flippant-sounding.

ITF ranks second and third on Google for “poetic masterpiece,” and we’re number 1 on Yay-hoo. That makes me laugh.

Philosophy&Poetic Masterpieces26 May 2005 03:00 pm

Let’s take an in-depth look behind the recent poetic masterpiece and really see what we can glean from its wisdom. If you missed “Time” the first go-round, read it now.

This was obviously written when the author was bored and time seemed to have stood still. Who of us cannot relate to that feeling?! You want whatever you’re enduring to just be OVER! But it seems eternal.

It’s such irony, because when you want time to stand still it just flies by! Lines 3 and 4 allude to this by referring to sleep and the difficulty found in getting up in the morning. Why can’t time stand still at night, and in the morning before you have to get up? But no, no sooner do you fall asleep and that stupid alarm clock is rattling around insisting that it is time to get up. Time evidently thinks it has to make up for standing still earlier by flying through the night!

Or who of us has not been having the time of our lives and then realized what time it was? There seems to be a proportional equation at work determining the speed of time by the amount a person is enjoying himself.

The second stanza in this insightful work recognizes the seeming conspiracy Time has against us. Whenever we want it to move fast it slows down, and vice versa.

As we can see from the resignation expressed in stanza 3, there’s no use fighting this principle. No matter how much we react or fight against the injustices of Time, it’s going to do whatever it wants. It’s going to go as fast as it wants when it wants, and as slow as it can get away with at just the times you want it to speed by.

Truly a mature and wise conclusion. When something comes against us that we cannot really combat in any way, it’s best to wisely accept and deal with it. There we can find peace.

ITF Business26 May 2005 02:47 pm

In my recent statement regarding ITF and politics, I meant to mention another blog as a good source for a reasonable perspective on politics. Check out my buddy Rick Moore over at

Misc26 May 2005 02:18 pm

I’ve never been good with finding stuff. In the shop, in the store, at work, I can’t find anything anywhere. I make a bad go-fer. I always hate it when somebody asks me if I’d go to such-and-such a place and get the whatever right there beside the who-knows-what, oh it’s right there, you’ll find it. Sure.

I went in to get some groceries at Walmart this morning, and Jewel gave me a list of some things she wanted. I got everything but the Cool Whip, and I thought I must have missed it. So I went clear way back to the rear of the store looking for the dumb stuff. I found a friendly associate who told me it was in aisle 1. Great.

I went clear back up front to where I was and found it, sure enough. Literally two feet from where I had just gotten some frozen fruit.

Poetic Masterpieces25 May 2005 10:06 pm

I recently dug out some ancient poetry that I had writ early in my poetic career, and I thought maybe I should share this gem with my ITF family.

It doesn’t have the emotional depth of my current works, but it still speaks of deep and lasting truth, reaching each of us right where we live.


Oh time is moving slowly,
In fact I think it stopped.
But come tomorrow morning,
I’ll hate that rapid clock.

When time just creeps on by,
I cannot help but squirm.
But when I wish the clock would stop
How quickly those hands turn!

I guess I’ll have to live with it,
Right now I need to yawn.
No matter what I think or feel,
Time just marches on.

— Tom Troyer, Copyright 7-01

Tech25 May 2005 11:48 am

So I like Google, and I’m always interested when they come out with something new and cool. Hence, I jumped on the Google Web Accelerator bandwagon.

Then as a service to all of you I asked my OTA what his thoughts were on the matter:

On Google Web Accelerator: Google Blogoscoped has a good introduction to GWA.

One of my questions has been: Why is Google doing this? It takes a lot of bandwidth and storage space to run a proxy server for everyone on internet (granted, they aren’t at that point yet.). TechDirt has an excellent theory that makes a lot of sense: Google uses your surfing as their spider.

Right now, a search engine works by using an automated program, called a spider, to “crawl” the internet. As it goes, it collects information about each website it comes to. It ranks that website for different individual search terms using several factors, the two most prevalent being #1 other people linking to it and the #2 the content of the site. This spider tries to emulate a random surfer that starts at a random starting point and goes for a while and then eventually gets bored and stops.

It would, of course, be ideal if Google had real people, instead of computers, surfing randomly. With Google Web Accelerator, they have that. As you go to websites, they can index that site. They know how you got there, so they know what search terms are relevant for that site. They know that it is a popular site if a lot of their users are going there. It would be a very nice increase in the accuracy of their search results.

However, it has been having some problems. People are being logged into forums under other usernames (This is because everything is run through a proxy. The forum software sees the multiple users as a single user. When you log in to your account, it logs in for everyone.) and it is deleting emails by pre fetching (One of the ways that GWA speeds up your surfing is by looking at the links on the page that you are on and choosing the ones it thinks you might click on and then starting to download them even before you click on them. You know in your webmail how you have those little delete links? Well GWA was prefetching those too and in the process deleting your emails.).

Of course, why do you need an accelerator with a broadband connection? (GWA is only recommended for use with broadband.) Broadband is pretty snappy.

Google has stopped offering downloads of GWA because “We have currently reached our maximum capacity of users and are actively working to increase the number of users we can support.” Google Blogoscoped thinks that “This may or may not be a polite way of saying there were too many bug reports being thrown at them, and that they now need time to check them.”

There are always privacy concerns with this kind of thing.

I have an intense interest in all things Google, but I don’t have the knack for the kind of research Hans knocks out. This is some great stuff. The only issue I’d take up with him, and this is strictly opinion, is about the need for a web accelerator. I like the idea of speeding up anything that can be sped up, and you can never surf the web too fast!

For a long time a major criticism against Google has been their nebulous and ambiguous privacy policies and practices. It looks like the GWA just brings more of the same.

Hans finishes up with his official recommendation:

I have not been happy with GWA. If anything it has slowed down my surfing not sped it up. It has made some pages inaccessible. It still has some bugs. It has privacy concerns. I uninstalled it. I would suggest that you don’t install it, or if you have, uninstall it. The risk/problems to rewards ratio is just too high.”

So I sadly uninstalled it. I wanted it to be a good thing, but I managed to put aside my pie-in-the-sky ideals and do the right thing.

Misc25 May 2005 09:56 am

This is going to be one of the few times that political matters get a mention here on ITF. I’ll explain why. For one, we have far better things to talk about, but the other reason goes a little deeper.

When I’m in a political discussion it doesn’t take a whole lot for me to start getting mad. I just have zero tolerance for total denial of logic and common sense, I can’t handle it. And if you’ve ever been in or listened to a political discussion with a liberal involved, you know there’s going to be plenty of common sense and logic being completely ignored and denied.

I’ve even started to get a little mad at By before, and he’s one of my best friends in the whole world! So I decided that for the most part I’ll just avoid political discussion and debates, it’s just not worth it to me. I can’t even listen to Rush or Sean when they’re exposing liberal decadence and corruption and general mucking-up-the-system (like the recent/current fiasco with judicial nominees), it just makes me sick. It’s just not worth it to me.

If you want politics, a great place to get a level-headed perspective is at The (not so) Daily Me. Hans is my OTA of course, and if I had any inclination to post on political matters he would probably be my Official Political Advisor too. Good work Hans. See, he has the patience to deal patiently with those illogical liberals, something I just can’t do.

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