July 2005

Misc31 Jul 2005 11:11 pm

I’ve got a few neat things in store for ITF from the wedding, but we’re having problems with the audio. The on-site recording engineer isn’t in the area right now, and he sent me some dvd’s of the audio but I can’t open them. We’ll eventually work it out.

I also have a number of recipes that I will post in the (hopefully) near future. Some great stuff! You’ll want to try these.

We have a new answering machine message! Here’s the old one. I need to set up my studio in the near future, I’ll record and post it then.

Speaking of answering machines, this Saturday I got a phone call very early in the morning. I managed to somewhat answer it with a probably very groggy “hello”, just at the same time the machine kicked in. I gladly hung up. Later I went and listened to the message and someone was pretty much just chortling and snickering. They never said who they were. Please don’t call me early on a Saturday.

Anybody else miss Ag? Where has she been? Suddenly she just disappeared and quit commenting. I think I’ll post a picture of her, maybe that will bring her out of hiding.

BMA Convention is this weekend. I really wish I could go, Voice of Praise is going to be there! I’m a huge fan of VOP. I practically grew up listening to them. And hey, wonder of wonders (I’m one to talk), they’ve updated their website! New photo albums, and they’ve reached way back in the archives for some of them. Way to go Ben, good work.

I have lost ten pounds today.

And coming up in the next post I’m going to attempt to instill some culture in my constituency! I have been working on it for the past several days. I know I just recently posted a rare serious post, and I apologize for posting another so soon. But this should be good for you, you might learn a lot.

Music&The Den of Iniquity27 Jul 2005 06:56 pm

That last post on music is the perfect preface for this story!

My buddies Marty and Bill back in old Plant 103 loved to rip on me about singing. They’ve never heard me sing, but they certainly won’t let a small detail like that hinder them. I loved it and egged them on.

They would howl along with the radio and I would sit back and marvel at their ability and how I could never compare. I continually complimented them on their talent and vocal ability. They continually reminded me of my place far beneath them.

“I’m a great singer!” I would say. Then Marty would launch into a two-minute tirade about how I went home at night and ran my voice through the computer trying to make it sound half decent and how futile even that was. It usually didn’t take long for me to break down in fits of laughter.

I miss Marty. He quit after they shut down 103. Bill got moved with me to 900 and we still work together, but I miss Marty, he was my bud. Even though he was easily my life’s largest single source of profanity.

Anyway, one day a couple months ago we were by another worker’s radio that was tuned to country music. “Life’s a Dance” came on the radio. I started singing along. Something like this (35KB, 0:08).

They immediately yelled for me to stop. Marty shouted, “I’ve had tires on my car that could sing better than you!!!”

Music&Philosophy26 Jul 2005 08:57 pm

This was inspired by my piano-playing buddy over at yoderpianist. He was chronicling his musical journey and development, and mentioned interpretation.

In my own observation and personal experience (with vocal music), we who were raised conservative Mennonites have somewhat of a handicap when it comes to musical interpretation and feeling.

Verbalized or not (and probably not), we were taught to be very proper and dignified and humble in any public display. “Performing” was a prideful no-no, and whatever you do don’t show emotion! Just stand still and sing with a straight face.

Maybe that’s a little overstated. But I think we really struggle with musicality, with taking a song and making music from it! It doesn’t come naturally to most of us. We think that if we sing the notes reasonably in tune and get the words right, then we’ve done it about as good as we can.

The whole concept of interpretation and communication was quite the revelation to me in my musical development, and was a huge, huge struggle to grasp and implement. To this day it’s something that I really have to work at.

Music is so much more than correct notes and timings and proper pronunciations. You have to make it your own, it has to come from (sorry so trite) the heart. Gotta feel it! You must make it come alive.

But how? That’s the tough question. And the answer can’t be neatly summed up in a set of precise instructions or a paint-by-numbers formula, at least not by me.

For myself, the key has just been to be genuine, identify with the lyric on some level, feel it, communicate it, try to express the song’s sentiment through the music as if you didn’t have the lyrics. Make it real.

My voice teacher Roger was the first musical influence that made me start to realize there was a whole lot more to singing than just squarely vocalizing note after note. Then the catalyst that really made me change my ways was my buddy Coby and my first barbershop quartet, the Allnighters.

We were learning a ballad, “When I Fall in Love.” Our buddy Martin was coaching us (incidentally, Martin did all the artwork on Lookin’ Up and Purpose), and they would absolutely NOT let me keep singing like a robot. It was a love song, it had to be all gooey and full of feeling.

I remember being so frustrated. I’d sing certain lines over and over again and they wouldn’t be satisfied. I didn’t know how to sing them any different! But they kept trying to get the concept of communicating the feeling and emotion of the song through my head and eventually I began to get it. Those guys helped and encouraged me a ton, I owe them a lot.

I’ve hardly scratched the surface, this is such a vital part of music. Without emotion, music is dead. If I had only one word to use in explaining this whole concept (and how to implement it) to a singer/musician, it would be “genuine.”

Make it real.

The Den of Iniquity25 Jul 2005 08:15 pm
WARNING: Reader discretion advised (crude, juvenile language).

As faithful constituents will recall, I am employed in a den of iniquity. The RV industry has been in the tank the last while, and in early June or somewheres around there we were notified that our plant was shutting down.

Coachmen consolidated 3 plants down to 2, so the vast majority of our work force was split between two other plants. I was moved to Plant 900, about 5 miles north of Middlebury. Their productivity was pretty bad, so they moved a bunch of us there and now are ramping up our production schedule.

So I have a new plant manager. This guy is a joker, he can’t go very long without tossing out a wisecrack. I went in to talk to him (before I moved there) about some extra time off for the wedding.

“You’re getting married !!” Head in his hands, moan. “You fool! No, seriously, congratulations. But then you have kids! See these pictures (he shows me a picture of two little girls), now they’re 16 and 17! I liked them a lot better when they were little!! No, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

Then when I came back to work I ran into him on the floor and he asked how everything went and how we were. I told him just great! He says, “You still like each other?” I said oh yeah. He replied “Yeah well I’ll ask you again in twenty years!”

A day or two later he walked by me and said “What’s up you old married fart.”

Music25 Jul 2005 05:19 pm

So, the new Tapestry website is up. I don’t know, I think they have too many tenors. I’m sure this group will have a tough time matching the ’03 Tapestry choir. Especially the bass section. Two key basses won’t be back for this go-round, unfortunately.

My wife and I would like to go hear them in Hartville, but that’s quite a drive. We’ll see.

Personal23 Jul 2005 10:52 pm

Yes, iowa, we did. I personally feel that is kind of a goofy tradition though. But I’m not a stick-in-the-mud, most of the time anyway!

Philosophy23 Jul 2005 10:42 pm

Cell phone stuff really gets me irritated. I’m all for raging capitalism, but the cell phone companies are flirting with outright bamboozlement.

Take Verizon, for instance. They’re probably the leading cell service provider, but in my opinion they’re way overrated. They have the best coverage, other than that they are garbage.

I could go into graphic details and illustrations backing up my infallible argument, but I don’t feel like wasting any more time on the subject. But trust me I can back it up. Don’t believe me though, see if I care. I’m sure you already have a Verizon phone anyway.

I’ll be waiting for the T-Mobile wisecracks and “my Verizon cell is the greatest thing ever in the history of the world” rantings in the comments. But I mean it, if it was up to just me and I was starting from scratch I would seriously consider T-Mobile again.

Anyway, what brings all this on is today we went in to the Verizon store and got a new phone for my wife. She had an ancient brick that I had busted the antenna off of, and for 5 bucks more than a new antenna cost (with a renewed contract of course) we just got a decent new phone.

It seems really nice, it’s an LG VX 3200. Much better than the brick!

As an aside, ever since we got married, my wife’s cell phone has suddenly quit ringing. That thing used to be going off constantly, but now it sits peaceful and silent all day long. Interesting. She adds: Sigh!

I think that means you can call her again.

Personal22 Jul 2005 09:53 pm

It was good. And there is lots left. Come on over!

I wanted a fountain on there somewhere, and I got it. I also wanted goldfish in the fountain, but my Executive Director overruled that request!

Hoosierville&The Den of Iniquity20 Jul 2005 09:06 pm

It has been so hot here in Hoosierville. The last few weeks have been nearly unbearable. Not only raging temps but unbelievable humidity has abounded also.

Ag referred to the ITF wedding day being hot, and it was. Just imagine days on end of heat at least that intense, Ag! You probably want to keep your summer visits to Hoosierville short.

Work is insufferable. No airflow, no fans, just stifling heat. Today a co-worker had a bad leak near the end of his air hose. He didn’t fix it, he liked it there blowing on him. When I took my lunchtime nap today, I first went and got his air line and laid it so the leak was blowing on me. Relief.

We live in a basement, which stays pretty cool most of the time. Until this summer of course. We have fans going everywhere and it’s still miserable.

But today. . . .

Our landlady had the AC boys come and install air conditioning!! Oh yeah!

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