January 2006

Personal16 Jan 2006 03:38 pm

I forgot to post this.

A few weeks ago I went to the dentist. I was feeling fairly decent (2 Valium and 2 Halcion, still not enough), at least until I sat down in the chair. No matter how woozy I am, as soon as I sit down in that abominable chair I’m wide awake. Completely alert for all the shots.

Eventually I must have drifted off, because I came to hearing the assistant say “Open. Open. Open!” with increasing firmness. I thought, what in the world, and forced my gaping orifice ever wider.

When they were done I asked her, what was that all about?

She replied matter-of-factly, “Oh, you bit me.”

Ha ha ha!! Oops!

I told her I was sorry.

The Den of Iniquity15 Jan 2006 10:04 pm

On Friday in the Den I witnessed an incredible display of childishness between two co-workers. You just couldn’t help but laugh. It was really more sad than funny I suppose, but I guess I didn’t have the spiritual fortitude to resist laughing.

Two guys were fighting over an air hose, literally yanking on it in a tug-o’-war! Yelling at each other and the whole bit. My goodness.

And that’s not the first time I’ve witnessed this immature behavior. In my early days at the Den of Iniquity, two guys both got a hold of a staple gun and yank yank yank back and forth. Cuss each other out.

Sometimes the place feels like a day care center!

Personal&The Den of Iniquity14 Jan 2006 11:46 am

You’ll remember the last time I posted about getting a new screwgun and all the debate that stirred up. Here are the latest developments on the new slightly redesigned Crashman 19.2 volt screwgun.

A few days ago the trigger started to malfunction. It somehow developed a dead spot in the variable speed, I kept using it of course but it slowly got worse. Then yesterday it suddenly started to massively malfunction, full speed disappeared. It was unuseable.

This made me quite unhappy as now I had to make a 30-minute one-way trip to get a new one. Bother. So I went last night and got it exchanged. What a wasted evening.

So my lofty hopes were dashed, Crashman simply redesigned a few exterior things and left the long-time chronic problems to fester and plague us. Piece of junk. I wish I didn’t like it so well when it works, it’s unbeatable then. I just can’t bring myself to go to another one, especially not a garbage Default. Besides I guess I’m still in the warranty and getting free new ones, so it’s not like it’s costing me money.

Say TS, how’s that Hitachi working out?

Music13 Jan 2006 05:40 pm

My recent concert post gathered me a surprising amount of private feedback. I’m wondering a little why it wasn’t done publicly, but that’s fine. Most of it was positive, but I was taken to task a little for my less-than-glowing evaluation of Marshy Hall. As I told them, a critique is just one person’s opinion. And that was wonderful if his tragic-sounding voice worked for them, but it sure didn’t for me.

I was thinking later after I wrote the post, tragic, that’s what he conveys. It’s like he’s always singing about something tragic. Which would be fine if he actually was, but a steady onslaught of undeserved vocal tragicness is rather wearying.

Tech11 Jan 2006 10:35 pm

A few months ago, I was given quite the rude awakening. I had many gigabytes of valuable data backed up to DVD+RW discs, and suddenly I was brought to the crushing realization that it was all corrupt and inaccessible.

Needless to say, this did not make me happy.

When AHQ recorded Purpose, I backed up every bit of studio data onto DVD+RW discs with my HP 300i DVD burner. I think I had 35-40 GB of material total. A year or two later I had occasion to use some of that data, and I discovered that it had seemingly disappeared!

I frantically started looking for some type of recovery software, but I didn’t expect much. I tried some $40+ outfit but it didn’t do diddly-squat (they refunded my money, so that was good). Then I tried IsoBuster. It was only $26, but the important thing is that it completely recovered all my data!

Needless to say, I was a happy camper.

Wow, I was impressed. It worked slick and effortlessly managed to manufacture all my lost data out of thin air. And it saved my bacon.

Now I’m torn between not trusting DVD’s and thinking, but I can always recover them with IsoBuster!

Music10 Jan 2006 12:02 am

Last November my wife and I went to South Bend and heard the Gaither Vocal Band and Signature Sound in concert. These two quartets are among the biggest groups in southern gospel today, and I’d been wanting to catch them both for quite some time.

It was at the 2500-seat Morris Center, and the concert was completely sold out weeks in advance. I think they usually play much larger venues.

I think the first concert I ever went to was GVB about fifteen or so years ago. Wow. I followed them quite closely in the past 5-10 years, they have churned out an incredible amount of fantastic music. In the past couple years or so, they’ve had two more personnel changes. I hadn’t heard either of the new boys so I was looking forward to that.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is a relatively new group that has really been taking off recently. I’d been wanting to hear them for awhile now. Ernie of course was the last tenor the Cathedral Quartet had, he sang with them maybe 10 or 11 years. After that he went solo for a while, then started this quartet.

Even though I got our tickets weeks and weeks ahead of time, there was hardly anything left and the only seats available were in the back. WAY in the back! Approximately one mile from the stage. So I couldn’t take very good pictures, but it was ok.

Sig Sound was up first, and they were pretty hot. They’re are run-and-gun, snappy, very energetic group, they leave it all on the stage. I was impressed with how tight and solid they stayed. Southern gospel is kind of known for taking a lot of “artistic license” regarding cohesiveness and often going for a loosey-goosey free-for-all (albeit exciting) kind of sound, but they kept it pretty well under control. Very nice. I was especially impressed with baritone boy, what a great voice! And I loved how he used it.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so taken with tall and skinny lead dude. Very straight and somewhat lackluster delivery, he just wasn’t making it come alive. It was ok in his harmony stuff, but give him a solo and it fell a little flat.

Or maybe I am just jealous of his vocal range and body type.

Ernie’s great, of course, and Tim Duncan the bassmeister hits like a ton of bricks. He’s good.

Then the Gaither Vocal Band was on. Guy walks out on stage and lights the place up, he was easily the crowd favorite of the night before he had uttered a sound.

And for good reason. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone pour their soul into a lyric like he does. I was kind of surprised at how many old songs they did (old as in their own songs they’ve done in the past 10 or so years). I was kind of hoping for more new material, but it was fine.

I was especially interested in the new guys. I’m always very skeptical when I group I really like loses a member and gets some unknown to fill his spot. And here were two of them.

Marshall Hall is the new baritone dude. I was fairly optimistic about this guy, but my expectations weren’t quite fulfilled. It was like he sang everything through a clenched jaw and with a tormented soul. Way too much slightly-raspy sad-croaking, not a very smooth sound. Maybe I’m all wet, but it just didn’t work for me.

Wes Hampton is the new tenor boy. Now I’m especially wary about new tenors, it takes me quite a while to warm up to a tenor! Even when David Phelps first joined them I was fairly cautious and wary. He of course went on to become the greatest GVB tenor of all time. But Wes, I don’t know, I think it’s going to take awhile. He was ok, don’t get me wrong. Nice voice but a little uninspired, pretty weak stage presence. Maybe he just needs to get in the groove, I can cut him some slack. But we’re definitely down a few notches in these vocal parts.

Then of course for the last segment they all came out together and collaborated on a few songs.

So after the concert there’s always long lines to meet the group members. Guy is hugely popular of course, he has the biggest line and everyone wants their picture with him.

Now it didn’t take me long to make Jewel a GVB fan after we started dating. And really, that would happen with almost anyone who has an open mind to a great quartet. But anyway, that background to foreshadow who else wanted a picture with Guy Penrod!

So we waited and waited and got our picture.

If you look closely, you can see her hidden somewhere behind the hair!

I’d like to talk about one of my all-time favorite lead singers for a little bit. He’s obviously controversial in conservative evangelical circles (his hair of course. The oft-asked question why? What it boils down to is that his wife likes it.), but there is an undeniably gracious and humble spirit about him. Very friendly and big-hearted, not just anybody could put up with hordes of autograph hounds and picture-seekers on a regular basis like he does.

And the dude can sing like there’s no tomorrow. Sometimes sweet, sometimes edgy, sometimes a little raw, but always completely genuine and giving 110%. I wish I could generate a fraction of the pathos with which he routinely saturates every line he sings. Top it off with a dynamite voice and a wide range that just blindsides you, it comes to quite a package.

One time I was in the Christian bookstore and a man came in and asked for the new GVB recording. Since the bulk of the music the average store carries is CCM (gag), it wasn’t surprising that they didn’t have it. Well, I wasn’t surprised anyway. But this guy was almost incensed! Not really, he didn’t get un-Christian about it, but he was worked up! He told the clerk, haven’t you heard Guy Penrod When that man sings it’s like the archangel Gabriel cutting loose on his trumpet!!! The heavens split wide open!!! Etc., etc.

Amen brother!

Family07 Jan 2006 06:47 pm

My wife loves to collect coupons. She snips and cuts and nips and tucks and collects piles of them. Recently she morosely said, “I had to throw out a whole bunch of coupons, they were expired.” It made her very sad.

Her favorite ones are fast food coupons. She loves them! She accumulates them with a fervent passion. She’ll guard pizza and hamburger coupons with her life.

McDonalds is her favorite restaurant in the whole wide world. If I want to make her very happy I can just say, “Let’s go to McDonald’s!!”

The other night I said to her, you’re a nurse, you loved your nutrition class, I just don’t understand how you can like fast food so much!

She replied with her trademark room-brightening mile-wide beaming grin and said, “It’s my weakness, honey!!”

AHQ&Audio&Family&ITF Business06 Jan 2006 08:26 pm

After quite the recess! Too long, yes, the masses agree. I apologize, but alas, it just didn’t happen. Not for lack of material though, I assure you!

We had a wonderful time in Utopia from Christmas to New Year’s. All my in-laws came along too, they got a good dose of Utopia’s alternative to snow! It rained and rained and even flooded a little bit. I hadn’t drove over a water-overflowed road in quite some time, it felt good again. My in-laws were always making astonished comments like “It’s raining again! It’s still raining! The sun was shining a minute ago and now it’s raining again!! Does it ALWAYS rain here?!!!” Ha ha!

Mom threw a wedding reception for us Monday night, that was fun. Another day we went to the coast, and we also ate at my favorite Chinese restaurant that I have missed very much, Ping’s! (So far I haven’t found any decent non-buffet Chinese restaurants here in Hoosierville.) Visited my farm and warehouse, played a lot of games, got together with AHQ, opened some presents, had a lot of family time. A very good trip.

Oh yeah, and AHQ even gave somewhat of a program. We were impromptuitously asked on Friday if we wanted to have the sermon time Sunday morning, so we took it. I didn’t know if we could remember anything, but we did.

I was scrambling though! I have a propensity for forgetting words anyway, so there were some especially uncertain moments. I got all mixed up on the first verse of “Strong” (1.2MB) and used a phrase or two from the second verse in it. Hopefully no one noticed. When I sang the second verse and got to the phrase I had used in the first, I just made sure I wasn’t making eye contact with anyone. I felt foolish! But all in all it went well.

And now I’m back in the Den of Iniquity. How’s that for an inspiring thought.

So anyway, ITF is back. And Mark, you’re right, I’m not doing my part in helping you break the MD habit. I apologize, and I appreciate the offer for computer use. Same to you if you ever find yourself in Hoosierville!

And I’ll see what I can do about providing you a healthy alternative to help break those MD bonds.

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