Saturday, March 29, 2008

That Begs the Question

I do not have particularly good grammar. Anyone who reads my wife’s blog can read about how my pre-school age daughter has corrected me on the correct use of “either” and “neither” (and their pronunciation). One thing that for no good reason irritates me is the use, particularly in the media, of the phrase, “that begs the question” to lead from a person’s statement to an obvious follow-up question. I think the reason it grates on me is that television interviewers are ostensibly out to broadcast the truth, and in some cases convince us of it. If that’s the case, they should speak correctly, I believe. Whether or not anyone but debate team members get up in arms about this improper use of a logical statement is up in the air, but I for one am ticked.

The correct usage is to describe an argument that utilizes the initial supposition to prove itself. For example:

Lawyers always lie.

That lawyer is speaking.

Therefore, he must be lying.

While in this simple illustration it’s easy to see that it is not the case, logically it seemingly proves the point without actually proving it. In a more complex argument, a good double-talker can seem to arrive at a point of proof, without actually satisfying the burden of evidence. At that point, some astute student of logic can step up and say, “That begs the question, you haven’t proven anything.”

So if you’re in the habit of using this phrase incorrectly, I hope I’ve helped to straighten you out. I hope you will also join me in shaking your fist, angry-mob-style, at the television when some manicured journalist uses the phrase incorrectly to lead to the next question in their smarmy, drawn out interview. </hate tv>

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Quote of the Day - Sam

Today I was at a high school getting ready for an event, and one of the kids came up with a CD for a dance routine. It didn't want to play, so she came back with an iPod and a set of speakers for it. She asked if we could make it work with what she was holding. My assistant Sam came back with, "Naw, just give us the iPod... we got speakers."

So subtle, yet so funny. Good on ya Sam.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ailments

I’ve come to realize just how much the medical community is staring at its navel. Most people can relate to a story about doctor after doctor doing a cursory examination and whipping out the prescription pad. The result of which is a course of medication that may or may not actually treat the ailment, and is likely to come with a host of side effects. Many sing the praises of nurse practitioners, who, because of the nature of their practices can take more time with each patient and delve deeper into the problem. The result is usually better treatment, but still a pharmaceutical with side effects.

To continue my story of our tree hugging type activities, I’m pondering the interconnectedness of all the parts of our beings. TV commercials for antidepressants have started to mention the fact that depression has actual physical side effects like lethargy and even physical pain. Our own family experience and those of our friends have shown that problems with relationships, while likely able to be solved by working on the relationship, are much more easily solved by working on our physical and emotional ailments.

For starters, a little perspective goes a long way. About a year ago my wife started seeing a shrink. I only mention this highly private and sensitive bit of information because she will be the first to tell you what a lovely and helpful experience it was and to recommend that anyone having trouble should do the same. I’ve seen the same guy, and so have many of our friends, the results are fantastic. One of the reasons is that our guy is a pastor and his counseling is firmly rooted in his faith. Every session starts and ends with prayer and he is clearly relying on the Holy Spirit to form his questions and interpret the answers. The result being that instead of paying some stuffed shirt to nod and grunt while you whine, you get a Biblical and spiritual perspective that is actually useful in improving your situation. If you’re hurting, I can’t suggest strongly enough that you seek help from a Christian-type counselor, even if you’re not in the faith yourself. In most cases you needn’t worry about the hard sell to get you “saved”, these people are truly motivated to help their fellow man, not just rack up billable hours. Whatever route you choose to take, please choose to talk to someone. While it may seem lame to groan about your problems to a stranger, as I mentioned in my post about a rope: better lame than dead (or on a less serious note, better lame than feeling lousy).

The other side of things is getting good treatment for your physical ailments. Here in the States, most of us have no idea of the suffering that is part of the normal human experience in much of the world, yet even here there are people who go through their entire lives never feeling good. Having sought all manner of modern medical and less traditional practitioners for our continuing issues, we finally stumbled upon Cross Current Health Care, a kinestesiology practice. I can’t find the link but I’ll post it later. It sounds like total witch-doctor stuff; they touch you on the knee and touch these little glass vials that have been resonated to particular frequencies. By feeling your body’s electrical reaction they can tell what’s wrong with you and make you a remedy made from water that’s been resonated to the same frequencies as the vials that are indicated. I would call it total hogwash, except that half the people on my street go there and feel better than they ever have. I feel the same way, and my infant son does as well, and there’s not a lot of evidence of the placebo effect in toddlers. They can treat anything from glandular disorders to allergies and even emotional afflictions. But I digress, that paragraph alone could easily turn into another long post. Just know that I’m pretty skeptical and I find these people to be pretty far out but also pretty effective.

The thing is, both of the treatments that I sought out gave me some fresh perspective to nail my afflictions. Feeling run down, unmotivated, depressed and worthless, I spoke to my shrink and he told me that in my situation of being nearly completely at the mercy of my schedule I needed to find some small elements of my life that I could maintain complete control over so I have an anchor. I did that and am now hardly fazed by the chaos any more. He also suggested that I watch my calorie and water intake (get enough throughout the day). Keeping my energy and fluids up went a long way to fighting off the blahs. Eight pints of water a day and a few healthy snacks get me through a lot of rough patches. Several months later I was back in the dumps. A trip to Cross Current told me that my thyroid was acting up and they gave me some drops for it (as well as for my cat allergies, a heart condition, some bacteria in my stomach and even some emotional stuff). I went in feeling totally used up and as soon as I took my first drops I felt better than I had in years. It turns out my cranky thyroid was dragging my emotions down and making it harder for me to stay hydrated which compounded the problem.

At any rate, I said all that to say this. It’s all tied together folks. The better you eat the better you feel. The more properly your body works, the better your emotional situation is. It even goes beyond that to the people you interact with. Every person I know who has had a spouse go in for counseling has reported an immediate improvement in their relationship, doubly so when they both go, together or separately. All the systems in your brain and body are linked in ways that are far more complex than modern science can penetrate. But there are plenty of non-traditional ways to get treatment for your problems and you should look into them… immediately. Even if you’re not feeling all that bad you should see about a little fix up. I never felt that bad, until one day I realized that while that was a pretty nice statement to make about my life, I NEVER FELT THAT GOOD EITHER! Now that I’m getting my issues effectively addressed, my relationships with those around me are improving, as I cause people less stress and so-forth. It’s not that hard, really.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Haiku

No ham this Easter
But the guests were not surprised
Hawaiian pizza

Happy Easter

This isn’t going to be the usual rumination on Easter that you see posted everywhere this time of year. Sitting through the services of the season and watching the moon get full put my mind on a different track this year…

I don’t know exactly how the celebration of Easter is placed every year other than that it has something to do with the phase of the moon. It must seem sort of odd to people looking in from outside the faith, we Christians have mostly become oblivious to it and just celebrate wholeheartedly. So while the preacher was going on about how 2000 years ago, Christ died, was buried and rose again, I was thinking about our somewhat flexible celebration habits and why they came to be the way they are.

The reason dates back to when Christianity was becoming the primary religion of the West. Without getting into all the details, some pope was trying to offset a pagan holiday with a Christian one, and that’s how you arrive at a modern holy week that’s synchronized to the lunar calendar. Christmas is the same way, there was a long standing pagan festival that took place for days on the winter solstice and so the celebration of the birth of our Lord was transposed to offset that as well. If you want to really remove any significance from the dates, take into account the fact that the calendar we use has been updated a couple times since the practice began.

To be brief, like all things, it’s less about appearances than it is about the substance. Historians can come pretty close to pinpointing both the birth and death of Christ, but what really matters is the significance of those events, not the chronology. So, after thinking about it for a while, I put my planner back in my pocket and focused instead on the joy of the season.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quote of the Day - Dew

My wife made a dessert that involved pouring Mountain Dew over the whole concoction and throwing it in the oven to marinate. Apparently, my middle son Jack was helping out and got a tiny glass of Dew for his troubles. I walked in the door from work to find my son chugging his sweet, yellow goodness and immediately thought of a line from the "Curious George" movie:

You gave a monkey Mountain Dew?!? (Adapted)

Which Jack repeated on his own at length, much to the amusent of all present.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Meditation

Every moment of my life is vibrating with activity. Even in instances where I stand in one spot for a while and seem not to be doing much of anything, it’s a given that there are multiple processes going on in my mind and numerous things I’m paying attention to. I’ve always been in awe of people who are totally about their business. I have a lot of respect for people who have every detail of their lives in order. Anymore, those people seem to only exist on television. High power characters that multitask and weave all the details of their lives and work together without dropping a stitch are fun to watch, but I expect that their proficiency is pure fiction. I know some people who are very involved, and very very, good at what they do, but all of them forget things and make mistakes.

I’ve read about those who forsake the world to concentrate on study and meditation and the idea of clearing the board to focus my mind on one thing is pretty appealing. At the moment, the closest I ever come is when sometimes late at night, I sit alone at my kitchen table and read in the silence. But, if I pay attention, a dripping faucet, the compressor in the refrigerator, the furnace, and so on, break the silence. If I concentrate with all my years of sound-guy training I begin to locate ever-smaller sounds around me, which I suppose is a form of mediation in a way.

The idea of sitting in a cell, untying a silk knot in my head for five hours like a Tibetan monk or resting in prayer on a hill like Saint Patrick is becoming ever more appealing to me. Forget enlightenment, I’d just like to sit still and be quiet. The ever more hectic schedule of my life looms up like a scolding study hall teacher though, and seems to remind me that any moment sitting still is a moment that I could be working, or cleaning, or paying attention to my children. I’m at least comforted by the fact that though I seldom pause from my frenetic life, my time is filled with things that are for the most part worthwhile. I earn my bread, I wash the dishes, I fix things that are broken, I love my babies, and even when I sit like a zombie on the couch, I’m investing in my relationship with my equally taxed and harried wife.

Now that I’ve looked at it, some measure off contemplation seems possible. If dropping everything to just sit and think becomes a task with some value attached to it, I should have no problem working it in to the schedule. It’s kind of encouraging, because I’ve been told over and over that devoting some time each day to God is one of the most important elements of ones faith. Most Christian self-help books, and even most Christians I speak with suggest rising early to read and pray. My problem has always been that I hardly ever rise at the same time each day, and usually have to sprint to engage my first task. The end of the day is equally amorphous. Rising anywhere from 3 am to 9 am and finally finding my bed anywhere from 11 pm to 6 am makes it difficult to develop any sort of regimen. But, with the Bible on my Palm Pilot and an a attention paid to locate empty moments, I’m hoping I can develop a devotional life in the spare, unclaimed minutes of my life.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tree Huggers

Well, my wife and I turned out to be tree huggers. I never thought of myself as a hippie or anything along those lines. I don’t own any clothing made from hemp, I don’t douse myself with patchouli oil and burn incense, and my day is quite complete without the slightest trace of the Sweet Cheeb. And yet, I find my family engaged in all sorts of environmentally friendly and health conscious activities that are often associated with that crowd (no offence dudes) and I’m out to bring a little respectability and perspective to it now.

Here’s a somewhat complete list of all the tree hugging we do. We:
  • Recycle nearly all paper, plastic and metal
  • Bake our own bread
  • Use cloth diapers (and it’s not that bad)
  • Buy vegetables that are nearly all organically grown
  • Can and freeze veggies and make jam all summer
  • Buy organic meat, half an animal at a time
  • Buy organic eggs from local farmers
  • Have all energy star appliances
  • Have nearly all compact fluorescent lighting
  • My wife knits a significant portion of our children’s outerwear.
  • Only drink Fair Trade coffee (and its fine stuff too)
  • Watch hardly any TV at all
  • Immerse our children in the public library weekly
  • Exchange massive amounts of children’s supplies with other families

And that’s just the stuff I could think of without pausing.

Let me say that in no way are we on our high horses here. We do most of this stuff because it’s cheaper. Not let me list some of the additional benefits:

  • We contribute less to the mountain of refuse in the landfill.
  • Most of the food we eat is free from pesticides, herbicides, hormones, additives, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup (take a look at those labels kids, it’s in everything)
  • Our kids don’t get diaper rash as much and again, the landfill thing
  • Our energy usage habits contribute less to CO2 and smog
  • The people that grow our coffee get paid enough money to actually live on
  • We’re beyond the reach of media hype, we read the news we care about and move on
  • And a lot of our friends are involved in the same activities, we foster community

We didn’t arrive where we are over night. If I were looking at this list five years ago I would have been overwhelmed. We just changed our lives a little at a time, again mostly because we’re cheap, and wound up operating in a fashion that actually seems to make a difference.

I know I feel better about the food we buy and I definitely enjoy eating it. I like that it supports local farmers instead of wasting tons of fuel to truck it in from across the country. I love the way my kids look in clothes my wife made for them. I love having a conversation with my wife at night instead of sitting next to a zombie in front of the tube. I love swapping recipes and baby clothes with our friends. That last one reminds me of something: beer. One of our friends that hugs trees with us makes his own beer and that’s an activity I can really get behind.

Change your life a little. Bake a loaf of bread, knit a sock, get one of those springy light bulbs and screw it in above your table, turn the TV off for an hour. Not only do I bet you’ll like it, but that you’ll keep looking for more ways to change.

(Double dog dare ya!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cuppa Joe

(Correction follows re: link to the website of the coffee we drink.)

I see that attendance is up, which gave me a big grin. My wife’s blog is gaining momentum, which is not surprising because she’s a much better writer than I am. I hope that all you visitors are compiling your list of 100 random things about yourselves to send in.

I’m pretty beat today, long day on a roof. I did want to take just a moment to sing the praises of French press coffee though. In a brief moment of rest at work today, one of the guys was complaining about the price increase in his daily cup of coffee from whatever gas station he frequents in the morning. Over the course of the discussion I was thinking the entire time about how glad I am that my wife got a press for Christmas and that we’re churning out beautiful, thick, mud with it and that I no longer have any interest whatsoever in the bean tea that most places call coffee.

Instead of swilling that watery stuff all day in an effort to get my head running at full speed, it only takes about half of my travel mug to get things started, and then I polish off the rest for sheer enjoyment. The other nice thing is that the coffee we buy is through a Fair Trade program that removes several middle men from the process and actually pays the poor guys that grow the stuff a decent (reads: enough to actually live on) price for it. We saw a documentary on PBS one night about how these farmers get just a few pennies a pound for their beans, and by the time that same pound crosses the counter at Fourbucks it has netted them over US$200. Even with paying the farmers well, our stuff is comparably priced with the gourmet beans from the store or coffee shop. We get ours from a local church that participates, you can find locations at the Global Exchange site.

And did I mention how good the stuff is?! Most stuff you get at the store is so bitter when you brew it strong because it either takes forever to get it over here, or it’s just plain over-roasted. I can brew a mug up that hardly a single photon can find its way through and it’s just as smooth and nice as can be. If you want to feel like you’re changing the world without going through too much hardship, I highly recommend looking into Fair Trade coffee.

Correction: The website of the folks we get our coffee from is actually Equal Exchange. Not that there's anything wrong with the Golobal Exchange stuff it's just not what we get.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

100 Random Things About Me (Contest)

My wife was interested in finding out about the people who read her blog, The Dayton Time. She posted 100 random things about herself and invited all her readers to send her their 100. She offered a loaf of fresh bread baked by herself to the best one. Here’s my 100, send me yours in an e-mail, say weather or not you want me to post it to the blog and I’ll let you know if you win.

Here’s my 100 things, in no particular order:

1. My business is powered by Mountain Dew (Vitamin M) It’s like liquid hit points. If you drink enough you get to level up and go into consulting.
2. I don’t like beer but I love Guinness. Vitimin G.
3. My three favorite people in the world are my wife, my father and my grandfather, God rest him.
4. I love radios, ham, CB, walkie-talkies, you name it.
5. I love mixing rock shows.
6. Most things are hard for me to concentrate on, but mixing is as easy as breathing.
7. I have had ringing in my ears my entire life.
8. My children are the most charming and lovely in the world. I’m enchanted by them.
9. Other people’s children often annoy me, with some acceptions.
10. I like to read Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum books.
11. I think the Lord of the Rings trilogy is the finest cinematic experience, bar none.
12. When I’m driving I spot antennas like hunters find deer.
13. I talk to myself continuously when driving alone, slightly less when there are other people in the car.
14. I have a list of funny things George Parrish said at coffee break on my Palm Pilot
15. The weirdest show I ever mixed featured a Korean language death metal band followed by the Elm City Banjo Society.
16. I like to play guitar, but all the songs I want to play only sound good if a whole band plays them.
17. I’m amazed at my accomplishments because I don’t think I have what it takes.
18. I like that people are surprised that I don’t freak out in intense situations.
19. When something happens suddenly at work I like to say, “Wow, that was exciting” in a dead-pan voice.
20. Chip Grinnell revealed a great mystery of my life when he said, “You’re just like me… you’re scared of everything but you do it anyway.”
21. I’m terrified of black people but fascinated by black culture.
22. I’m totally frustrated by the way most promoters run their shows and usually totally unwilling to help them out.
23. My favorite local bands are Joey Vicious, Down To Earth Approach and Last Conservative (all defunct).
24. I love heavy metal but I hate Metallica.
25. People think I’m shifty because I don’t make eye contact, but I’m really just reading lips because my tinnitus (ringing in the ears) makes it hard for me to pull speech out of background noise.
26. I do all the things I hate most in other people.
27. I’m working on that.
28. Good music, of any sort, gives me goose bumps.
29. I almost never listen to recorded music.
30. I want to spend my vacations at home.
31. I don’t think of myself as a grownup and I don’t ever plan to.
32. I’m in awe of my wife.
33. I don’t know where my diplomas are.
34. I change my own oil.
35. My favorite car is a ’69 Plymouth Road Runner Super Bird 440, in Plum Crazy.
36. Breaking up with girlfriends sucked, but it was only because they turned out not to be my wife.
37. I’m so glad I’m married.
38. I’m SO glad I’m married.
39. I love nicknames.
40. I can speak two languages I made up with my friends. (Held funkin yesolds!)
41. I can tell when my cell phone sends out a blip to the tower, my hip tingles.
42. – is the answer to the ultimate question.
43. I love people who have been old for my entire life.
44. I love to cuss but only for fun, I try to say something silly when I’m mad.
45. I waited seventeen years to use a line I heard in highschool.
46. Whoever my best friend is becomes my partner in a comedy duo.
47. I would rather have dental work done than do paperwork.
48. Numbers are words to me.
49. I bought my retirement home when I was 24.
50. I will never retire.
51. I live in the house my father grew up in. Daytons have lived here for seventy years.
52. My cats know how to change size.
53. The taught my children how to do it.
54. I wrote my first computer program in 1985 on an Apple II+.
55. I can’t decide if saying things like, “I’ve been doing this since before you were born” is fun or depressing.
56. I have no idea what my favorite food is, but I’m pretty sure it’s something my wife makes.
57. I believe that it’s a crime to deny the current generation the opportunity to watch Looney Tunes at 11 am on Saturday.
58. I love steak, but only as a vehicle for A-1. I know this is wrong and don’t care.
59. The list of music I hate is much shorter than the list of music I love. Kenny G, Stephen Sondheim and Latin music, that’s it. Everything else is tolerable.
60. I don’t smoke pot because I already feel slow and hungry.
61. Trying to shop quickly in a four acre store that’s packed with waddling fat people makes me madder than anything else.
62. I read the Lord of the Rings and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogies at least once every three years.
63. I have a long list of windows I want to see the view from that I slowly check off in my head.
64. I wanted to be a squirrel when I was little, I still do sometimes.
65. My earliest memory is of my dad giving me cold medicine in my crib in the middle of the night.
66. People tell me I have a voice for radio.
67. I tell them it’s just phrasing and breath support.
68. I have a hunch that if we keep finding ways to be cheap we can actually stay ahead of inflation.
69. “Dude”
70. I love the smell of cow shit in the spring time.
71. I have peace that passes all understanding.
72. For no good reason I’m superstitious about telling people my middle name.
73. At a show, I would rather loan you my spare console than my Sharpie.
74. I think people who say they can fix anything with duct tape should invest in a roll of gaffer’s tape and move out of the dark ages.
75. I have been a best man three times. HAT-TRICK!!!
76. I’m a lightweight but I can hold my liquor.
77. I have big shoes to fill.
78. When I’m fitting actors with wireless mics I have to suppress an overwhelming urge to smack them on the back of the neck when I’m done.
79. The scar on my right eyebrow is from a farm accident, but if I tell people it’s from a knife fight they usually believe me.
80. I only watch sports during the Olympics.
81. I still have a pair of socks that were given to me on my seventh birthday, unworn.
82. I married a cheerleader.
83. She’s likely smarter than you.
84. If you don’t have anything nice to say… come sit next to us!
85. I once spent the night in a Denny’s.
86. I love it when my kids run to hug me when I get home from work, but I can’t wait till they get a little taller.
87. I believe that there is no room that cannot be made to look worse with the application of cheap paneling.
88. My favorite number is the square root of the reciprocal of negative infinity.
89. My internal monologue is music, and they house band is way in the pocket.
90. My motto is, “I’ve been getting ready for this my entire life.”
91. I’m a townie.
92. I used to have an attitude problem, but I told it to piss off!
93. I have ridden my bike around Lake Ontario.
94. I have a friend who can statistically prove that he’s immortal. Out of all the days he’s been alive he hasn’t been dead once. I like his odds.
95. I’d rather be driving my Soundcraft.
96. I would drink maple syrup if I were allowed to.
97. Sometimes I just have a little nip.
98. I haven’t paid to go to a concert in almost ten years.
99. Sometimes I stand in my kitchen closet because it’s warm and quiet in there.
100. I hate SUVs but only because I think they’re ugly.

Quote of the Day - Yellow Sign Guy

OK, so lately it's been a lot of stuff my kids have said. But they've really been on their game with the material, so here's the latest. In response to the used car commercials on Saturday morning, my wife told the short people to never buy a car from guys waving yellow signs. This morning one of those guys showed up on the screen with his chartreuse poster board and I asked the kids, "What do we always say?"

Jack responded by shouting, "No I buy car from you Yellow Sign Guy!" and repeated, "No more yellow sign guy for me!" until the ad was over.

Just goes to show you that you that it's never too early to instill good economic practices in the little ones.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Quote of the Day - Don't Get Fired


Mommy: HEY! Do NOT lick food off the table!!! The army of Israel got fired for that!

(Check back later when I have time to look up the biblical reference, meanwhile, just watch "Gideon - Tuba Warrior" in the Veggie Tales series.)


Update:
Here's the scripture reference that my wife had in mind when she delivered this little gem. Judges 7:4-7


4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." 6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
7 The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

They Weren’t Kidding

Some time when I was in college I read that people of my generation (I’m 31) would change careers an average of five times over the course of their lives. (Not jobs, careers!) I’ve already been through three, having earned my bread in web and multimedia design, carpentry, and music production. Now it’s time for yet another switch, although this time it’s back to construction, so I don’t know if that’s actually a career change exactly. I guess I’ll have to change my web site to indicate that I’m now a carpenter who fills in with gigs again.

Things have been pretty slow lately for a career sound guy who fills in with construction work in between gigs. So slow that I finally had to go looking for work, a regular “job” type job. Ugh. Fortunately it’s with a pretty good crew, not too taxing on the brain, and above all, I don’t have to do paperwork before, during, and after work.

So, despite the much-needed boost to the family economic situation I find that I’m already missing the days when I mixed all the time. Not so much the work of it, because it’s all work and it’s all heavy and I’m always sweaty, I’m just changing the way I get tired. I read a post on MySpace from my sidekick of four years saying he missed doing shows together. I didn’t get all choked up or anything, but it was kind of a downer to realize that there’s a whole circle of friends that I’ll be seeing a lot less of now. In a way it was already happening. The local music scene has its ups and downs, band members age out and go to college, venues open and close. The scene in my area has been in steady decline for a long time for all those reasons and appears to have finally beached itself on the ever so rocky bottom.

I guess you can’t have it all. I’m really lucky to have had the career I’ve had in sound. It’s been a great ride and I’ve been to some great places. Don’t take this to mean I’m hanging up the cans (headphones for you non-sound types) or anything, the calendar still has gigs on it. But the days when I could do two or three gigs a week and live comfortably are gone and having a good place in a good company doesn’t quite make up for that. Of course with things changing at the rate they are these days, I could easily find myself hanging up the tool belt in a couple years to go on tour or something. There… that made up for the last 2% that I was lacking.

Whew… blogging saves the day, my shrink misses out this time.

P.S. To Ruben: You don’t call, you don’t text, all I get is a lousy comment on MySpace?!? You cut me deep man…

Quote of the Day - Knife

Jack: Mommy I stick a knife in your but!

Mommy: WHAT!? Knives do NOT go in peoples' buts! And why do you have a knife??!?

Fortunately it was a kids safety knife with no sharp edges or points... but still.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sound-People in Training

My daughter asked me last night if she could help me with the microphones at church. Two other short people had already volunteered and she was crushed until she was told she could do it next week. Today after his nap, my son woke up and started running around saying he needed to find some "hear-phones". I'll have to fill him in that big sound guys call them "cans". The baby goes nuts over the radio, any kind, AM, FM, CD, CB. He flaps his arms and smacks his ears until we put music on, then he flaps some more out of sheer gratitude. Looks like it's in the blood...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What A Hassle

I don’t know how to describe our dinner tonight. I think I may have just thrown a dinner party for my middle son Jack. My wife cooked up a big pot of soup this morning and asked me over a steaming bowlful at lunch if I would like to have anyone over for dinner to enjoy the rest. After a moment’s consideration I picked out a friend who had invited me for a drink last week but that I failed to connect with. A few text messages later and it was all set up.

My friend John arrived just as the steak was going on and he passed a few minutes exchanging small talk with both myself and the short people. Once we sat down to the table though, Jack really took to him. Fortunately he didn’t pull his usual trick of disrobing for the company, instead he politely excused himself to John at least twice a minute to tell him every little thing he could think of.

The thing that really got him, Jack that is, was the hassling. We have a long tradition of intense rough housing after dinner at my house, which we call by the name of “A Good Hassle”. A good hassle is bi-directional and usually ends up in a dog pile with those involved trying not to pee their pants. John got things started while still at the table by offering Jack a thumbs-up. When he took the bait and grabbed the offered thumb, John switched it for his index finger and launched it into Jack’s belly like a missile. It could have gone on for hours.

We sent the kids out to play while we got dessert ready. We thought we’d finally be able to have some grownup conversation, but my little man couldn’t tear himself away from John for more than a minute and brought him all manner of wonders from the toy room before settling on getting out all the pan lids to bang on and wear on his head. The baby followed suit, clever little fella that he is.

It was a forgone conclusion that A Good Hassle was what was required to top off the night. My daughter Olivia returned from a visit with Grandma and Grandpa just in time to take part. It went on for a solid twenty minutes with slight pauses for tears when the tickling got too intense. When John at last extricated himself and started putting his coat on, the shorties formed a barricade at the front door. It took some fancy footwork and a clever diversion, but he finally made it out. Jack immediately started petitioning for him to visit again and Olivia ran straight to the computer to send him an e-mail.

So, to sum up: the tall people got to take on a large helping of fine vittles, but the much hoped-for civilized conversation never materialized. Instead, Jack has a new idol, which is pretty neat. I recall my own childhood encounters with my parents’ friends, being enamored with their style and won over by the not-Mom-and-Dad way they engaged me. It was a pleasant experience to catch on that things had come full circle while it was happening in front of me.