Can you hear me now?

•January 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

I sat here poised to write a new blog posting and was headed decidedly down a path but had to stop.  I’ll save it for another day.  Or not.  That’s one thing I’ve noticed in having a blog.  I’ve started many that for whatever reason don’t actually make it to the published stage.  It may because they are incomplete thoughts, still needing time to ponder or flesh out.  Or it may be because they just weren’t that good to begin with.  But sometimes in the middle of writing a new posting, a flash of inspiration hits that requires the abandonment of previous train of thought and allows for the pouring out of words in a more natural and purposeful manner.

Yeah.  No such luck this time.

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1995

•November 29, 2008 • 5 Comments

Last night, I bought the new Guns N Roses cd “Chinese Democracy”.  Thanks to iTunes, I haven’t bought a new cd in quite awhile, choosing instead to download particular tracks that catch my ear.  But I wanted to go old-school and actually purchase this cd.  I wanted to sit in the floor, listening to the new cd, while reading the liner notes, letting the music wash over me and take in all the nuances, just like I use to in my younger days. But more than the process of taking in new music for the first time, I was struck by something unexpected.  If you don’t know, this cd has been 13 years in the making.  13 years.  That means the process for creating this yet-to-be-decided masterpiece began in 1995. So while I was listening to this new music, I began a mental trip back in time, remembering just exactly what was going on in my life and how much has changed since 1995.

For a point of reference, In 1995-

  • Forrest Gump won “Best Picture”
  • “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow won “Record of the Year”
  • Windows 95 was released
  • DNA was decoded
  • Gas was $1.10 a gallon
  • OJ Simpson was found “not guilty”

On a personal level, In 1995-

  • Andi and I got married.  We were living in a 600 sq ft apartment in Richardson, Tx.  Andi and I were both going to school full-time while working full-time with very little money between us.
  • I was an assistant payroll manager at Todays Staffing.  I was 3 years into a 16 year career at that company.
  • There was no Carson, no Calleigh, no Sammy (our golden retriever)
  • I was not playing guitar at all.  I had basically quit altogether.

I guess my point is, that Andi and I had no idea how our lives would change over the next 13 years, both personally and on the world-scale.  It’s absolutely amazing to me where we are right now.  It’s hard for me to fathom that as I write this, I am living in Southern California, working at a church.  How exactly did that happen?  It’s almost inconceivable to me that I am the father of two beautiful kids who are growing faster than I thought possible.  There was no way for me to understand the love and admiration that I felt for Andi in 1995 would grow at such an exponential rate.

13 years.  In 13 more years, I will be 53.  Carson will be 21.  Calleigh will be 18.  Much like in 1995, I have zero idea of what life will be like in 13 years. It’s almost an exercise in futility to even try to figure it out. The world is changing so much and is in such turmoil presently, it’s scary to even think about it.  But I do know that if the blessings and life-changes that  have occurred in my life over the last 13 years are any indication, when I sit and examine my life in the year 2021, it will be an amazing process.

All of this introspection from the new Guns N Roses cd.  Hope it doesn’t suck.

Are you a Rock N Rolla?

•October 21, 2008 • 3 Comments

 I went to the 10:35 pm showing at the Arc Light in Sherman Oaks last night to see “Rock N Rolla”, a Guy Ritchie film that is in early release here in LA.  VERY cool movie.  It’s a movie about a stolen painting.  Sort of.  It’s hard to explain really.  Kind of “Reservior Dogs” meets “The Benny Hill Show”…..no…that’s not it.  More like “Pulp Fiction” meets “Austin Powers”….no…that’s not right either.  Maybe you should just go see it.  

However, on the way to the theater, I had my second brush with greatness since I’ve been to LA.  I think it actually counts as my second and third brush, technically speaking.  You be the judge.  As I’m walking to the theater to purchase my ticket, I see two familiar faces.  The first that I recognized hails from my previous hometown of Rockwall. The second…I’m not exactly sure where he hails from.  But one thing I do know.  American Idol was well represented in the immediate area.  Jason Castro and David Archeletta walked right by me.  Pretty sure they didn’t recognize me.

One other thing- I did leave the theater talking in a British accent.  Blimey.

If it’s too loud, you’re too old

•October 4, 2008 • 6 Comments

I’ve always liked that saying.  If you’ve known me for any length of time then you’ve probably heard me reference it on occasion.  When I was in highschool I owned a tattered black t-shirt that I proudly wore, proclaiming to the world the exact sentiment in the title to this blog posting.  I thought it was funny then and was about as “in your face” as my good christian upbringing would allow me to wear in good conscience.  Yeah, I was really living life on the edge.  I think back then, my whole viewpoint was that music was suppose to be felt.  You should feel it in your core.  It should move you.  Good or bad.  If it doesn’t, why bother?  Over the years as I’ve matured (I know..shocking to some of you) I’ve realized that volume does not always produce the audible effect of movement.  It’s the combination and culmination of many factors- lyrical content, chord structure, dynamics, technical excellence, God-given talent and the intangibles that leap out at you. On a personal level. 

Here’s my real reason for even bringing it up.

I’m afraid I’m getting old.  And not based on the aforementioned volume definition.  But more because of my exhaustive late night searches of itunes looking for the new music that moves me.  See, I don’t want to be one of “those” old people that think that all of the good music has already been done.  That the musical apex happened sometime in the last 20 or 30 years and that everything now is just derivative.   But I’m struggling to find that new artist or song that strikes me to my core. There have been a few.  But it seems more often I’m “discovering” new OLD music.  And there is a certain satisfaction in that.  But what I’m really looking for is a new artist, album or song that has…..VOLUME.  

I do realize that appreciation of music is subjective, but I wonder- what new music moves you?  Or are you still listening to your Led Zeppelin cassette tape in your 1978 Trans AM.  At full volume of course.

A day like any other day…..or was it?

•September 12, 2008 • 8 Comments

The day began much like any other day, except that it started several hours earlier than normal.  If I had known then the events that would unfold, I probably would have picked a nicer shirt to wear.  Early morning meetings were accompanied by a mental fog that had the potential to obscure any anticipation of good things to come but there was an underlying sense of promise that hung in the air much like the rich aroma of a triple non-fat latte that was in my future.  Even the line of what seemed like 50, but in reality was only 5 people could dampen the increasing excitement that I was feeling.  I’ve heard it said that people who were struck by lightening felt a tingle or a sizzle right before the event.  That’s what I felt.  A sizzle. As I waited my turn in line conversing with my caffein compadre I noticed…..the man with one arm.  “Don’t stare” I told myself, but myself ignored my instructions.  I was fixated upon the spot where this man’s arm should have been.  I was drawn to the person attached to this empty space. There was an overwhelming sense of deja vu that seemed to cry out for me to put on my sunglasses lest I be blinded by the spectacular collision of time and space that was allowing this one armed bandit to enter my domain.  As he completed his purchase, he picked up his beverage….turned…..faced me and walked towards me.  While I am relatively sure he did not recognize me, I instantly recognized him.  Oh I have known the astonishing work of the one armed man. He and I go way back.  To the days of my youth when the pagan drums of rock n roll emitted from the tiny speakers of my headphones tethered to a Sony Walkman.  To the days when I first heard uttered the odd cadence of “Unta Gleeten Glouton Globin”.  To the days when I saw a man accomplish the musical equivalent of walking on the moon.  I was staring greatness right in the eyes.  This, my friends,  was none other than Rick Allen- the one armed thunder god- drummer for Def Leppard.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have tried to shake his hand.

Here’s my card

•September 1, 2008 • 8 Comments

Carson just started second grade.  I have to admit, he’s adjusting much easier than what I expected and for that I’m grateful.  I worried about him making friends, not so much because of him but probably because that’s what I would worry about.  In some ways I think it’s easier when you’re only 8 years old.  Carson has a new friend named Tanner. I asked Carson how they became friends.  “I just asked him if he wanted to be my friend.”  says Carson.

Ah.  The direct approach.  

Another thing they did in class was to design a “Read All About Me!” poster.  It’s filled with Fascinating Facts, Favorite Things, and Interesting Tidbits all about Carson.

Got me to thinking.

Sure would be easier for us adults ( or those of us parading around as adults) if we could have a card that we pass out to people we meet-  a “Read All About Me!” card.  We could then peruse each others card, nodding in agreement or shaking our head in a way indicating we weren’t really sure if there was a match.  Then we would simply ask, “Hey, wanna be my friend?”

I know.  It’s more complicated than that.  I get it.  But still, you’ve got to love the simplicity of it.

So………here’s my card. 

My name is Michael.  I like guitars.  My favorite color is red.  I am 32 years removed from the second grade. My favorite time of year is Fall.  I love my family.  I just moved here from Texas. I like the Dallas Cowboys.  I do not like cauliflower (especially hidden in my food).

Want to be my friend?

It’s been awhile

•August 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Over a year ago, I helped Andi set up a family blog site so she could communicate with her friends who had moved away.  She was uncertain about what to write, so I wrote the first few just to get the ball rolling.  Up until that point, I didn’t really get blogging.  But I found that I liked writing, liked sharing, liked making people think or laugh or wonder just what in the world life at our house was like.  About 6 months ago, I stopped blogging.  I still don’t really know why, other than the fact that there was so much going on I didn’t really even know where to start.  Plus, there are times that putting something down in writing lends way too much reality and credibility to what is going on.  Recently, as I’ve been reading other blogs, the itch to start writing again has come back as suddenly as it left.

So here I go again.  No promises.  Just an attempt to share my world, my atmosphere.