Sunday, June 29, 2008

Off to Camp!

I'll be gone this week to "choir camp". I know, what a nerd. I've been going to this camp since middle school, but haven't had the chance to go in the last two years. It's tons of fun, and I always learn a lot. It'll be good to see some people I haven't seen since I was last at camp!

The reason it's informally called choir camp is because throughout the week, students in grades 7-12 meet for choir rehearsals (three rehearsals a day, it's like a choir nerd's dream!) Then, at the end of the week we perform a concert of the music we've been rehearsing all week. We usually bring in a University choral conductor to lead the rehearsals and conduct the final concert. It's kind of a big deal.

This year, for the first time, I'll be teaching/leading the tenor sectional. In years past, this has always been done by my friend and mentor, John. Well, I'm moving up in the world. I'll be leading the Tenor's sectional rehearsal each day and making sure they aren't lost in the madness during large group rehearsals. The success of the tenor section rests largely on my shoulders! I'm pumped. I wonder if I could count this as professional development?

So don't expect much in the way of blog posts this week. I don't think camp as internet access. Then again, I haven't been in three years. Perhaps they've made some technological advancements.

Have a great week, I know I will.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I've been bit!

I've got the fever. I've been bit by the iPhone bug! I mean, I'm jonesing pretty badly for one! I spent an hour today watching Steve Jobs keynote presentation on the iPhone. Here's the deal though, I'd have to cancel my current T-Mobile plan. This would bring with it a 200 dollar cancellation fee! HOWEVER, the new iPhone will sell for only 200 dollars. So (by my apple brainwashed logic) I could cancel my t-mobile plan AND get the new iPhone 3G for the same amount I would normally pay for a current version of the iPhone. So, it kinda makes sense.

Anyone else got the fever? Sadly, all the cowbell in the world won't heal this sickness.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Guess what I saw today?

A Lamborghini Murcielago! What the heck! This is one of the fastest and most expensive cars in the world! What was it doing in Birmingham? In Alabama much less!? Like a child, my jaw dropped as I watched the car fly by. These are the cars my brother and I dreamed about. We had Lamborghini posters in our room!

Wow, I feel so honored.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Things I can't wait for

Here are some things I'm really looking forward to:

1. Choir camp next week
2. Dark Knight
3. Getting my cast off
4. beating GTA IV
5. Burger Night
6. Having a year-long 7th grade choir
7. Burger Night

The end.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I've fallen and i can't get up!

I just saw the commercial for LifeAlert, you know, the company that gives old people a clicker to wear around their neck. If they fall (and, by chance, can't get up) they press the button, and LifeAlert sends an ambulance.

I humbly announce that I need one of those. I feel a sense of shared understanding with these elderly tumblers. I even own a moo-moo just like the lady above! I started wearing it after I broke my ankle. It's so comfortable.

I fell coming up the front stairs of my house the other day. Walking on crutches is hard enough, but walking up stairs with crutches, forget about it. Don't worry, no further damage was done (physical damage that is, plenty of psychological damage).

I've been using my computer chair to wheel around my house. It works, buuuuuuut, I would really love a Rascal! I would tear that up! Get some racing stripes on it, a straight pipe, and maybe a spoiler. I'd be the coolest cripple on the block.

Monday, June 23, 2008

See what had happened was...

I broke my ankle. Ok, technically I fractured my fibula, but let's call it what it is: a broken ankle. Here's how it happened:

Long ago, there existed a rope swing at a river in Loachapoka, AL. This rope swing was home to so many fond memories from my freshman and sophomore years of college. It was perfect. We would swing way out over the river and drop thirty feet into the water. Day or night, rain or shine, we couldn't be stopped. Until they chopped the tree down. The river just wasn't the same without it. So, we stopped going. Yesterday, my friend Lee and I decided to take Jenny and go out to the river to swim and just spend some time outside. As we approach the river, we hear loud splashes and people laughing. Could it be? Indeed, someone has hung a rope on another tree. The resurrection of the rope swing! We had to try it.

This rope swing left much to be desired, however. It wasn't as big, and there were a bunch of branches brooding squarely at the apex of the flight path. It was sketchy. But we had to do it, there was no questioning. Lee went first and got all up in the branches. After a few more people went successfully swinging into the water, I decided to go. I prefer height over distance in this type of situation. I love the feeling of free-falling. So, as I swung out over the bank and towards the branches, I decided that rather than let go then and get a face full of branch, I would wait just a little bit. This decision was my demise. I started to swing back toward the bank and let go immediately. I landed in less than a foot of water on my right foot, thus fracturing my fibula.

I'm determined to have a good attitude about this. So, here are a few of the bright sides. I have a sweet blue cast. I get to sit on my butt and play Xbox and watch movies and I don't feel bad about it. It's a new challenge to overcome. It shows me hilarious and awkward ways to do mundane things (shower, drive, take Jenny out to use the bathroom, etc.) If being able to use both your hands is called being ambidextrous, what is it called when you are learning to use both your feet? Amipedrous? I'm learning to be ambipedrous.

So, I'll be in this cast for six weeks. Right as summer is ending, I'll be fiberglass free. Just call me lieutenant Dan. Feel free to send gift baskets and meals.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I locked myself out of my house this morning. For the second time. The last time this happened, my friend Lee helped me out by unscrewing the aluminum pane in front of the window and opening the window. However, after that incident, I locked the window thinking "I don't want anyone else to be able to get in this way." Little did I know at the time that I'd be preventing myself from getting back in this morning. So, I called Lee again and he helped me break into a different window. It's so frustrating. I remember seeing my keys sitting on the chair DIRECTLY next to the door, but because I had Jenny, some things in my hands, and some things on my mind, I locked the door and didn't even think about my keys. What a colossal waste of time.

What is perhaps even more frustrating about it is the fact that I look for someone or something to blame. I think that is something a lot of us do (especially middle school kids!) Why is it so difficult to take responsibility for our actions? The quicker I can say "dang, I screwed up" and get on with the problem solving, the better off I will be. The better off we all will be. Can I get an Amen?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Word Quiz!

Can you guess what these words or phrases mean? I'll give you the word, what a common definition MIGHT be, then what it actually is.

1. Tatuh fork: a utensil used for poking and eating potatoes? Nope, it's a curved pitch fork used to dig in the ground.

2. Dump site: the desired location in which one will defecate? Sorry, this is a place to offload one's cargo, be it wood waste or someone's former front lawn.

3. Mini X: a smaller version of the party drug ecstasy? Wrong again, this is a miniature excavator (also called a trackhoe, dinosaur, transformer, or diggerman).

These are just a few of the phrases I have learned while working a landscaping job.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Planning on Planning on it

I've got issues with the modern American church. While well intended, I think it is missing the point in a lot of areas. I'm in Hoover for a few days and went to the church in which I grew up this morning. While making the usual weekly announcements, the associate pastor said something that made me shudder. "The Planning Committee will meet next week..." Really? I thought that's what committees were for- planning things. The building committee, the stewardship committee, the music committee, the membership committee- the list goes on and on. And now church(es) have a planning committee? It seems very redundant.

Last night, my dad read a passage to me from John Eldredge's book Waking the Dead. It is right on target with how I feel about this planning committee.

Most churches survive because everyone keeps a polite distance from the others. We keep our meetings short, our conversations superficial. "So, Ted, how's everything going on the Stewardship Committee?" "Oh, just great Nancy. We've got a big goal to reach this year, but I think we'll be able to get that gym after all." No one is really being set free, but no one is really at odds with each other, either. We have settled for safety in numbers- a comfortable, anonymous distance. An army that keeps meeting for briefings, but never breaks into platoons and goes to war.

When will we stop planning on planning on doing things, and actually do them? Who cares about the new gym? There are starving souls in the world. The body of Christ (the church) is standing motionless. Rather than the hands and feet and arms of Christ reaching out into the world, we're planning. Not even that, we're planning how we're going to plan. A blueprint for drawing the blueprint. A sort of holy procrastination.

In the last several years of my life, my father has repeatedly told me "You're thinking too much." Which I do, a lot. It paralyzes me and keeps me from DOING anything. The modern American church has the same problem. It is paralyzed, motionless. Oh God, set us free from ourselves, that we might act. That we might break into platoons and go to war for your kingdom.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mixed Feelings

This weekend is City Stages, an annual three-day music festival held in Birmingham. City Stages and I don't have the best past together. I really have mixed feelings about it this year, and every year really. I love live music, but something usually happens to make my experience pretty bad. By the time it rolls around again, it's been a year since the last one. Thus, you've had a year to forget how miserable it was last time around. It's fresh, it's live music, it's summer. I usually get free passes somehow, (otherwise, I definitely wouldn't go). So now we can throw free into the mix, which makes me "want to go" more, I guess. So I'll go, and I'll hear some good music. I'll sweat my butt off, pay way too much for food, walk until I fall over, leave wishing I hadn't gone, and swear I won't go next year. Sounds like a plan. See you there.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Best thing since Christmas

Today is Burger Day. Ever since Charlie Nagreen served the world's first hamburger at the Seymour Fair in 1885, this delectable American sandwich has fed and satisfied billions. No, it's not a National Holiday. It's not even a holiday. But in the hearts and minds of well informed Auburn citizens, it might as well be Christmas. Tonight, Niffer's offers all of their burgers, (there are like 20 different kinds) at the low low factory invoice price of 3.99! That includes the fries! You can walk out of there paying less than five bucks for an awesome burger and fries! It's really only Burger Night, but the celebration goes on throughout the day in anticipation of Burger night. And this isn't your average once a year holiday, no sir. Burger night is EVERY THURSDAY! So, if you need me I'll be at Niffer's paying bottom dollar for a top dollar burger. Then, we all go home and go straight to bed because we know that Burger Clause will come and fill our stockings with seasoned ground beef.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is this bad?

Is it bad to go to the same restaurant two days in a row? I ate lunch at McAlister's yesterday and got "The Big Nasty", an open face roast beef sandwich with gravy and cheese. I know- - Awesome! As I was scanning the menu however, I saw that they had muffalettas. I've never been a fan of this New Orleans sandwich creation until this past fall. My mother sent a homemade muffaletta with my dad down to Auburn for us to eat before a game one weekend. It was incredible! I've wanted another one ever since. So, I came back to McAlister's today and got one!

Let me hear from you. What restaurants do you love so much that you'd go two days in a row!? (Taco bell doesn't count, Lee).

Monday, June 9, 2008

The World is Just Awesome

Ever since I was little, the Discovery channel has been one of my favorite television channels. Sure, I watched my share of Saved By the Bell and Nickelodeon, but I've always loved nestling down with a nice Discovery show. One of my favorites was a show called "Next Step" that highlighted cutting-edge gadgets and inventions. I also used to love "Junkyard Wars", where teams of really smart people rummaged through a junkyard to create and build a machine that would perform a certain task better than the other team. When the Discovery channel store came to the Galleria in Birmingham, it quickly became my favorite store. I could spend hours in there playing with all of the toys and gizmos.

That was the Discovery of the past. The Discovery channel of today is in a league all its own. I mean, they have really stepped it up! The first thing in recent history that really made me renew my vows to Lady Discovery was the epic series "Planet Earth". Through the use of high-tech HD cameras and extremely dedicated film crews, and in partnership with BBC, Planet Earth brought viewers footage of our planet like nobody has ever seen. I'm not talking about a jerky, fuzzy clip of Sasquatch. This was stunningly beautiful scenes of some of the most gorgeous animals our Lord has created. If you haven't seen it, or just haven't taken the time to watch it, you are truly missing out. Buy the DVDs, watch them, then give them to me.

The quality of Discovery shows has increased in recent years as well. We now have everything from the nerd-magnet "Myth Busters", to the hit game show (that's right, GAME SHOW) "Cash Cab", to the dangerous "Deadliest Catch", and of course the crowd pleaser "Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe." It's all good stuff! How am I supposed to get anything done EVER when there is such amazing scientific content at my fingertips!?

Then came the new slogan. "The World is Just Awesome." Perfectly down-to-earth, yet so true. It makes me want to learn all about that awesome world... on the Discovery channel.

Their most recent triumph premiered last night. "When We Left Earth: the NASA Missions" is a six part series chronicling the American journey into space; the final frontier. I watched with my good friend and fellow nerd Lee. We ate it up, pausing to discuss temperature and pressure equations, rocket trajectories, and various NASA missions. Why hasn't anyone put this footage together before? Leave it to Discovery channel to kick ass again! Footage from the Mercury and Gemini projects of the early 1960s as well as interviews and commentary with some of the astronauts themselves. If I had been alive then, I would probably have become an astronaut. The only downside is that I have to wait another week to see the next episode!

So I encourage you, put down that garden hose, get off the treadmill, stop getting things done for just a little while. Turn on the Discovery channel and see for yourself why the world is just awesome!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Art

I love talking to people who specialize in things. Most people specialize in SOMETHING, and I love picking their brains to discuss that which they've devoted most of their time and energy to studying. I sat next to the wife of my good friend Luke Powell this weekend at the wedding festivities for our friend Kyle. Sarah Robbins is a graphic designer for Southern Progress Corporation. She's good too, I've seen some of her work.

We began discussing art in a more general context. When someone commissions a work of art, be it a piece of visual art or a song to be performed at a wedding, the artist must put in considerable time and effort into the creation of that art. I left the conversation feeling disappointed, I guess. We talked about how much more work goes into a piece of visual art. Be it painting or graphic design, visual art takes a lot of time to create. Does this mean that musical art is less valuable than visual art? I let this conversation marinate for a while.

The next day, I performed a song during the wedding ceremony. It is a humbling experience to watch people cry while you sing. It was then that I realized the true value of my art. Live music is an art of the moment; here one minute and gone the next. Therein lies its ability to move people. Its beauty is short lived, but highly concentrated. Visual art is like the stars. Always there, and beautiful to behold. But music is like a shooting star. Blazingly brilliant for a few short moments, and then it is gone. All we are left with is its memory. The last strains ringing in our ears, fading as new sounds take over.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Watched Deathproof last night. It's part of Quentin Tarantino's double feature Grindhouse. These are two movies made in the slasher style of old and released simultaneously. Deathproof is about a serial killer named Stuntman Mike. He drives a Dodge Charger that has been reinforced for stuntwork, rendering it effectively "Deathproof". He tracks down and kills people with it. This film is not for the squeamish as it gets pretty bloody. However, there are obviously some kickin' car chase scenes. And the end, priceless. If you're capable of handling blood and guts and love cars and chicks, check it out.