Monday, August 24, 2009

A Popular Program

Lately it has bothered me to the core when people try to dog the "Cash for Clunkers" program (and thereby attempting a dig at the Obama administration) by talking about how quickly it lost money. Really? The reason it ran out of money so quickly is because it was SO STINKIN' POPULAR! If you give people 4,500 dollars to buy a new car, sooner rather than later, you're going to run out of money! Can we just be glad that our current administration is creative enough to come up with a program that not only helps people buy cars in these tough economic times, but it also helps boost the auto industry. So, can we get our facts straight before we make a stupid attempt at an anti-Obama comment? That is all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Found a Track!

Running on the road has taken its toll on me. The hard pavement is wreaking havoc on my leg in the form of shin splints. I got gel insoles a few days ago, and they surprisingly help a lot. Today, however, I ventured down the street to Auburn High School to investigate their track situation. Turns out they have one. I've never seen it before! It's hidden behind the new gym. The AHS track has a rubber surface, which us much better than concrete or asphalt. I took Jenny with me and she ran eight laps by my side. After eight laps, she was looking like she needed a break, so I hitched her to a pole and kept going. It's a perfect situation. I can run on a good surface, with my dog, without traffic to freak her out! I can also run without her for a lap or two if need be. It's great!
After my run I tried an ice technique I learned from the other Jenny (the human). She is a former AU Soccer star who has suffered from shin splints as well. She recommended that I take styrofoam cups, fill them halfway with water, freeze them, then peel away the styrofoam almost all the way. That leaves a chunk of ice with a styrofoam grip that I can then massage my aching leg with! It worked great! All in all, it was a great run. The weather wasn't even above 80 degrees! Great weekend. Can't wait to go back to work tomorrow!

(guitar on Wednesday!)

And so it is...

I have a tracking number. The guitar is supposed to arrive on Wednesday. I continue to dream about it. Last night, I dreamed I was playing a dreadnought Taylor guitar made out of some darker wood (perhaps Koa). It sounded (in my dream) like an entire symphony. I would strum a chord and hear the cellos bringing out the mid lows. I would hear the violas as I plucked the B string. I strummed the high E and heard the violins soaring as in Barber's Adagio for Strings. It was an excellent dream as dreams go. I truly can't wait for this guitar to arrive. It's the end of an era, the blue guitar era. But also the beginning of a new era; the era of me having a SERIOUS instrument with which to make music. Me and this guitar are going to be best friends. I'll post pics when it arrives. I'll also probably eulogize my blue guitar in blog form for all to read. We've been through a lot. I love music.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To Those Who Wait

I can't help it. I was going to wait until it actually happened, but I can't stand it anymore. I'm getting a new guitar. It's going to be a Taylor 816ce. I've wanted a Taylor ever since I first heard one (probably 12 years ago). When I realized that one wasn't going to just drop in my lap, I began to save. I've been saving for months now and put a down payment on one almost a month ago. It was being altered slightly at Taylor in California, and then would be shipped to Auburn Guitar Shoppe. Again, that was almost a month ago. I'm starting to get antsy. Guitar Shoppe has a good chunk of my money and all I have to show for it is a receipt. For the first week or so, I put it out of my mind. I knew it was at least two weeks away and that there was no point getting all worked up yet. Well, now I'm all worked up. I can't wait for this thing to get here. Supposedly, it shipped from Cali last Friday. I think it's on the back of a llama, because it feels like its taking forever! It's even reached the point where I'm having bad dreams about it. I dreamed two nights ago that it was shipped to my parents house in "almost ready to play" condition. I just had to PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER! I opened the box, reached for a piece of wood, and it splintered. I had broken my guitar before it was even playable. Ugh. I'll certainly let you know when it comes in. I'm going to call Taylor.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I love My...

Here comes another edition of I Love My Mondays! The following are things I love, am thankful for, or appreciative of today.

1. My job. We just started a new year and I'm full of optimism. The kids seem to be in good spirits, I've got three choirs (instead of one and a half), and I just picked out music for the Fall! Let's get this ball rolling.

2. The people at my job. We had a grade level meeting today. One teacher walked in late and another one yelled, "Late!" It was hilarious. The atmosphere is so much fun because of people with good attitudes and great senses of humor!

3. My luck. I have to call it that. Friday night, I won big in a game of poker. I haven't played poker in quite a while. I told myself I would never play again because I was so bad at it. That apparently wasn't the case Friday night.

4. G.I. Joe. Surprisingly, I loved the new movie. Perhaps it's because my expectations were so low, but I really enjoyed it! At any given minute something was exploding, or there was a cool new gadjet or weapon. Go Joe.

5. My field. I feel blessed and am honored to teach music.

That's all for today. I hope you had some things to be thankful for on this Monday!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stop Standing Around...

I have two doors to my classroom. One of them opens into the Fine Arts Lobby. The other opens to the outside. This door is toward the corner of the building, with a long wall on the non-corner side. Yesterday, I let my fourth period go and sat down at the piano to play a little as the kids walked out. One of my sweeter, more innocent kids pushed open the back door to leave the room. As she did so, a human body slammed into the opened door, causing the door to collide loudly with the stopping pole behind it. I was at the other end of the room, so it took me a little while to get to the door. The girl who opened the door was standing back in shock as I walked out of the door. A tall boy was stumbling around with his hand on his mouth and his posse laughing hysterically. He had been running along the wall and must have not been paying attention when the door opened!
"What happened!?" I asked.
"That boy ran into the door! That one, in the white shirt" a student replied.
Ken was still in a daze, but slowly making his way to another teacher whose classroom is across the "courtyard" from mine. She stopped him and said, "move your hand, let me see your mouth." She looked, "HIS TOOTH IS CHIPPED!" she yelled. A piece of his tooth about the size of the arrow you control with your computer's mouse was missing from his left front tooth! More laughter from his friends.
"Stop standing around and help him find his tooth!" the other teacher yelled. A few seconds later, one of the other kids found the small fragment of Ken's tooth.
There was no blood, just confusion and hilarity. We sent him to the office. Luckily, we have a dental clinic at our school. I saw Ken later that day at football practice. He said he was going to get his tooth fixed by the end of the week. I sure hope so. He looks like Lloyd Christmas with that smashed tooth in his mouth.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What a Difference

I'm probably going to get a big "Duh" from a lot of people on this one. Today, I ran with music. I usually have Jenny with me and feel that I need to be able to hear things coming and really be alert so that Jenny doesn't do anything stupid. I also don't run with my ipod because those stupid ipod headphones fall out of my hears at the slightest movement. However tonight, I ran without Jenny and decided to give the ole ipod another shot on my run. This time I used my Shure noise isolating in-ear earphones. These are top of the line earphones I bought on impulse a few years ago. I hardly ever use them and figured I'd give it a shot. These go all up in your ear canal and really block out everything else. I was a new man. It made me feel like I was in a movie. (I've realized that I'll do just about anything if it'll make me feel like I'm in a movie. Give it music or the right kind of lighting or sentiment and I'm GAME! "I punched an old lady today! Yeah, well the song I was listening to really just made me feel like I was in a movie") I digress. For one, the music blocked out the sound of my suffering, I mean, breathing. Two, it let me focus on other things as my mind wandered. It was a much more therapeutic run. Lastly, there were times when the next song on my mix would come at just the right time and give me the added boost I needed. Wow, I may never run without my ipod again. At least until it breaks from being shaken to death.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend Recap and First Day Back

The Music and Arts Week planning meeting went really well. We decided on a theme that I hope will bless the campers and staff of MAW 2010. Saturday evening Chandler and I drove to Atlanta to hear Elbow. We got there early, parked under the venue, and walked up the street to a restaurant called the Steamhouse Lounge. There, we enjoyed fried pickles, PBR, and Mahi Mahi tacos. It was a perfect meal. Then, we walked down the street and into the Center Stage Theater to hear Elbow. This band is from Manchester, England and has been around for several years. However, Chandler and I didn't really know how amazing they were until just recently. One day, Chandler recorded a show called Live at Abbey Road. We watched Elbow play three songs and when it was over, we both looked at each other and said, "Holy crap that was so good!" We then watched it another three times, and repeatedly over the next couple of weeks, showing it to all of our friends that came over. So, back to the live show. The venue was incredible. It was exactly how a venue should be. There was a large space on the floor for those who wish to stand and be closer to the action. Then, there were about 800 auditorium seats that rose at a steep angle in a half circle. There's not a bad seat in the house. I could have hit Guy Garvey, the lead singer with a football. Maybe not an NFL football, more like a NERF football. Definitely a Vortex football; I mean, hell, John Elway can throw a Vortex out of the stadium. Anyways, the show was incredible. They are such a refreshing sound and a genuine musical force. After the show, in the men's room, I overheard a British man say, "I mean, I like the Stones and the Who and all, but Elbow is just a whole other kettle of fish." Well said urinating British man, well said.

Today was the first day of school. It's weird how the students' first day jitters are almost palpable. I saw my choir classes today. It was so good. The kids are excited, I'm excited. It was hilarious watching third period walk in (the all boys class) and hearing guys go, "woah, an all dudes class!" It was also funny to hear a few of the guys say they joined choir because of the girls! Joke's on you kid! Anywho, it was a great day that I hope will translate into a great year. I just need to pick music, design a T shirt, order music, order T shirts, plan a trip... oh yeah, and teach kids to sing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Doing What I Was Meant to Do

These next few days are really busy for me! It seems like I go from one thing to the next with no time in between to even breathe. Typically, these types of situations stress me out, and put me in a bad mood. However, something is different this time. I realized a few days ago, as the looming weekend of craziness approached, that I was not in a bad mood about all the "stuff" I was about to have to do. Sure, I was stressed, but not disgruntled or ill-tempered. In fact, I was excited about it!
I have just completed the first of my weekend tasks and, on the drive back to my parents house, I realized why it's so different this time. There's one thing that all the events have in common. They are all music-based.
Tonight, I played music for a girl's birthday party who I had never met. There were a ton of family members gathered as my friend and I entertained with guitars and voices.
Tomorrow morning, I have a meeting with the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (the Fellowship for short). In this meeting, we will be laying the foundation for Music and Arts Week 2010; planning, talking, discussing.
Tomorrow evening, Chandler and I are driving to Atlanta to hear a favorite band of ours called Elbow.
Finally, my mind is near constantly on the upcoming school year. At school, I teach: music.
So, what does this all mean? I think it means that I am right where I need to be. When the things that stress us out end up lifting us up and inspiring us, rather than bogging us down, we are IN IT. You know what I mean? Submersed in that which makes us more fully alive. I have no doubt that God made me a musical person. So, I'm fine with being incredibly busy because I love everything I'm doing!

Chew on that.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adventure on the Tallapoosa

I'm ashamed to say that this is the first summer in quite a while that I haven't been to the beach. I've just been busy with camps and other things and didn't make it down there. I've spent the last few days in the house with two dogs. I'm dogsitting for a couple that kept Jenny for two weeks this summer. I owe them and am happy to keep Connor for a week. However, I was getting a little stir crazy. So, an adventure on the river was just what I needed. Yesterday afternoon, Lee, Dana, Chandler, Claire, Drew, Brian, and I loaded up and headed to the Tallapoosa River. It was about an hour drive, but well worth it. We took Lee's Land Rover and Drew's Toyota Tacoma. The off road trails were a blast. Every ten yards or so there was a huge mud puddle that Lee would send us splashing through. After a little "roverin' around", we drove into the river... literally. They just drove their trucks into the river bank. We got out, and began making our way across the river. Here, it must be noted that I love rivers. Rivers are constantly flowing, constantly changing sources of life. They cleanse and replenish the soul. Ok, enough of that. On the other side was a vertical rock face that climbed 30 or so feet. We climbed to the top and, after some mustering of courage, jumped off. This act was repeated again and again for the better part of an hour and a half. Jump off, swim over, climb up, get scared, get made fun of for being scared even though you've already jumped like six times, then jump again.
After the cliff jumping, we made our way back across the river, loaded up again and did some more off roading. An hour or so later, we made it back to the river bank and built a fire. Here, we roasted hot dogs, ate pita chips and hummus, and generally were merry. So it wasn't the beach, but it was a great getaway with some great friends.