Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adler and Hearne Concert

Last Wednesday evening close to 30 folks joined together for an "enhanced house concert" with our friends Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne from Texas. Lynn and I have been close friends since we attended college together back in the 70s. We worked on numerous musical projects together during college years, and our friendship has stood the test of time since those days. She and Lindy did a house concert a couple of years ago at our place, and they decided to do another northern tour to beat the Texas heat for a short while. Their final destination was northwest Michigan!

The concert was a wonderful blend of humor, creativity, and direct communication with the audience. This time we held the concert at Tanze Performing Arts Studio. Susan Moser was gracious to let us use the space, and it was perfect for the event. Everyone walked away with one or more songs on their mind. My favorite from two years ago is still my favorite this time around - "You Pierce Me", a story of love within the Goth/pierced community. (Why, I don't know - I'm neither Goth nor pierced...).

Here are some pics of the event, straight from Lindy's new camera. Later in the evening, as we drank martinis at home, Lindy entertained us all with photo mashup slideshows of ourselves from back in the 70s - lots of bell bottoms, polyester, and puffy hair! Sorry I don't have any of those shots - NOT!

Must Not See TV

One of the networks used "Must See TV" as their motto several years back. This derivative fits a new show that we had high hopes for. Saving Grace features Holly Hunter, who tends to be entertaining and surprising in most roles. I don't recall the first film I saw her in, but she is one of the actors that draws my attention to a project. We gave the TNT show a couple of weeks to sink in, but in spite of positive critical reviews, it just doesn't work for me. I didn't expect the "angels among" us story element added to the usual crime drama fare. This time, the angel is a tobacco-chewing southerner with bad teeth and hair. The net result reminds me of a really bad church play with sex and violence. Sure, Hunter's character is supposed to be impulsive and unstable, but she's mostly just incoherent. The show is so disconnected that by the end of last night's episode I could barely remember the particular crime that was supposedly consuming the main characters. Nuff said...don't bother with it...

End of a frisbee era

Our 7-year old red tri-color Australian Shepherd, Rudy (on the right), has been an incredible Frisbee dog over the years. He never seems to tire of catching it and giving 110%. I've seen him do mid-air 360 degree turns a couple of times. We noticed a few times this summer that moderate amounts of exercise (especially when company had been over swimming and playing with him) resulted in limping the day after. Deb took him to the vet today, and the X-ray showed fairly severe hip dysplasia at work. The doctor said surgery wasn't called for yet, but he did prescribe Rymadil for arthritis, and said his frisbee-catching days are probably over. So we are sad - it was a wonder to watch him catch, and to see how intensely focused he would become when waiting for the next throw.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Technology-assisted reading

So I was reading Stalin's Ghost recently. All of Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko novels feature Russian culture and characters. I was curious about the lay of the land in an area called Tver. Well, I have Google Earth, don't I? So I started it up, hoping to just find a map and some satellite images. The image was full of blue dots. Clicking on one, I discovered user-uploaded photos - each dot connected to a unique view within the town - many along the river that played an important role in the novel. The images were served via Panoramio - many from a user nicknamed Rush. So I looked in my own back yard of Fairfield, Ohio, and found lots of photos from our area, including shots of the park we frequent. What an amazing way to connect with others within my own community and the world. And what a great way to read a book!

Still I do love technology!

(If you've watched the film "Napoleon Dynamite" and didn't stay past the credits, you've missed this line in Kip's hilarious wedding song.)

So what's been happening on this end during the blog silence? Let me think...here's a few...

  • Deb and I have been a part of a new church startup - Nexus Church - affiliated with the United Church of Christ denomination. We meet on Sunday mornings at Tanze Performing Arts Studio in Fairfield. It's an interesting experience - first time we've been connected to a new church. Got some very creative people in the community, and I'm challenged with directing the music and band. We use very little church-based music - preferring stuff from folks like Joseph Arthur, Todd Rundgren, Van Morrison, Depeche Mode, and many others. My friends Yvan (percussion) and Steve (bass) make up the core of the band, with Steve's wife Janet often playinig cello. We are still finding our identity as a "progressive" community of folks who connect with the Christian story to varying degrees. Several folks bring their creative visual abilities to the table - check out Jeff and Cortney.

  • Early in the year I hooked up with a great local guitarist named Gary King. He had a new CD worth of original jazz/rock fusion music and was hoping to put a band together to play out in support of the CD. We later found David Yates and Kevin Ross and had our quartet in place. But after a few months rehearsal and great creative juices, Gary's wife had a sudden job transfer. So our group was short-lived - Gary and family have been consumed with the task of moving this summer. We hope to figure out some ways to continue our project remotely once things settle down. Advances in software in the past few years will at least allow us to record while living in different areas. Meanwhile, you can catch Gary's latest CD, "A Life of Its Own" at CD Baby or listen to tracks on his MySpace page. Well worth your while if you are into fusion music. Pretty accessible even if you are not into that style.

  • Deb and I traveled to Greece, Italy, and Turkey back in October - been a goal for many years. You can catch our pics here. A map of the area we covered along with photos linked to locations can be found here.

Blogging Redux

Gonna try to resurrect this blog - it's been a long time. I don't find time to post as often as I'd like, but have found some tools recently that help keep track of things that are important to me - primarily books and music. For current book lists, etc., LibraryThing seems to have most of what I want:

  • Ability to easily update current reading sidebar
  • Link with others who like the same books
  • Multiple editions supported, with lots of cover options.

For music lists, I'm trying out Listal. So far, so good. I'll try to be more consistent, so hope you'll stop by occasionally, or hook me into your favorite blog reader. I personally use GoogleReader.