The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
"Soon?" "SOON."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Silence - Good Friday, 2014



"He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open his mouth;
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so He did not open his mouth."
- Isaiah 53:7, TNIV

Wha'?

If I'm oppressed and afflicted, I run the gamut from heavy sighs to outright yelling...

Unless it's a spider. Then I scream like a little girl. Or a little boy. Or whoever screams like that. Yup. Right. That.

So, silent in affliction? Not so much.

Lots of us are familiar with Isaiah 53 - the chapter about the Suffering Servant. Or at least know these words:

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed."
- Isaiah 53:5, ASV

But last time through this passage on the Daily Audio Bible, the words that rang like a bell for me were about His silence in affliction. 

"He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open his mouth."

Silent? Ok - maybe if someone obnoxious were getting in my face someplace in the grind of daily life. Getting snitty as we stand in line at the store. Taking umbrage to something I unknowingly did, my appearance, or my general presence in the world. 

Silent, after another driver engages in a display of boneheadery that proclaims to all the world just what the riders of the clue bus look like? No... 

(Although I do try to do some ventriloquism, as I mutter about their habits, their intelligence, their heritage, and their general existence while trying not to move my lips, lest they see that I'm yelling... to NOBODY.)

Silent? In affliction? Nope. Can't pull that one off.

My beloved carries on arguments with technology. She holds debates with databases, takes umbrage to unruly laptops, and tells off the GPS in kind but firm tones.

Silent? Nope. Much quieter than me? Good gravy bones, yes. 

"He was beaten, He was tortured, but He didn't say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, He took it all in silence."
- Isaiah 53:7, MSG

I not only can't pull that off, I can't even imagine how to comprehend how anyone could do that. I can't at all understand how someone, anyone could be that afflicted, punished, humiliated, tormented, tortured...

killed...

And NOT say anything.

Now, I know - He DID say things. We have them recorded in the Gospels. I'm sure there were gasps and groans and cries. 

But did He pitch a fit? The kind of which I would have fully indulged in? The kind that would have made my voice go hoarse a couple minutes in?

No.

"Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, He took it all in silence."

One more twist, kiddos...

The one word that He could have uttered, that I, in all of my yelling, screaming, writhing, and general pitchy-fitting might have uttered without doing any good... 

The ONE word that He could have uttered, that would in fact have changed everything...

The ONE WORD that was His to utter, with all rights, with all authority, with all of Heaven ready to respond the very second it was upon His lips...

"Stop."

Of any of the sounds, cries, gasps, or words that He said, all through that awful ordeal, He never said the one word that would have ended it all.

And that made all the difference.

I could not endure in silence, yet I'm left with nothing BUT silence in response. I have no way to process this, so I close my mouth, hang my head, and am overwhelmed. Gratitude doesn't even begin to express it, no other words I could write will help, so as He accepted the pain in silence, I receive the gift...

in silence.

"What language shall I borrow, to thank Thee, dearest friend? 
For this, Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?

Oh make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be, 
Lord, let me never, never, outlive my love for Thee."

- O Sacred Head Now Wounded

Monday, April 07, 2014

Phunny Photo Phriday... Um, Phaturday... Maybe Phunday?... Dang... it's Monday - that's not Phunny...

Saturday morning is usually laid back around Bekahaus. We snooze, I tend to ignore my normal alarm time of 4:15 in the VERY AM, and allow myself the luxury of sleeping until, I dunno, maybe 6:30 in the VERY AM.

I'm a wild man sometimes.


So, this Saturday past, after I had already gotten up, made some coffee, and come back to grab whatever oddities I had left on my bedside table, BekaV decided to move from her usual place of repose (taking at least 2/3rds of my bed...), to conquer new lands.


She ventured forth, into the uncharted lands of MommaBed, to lay claim to them for her own name and posterity.


"I claim this land, this person, and all connected allegiances, possessions, tributaries, and doggie bacon strips, in the name of Beka Valentine, Queen of all she surveys."

And there was much yawning in the land, even from the new monarch. I did mention it was 6:30 in the VERY AM, right?

Thanks for joining us for a Phunny Photo... something. Tune in next time to hear her majesty, Queen Beka, respond to questions about future plans of assimilation in the surrounding lands, adjacent rooms, and (perish the thought), the kitchen...

"SOON."


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Now YOU do that VOOdoo that YOU DO so well...

From way back in the day when I was regularly playing the coffeehouse circuit. But I find it totally applicable to what I'm trying to admit I do as a... *gulp*... 

writer.

Did I really say that out loud?... Oi vey. 

Anyway, something for all of us to ponder.




Why do you do what you do?

Simple enough question, right? But it’s not about what you do - it’s why you do it. The question also leaves out any conditioners - “at work,” “for fun,” “on vacation,” and so on. Just the question, without much context. And for many of us, “what you do” becomes a multiple choice thing. We do a lot of do as we do things, and so which do is the do that the question wants to know why you do?

Still with me? Good.

In all of my do-do (*snicker*), I’m going to focus in on playing live. That leaves a lot of unexplored do-do (*snort*), and perhaps it’s better that way. A life with unexplored do-do (*guffaw*) is a life that shows the truth of “ignorance is bliss.”

Anyway, enough of that do-do. (“alright, stop that.”)

Consider what it takes for a performer to go someplace and do their thing... For example, since I just happen to be at one of my favorite coffee houses as I write this, allow me to take a look at what it will take in a few days when I return here to play...

Load the van with various instruments, electronic doodads that need to live in the house, and bodies to head to the gig. Allow one hour for setup, plus travel time.

Arrive at the gig, unload the following:
PA System - 5 pieces, also a mic and stand
Wind controller rig - two pieces plus connections
Stands and tables - three or four pieces
Instruments - 12-15 whistles, perhaps a few recorders, possibly an ocarina and a melodica
Computer and connections
Promo material, CDs for sale

Now put everything in place, in an ever-changing performance configuration

Connect all the devices, including power, setup all the stands, get out all the instruments, boot up the laptop and load the tracks.

Sound check, warm up the instruments, double-check the set list, and work out any issues with the wind controller

Check the cable runs, and tape down any cords that might cause litigation.

Play for at least two hours, with a 5-10 minute break between sets (at the place I’ll play in a few days, I usually play for three hours, sometime without taking any breaks)

Take it all apart, disconnect everything, put away all the instruments, fold down the stands and tables, pack all the cords, disassemble the PA and put everything back in their cases / boxes / bags

Put everything back in the van. Allow at least 20 minutes to take down, although it takes more like 30-45 minutes.

Drive home, unload the stuff that lives in the house

Repeat. Every time you play. Ad infinitum.

Why do you do what you do?

Honestly? Because I need to. I want to. I find that those weeks where I don’t play somewhere, that something seems to be missing. When too much time goes by between gigs, I lose something - my edge, my groove, whatever you might call it. Things aren’t as smooth, the songs aren’t as tight, and it’s just not as good. When I’m playing regularly, it keeps getting easier and better.

And because Vicki likes to hear me play. That’s enough reason right there.

I think this compulsion is common in musicians. We spend so much time in our little rooms or studios, playing our songs to the air around us, developing ideas, practicing material, and polishing it as much as we can. But if it stops there, and the music is never heard, there is something missing. We remain incomplete. The music changes when it’s played live - the reaction of the audience enhances it, clarifies it, refines it. How the music is received determines if that song will ever be heard again. The reaction of those that hear it has an impact on how I feel about that song.

Did you have any idea that an audience has such power over a musician?

Anyone can sit around in their living room, crooning little tunes and playing for fun. But for a performer, that’s never enough. The music is never meant to just sit there - it wants to be heard. The musician wants it to be heard.

Why do you do what you do?

Because God made me this way. He put these gifts in me to reach out, not to draw in. And when I play, I reflect Him. When I’m using the gifts He has given, and when I am doing the things He created me to do, that’s when I shine the brightest. And that’s when I feel the most joy, the most peace, and the most connected to Him.

The music is meant to be heard. When it is heard, it reflects the One who gives it. I do what I do because He made me to. And that’s enough for me.

Since this was written, things have changed. I don't do as many gigs, and now I write more than I play. Still, the reasons remain the same... I write, I tell stories because when I don't, something is missing. I'm compelled, because He has stories and ideas and thoughts and illumination to put out there... even if I'm the only one that ever reads it. 

He put these gifts in me to reach out, not to draw in. And when I play, I reflect Him. When I’m using the gifts He has given, and when I am doing the things He created me to do, that’s when I shine the brightest. And that’s when I feel the most joy, the most peace, and the most connected to Him.

The music is meant to be heard. When it is heard, it reflects the One who gives it. I do what I do because He made me to. And that’s enough for me.

Why do you do what you do?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

"...And I Don't Know Why."

For the record, Neffypooh did NOT get me onto Thunderhawk at Michigan's Adventure... Maybe next time...
There are two ways of looking at the following statement...

" I never __________, and I don't know why."

The first way of thinking about this causes me to pause, sigh, and hang my head in gloomy reflection, because it reminds me of too many dreams I didn't even try to follow.

The second way just occurred to me today, right after pausing, sighing, and hanging my head in gloomy reflection...

The second way of thinking about this is to say, "Well, since I don't know why I never did that, and it's something that I really ought to do, something that I want to do, something that I need to do, then I guess I should quit messing around and do it."

Since I don't know why I didn't start, didn't follow through, didn't pursue, then there really aren't any good reasons (that I'm aware of) that I shouldn't or can't have at it now. After all, if I did think of an actual good reason why I never should do that, then I wouldn't get to say, "I never _____, and I don't know why."

If I don't know why, then why not?

For example, here's the usual sort of conversation I have with myself. Or as one of my favorite pics off of Facebook says, "I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other."

Self, meet self. Have a nice chat...

"I've not even started writing my book, and I don't know why."

Ok - well, there's nothing standing in the way, is there?

"But... I don't have time."

You do - you just spend it in front of the computer screen, staring at meaningless crap that produces nothing worthwhile, for literally hours at a time.

"But... I can't. I'm not a writer."

Um... I'm not even going to dignify that load of fertilizer with a response.

"But..."

NO. You just said, "I don't know why." So you don't. There are no obstacles, no good reasons preventing you, no actual barriers. Nada. Zip. Nuttin'. 

*derp*

-------------------

"I haven't gotten around to finishing my first hymns CD, and I don't know why."

Ok - well, then...

"But..."

Are we really going to do this again? Here - let me help... You DO have the arrangements for the most part - some of them you've been playing for a couple of years. You DO have both the technology and the instrumentation to get the job done. And you DO have any number of talented friends who would throw in if you simply ask. You don't know why not, SO...

"Um - so, just get going?"

Bingo.

-----------------

"I've let myself get back up to over 250 lbs, and I don't know why."

Really?...

"No - I DO know why. It's because I'm not watching my intake closely enough, I'm not doing any moving, and..."

And so, you do know why. Which means you know what to do to change it.

"So, again, just get going?"

Are you seeing a pattern here? Are you finally boarding the Clue Bus? 

"Um..."

------------

My self isn't very patient with my self, just for the record.

So, there are no reasons why not, or at least no reasons I haven't identified that can't be overcome. My only obstacle seems to be the one I drop in front of myself - not even starting.

Just get going.

And so, it begins. I can't promise I won't backslide, I won't lose a day or three in front of the almighty (NOT) screen for hours at a time, or that I won't hear the doubts screaming in my ears every time I put my hand to the task.

But I don't know why not, so I'm going to. Now. Today. And tomorrow. And the next day, 'cause this is gonna take a while.

You too? Got something you didn't do, and you don't know why? Congratulations - you are unimpeded, you're unfettered, the road before you is clear, and all the lights are green.

If "you don't know why," then you might as well.

Meesa too.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Photo Phunny

So Beka continues to provide merriment, delight, and nocturnal emissions.


And she confuses me. A lot.

In the above photo, she is indeed laying in one of her accustomed places, on my bed, right behind my legs. When we have arisen in the morning, I always spread the blanket back up on the bed, thus coming as close as I ever do to "making" my bed.

Always seemed like nonsense to me - in a few hours, you're just going to trash it again, so why go through all the poopy of making it "purty" when we all know it'll go bye-bye soon. Rubbish.

But I digress...

So after having laid by me, but on TOP of the blanket all night, little Miss Furface will sneak back into the bedroom whilst Herself and I are getting up, setting up my coffee I.V., etc. And when she sneaks back into the bedroom, this is what happens:



Yup. That blanket was up over the pillows. Really.


But, for some reason, the little hairball decides that she needs to neatly pull down the blanket, and make herself a little nest right here.


Like I said, she lays on the blanket all night. So why in the name of Fats Waller does she need to move it aside, that she might nap on the sheet below?

This is a mystery that will never be solved. Oh, I know - my peeps will chime in and tell me that it's to get closer to my scent or something. But if Homegirl's nose is so much more powerful than mine, (And, really, since my sense of smell ain't in da house anymore, just about anybody's nose is more powerful than mine...) why does she want to get closer to my scent?

The same scent that makes Herself run to the other end of the house, screaming, truth be told.

Anyway, the mystery will never be solved.

Thanks for smelling your way through another Photo Phunny. Tune in next time to hear BekaV say...


"Wow - you really don't get the whole 'I'm a DOG' thing, do you? I sniff butts, I bathe my nether regions, and I dig up unmentionable things in the backyard. Mystery solved. Now fetch me some doggie bacon strips, or I'll tell the peeps all about the REAL source of 'nocturnal emissions' around here..."