Sunday, June 29, 2008

Judy Collins

About a week ago, an orchestra that I am in played a few pieces with Judy Collins. It was for some national children's hospital convention they had decided to have in Denver. Because Judy Collins grew up in Colorado, they thought it would be neat to have her perform for the convention. Though I'm sure we were a pretty poor follow up for the Boston Pops, we did play a few numbers with her. Just having been around her for that long, I have a few things to say about her...

Some good things about her:
  • She was born and raised in Colorado, and that's always a big plus.
  • She has a clear voice, and she sings in tune.
  • She pronounces Colorado correctly when she's speaking.

Some not-so-great things about her:

  • She looks like a barnyard hippie who would be making tea in Boulder.
  • All her music sounds the same - like music straight out of the '60s.
  • Even though it was written in the contract that she would practice with us, she just sent out her pianist to sing in falsetto.
  • For her first song, she didn't us any warning besides a backward glance. No wonder she didn't have much an orchestra to back her up...
  • She doesn't pronounce Colorado correctly when she's singing (one of those singer things...).

It was a very strange experience, and I don't think it is one I would care to repeat. Judy Collins is definitely not my favorite pop star. I don't have any idea who is, but not her.

A Rock Concert Without Electricity?

My sister and I were lounging around on the trampoline a few nights ago and were talking about random things. One of these random things was how funny it would be if, during a rock concert, all the power turned off. I can imagine all these people who were previously waving around, suddenly feeling very conspicuous and wondering how fast they can get out of there. The soloist(s) would be left yelling at a blank microphone. Only the first three rows of the audience would hear them, and they would realise how bad they sound. The drummer would be as loud as ever, and the guitarist would be left pinging notes out of his instrument. Everything is dark, and people realise how ridiculous it all was. Their emotions are turned off like a light switch, and they are left standing there to think. Then the backup power comes, the lights turn on, the smoke starts up, the amplifier turns on with a bang, and the soloists don't sound so bad. Everyone is startled because the noise starts up once more so loudly and so suddenly. But they go right back to waving around and being drowned out by their emotions.

How easily our emotions are turned on and off, but do we let that get in the way of trying to learn more about God? Our we always in such an emotional hype that we don't even give ourselves a chance to think and to ponder?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri

Yup, we drove through the best part of the United States. Flat ground, green trees, wheat, corn, cows, bugs, humidity, sweat, windmills, tornadoes, and never a turn in the road for hundreds of miles. You guessed it! The Midwest.

We drove to Topeka, Kansas the first day. Jacob thought he would like it, and he was excited - for the first three hours of nothing.Of course, the green pillow had to come along.

Windmills that take more power to mix their concrete base than they produce in their lifetime.Evil, evil oil drilling...An oasis in the middle of Kansas! Bet you can't guess where this sign was from...I was a little surprised how many of these types of signs are wandering around in the middle of Kansas.A Kansas mountain! Gahh...brings back bad memories of a book I was forced to read.After not such a good night of sleep, I was very glad to find the green pillow waiting for me in the car.Ben started pouting when I told him he couldn't use it. He started tattling on me, so I let him have it.Jacob even got to be a privileged one to use it. Jacob is very sensitive to light.I thought for sure that Ben would like to hear the same story for the third time...
...but he wasn't. I think that Hawaii would benefit from a few more of these signs.

Believe it or not, I don't think I have ever seen a real live pig. Not an experience I would care to repeat...A great license plate.

I think I have just about perfected the skill of taking pictures of oneself.Ben, on the other hand, hasn't.

I have even gotten pretty good at taking pictures of several people.

Ben enjoying misery.

One of our favorite places to stop. This one wasn't any ordinary rest stop, however...

...It was a quality award winner!
No wonder! It had a three-in-one hand washer! 1. squirts soap onto you 2. sprays water at you for a long time 3. blasts you away with air.

It was even made by MoDOT!

And this rest area had vending machines!I wanted all three 144 free black cats...

...but then I saw what they looked like.

Finally in Missouri... The stadium behind the sign is where the Kansas City Chiefs play.
Some excitement passed us! And some more!And some more!Yippee! A Motel 6!Then all my hopes were dashed. We passed it up. A dead snake. This building brought back fun memories.

When I started acting really weird just thinking of that building, Ben attempted to have a few of his wise ways ware off on me.It didn't work too well.Almost to our destination - Columbia.

And we returned to our colorful Colorado.

Cement or Concrete?

No, it's not an option.
You know that white/gray stuff they use for sidewalks? Do you know its ingredients?
  • water
  • aggregates (sand, crushed stone, etc.)
  • chemical mixtures for various reasons



Do any of you know what cement looks like? This:

I don't know about any of you guys, but I have never, ever been able to build something that is strong out of this fine, powdery stuff.

And this supposed "cement" shrine?I would like to meet the master who got cement to stay in that shape.
I am going to go eat an egg. Here is a picture of it:Confused? You should be. I was just showing you what it's like when someone talks about a cement sidewalk when cement is only an ingredient of the sidewalk.
No, it's not an option. It's not like deciding whether to say Either or eIther. Cement and concrete are two different things, and unless you want people to think you have no knowledge of building materials, please call the white/gray stuff concrete.