Friday, November 21, 2014

The Mountain and the Hummingbird



The mountain and the hummingbird
both are wonders true
They entrance, they grab your soul
and captivate so you
can’t take your eyes away I’ve found
I cannot get my head around
wonder and mystery surround
I can never ever get enough

Infinite weight of rocky mass
the depth and number far surpass
any tool I have to measure
never can you own the treasure
simply gawk and soak it in
upwelling feelings from within
overflow sublime rich stuff
I can never ever get enough

Shimmer iridescent feather
darting, stopping, dipping whether
my slow eyes keep up or not
the brilliant little flying dot
dazzle, hover, almost see
but then it’s gone to hide away
and take with it my breath I say
I can never ever get enough

Her character is solid rock
as staid as any mountain
her beauty is a visual spring
refreshing as the fountain
of living color on the wing
delicate and yes, enchanting
exquisite it leaves me panting
I can never ever get enough

Friday, October 24, 2014

Need for Speed



Sports that chase some kind of ball
I just could never do at all
To throw or catch, to kick or hit
I tried but I never fit
All the national fascination
brought me boredom and humiliation

Ask me what I think is cool
It’s gonna involve burning fossil fuel

Jump on and ride a bike so fine
Lean into a perfect line
On the back of a roaring steed is my
preferred way to take the lead
Rumbling V-twin brawn and might
Fire-breathing pipes that split the night

I like to hear a motor roar
And burn up some dead dinosaur
 
The nation loves to pass the time
at Wriggly Field and Fenway
Give me a little one prop plane
 lifting from a runway
I’ll carve an arc across the sky
cover some ground before I die
or slice up a lake with a water-ski
go flying past shouting with glee

Ask  me what I think is cool
It’s gonna involve burning fossil fuel

A law-abiding man I am
the only time I’m not
is when it’s time to open up
and just see what she’s got
It’s such a thrill to move through space
and this is my suggestion
for fun going from place to place, you can’t
beat internal combustion
Sports fans you can define how you succeed
For me I think I'll feed my need for speed

I like to hear a motor roar
And burn up some dead dinosaur

Moderation



I think that I shall never see
a poem to mediocrity
No two like branches on a tree
but step back and there is symmetry
How can it be?
dichotomy

The same song is a sheer delight
pleasing many near and far
or cacophony and blight
depending on how old you are
Is my house a palace or a dump?
Depends on where you live
The same road goes two ways

CHOR:
Goldilocks had the lock
somewhere in the middle is just right
most of us live in the middle
down the line, playing second fiddle
clowns to the left of me
and jokers to the right
here you are
stuck in the middle with me

The rich man never thinks he's rich
whatever's in his pitcher
the poor man always knows he's poor
but there's always someone richer
Lot's of folks enjoy a drink
but no one likes a drunk
one strong smell is sweet perfume
another is a skunk

The big guy running out in front
may seem to have no lack
but when the arrows start to hunt
the biggest target's on his back
If all the Indians are chiefs
who will the leader's lead?
The rest of us, it's my belief
are who we really need

CHOR:
Goldilocks had the lock
somewhere in the middle is just right
most of us live in the middle
down the line, playing second fiddle
clowns to the left of me
and jokers to the right
here you are
stuck in the middle with me

Saturday, December 07, 2013

My Cat

Once in a while some of us crank up our brains and attempt to understand things like what effect our prayers have on a God who knows the end from the beginning and is sovereign over everything. We may suspect it's some kind of both/and situation in a world we can only sort into either/or. It's pretty mind-bending stuff. We simply have not the capacity to process such things adequately. We must settle for a bit of a sense of it, at best - certainly not a really satisfying fullness of understanding.

When I ponder God and my relationship to Him, I sometimes think of my cat. She is close to me in a sense. She likes to rub against my leg and comes around for a scratch behind the ear. At dinner time she is very vocal about what she wants. She is comfortable with me and I suppose she thinks she knows me. But as she looks up at me when I come home from work, there is no way she can understand anything about my life outside of the house. Or even what I think about and do inside it. As I ponder which value capacitors to use in the tone circuit of the electric guitar I’m putting together she has no idea what it is about even if she sticks her nose into it. She has not, nor can she have, one iota of understanding of what it's like to make music or what it feels like to play the instrument, let alone what all that means to me in my soul. Normally she just naps on the floor when I'm working in that room. I don't really care that she isn't into the guitar. I find a bit of delight in that she even wants to be in the room with me.

Then there is the knowledge gap between me and the fish in the bowl in the kitchen. That is probably an even better analogy. The fish and cat know their dinner comes from me. At least from that one perspective they know that I have their best interest in mind. I'm careful to cultivate trust with them. I want them to feel safe with me. They understand very little beyond that, but that is really all that matters.

His ways are higher than my ways and always will be. I'm very ok with that.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rules Defined

I was talking with Esther about this a bit at dinner tonight. She told me I needed to define what I mean by "rules" since that means different things to different people. Some would consider the Ten Commandments the "rules." That's not what I mean. A direct edict from God like the Ten Commandments is pretty hard to miss and pretty hard to argue against unless you want to outright rebel against God. What I'm talking about is to take a concept or principal from scripture and, through a single human interpretation, synthesize a hard and fast rule from it. I believe we are given principals in order to wrestle through the application of them every day we live. The synthesized rule may make sense in a given situation, but it's an application with blinders on - a single simplistic perspective on what may be a complex and multifaceted situation. It may sound like I'm pushing situation ethics here, trying to twist scripture to support whatever I want or want not to do, but I'm not. I'm saying that taking the first interpretation of a scriptural principal that you happen to come across and leaving it at that, never looking or considering or studying any further is lazy at best and possibly very dangerous. I believe we are meant to wrestle our way through the understanding of truth. I don't mean making up our own truth. But I think living by a list of synthesized, one-size-fits-all predetermined rules with a simple black and white flow chart mentality constitutes making up one's own truth.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rules

A friend recently shared a frustrating experience with another friend who was foisting some rules of behavior on her that this "friend" thought she should be abiding by. Rules that my friend had no conviction or other reason to follow. This situation made me think of the following.
____________

Another thought on "rules": My observation is that generally speaking, those who focus on a set of rules are hiding behind their list to try to be okay. But no list will ever make you okay with God or anyone else. The list only serves to separate the real you from the facade you present to the world. Your facade relates to others and the real you is isolated and lives alone. And living by a list is a lazy, perfunctory way to live. The rule becomes more important than the person standing in front of you. Real life is organic and messy. Wrestling through it well requires the grace of God for all parties involved. A list of rules requires no grace at all. Indeed, I submit that it is anti-grace. Learning of God precept upon precept, concept upon concept, principal upon principal, is an incredibly good and powerful thing. But the application of God's will (revealed in his Word, not by human edict) in this world through my personal will upon my sphere of influence is effective only by grace, not by list of rules.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Model Trains

Here is a link to a 5 min. excerpt of a 20 min. video I shot of the huge model train layout at Shell Point, where I work. I used our Kessler Pocket Jib and Pocket Dolly:

http://www.shellpoint.org/train/


Thursday, October 06, 2011

So long, Steve.

Esther and I walked into the Apple store in Estero last night to buy her an iPad and the expert helping us asked if we had heard the news. She flashed up the memorial photo on the iPad we were looking at. She said it had happened about an hour before. It was a bit surreal to be having the fun and excitement of getting the iPad and seeing Esther's eyes get big when she saw what it could do. At the same time I was profoundly sad about the passing of such a legendary figure of our time. There are few people in history whose innovtions have touched as many people in ways that permeate daily life. Like millions of others today, iSad.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beatles

I'm playing a wedding Saturday and was asked to do Beatles. (It's on the beach, so maybe that is to be expected.) So I taught myself and have been practicing 13 Beatles songs. I was really never specifically a Beatles fan, though pretty much everything on the planet has been influenced by them."Baby I'm amazed" at the breadth of what these guys came up with. So many completely different sounds and melodies spread through so many songs. It's that staggering output that really sets them apart. And I'm finding they are really fun to play. So I guess in a delay of half a lifetime I am finally "discovering" the Beatles.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Origins

You used to be able to get a driver's license for your dog, it was so easy. First time I moved from one place to another in Fort Myers I got an address-changed license in 5 min. This time I found it takes tons of documentation just to change your address, let alone get a license. I had to get a new birth certificate since I can't find mine after the move. To get one, you have to know what county you were born in. The internet wasn't much help. The hospital I was born in is now a system with buildings in a bunch of towns.  I had to email my uncle in Kansas City to ask him where I was born. I feel badly that I know practically nothing about my family before just a couple of generations back. Shouldn't be a surprise though. I didn't even know where I came from.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Second Time Around

Second time around situations are becoming a way of life for me. This time involves a sailboat. After finally deciding that the O'day 27 project was just going to be too much to deal with for a variety of reasons, I put it up for sale and after some time a fellow actually came forward and bought it. Within a couple days of that, my old friend Dave Nixon emailed to ask me if I would like to have his 15' Cape Cod Mercury that I had repaired for him five years ago. He hadn't used it in a couple of years and it had sprung a leak and was swamped, floating on it's internal flotation. So, a couple of weeks ago we ran up to Orlando and fetched it out of the lake.

After five years in the water, the last few months mostly under it, the little vessel is in need of some attention once again. A new bottom job is already underway and it will get paint inside and out. Since I plan to keep it on the trailer instead of in the water, I plan to use hard, slick paint on the bottom this time. This little boat is actually "containable" in my life in ways the 27 footer was not. I am pretty sure I'll actually finish this project and get to sail this time.

The reason the boat took on water, we found, was that it had been struck by lightning. There was evidence of the strike at the top and bottom of the mast and a golf ball size hole blown in the hull about 18" from the mast step.

A few more hours with the sander, some fiberglass and epoxy resin, and some paint and the little Merc should be ready for more years of happy sailing. I expect it to look like the photo below taken in '06 right after the last restoration.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Pedal Board

My old pedal board seemed cool when I made it but several shortcomings made themselves known. When I added a Digitech Vocalist Live 4 to my rig, it became too small. The Live 4 needs to be in the guitar signal chain to get it's reference for figuring out harmonies, so it was becoming a pain to plug it in and unplug it every time. I decided that a new board would not have any hard to reach cavities and I wanted to figure out a way to attach devices without Velcro or anything that would get sticky when it gets hot. I really liked a lot about the Pedal Train products that are available, but the only unit they have big enough to hold what I need is a really big square and I needed more of a wide, shallow rectangle. One could use two of their smaller units end to end, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having everything stay pre-wired unless one welded those two units together. If I had a mig welder I probably would have done that, but not having a way to weld aluminum, I had to think of something else.

I spotted a leftover piece of 12" wire shelving in the garage. I got to thinking this would be nice and light if it could be made stiff enough. Also the wires would make it easy to zip tie things to it. A piece of 1x4 across the font and a piece of 1x2 across the back provide the stiffness, make a nice angle, and provide room underneath. I ground and wire-wheeled the ends of the cross wires so they wouldn't catch on anything. I plan on getting some kind of small keyboard case to haul this around. A case for a 61 key should leave a foot or so at the end for coils of cables and there may be room for a few stands as well.

It's tempting to put too much stuff on a pedal board. But it doesn't take too many cycles of load in/set up/strike/load out to make you want to strip everything down to no more than what you absolutely need and use all the time. Also for me, I became fanatical about weight. At the same time, one wants to find ways to make the set and strike as simple as possible with as many things staying pre-wired as possible. This is the setup I've been using lately. Everything is zip tied in place. No Velcro! No sticky!!

With only the 1x4 in front, the pedals felt a little spongy. A 1x2 across the back stiffened it right up and raised the pedals up a pleasing amount.

Grinding a bit off 2 sides of these 1" washers made them fit down into the openings.

A couple extra washers in front of the 1x4 made for a gap big enough to get a zip tie around the front cross wire.

I got an idea from Pedal Train's design. By raising the front it made room underneath for a power supply, or in my case, the original wall worts on a power strip.

I had a few of these brackets in the garage left over from some project or another. I used them to fasten the 1x2 and also as anchor points for zip ties to hold the wall worts in place.

Configuration 2. After a bit of test driving, I realized I needed to put the most used buttons closest to the front. Also got to messing with the drum machine for the first time in a long time and I think I might try to start incorporating it more after all.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Hipster

Got my new hip yesterday. Everything has been going well. I was ready for worse than what I've experienced so far. Hard to believe the time has come and it's in. I'm looking forward to putting years of discomfort behind me.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 3Gs

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

fascination, or not...

A thought while riding past a school bus stop:

A boy who doesn't look to the sky when an airplane flies over, I feel sorry for.

A boy who doesn't look up when a motorcycle rumbles by, I worry about.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life Story

Well, I haven't posted for a long time. I was recently invited into a Facebook group of people from my high school graduating class. Some are sharing their life stories there and I wrote this for them. Thought I might as well put it here too.
_________________________

My life has had many changes and the story is kinda long, so bear with me. Fasten your seat belt...

I went to a kinda wacky, very conservative (to put it mildly) Christian college called Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. You have either never heard of it or know it as a really strange place. You would be right. They had a fantastic film major in the late 70's and that was great for me. The rest, well that and why I went there is a long story. Got a master's there as well. Got married to my roommate's girlfriend (another long story).

Came back to DG for a couple years and did some freelance film production. Made a few films in Papua New Guinea and Taiwan/China. Then worked in Detroit for a couple of years for a corporate communications company. Then it was on to Toledo for a couple years doing industrial video production for a small chemical company. Then tried to build a company with a former college friend in Dayton - an opportunity of a lifetime and I gave it all I had for a couple of years. We had the coolest shop in town and made some award-winning shows but it all blew up on us and I was left scrambling.

Took an offer in San Bernardino, CA to work for my best friend from college at a govt. contractor at Norton Air Force base doing film editing. I worked on a monthly news-magazine type show called "Air Force Now," which if you were ever in the Air Force, you probably saw. While there I also edited lots of other films including a couple of classified ones that were seen by every aircrew member in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I would tell you about them but then I'd have to kill all of you. (Not really. They were common sense training, mostly) I lost that job due to the Graham-Rudman act that, you may remember, cut govt. spending across the board.

I ended up working for a Christian evangelical organization that was based out there at the time called Campus Crusade for Christ. I spent nine years with them and they sent me all over the world shooting stories documenting and promoting their work. In the middle of that time they moved their headquarters to Orlando and we moved with them. After I left them I had my own little one-man-band video company for about five years, working out of my house. I thought the international travel would end but it only increased. It was fascinating to see the world. I think I ended up getting to 34 countries. World travel was never something on my personal agenda, but I enjoyed it very much and it changed me and made me a better person in many ways. But it was very hard on my family to be gone so much. And when I was home I was constantly editing, so even though I was in the house I wasn't available to my family much during those years. It took it's toll.

I was offered a position teaching at a small college in Columbia, SC called Columbia International University teaching the courses of a video production minor in a communications program. My wife thought it would help us for me to have a more structured lifestyle and stop traveling. I did that for six years and thought I'd finish out my career there. I enjoyed the first few years a lot but eventually realized I wasn't cut out for teaching long term. And because it was such a small institution and our department was understaffed, it was still long hours. Also toward the end of that time a perfect storm of very difficult things hit our family and my wife and I hit the rocks. Separation and divorce followed.

I went back to Orlando where a lot of corporate production goes on and where I had many contacts. That went pretty well but eventually I got tired of the free-lance life. Living alone and with no regular co-workers or any kind of regular schedule or rhythm of life of any kind just got kind of unhealthy. I was offered a job in Fort Myers working on a daily TV show for an upscale retirement community with about 2,200 residents - the only show of it's kind as far as we have been able to determine. It sounded like it would be a sleepy, boring gig, but has turned out to be anything but. There are over 100 groups and clubs with things going on all the time. We tell stories about the interesting lives of these people. All kinds of stuff. It keeps us hopping but the three of us who work on it full-time are able to get it done during regular business hours, mostly, something that has never been possible in my life before. I'm making better money than ever (not that I've ever raked it in), have less stress, it's a paradise of an environment, and the people I work with and serve are wonderful. All in all it's a great gig. (You can see the place at shellpoint.org and you can see current-week episodes of our show at shellpoint.net/shellpointtoday) (oh, sometimes I'm one of the on-camera hosts, so you might find that amusing). I've been here three and a half years and have no intention of leaving any time soon.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Esther and I got back together. We had remained in communication throughout our divorce and eventually went through a season of mutual forgiveness for all that had gone on between us. After that we were friends again. During a visit I made up to Columbia to spend some time during Christmas with my grown kids, she and I ended up together quite a bit. A miracle that neither of us expected happened and we reconciled. We were re-married a few months later. That was two years ago. We are doing great now. In fact, though I would not wish the experience on my worst enemy, having gone through what we did, we are in a place that would not have been possible otherwise. I think if we had muddled through we would probably be miserable with each other now. Instead we have such a better understanding of each other and our relationship is better than I ever thought possible. I give God the credit for working a miracle with us.

Throughout all the craziness of our lives we managed to raise two incredible kids. Nathan is 27, married and living in Baltimore. Stacey is 25, still single, and working for a Christian ministry in Minneapolis. Neither has ever given us a minute of grief, they are just fantastic people. How that happened through all the chaos they grew up with, I'm not sure. I think it's a testament to how amazing their mother is.

As you can imagine, I have had some pretty incredible experiences. Nine trips to Russia during the 90's, on every continent except Africa - still want to get there sometime. Shooting video in jungles and war zones. Flying airplanes, riding motorcycles, sailing, scuba diving, playing music, writing a lot. And along the way meeting the most amazing people. It's been a wild ride. I never made much money doing any of it, but what a treasure of experiences and memories I have. I am blessed.