Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The White Stuff

As I am writing this, it's snowing. It's coming down pretty good too. Seattle has such odd weather.

Objections to Art

This seems to be a theme this week. First, a friend here in Seattle has objections to the new Olympic Sculpture Park. I don't recall what all her beefs were but I do recall her saying that you are not allowed to touch at least one of the sculptures. I agree with her that this is a wrong approach for public art. If it's in public, it should be durable, accessible and enhance the environment. If you don't do this as an artist, you are going to get a lot of opposition.
Just this week, I read about an artist who dealt with opposition over a piece of public art. In 1981, Richard Serra installed Tilted Arc in the Federal Plaza in NYC. Folks complained that it obstructed passage through the plaza (which it did). The controversy heated up and it was finally removed in 1989.
Just last night, a friend in Nashville told me about the controversy stirred up by a potential field trip for her third-grade daughter. It seems Nashville has a statue called Musica by Alan Lequire. It sits in a traffic roundabout near Music Row. It also seems that someone in the school was going to take these third-graders to "learn about art" by viewing the sculpture. As you can imagine, many parents were upset by this and the field trip has since been altered to please everyone involved. Here's where it gets sticky for me. I am an artist. I love art and will always champion the cause of art when I can. I've seen a picture of the sculpture and it doesn't offend me. I have been in many life drawing classes and drawn the nude figure. It's not a problem for me. But, I understand why some parents wouldn't want their third-grader introduced to this particular piece of art at their age. If it were me, I'd take them myself and try to educate them about art and the depiction of the human body. In my opinion, parents should teach their children to be modest but not that the nude human body is a bad thing. The other problem I have with this situation is the location. Why did Nashville decide to put up a sculpture of this nature when they know that they are the buckle of the Bible belt? It seems like a poor choice of subject matter for the audience. Now, I know that southerners can be a conservative, ignorant bunch when it comes to art. I also know that I wouldn't try to put up a statue of a bunch of naked people in public unless I was wanting to piss a bunch of people off (which I might be inclined to do). Sure, I'd love it if ignorant folk could be educated to the point where they didn't attack art they don't understand but that's not going to happen overnight (if ever) So, in the end I guess I'm saying I like the sculpture but I question their motives and placement.
So, just so you can be clear about what I'm saying here...I am not saying that third-graders should be exposed to nude sculpture. That's up to the parents to decide. What I am saying is that the sculpture isn't a bad thing, it's just a question of where it's on display. Clear as mud?
Yeah, I thought so.

Insanus Omnis Furere Credit Ceteros

"Every madman thinks everyone else is mad." - Syrus

Thinks? I know, baby! I know!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Applauding Art

"(Richard) Serra remembers bringing his students from the School of Visual Arts to the Met in the late sixties and early seventies: 'We would decide, arbitrarily, to see Room Thirty-four, or whatever. We would walk around it for five or six minutes, take a vote about which work in it we liked the best, then stand in front of the work and clap. The exercise forced the students to visit rooms they probably would never have gone to otherwise. At the same time, the clapping broke the sanctity of the museum, which I think was good, and it returned students to the joy of looking and making distinctions. There's so much in society bombarding us every day that you get used to a certain selective inattention. Here you're supposed to discriminate but the museum is actually working against this. It dissipates the amount of attention you give to any one object unless you really come with a directed idea and say, 'I want to focus on this painting and really see it.' So you have to find a way of isolating yourself to make value judgements.'"

Source: Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere by Michael Kimmelman

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar Weiners

Sunday night, we attended a "Diverse Trash" Oscar bash. Only a couple of us dressed for the occasion. Here we are with our lovely host Dale. Someone at the party said he looked like Dumbledore in drag. It was great fun and we enjoyed the awards even more due to the snappy banter bouncing around the room. We really like our new church and the new friends we are making. What a fun bunch of folks!

You've Got Mail!

I went to the doctor today for a follow-up and physical. The x-rays show nothing that would have contributed to the tingling. It's probably due to the tension in my neck and shoulders. As far as the physical is concerned, all is well. I have a touch of arthritis in my right knee (from a drama related accident I suspect) and the doc gave me a prescription to help with my indigestion problems. Blood work results will be back in a few days. It's possible that I have bacteria in my stomach that is causing the acidity issues. If that's the case, I'll get some antibiotics to clear that up. I also got a tetanus shot and I was a good boy so they gave me a Scooby Doo sticker. Cool!
The only other thing I have to do is send in some stool samples. Now, I don't mean to be gross but this is kind of weird. I haven't been to the doctor since 1992 so this is all new to me. I have to take stool samples for 3 days and then mail it in. That's heard correctly...mail it in. Does the USPS know that this is going on? I know people mail all kinds of crap but this is too literal for me. I'm so perplexed by it all that I can't come up with one single good "poop thru the mail" joke. I must be slipping in my old age.
You've Got Smell? Naw...that's just dumb.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Life Group

Sarah and I just returned from the first meeting of a new Life Group we're trying. Life Groups are what our church calls Small Groups. This Life Group is going to meet on Sunday afternoons. It looks like we're going to alternate between the Berryman and Owen homes. I wasn't sure what to expect and I wasn't entirely sure I'd be comfortable. My spiritual state and attitude is pretty lousy and I'm not sure I'm ready for the whole small group thing. But I am open to whatever good may come from this. My hope is that my faith may return to me in some way, shape or form.
I like the approach that Jeff is taking with the group. We are going to watch a movie on the first Sunday of every month and then discuss the spiritual, theological and cultural issues from the movie on the following Sundays of the month. We are going to see how this format pans out. It may need tweaking in the may fall by the wayside replaced by something else. The point is, it's a creative way to engage in spiritual conversation without getting all churchy (which I abhor). I think I'm going to like this. I'm not sure what Sarah is after but the things I'd like to take away from it are a sense of community and family, friendship, and an opportunity for my faith to be restored and grow. For that to be successful, I hope that I can let my guard down and let these people in. I also hope that they can accept me for who I am and love me in spite of myself. And in the end, I hope that I can accept them and love them back.
My fingers are crossed.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


The Micronauts by Gordon Williams
"When earth's resources are finally running out and civilisation is crumbling...When food has become a luxury in a world polluted by chemical waste and ravaged by violence...When this happens, mankind's last hope is Project Arcadia - a group of dedicated scientists become the guinea pigs in a bizarre experiment, the journey across the ultimate, astonishing frontier."*
Sarah and I were in Half Price Books a few weeks back and I found myself perusing the sci-fi books. I'm not an avid SF guy but, on this particular day, I was having a good time looking at all the old SF books. I decided to buy a couple just to see if they were any good. One of those books was The Micronauts dating from 1977. (this book has nothing to do with the toy line)
I've always had a fascination for stories where people are shrunk down to bug size. When I was a kid, there was a cartoon segment on the Banana Splits called Micro Ventures. It was about a family (dad's a scientist) that shrinks down and then explores the giant world around them. They also used to shrink their dune buggy so they had a way to drive around. In one episode, they drove into an anthill. It was a great least my memory of it is great. Ever since, movies like The Incredible Shrinking Man, Fantastic Voyage, Innerspace, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids have been exciting for me.
Now, back to the book. It was slow to start...and I mean slow. It meandered thru the state of the famine and political mumbo-jumbo for a long time. When that actual shrinking takes place, the adventure begins. I rather enjoyed the miniature rescue mission where danger lurks in the form of a once harmless moth or ant. It was great fun. I think there are several sequels to the book so I might have to track them down. I may also investigate other books in the genre of shrinkage. (if such a genre exists) I will also be more likely to peruse the old SF books from now on. They aren't as sophisticated as today's SF which may be a good thing. They seem to retain an innocence and an air of fun that is lacking in alot of stories today.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Phil Phaux Pas

We all know I enjoyed the concert. But there were a couple of annoyances that I must report here. We all know I'm so tolerant of such things. (HA)
Before the concert, I was talking to some friends about Keaggy and this dude in his 50's with a ponytail is sitting in front of me. He turns around and starts telling me "all things Phil." Well, I've been a fan since high school and I know the essentials. This guy is some uber-geek Phil fan (Phil Phan?) and starts throwing stuff at me that I already know. Then he brings up the whole urban legend about Jimi Hendrix being asked, "How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world" and Jimi answers, "I don't know. Go ask Phil Keaggy." Well, this rumor has never been confirmed and even Phil Keaggy himself doesn't believe it since Hendrix died before Keaggy started recording with Glass Harp. So, I tell this guy it's an urban legend. Wrong thing to say. Oh my...I have offended his hero. I don't mind if you're a music geek or a sci-fi geek as long as you have one foot in reality. This guys feet were firmly planted at the altar of Phil.
Later, after Phil played about 1.5 hours, he informed us that he'd be back after a short message from the pastor. I thought, "Oh it is. The unavoidable Christian concert mini-message." And sure enough, that's what it was...right down to the whole cliched concerned whisper voice that pastors use when they're trying to sell the Gospel. You know the voice...where it almost sounds like they're ready to cry because you're headed straight to hell in a handbasket. Ugh. I hate that crap! And besides, I paid money to hear Phil not this guy.
Christians hate it when you put them in a box...but they fit so nicely.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Phenomenal Phil

I just got back from seeing Phil Keaggy in concert. It's kind of crazy that I'm just seeing him for the first time now. I've been a fan since I was in high school. I'm glad we finally crossed paths.
The show was incredible. I've always known that Phil is one of the greatest guitar players on the planet but now I've seen it in person. The man can make a guitar sing. He had one of those multitrack recorders that he triggered with his pedals so he could play layer after layer of tracks on top of each other. I can't really describe it. I shot some video but I'm not sure I can post it. I need to find out how to convert from Quicktime to Windows Media so I can edit. If any of you know how to do this and can give me some pointers, I'd appreciate it.
I was pretty far back so the pics I took turned out a bit blurry. When blurry, get creative. Hope you enjoy my quicky Photoshop Phil.
I'm so glad I've finally seen Phil. That's another one under my belt. Now, if only the ever-elusive Toto would come my way.

The Buddy Holly Story

We got comps to see The Buddy Holly Story at the 5th Ave. Theatre on Tuesday night. I've long been a fan of Holly so it was a no-brainer that we go. My reaction to the show is mixed.
The music was good. They hired top-notch musicians to pull off the show. The fellow playing Buddy was very good as well, but he was better musically than he was as an actor. The first 30 minutes of the show dragged. The only high points during that time was the music. When it was only acting or multimedia, it was painfully slow. The energy picked up tremendously when the Apollo Theater scene took place. The singers, Little Diva and the Testosterones, were outstanding. It's unfortunate that one of the greatest moments in the show doesn't belong to Buddy Holly. It is, after all, the Buddy Holly Story.
As the show progessed, the music continued to be good but the acting and dialogue were not. The script was very weak. The end of the show picked up the energy again. There is a great moment with the character of Richie Valens. The actor playing him did an excellent job. I can't say the same for the actor portraying Big Bopper. He was just wrong for the part...physically, vocally, everything.
The show ended with an abrupt/clumsy shift to a multimedia presentation of the plane crash. After that, the curtain call was performed during a rousing version of...Johnny B. Goode? Isn't this the Buddy Holly Story? That was an odd choice. They finally finished it off with Oh Boy but I couldn't help thinking that a show about Buddy Holly should end with Not Fade Away because his music is still as vibrant and important as it ever was.
Overall, it was a pretty good show musically. Too bad they had to ruin it with their acting.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Can't We Do Better Than That?

"The donkey will prefer straw to gold. There are plenty of people out there who prefer Elvis to Pavorotti. There is no more damning evidence of the mania for mediocrity this country has than the public passion for Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Goodness, can't we do better than that?" - James Dickey/Author

The names Elvis and Marilyn have been replaced today with Paris, Lindsay, Anna Nicole, Britney, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, add me to the list of disgusted.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tribute to Daniel Johnston

We watched the movie The Devil and Daniel Johnston and it was really, really fascinating. Here's this guy who's dealing with severe mental illness and yet he is just so full of creativity. Whether it's drawings or songs, he is constantly producing art. Just think about all the art we don't produce because we have a headache or we just don't feel like it. Daniel is an inspiration to us all.


War of the Worlds: New Millennium by Douglas Niles
The premise of this novel is what if H. G. Wells martian invasion happened tomorrow? Would our advanced technology fare any better today?
Although it kind of petered out at the end, I enjoyed this book. I'm a huge fan of War of the World what-ifs and alternate histories. I'm also a fan of apocalyptic stories. I'm not sure why. Anyway, this story was pretty good. I thought the techno aspects might outweigh character but that's not the case. I found the characters likable enough to pull for them in the end. That's an important aspect to story for me. I need to care for the people. If I don't care, what's the point? If I'm not drawn into their fate, I'm going to have a "let 'em die" attitude and that's no fun. (except at horror movies where the horny teenagers tempt fate and deserve to meet a gruesome end)
So, if you like end-of-the-world, alien invasion stories, give this one a try. It was, what they call in the biz, a good summer read.
Yes, you can wait for summer if you want to.

The Spoon Photos

By popular demand...the infamous Spoon Photos. Ansel Adams, eat your heart out. Hey, how did that fork get in there?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Wibbly Boat

February 19th is our first anniversary so we celebrated by doing the Royal Argosy dinner cruise. Basically it was a super nice dinner on a boat cruising aroung Puget Sound. We both got all dressed up and embarked on our grand adventure at sea. The food was excellent. We started with drinks and the Warm Crab Dip. We also had this excellent bread with a sun-dried tomato spread. For dinner we had the Wild Chinook Salmon and dessert was a Raspberry Mousse Cake. We had a good time. Sarah had a glass of wine and I had a Magnolia Rita which had raspberry liqueur in it. It was quite tasty and seeing as how I don't drink much and we were rolling around on the boat I got, what Sarah calls, a little "wibbly." At one point, I was taking pictures of my spoon purely for entertainment value. It was quite a good laugh...for her. They had dancing on the second level but when we passed thru I noticed the band was quite cheesy. I believe they were in the middle of "Margeritaville" and only one couple was dancing. (You know the ones...they have a bit too much to drink and are hanging all over one another just kinda wobbling back and forth) We also ventured out onto the deck for a looksee but it was quite chilly and rainy so we were only out there long enough for a picture. So, a very nice evening for the Gordons. Definitely a "country goes to town" moment for us but I think we managed it quite nicely.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rare Set of Pipes

Someone once complimented my singing by telling me I have a "rare set of pipes." I am going to steal that turn-of-phrase for this entry. This whole Chris Cornell thing has got me thinking about rock vocalists? Who are the greatest rock vocalists of our time? I won't be judging them on academic vocal technique or any of that nonsense. When I say rock, I mean guitar crunchin', drum slammin', kickin' ass and takin' names, slappin' your mama, apostrophe usin' rock! Here are my faves.

Chris Cornell - I've already talked about Chris. He just has one of the most gut-busting, gutteral, raw, chewed-on-razorblades rock voices I've ever heard.
Steve Lukather - Luke is the guitarist for Toto and because of that he is overlooked as a major talent. This guy in amazing. Not only is he one of the great guitarists of the world, he can sing like it's nobody's business. His voice has a smoky flavor that does justice to ballads and rockers alike.
Dan Huff - Dan's also an amazing guitar player but his vocals are great. I liked him in Whiteheart and I loved him in Giant.
Ann Wilson - The lead singer for Heart, Ann's got vocal chords to spare. Before she came along, all we had was Janis Joplin and she was way overrated. As far as I'm concerned, Ann sits on the throne as Queen of Rockers.
Brad Delp - Brad, the lead singer for Boston, has an outstanding voice with a range that's out of this world.
Paul Rodgers - Rodgers voice is so smooth you wouldn't think it would work for rock and roll, but it does. He gets around but he sounds good no matter who he's performing with.
Brian Johnson - Where did he get that voice? It sounds like Gollum with the flu but it works. I never liked AC/DC all that much when Bon Scott was their singer but when Brian fired it up on Back in Black, I was hooked.
Patty Smyth - She has an incredible rock and roll voice. Her 1987 solo album Never Enough is one of my all time faves. One of my favorite memories is listening to her sing Tom Wait's Downtown Train on my walkman while I was in New York City. The song just came alive for me. I hear she's touring again with Scandal. Patty, come to Seattle!
Doug Pinnick - All the guys in King's X sing but Doug's voice is the most distinct. He's got a fat, soulful voice that hangs down low. Usually that doesn't work for rock but it does here. His voice has been shaky over the last few years but I understand he's quit smoking weed because he realized it was ruining his voice. Duh!
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Stevie was a young man with an old voice. He always looked and sounded 20 years older than he was. We used to do some of his songs in a band I was in and I loved singing his songs but I knew I didn't do them justice. His voice just dripped smoke and sweat and the blues.
Doyle Bramhall II - Doyle pulls off something amazing. His voice is husky and smooth at the same time. I wish he'd release some new music. We haven't heard from him since 2001.
Steve Perry - The golden throat behind Journey, Perry's pipes were a major inspiration to me in the 70's and 80's. I can't sing like him but in trying to I learned alot about tone and harmony. It's too bad he and Journey can't mend fences. The new guy just doesn't cut the mustard.

Now I know I didn't mention Robert Plant, Freddy Mercury, Roger Daltrey, Meatloaf, Sting, Scott Weiland, David Lee Roth, Phil Lynott, Malford Milligan, Burton Cummings, Steven Tyler, Myles Kennedy, Corey Glover, David Clayton-Thomas, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, Kevin Cronin, Steve Walsh, Gary Cherone, Sammy Hagar and on and on and on. It doesn't mean they're not just means that they didn't fit the category or they're farther down on my list. Sue's my list. Besides, if you object you are more than welcome to comment. Let's dialogue. Heck, I may have forgotten someone important.

Cornell Quits Audioslave

Well, crap! Audioslave was a great band. When they were Rage Against the Machine I always said they should ditch Zach and get a singer. As a power trio, Morello, Commerford, and Wilk are hard to beat for straight ahead rock riffs. But with rapper Zach, they didn't live up to their full potential (in my humble opinion). Well, my dream came true. Zach left and they got one of the greatest rock and roll voices of our time, Chris Cornell, to handle the vocals. It sucked when Soundgarden broke up and now this sucks. It looks like Rage may be back w/ Zach. Read about it here. I'm bummed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Funny Valentine

Here's a great shot of my honey at the Ballard Locks. We've been married almost a year. More on that later. Love ya, baby!

Yeah...No...It's Nukular!

There are things in this world that send me over the edge...that drive me completely batty! Most of them have to do with people mangling the language. That being said, I know that I am a Southerner and have been known to do a little mangling myself. With that admission out of the way, I present a couple of the ones that set my teeth on edge. - What is this all about? This has popped up in the last decade. Someone will say something like, " understand." Well, do you understand or don't you? You just contradicted yourself. I actually hear this on TV in scripted shows. Are these written in? If so...why? don't get it.
Nukular - People, (and this includes especially President Bush) for the last blessed time, it is pronounced noo-klee-er. Now, here's a site that explains why Bush (and others) pronounce it nyoo-kyu-ler but I don't care. And no, I don't care that dictionaries are now including the incorrect pronunciation. It's just plain wrong. Do we look out the window and say, "My it's a nice day. The sky is so kular"? No, It's clear. When Bush goes on a picnic does he put his soda in a clear? No, in a cooler. I rest my case.
Realitor - As in realtor (ree-uhl-ter), as in someone who sells houses. And where they work is a realty (reel-tee) not a reality. Although it is their reality, it is not a reel-uh-tee.
Wow, so glad to get that off my chest. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting at the moment. If you guys have anything, send them my way.


Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (Audio)
"The lead character is a short order cook who sometimes has prophetic dreams and can see and communicate with the dead. He also can see evil entities lurking about, which usually mean something bad is about to happen. Such is the case in this book. Where he may usually only see 2 or 3 at a time, he starts noticing tens, then hundreds, many hanging around one new strange visitor to his small desert town in California. His investigations lead him to connect this man with a terrible dream he's had for some years about many people dying, but his dream did not give him all the details. Follow him as he tries to pinpoint the tragic event, saving as many of his loved ones, friends, associates, and townspeople as he can. Hold on to your seat - and your hanky. You'll need it."*
I liked this book! (Thanks Becca) It had a supernatural flair without being overly weird, great, lovable characters, a good story and a sad, yet satisfying ending. I shouldn't be surprised. I read Koontz's Watchers when I was in college and fell totally in love with the boy and his dog. I guess I'll have to investigate more Koontz in the future. And, of course, I suppose I'll have to read the sequels to this one. Guess that brings my list of books to read to an even million.

*Source: Joeli Jackson at

Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm All A Tingle

On Saturday, both of my arms started tingling so I called the consulting nurse at GroupHealth and explained my situation. She suggested it might be a food allergy and told me to take Benadryl. The next day, it was tingling worse so I called again. That nurse told me she thought it might be Carpal Tunnel. I went to the doctor. He thinks it might be a pinched nerve in my neck. They took x-rays and I go back in 2 weeks for a physical and to find out if the x-rays show anything. Until then, I guess I'll just have to tingle.
Shh. Listen to me tingle. Ain't it pretty?

Art School Confidential

Sarah and I watched this movie the other night. Sarah's reaction was "eh" but enjoyed it. It's probably because I attended art school and I recognized so many things about it to be true.
The movie focuses on Jerome, a budding young artist of considerable talent. His renderings of people and figures are very good. After high school, Jerome enters the world of art school and his perceptions of art and all that go with that are shattered.
There are so many scenes in this film that ring true of my experiences in art's hard to revisit them all here. One scene, in which the students put their work up for critique, is funny and acurate. They have been given the assignment of a self-portrait. Jerome's is a well executed academic portrait in charcoal. Another student has done a version that looks like crosshatching by a blind person. Many students in the class focus on the crosshatch version and how much they like it. Jerome's disgust is finally picked up on by the teacher (played by John Malkovich) and he asks for a comment. Jerome says it looks like a bad Cy Twombly knock-off. It's at this point the girl who did it begins to cry.
I have never seen anyone cry during a critique (although I have seen someone cry during a boring esoteric lecture) but I have seen a fist fight. One of my professors told a guy in our class that he had no business pursuing a career in art because he had no talent. The guy protested saying it didn't matter because it was the profs job to teach him. Words were exchanged, shoving began and before we knew it, the fists started flying. Yikes! Talk about uncomfortable.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that artists are a breed unto themselves. I could tell countless stories of odd behavior from artistic folk. This movie, even though it's not the greatest film, reveals some of the weirdness that is art school. It sent me back in my memories to some fun, if not weird, times. Perhaps I'll share some stories with you all when I get the chance.

Free Ballard

On Sunday, Sarah and I spent the afternoon exploring Ballard. The reason I used "Free Ballard" is because at one time Ballard was it's own neighborhood but Seattle annexed it much to the chagrin of it's residents. Now, you can boast your rebellion by placing a "Free Ballard" bumper sticker on your car.
Ballard has a few interesting places to visit. Here's what we did.
  • Walked through the Ballard Sunday Farmer's Market. We bought some local honey. I've heard it helps with your allergies.

  • Visited the OKOK Gallery. It seems they are trying to be on the upward side of the whole urban art thing but it just seemed a bit pretentious, like they are trying too hard.

  • We ducked into a used music place and they were playing a record (remember those?) by UFO, a 70's rock band. I'd heard of them but never got into them. I liked what I heard so I am going to have to check it out.

  • We finally visited the Locks from the land side. It's a very interesting place. It's especially fun to watch the boats rise and fall depending on which way they are going. We are going to go back in the spring when the flowers are blooming. They have a small botanical garden that looks like it might be worth checking out. Also, we hope to catch the salmon running in the fish ladder during that season.

  • After all that, we stopped by a frame shop to pick up some scrap mat board for art purposes. While there, we bought some interesting gift wrap paper to use in our collages.

It was a nice day. The weather was cool but comfy and the sun was out for most of the time. We even saw a double rainbow, the second we've seen recently. I think as long as Sunday afternoon's are delivering good weather, Sarah and I are going to try and find somewhere to be. There are so many cool neigborhoods in Seattle to explore. And it's good exercise.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Far-Flung Friends

Talked to David Newton last night for about an hour. He's doing good...just busy like all the rest of us. Turns out one of his former foster sons, John, was in town for the funeral of a former foster father and was having trouble getting to the airport. So, we hooked up with him and gave him a ride. It was good to see him and talk to him one on one. He's a good guy who's searching for his way in life...just like the rest of us travellers. David has another foster son's Juan. We haven't met him but apparently he has a sense of humor I would appreciate. (That's scary!)
Great talking to David. We both mentioned the regret of not having the time to visit friends in far-flung places. I have no idea when I'll get back home to Pensacola or to visit friends in other places. Our hopes include a trip to DC in 2008 to visit some friends of mine. Most haven't met Sarah yet. But first on our agenda, and it is a selfish one, is to attempt an Alaskan cruise. We both have wanted to visit Alaska and we both need a vacation. After that little trip for us, we'll try to figure out how to visit friends and family. There just isn't enough time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blog Updates

Since my creativity is on an upswing, I've taken some time to update my other blogs, especially the gallery and history. Since I am now listed on the website of Twilight Artist Collective (I'm the 22nd image down) I guess I should give visitors something new to look at once in a while. I am going to try to post about 3 new images a week to my gallery. I would post one a day but I'm not doing that many yet. Let me work up to it. So, if you've been disappointed that I haven't posted at my other blogs of late, give me another chance. I promise to do better.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


God's Man in Texas by David Rambo
"Faith and egos collide in the age of mass-market religion at Houston's Rock Baptist Church...A search committee has been formed to find a successor to Rock's legendary pastor, eighty-one-year-old Philip Gottschall, a vigorous marvel and master strategist both in and out of the pulpit. Young Jeremiah Mears is asked to audition for the job by preaching a month of Sunday evening guest sermons...Gottschall protects what he has spent a lifetime building at Rock by backing Mears as his replacement; but as Jerry gains a foothold, Gottschall's grip on his pulpit becomes as firm as his faith. When Hugo Taney, the pastor's sound man, and Jerry discover their lives are astonishingly linked by past events, Gottschall fears their alliance and becomes haunted by "whisperings and secrets." The Biblical struggle among this trinity of men climaxes during Rock's spectacular annual electrical Christmas parade; there is a sacrifice, a resurrection and, finally, salvation as God whispers to a listening heart."*
I read this play because I had heard it was loosely based on the Joel Gregory/W. A. Criswell struggle at First Baptist Dallas. I was in seminary in Ft. Worth at the time of this struggle, attended the church Gregory had pastored before FBC, and had a friend on staff at FBC. Heck, the drama team I was involved with at seminary actually performed at one of W. A. Criswell's birthday parties. I wanted to see if this play did justice to the source material. As it turns out, it is definitely loosely based but the essence is there. I am hoping to watch a video of the performance of this play at Taproot. A play is not meant to be read but to be seen on stage. That said, I enjoyed this play. I did find that the whole theme of the struggle seemed to get a glossy treatment. I've been enbroiled in smaller church controversy before and I know how ugly it can get. The ugliness is muted in this play. All in all, though, the play does successfully communicate it's message of power, corruption, ego and faith and it does it pretty well. I just wish there was a stronger way to get this message out to all churches. These struggles happen all too frequently and it's wrong. Good people get hurt and bad people thrive in the name of God.
Okay. I'll climb down off my soapbox now.

*Source: Dramatists Play Service

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mr. Deity


Heaven: Season One by Mur Lafferty
"What if Heaven wasn't all it's cracked up to be? Friends Kate and Daniel find that after their untimely deaths, Heaven leaves them dissatisfied and itching for something... else. So they're off, with a passport to discover more afterlifes, heroes and gods. During their adventures, they find out that their travel isn't a journey taken on a whim, but may be orchestrated, or even prophesied."*
I enjoyed this podiobook at first, but the story took a turn I didn't care for once the female narrator/character disappeared. It's too bad because I found the premise to be interesting and full of potential. I guess she just didn't take it where I thought it would go. I haven't decided whether to listen to the next season in which the characters descend into hell.
I like that sites like Podiobooks give unpublished writers a chance to be read/heard. I will definitely be listening to more of these when I get the chance.
I love my iPod.
The Mist by Stephen King
A strange mist full of strange creatures envelops a small town in Maine and the people trapped in the local grocery store must fight for survival.
This is a short story in the compilation book Skeleton Crew. I read it many, many years ago but wanted to re-read this story. It's a great little monster story. I understand that Frank Darabont is developing it for a feature film. I know I said I gave up on King a long time ago but I still enjoy his older stuff.

Happy Birthday...Geek Style!

Yesterday was my 45th birthday. Here's the lowdown on the celebration.

Woke up. Opened cards and gifts like it was Christmas morning. I got money (always good) and the new King Kong DVD. (Thanks baby)

Went to church. Found out about the whole Super Bowl/church fiasco. Class was about sloth/acedia. Kicked my usual.

Laid in a supply at the Chinese buffet. Good stuff.

Went to the Science Fiction Museum at Seattle Center. I thought it might be rinky-dink but they have quite an impressive collection of stuff. Geek drool gathered at the corners of my mouth as I laid eyes on the Loader/Alien Queen from the movie Aliens. We saw tons of cool stuff and will go back for sure. If you're ever in Seattle and are a sci-fi geek, you must go.

Went to Half-Price Books and found a few things. I basically went there to satisfy my birthday shopping jones so I could get more bang for my buck.

Came home, got a free pizza from Stacia's and watched Damien: Omen II. (My wife has been curious about those movies so we're watching them)

It was a good day. Perhaps next year my birthday won't be on Super Bowl Sunday and we'll know more people so we can have a party. But not at church.
That would be illegal.

Separation of Church and Football?

Did you hear about this? The NFL has prohibited churches from having Super Bowl parties. Geez. Am I off my nut or does this seem a bit odd?
My involvement with the story begins in church on Sunday. Our pastor got up and began to outline the events as they unfolded. I thought he was kidding. Turns out he was not. In the end, our church decided to have the party but were doing their level best to stay within the guidelines provided. I can't forget how defeated our pastor looked though. He looked as though he had been betrayed by a friend. And I suppose this isn't a bad analogy. For people of faith who are and have been sports fans for years and years, it is a devastating blow.
If the NFL was smart, they would change the rules to include churches and do some kind of fence mending to repair their tarnished image. If church people were smart (and had the discipline to do so) they would boycott the NFL and not watch any games until the NFL decides to, so to speak, play ball.
I do not enjoy watching sports but, alas, many folks love sports so much (to the point of it being idolatry) that they could never give up watching. My dad, however, (pending a report from me about what actually happened) said that he would never watch the Super Bowl again. My dad loves football but he means what he says. And besides, he still has the college games.
In honor of my dad, Go Gators!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

Friday, February 02, 2007


The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa by Michael Kimmelman
"The idea behind The Accidental Masterpiece," writes chief art critic for the New York Times Michael Kimmelman, "is that art provides us with clues about how to live our own lives more fully...about how creating, collecting and even just appreciating art can make living a daily masterpiece. The Accidental Masterpiece encourages us to live life with eyes wide open, because the drive to live life more alertly is instinctive, and whether you are an artist by trade or by desire, the art of seeing well is one that can be learned.
You don't have to be an artist to experience art's truths and consolations because art is not just created, it is also discovered. Kimmelman contends that art can be found almost anywhere and everywhere, if only our eyes are trained to see it. Many of us have not yet learned how to recognize the art in our own lives - to do so is something of an art itself. The Accidental Masterpiece shows us the way, pointing out art's special power to transcend the moment and dissolve time by connecting us with what we cherish and deem longer lasting than outselves."*

I can't add too much to what's already been said. This is an excellent book written with incredible insight and clarity. I enjoyed it immensely. It has reawakened in me the desire to really "see" with the eyes of an artist and to live a life just brimming with art. If art is a passion of yours, you should read this book.

*Source: The Accidental Masterpiece by Michael Kimmelman

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Booklist (Audio)

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
"Harry Dresden's faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you're the only professional wizard in the Chicago area phone book.
But in all Harry's years of supernatural sleuthing, he's never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble — and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone — or something — is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc.
But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself."*
Grave Peril is the third book in The Dresden Files series. It chronicles the adventures of Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard who advertises in the Chicago Yellow Pages. In light of the recent debut of the TV show on the SciFi Channel, I thought I would re-read these books. I found this one in audiobook form at the library so I thought I would give it a go. I've never listened to an audiobook before. I didn't think I would enjoy the experience but I did. I think I will be doing this audiobook thing alot more.
Anyway, I can't say enough good about this series. I picked up the first book on a lark one day and I have been a faithful follower ever since. There are 8 books out with the 9th on the way very soon. I don't have high hopes for the TV show. I saw one episode and it was weak. Maybe it will get better...who knows. Anyway, don't base your desire to read the books on the show. Get the books and read them for yourself. They're so much fun!


Eye Freshener

"Children dawdle to look at what adults hurry past. They take time because they have time. They see the world through fresh eyes. Maybe this is why artists who push us to look more carefully at simple things may also strike a slightly melancholic note. They remind us of a childlike condition or wonderment that we abandoned once we became adults and that we need art to highlight occasionally, if only to recall for us what we have given up."*

Source: The Accidental Masterpiece by Michael Kimmelman