Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I went to the Navigator regional conference this past weekend in Atlanta. I skipped it last year since it was right after I'd gotten back from Malaysia. But I went this year, and I didn't have to pay for it, too. Paul Slay set it up somehow... I don't know the details and I'm sure he didn't hurt anyone doing it. If someone did get hurt and they are reading this, I'm sorry! I had a good time! Thanks!!!

I helped out with the music so I was literally singing for my supper. And my board. And my transportation. The first couple of worship sessions, the band consisted of me and Brent on guitar, Kevin on mandolin, Godswill on bongo or whatever that thing is, and Rachel as the female lead. Oh, and Becca on Powerpoint. Then Brent went with the gang one afternoon to check out downtown Atlanta and his car broke down, and it was a Sunday. He had to fix it the next day, and Kevin had to drive him there, and Rachel and Becca had gone home (which they had planned to do) because it was a workday. Godswill was still with us (phew!) and I dragged Lydia into the worship band, and asked Jane Slay to work the powerpoint. A Japanese girl named Sayaka from the University of Alabama volunteered to help too. She was kinda cute, and very talented (she played piano and clarinet the night before... there was a talent show deal) and I admit I enjoyed that she was helping us.

I couldn't hear Sayaka sing during worship, though, which was a pity. I couldn't hear the crowd either for that matter... it's not that they weren't singing loud, it's just that I sing loud too and I'm also stone deaf. The worship session turned out well enough, since they clapped when we were done... I take it that means they got something out of it. It's happened at YAMs before, too, and since I was raised Catholic, it always struck me as strange that you would clap after worship. But that's just me. Brent and Kevin were back in time for the final worship session later that morning, and all was good then. We ended on a slow, mellow note, which automatically excludes any sort of clapping that Catholics may find unnerving.

There were some very good talks given by wise folks past the age of 40. Nate and Abu are two I'll mention just so I won't forget their names. Abu is actually Singaporean, and I got to hear, as I was sitting at the table for lunch on Sunday with him, an alternate version of why Singapore secceded from the Malayan Union that is not found in our Malaysian history books. He also had several things to say about living and principles (and I'm just going to be vague like that) which I hope I can truly take to heart.

So that was the Nav conference... now I still haven't blogged about Dayton. I think what I'll do is do a segmented feature-like deal, and just show a photo or two at a time from my time there.

Dayton Pt 1

Matt and Gretchen, the son and daughter-in-law of my hosts, my good friends, and very photogenic people in general.

The Forsthyes in Tom Forsythe's backyard. Tom is Matt's father's father. He's in that picture somewhere. So is Matt's father's mother, mother's father, and mother's mother, sister, sister, father, and mother.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Well ok I lied. I'll talk about Dayton later.

Screenshots that make you go "Hmm":

This is where I go to for late-breaking news?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Well it's been a while since I've said anything substantial here. I guess I should mention that Brent and Marci are getting married. Yay! There was little doubt about that before, but what's different now is Marci actually has a ring to show for it. Brent played a pretty mean joke with that ring the other day... we were at Marci's place and she had taken the ring off to wash dishes (we'd just had dinner), and then she realises it isn't there anymore. I'm the kitchen when she starts looking so I start looking too. Of course, we're hoping it didn't fall in the sink, and Marci sounds really worried. Eventually Brent owns up and says he took it. Ha ha. He's funny sometimes, the way lit firecrackers in your pants are funny.

Now, my trip to Chicago... hmm, where to start. It's been a while so my memory of the exact chronology of events is a little fuzzy. I've got pictures in order though, so maybe I can reconstruct, very roughly, the events that transpired while I was there.

Well this was the first picture I had so it must have happened right after I got there, which was a couple of days before Christmas, as I recall. That's Chun Liang, of course, who must have been so horrified to see me he made like an ostrich and buried his head under a table in the pc lab at the music dapartment of his university. Huh.

Well it looks like he finally came to terms with the fact that I was really there and he'd have to put up with me for the next three days or so, came out from under the table, and started pointing at me. Maybe he was saying things like "Look, it's Bernerd".

Ah, this I remember. He called it the Harry Potter staircase, because it goes nowhere. That's an exxageration, of course, but note that in order to get to the hall in the background of the picture from where we were, you had to go down the stairs then up the stairs again.

This is the studio where we made the mp3s I posted earlier. It had a bunch of equipment I knew nothing about and a Macintosh. It was one of those new cool Macs, and he used something called Logic Platinum to do the recording and mixing. The big grey room behind the Mac is where the action takes place. It's semi-sound proof so that people outside don't have to put up with your singing if they don't want to.

These must have been a couple of dogs who were sitting outside while we were recording in the studio. Dogs have really good hearing, so they probably heard everything through the soundproof walls. They do look fairly stunned, as in "What was that awful wailing? Put that animal out of it's misery, for goodness' sake!" stunned.

"Hear! Hear!" said the Christmas Tree in CCL's apartment building lobby in response. At least I think that's what it said. I don't remember what the dogs thought about that. What was this picture doing in my camera?

"Today's show was brought to you by the letters Kappa, Gamma, and the number 701". I guess after the recording at the studio was all done, CCL took it upon himself to explain to me how Sesame Street jumped the shark back in the 90s.

... After which I must have decided to take a pee. Note how there are no working lights in this bathroom except for the little desk light that CCL propped up on the towel rack. Such squalid living conditions!

"... and the number 205 too." CCL wasn't quite done, apparently. Sigh, bring back the old Sesame Street! Kill Elmo!!!!!

And then suddenly, all these people showed up and said "Let's all be in a picture!" What the!!! They even invited us into their house and everything. People in big cities sure are strange. I was pretty shocked by all this weirdness of course; note the glazed look in my eyes.

Aah... one last picture in the studio, this time with the "mood lighting" on. That's really what CCL called it. He said it helps some people perform better. I think it just makes the place look dark and kinda shady, but we used it anyway. Whatever placebo works for them.

Then I must have said bye, or something, because that's the last picture I have. Anyway, it was tons of fun hanging out with CCL, though I did catch a cold the day after I got there. It wasn't very smart trying to sing when I knew I would be getting a sore throat real soon, but hey, I wasn't get that opportunity again anytime soon. I might try to visit CCL again before he graduates, and then maybe we can get some really respectable recordings done. This Christmas maybe? I might bring a diary too next time, so I don't have to rely on pictures and my swiss cheese memory to piece events together.

Next: Dayton, Ohio

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I haven't died... yet. I just haven't been sitting in front of an internet connection very often recently. I still haven't blogged about my trip to Chicago... I'll do that next time. Meanwhile I'm busy looking for a job, calling people up and being a nuisance. I actually have an offer for a temporary software testing job with Phillips here in Knoxville, but it starts on Monday and my OPT card isn't here yet, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to take it... I'm thinking not. Sigh... what else is new.