Monday, June 30, 2008

NPR & Air Guitar-REALLY?

I was driving home from work last week and cut in on an interview on NPR about the World Championships for Air Guitar.What?? REALLY?? NPR and Air Guitar in the same sentence? Well, rock my world! The dude that was being interviewed(didn't catch his name b/c I was still in shock over the fact that NPR was doing a story about AIR GUITAR) was apparently some big-wig of air guitaring and was going on and on about how it was an art form-yada,yada,yada! Note to self: check this out on the internet when you have absolutely nothing else to do! Well, my friends, that happened early this morning! It is flaberghasting what a person can encounter on the Information Super Highway, if you have a few moments to spare!
Here's what I found out. Both Wikipedia and Uncyclopedia have extensive entries for air guitar. I found 3,760,000 results on a Google search! There are air guitar Tshirts for sale, an official air guitar magazine, blogs on both MySpace and Facebook, Rolling Stone Magazine is considering a full-length feature all about air guitar, there's a movie called Air Guitar Nation, there are books and dvds teaching the finer points of air guitaring, there's Air Guitar- The Musical, there's a toy inspired by air guitar called Guitar Hero Air Guitar Rocker, someone's doing their doctoral thesis on air guitar-specifically why more women don't do it! Some brilliant soul even has an air guitar for sale on eBay for $5,000 that was "once owned and played by JFK"! NO WAY...WAY!

Here's the rest of the 4-1-1 on air guitar. The first recorded performances began as early as 1957 when Bill Reed of The Diamonds did an air guitar routine along with the song, Words of Love. Joe Cocker did some air guitaring at Woodstock to the song, With a Little Help From My Friends. Air guitar really got slammin' in the 1970's when the band Iron Maiden was performing. According to the band, people would bring wood and cardboard cut-out guitars and "play along". The people in the audience who hadn't thought to bring the cut-outs just played along on air-from then on air guitar spread like wild fire! Admit it-even YOU have done it! Yes, even I have done it...

There are World and US Championships for this, along with hosts of local contests around the globe! The world and national competitions even have a very specific set of rules and are judged with a 4.0-6.0 rating scale just like figure skating! 17 countries participate in this network. The rating scale is based on three elements: Technical Merit, which has to do with how accurate and true-to-life the strumming, chords, picking, runs, etc. are to the real thing. Stage Presence means whether or not the judges feel the air guitarist has rock star quality and presentation. Finally, the third element seems like the toughest to pin down. Airness is the quality of the artistry with which the air guitaring is done. This is considered to be the dance and flow element of the performance. VH1 recently sponsored an online air guitar contest called, "Air to the Throne", where contestants would send in their air guitar videos to be judged by celebrity judges for REAL prizes. According to the Internet sources I viewed, this form of expression, air guitar, is popping up in all the venues which were once reserved for karaoke. Now it's called airaoke!

Who'd a thunk it!

Now you know.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The ONE FUN Rule

This place has a lot of potential...but nobody's home most of the time-so mother nature takes over!

This weekend was supposed to be all about taming the wild jungle called My Yard and spending Sunday at the beach with Jayden! However, the off-and-on thunderstorms made it not so conducive to weed spraying and yard work. Plus, there's nothing quite as frustrating as getting your umbrella, beach blankets, sand toys, cooler, etc. all settled at the beach and then it starts to rain! So all of that will have to the meantime, I have a One Fun Rule in place for every weekend.
Believe it or not, yard work is actually fun for me and I was looking forward to having a less ugly mess in my front yard BUT what I ended up doing was pretty great. Hey, what about those huge weeds! I bet if there were a contest for the biggest yard weeds I could at least make the semi-finals with these beauties!

Back to the One Fun Rule.
This is my fail-safe. I would never dare violate it! The rule says that I must do at least one fun thing every weekend. I adhere strictly to this principle because I work 60-70 hours per week and go to graduate school full time. Without the One Fun Rule I could get way too unbalanced...all work and no play. So, for this weekend, I made the best of plans that fell through. . .The weeds can wait!
Here's Jayden getting some attention from Auntie Courtney. She's pretty AND fun-what a combo!

Here's Jayden with his beloved "Unka" Trevor.
First thing this morning, I played a little Horse Bingo. It's just like slug-a-bug only with horses. Here are all the lovely equines I met on my way to church this morning:

I know I'm obsessed but aren't they the most beautiful creatures?

Jayden and I went to church. When we got there, not enough parents were available to help with the 2's and 3's so Granny stepped in. We played with the trucks and cars, built stuff with legos, played with lil people farm sets and kitchen stuff. The story was about Daniel in the lions den and how God kept Daniel safe even when he was surrounded by hungry lions and how God can take care of us even in the most extreme of circumstances-He keeps us safe, gives us courage and support when we need it most! We had a little music, then coloring of course, and the grand finale-juice and teddy grahams-YUMO!
Tyler joined us at Red Robin for lunch. More coloring, a balloon, and the dankest burgers around!

Then off to Huizenga Park...We took all the stale bread in the house there to feed the ducks and geese. Jayden was a bit intimidated by all of the ducks and geese coming onshore for the bread. He kept asking, "bite?" and clinging to our legs. Funny thing is, last time we did it he wasn't afraid at all. I think at his age fear of things comes and goes. There's a lot of funny little stages kids go through. It reminds me of when my boys were little and they loved to go to Clackamette Park in Oregon City by my parent's house and feed the ducks. It didn't matter if we got there at 10 at night or 5 in the morning, they would always ask to feed the ducks.
Ahhhh, the magic of Play-doh!

Followed by a round of bubblemania...

Jayden's a cheap date. All of this for about $3.00. The best things in life might not be free but at least they are reasonably priced! The amount of joy he gets out of all these simple things is priceless as is the joy we feel at watching him and doing these things with him. There's nothing like a little kid to make you feel young and full of wonder. It's getting in touch with that inner child once again.

Topped off with a romp through Timbertown:

The many moods of Jayden Glazek.

Mission accomplished! One Fun Rule intact!
Bye, bye!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

HAY, Hay, hay!

Not Fat Albert but BIG, FAT hay rolls!

I look out my back door and see the first cutting of hay for the season. There's hay like this in all the surrounding fields. There's always something to notice and admire when you live in the country. I saw a doe running through the neighbor's field right before I snapped this shot!

I let the dogs out and they race to investigate. Gunther gives it the sniff test...then up goes the leg!

I look at my barn and dream of the day when it will be finished inside- with seven beautiful stalls- and my own horses inside- with a lovely white fence around my pasture- and all this hay will be for them instead of the neighbors cows!

Hay rolls also mean that summer is slipping away-enjoy it while you can-make the most of every moment. We know that in less than 6 months the snow will return...but for now, it's perfect!

This is what I wake up to every day. I feel so blessed! Yeah, sometimes I forget to focus on what I have instead of what is missing. I start thinking about how out of control the yard is and how much work it is to keep this all up and how many things need fixing and cleaning and redoing in the house...but really, I love it here. It's peaceful and quiet and there are always birds and animals, ducks in the ponds and geese touching down in the fall. There are gardens and flowers and people riding bikes and horses. I see deer out here almost daily and beavers and nutria, possums, and porcupines, raccoons, foxes and of course, the ever-popular stink bombs, the skunks! There's a group of wild turkeys that live down the road. I love to see Gunther and Patches running through the field. They chase birds and bunnies and each other. Sometimes they're sooo naughty and don't come back when I call! Especially when I have to leave for work! You can see that they are in the height of their glory! Jayden comes to visit Granny and we have a place to blow bubbles and hang-out. We do pop-its and sparklers and playdoh outside. The boys like to grill most every night in the summer. We often have a bonfire in the pit out back.Things could always be better, I guess. But things are really pretty good. I am very grateful for my life, as it is, in this moment.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Ooops, he did it again~The poor old goof, Don Imus,  is once again in the soup! He's doing a frantic song and dance in an effort to not step in his own doo-doo! Don, honey, it's called "shut the gaping hole in the front of your face!" But what a tough lesson that is to learn for some of us! I'm right in there, too...

I can't go completely off on him though because I can identify with his pain on some level. My mouth gets me in more trouble than anything else! I'm a verbal processor. Sometimes I analyze things best by talking them through. In the process of arriving at my final destination, I often say the most asinine things...but USUALLY it's at my own expense-looking dumb, looking foolish-instead of insulting someone else. Offending others happens, too, at times, and when it does, it's usually the byproduct of engaging the mouth ahead of the brain! Ya' just don't think!  But I can see how things like this happen. You get going on what you think is a funny line of banter, everything is going great, and then you go just a bit too far. You make that comment and it gets taken wrong. It gets blown up all out of proportion.It rubs people the wrong way. It flies all over them! This can happen to anyone. I'm sure it has even happened to you. I know I've done it...more than a day! And sometimes I feel like no matter what I say after that it's just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! I wonder if ol' Don can relate to that?

 But is that what really happened? Did Don Imus really mean to express that he believes a lot of African Americans are racially profiled unfairly by law enforcement? Or was he trying to say that Blacks are the ones out there committing most of the crimes? He claims the former but is being accused of the later. Which is true? It's hard to discern just what anyone of us truly intends. Then again, according to Dr. Phil, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Don Imus does have a bit of a pattern going, it seems...

This happens with bold people, people who speak out, people who are in the white-hot spotlight. They get penalized for being honest, expressing themselves, or just being themselves!  We create a niche for them. We provide the audience and the platform. We give them a venue. Then when they give us what we ask for, they are criticised for it. Just like Howard Stern and others who make their living speaking outrageously, we forget that this is what we've come to expect and they are just delivering the goods. Negativity, sadly to say, sells!

There's something to be said for freedom of speech. I'm all for it! But with that comes the likelihood that you're not gonna like everything that gets thrown into the arena.

 There's also something to be said for good taste.

Which is definitely missing at times...but, hey, you have to admit that sometimes distasteful stuff also has a humorous twinge. Admit it, you DO laugh at some of this stuff!Then you get all righteous and outraged. I know because I do that too. We all do. It all depends on your tolerance for such things and how seriously you take what people say and do. When we really look at the life-and-death seriousness of things IT DOES MATTER:

Not to downplay a person's responsibility to be accountable for their speaking. When you flub up, the best thing to do is own it and take complete and total responsibility for it-including the consequences. Easy to say. Harder to do. 
How do we sort this all out?
I can relate. I am a bold person. I speak out. I express myself. Sometimes I get caught in a crapstorm of my own making because of it! But that's part of what makes me, me. I wear my heart on my sleeve.  There are good things about it,too! There's a lot of honest communication in my life. There's sharing that goes on because I'm not afraid to be open or to ask others questions-I hope respectfully-so that there can be communication and relationship. The Bible talks a lot about controlling the tongue. We are wise to shut off the flow and consider our words with care. We are admonished to say only what is edifying for others to hear. That's a tall order! Not all of us are wired that way. Not 24/7 anyway. It's a learning curve. Some of it comes with age and maturity. I guessDon better bust a move on that one then! Some of it comes from the realization that people don't usually change a behavior or thought pattern because of what we say-we all arrive via our own process and path. You get it when you get it.That path can be full of potholes! Two steps forward, one step back sorta thing...

So, I have some compassion for Don Imus because I know I've been guilty of the same thing: Saying some thing I regret! Sometimes you just get sick all over. You wish like crazy that you could just take it back-reel it all back in. But once the bell has been rung it can't be unrung.
I remember seeing Don Imus in an interview during his apology phase after the Rutgers incident. He looked like a little whipped puppy! That was a broken man. He was sick inside himself. I really do believe he was sorry.

But then he did sorta stir the pot again when he sued for wrongful dismissal...
then was awarded a whole lotta coin...
stuff like that makes the waters muddy when it comes to reaching a total conclusion about the guy. I'll need to ponder this further. I'm not ready to lock him securely in a box just yet. Think I'll allow him some space to show up differently in the future-some people do get those AHA! moments and make corrections...let's be optimistic!

I guess what I want to say about Don Imus is that I realize he's no better or worse than the rest of us. I know that Don and his wife are very involved in many charity concerns. He does do some good stuff too and deserves to have the public be aware of that side as well. On occasion, Don Imus actually has some good points and some worthwhile things to say. We all have a pleasing side and a side that's not so pretty. We all have a little black spot somewhere deep in our heart-of-hearts. We're a contradictory mix. Lots of polarity in us. Not all good, not all bad. We ALL show our butts now and then. Words get away from us. They take on a life of their own-sometimes in a direction we could never have anticipated!When that happens to us, we want people to cut us a little slack, show a little compassion. But we are all responsible to some degree for how we occur in the world to others also-how we show up.  There's a balance there. Before we get too far out on the skinny limb, we'd all do well to consider it. That's the issue we all need to look at...including Don "I'm-a-mess" Imus!
Maybe we should all consider taking this advice more often: 

Whatcha think? 

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