Random adventures through my life... in all their glory and splendor.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Illin' and Chillin'

So I've been feeling my throat slowly scratching more and swelling shut for about 4 days now. Yesterday was big as I had a seminar to get to, a presentation to give, and worship to lead, so I finally got through that and then slept for 12 hours. Chris was cool with it and called me in, which is good, because I wouldn't have called myself in until about 10, which is a full 2 hours after somebody probably would have noticed my absence.
Little hint though, if you ever find yourself hopped up on cold meds and have to speak into a microphone in front of church folk, try not to improvise any more than you have to. Otherwise you might say something like, "Hey, we didn't pray yet, and isn't that kinda like diving into a pool without your swimming suit?" ... I'm speaking from experience here when I say that it's really hard to create 'an atmosphere of worship' after saying something like that.
Anyway, when stuff like that comes out, I figure it's my body's way of telling me to lie down and watch movies sideways for awhile. Which I did. So I had a little Independent film festival today.

I watched 'Land of the College Prophets' and 'Save the Green Planet.' Neither of which you've heard of. LoCP is absolutely the lowest budget movie I've ever seen. No seriously. Nap Dyn at least had extras. This movie the lead guy wrote/directed/scored/edited/ starred and even played ninja #2. Yes, he was his OWN extra... Ok, I didn't see Blair Witch, so that might have cost less, but seriously, if I read the credits right, his mom did the costumes. BUT all that being said... it's really interesting to see what these guys did with no cash, and apparently a dream to make a movie. To me, that's the fascinating part.

Save the Green Planet is Chinese and not-so coincidentally, completely wacked. I got thrown off by the synopsys on the box, so they get points for not giving away the ending on the cover. I don't want to give too much away, because I know that chances are if you're reading this, you probably like movies with lots of mind games and twists, but here's the basic plot... The crazy main character is trying to stop an alien invasion. He captures a guy that he's convinced is the head alien, but also just happens to be his old boss. So the movie starts pretty innocent and light, but then takes this total Saw-like bender as he starts trying to get a confession and more info out of the alien. Seriously, creepy bath house and all... it's like they borrowed the set or something. Anyway, it starts out as a pretty straight forward, "Is he crazy or not" movie with the typical "when will the cops catch on" subplot, but then it just gets really messed up.

Anyway, if you're up for one of those, bendy 'HUH???' movies, I recommend Save the Green Planet, and don't be fooled by the smiling Chinese people on the cover. If you need a movie that makes you feel like you should be getting off your butt and out making your own movies, rent Land of the College Prophets.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Assuming No wind Resistance or other External Factors...

I've had a great week... I got to hang out with tons of old friends, got guitared, work was mildly satisfying, and despite my best efforts, I'm still alive.

Saturday night, I was heading back into Elgin to Brian's house for game night. In Belvidere, the streets were clear so I figured my chances of getting chased around with a kitana (AGAIN) were pretty low, and worth the risk.
But the drive was a total theater of the absurd experience... I do this drive every weekday, yet on Saturday, all the unwritten codes that commuters follow are thrown out the window. Saturday, you have to stay awake while you're driving because the other road zombies are wisely staying at home while the young, old, and insane are out in force. I guess I fall into the last category...

So I'm not even out of Belvidere and I end up behind a foreigner (Iowa plates) who, though I've never met and don't know their destination, I can tell you that I had a better clue of how to get them where they needed to go than they did. How? Because people from Iowa that end up in Belvidere aren't trying to get to DeKalb. They're looking for the interstate, and that, they were doing poorly. Driving 35 in a 45, creeping up to lights (making me miss the arrow) and picking the wrong lane forcing them to do that creeping merge thing. It's like the car is apologizing... Anyway, I watched the last part in my mirror because I passed them while they were still in the 'This way to DeKalb' lane. So now I'm on the onramp, which has an East/West split about a quarter mile in, and there's some guy sitting in his car at the split with a map in his lap. Which I might add, is past all the signs so it was really going to be a coin toss anyway, no matter how long stared at his map. So instead of trying to fire up to Interstate merging speed, we're all gawking at this guy who should have put an extra 5 seconds of forethought into his trip.

At the tollbooth, was Mr. "I'll stop in the IPass lane until I get the green light" and then at the Marengo exit I ended up between not one, but TWO cars that were driving like they were comparison shopping for the best gas price or something. I don't know, but they did a total Shriner's minicycle maneuver, crisscrossing each other then choosing different directions. Kinda like the Blue Angels except, in super slow motion...

So I'm finally off the interstate and in the clear heading east on 20. The road is a little wet and cold, but nothing I haven't seen before, and so I'm now going the socially acceptable speed of 10 over, but it doesn't matter because there's nobody anywhere near me anyway... Unless you count the two deer that had just cleared the road 20 feet in front of my car.

So yeah, I figure if I had not been 'encumbered' by multiple slow drivers, that probably would have put me significantly closer to those deer. I'm thinking like windshield close, and at that point there was an oncoming car, so swerving probably would have made a bigger mess.

You can interpret this account as you like, but if deer are good for nothing else, they reminded me of my own mortality when I was generally feeling in charge of my own destiny.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Of old friends and male bonding

Sorry I've been kinda quiet this week. I've actually been writing quite a bit and doing stuff with 'The Band' (more on that later) but none of it has ended up in blog. Two of my friends from high school emailed me, thanks to myspace, and I've found myself trying to find things to talk about with people that I haven't seen in 20 years. It was much harder than I thought... trying to find words that were witty, talking about myself without bragging or sounding like a jerk, asking questions that don't pry but aren't totally irrelevant. It's weird. These are people that I knew when I didn't know myself, so I'm assuming that there's alot I don't know about them anymore either. It's not like bumping into someone in line at the store, there's social expectations in that case... or more accurately, a lack of expectations. Email is totally open ended, though. Do you babble? How much do you reciprocate vs. letting them have the last word? I've found myself trying to 'type casually' but it's one of those things where the more you try not to think about it, the more you're aware of every possible nuance of what you're writing. Anyway, it was really cool to hear from them, so if you're reading this, Kudos for initiating! Sounds like things are going well for both, which makes me deeply happy. So like I said, I've been doing some thoughtful writing, just not in this blog.

Meanwhile, I've been hanging out with two guys from work who also have the need to get musically stupid every once and a while. We're really just writing and playing for ourselves, but the difference is that our 'sessions' and I use that term loosely, get recorded so that's kind of a twist. The advantage is that the 'You had to be there' factor is greatly reduced and there's more of a drive (for me anyway) to try and create something of value. The disadvantage is that spontaneous music by it's very nature doesn't pull any punches and can have very targeted subjects or audiences. You sing about what you're feeling at that moment and that doesn't always reflect your true position on a given topic. Nor should it have to...

Music, like any other art, is a journey. Either you're trying to go someplace you haven't been, or your trying to take someone with you. A lot of times you're just exploring, though, and you don't always want your attempts documented. Chris, fairly recently, threw out most of her art from college for that reason. They were explorations into areas of art that didn't end up being her direction. They didn't mean anything to her... they didn't have value because they were assignments or experiments, but not her creative path. Very few pieces still had nostalgic value when she took 'how much time did I spend on this' out of the equasion. I'm just saying that there's a difference between the journey and the destination, but it's the final result that always makes the first impression. People don't care what route you take if they don't like where you've taken them.

Anyway, I love the creative outlet, and I love tapping into that part of me that gets supressed 40 hours a week, especially since the results can be so surprising. I tend to have a moral hangover afterwards, though, and I have to reconcile myself to that somehow.