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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mountain Harvest Concert

A bunch of churches on the mountain got together and put together a concert and outreach this past Sunday at Center Stage in the Lake Arrowhead Village. It featured some local talent and the incredible blues harp (harmonica) player Darrell Mansfield, who is also the Blues Hall of Fame Ambassador to California (who knew?). I was actually supposed to lead a group in it, but through a maze of complications and extenuating circumstances I couldn't do it. Maybe next time...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Simple Pleasures & Feats of Skill

We decided to head out to Big Bear on a whim this afternoon because we’ve been getting a bit stir crazy laying around sick. We made it just in time for the movie “Night at the Museum 2” which is a fun kid flick. After the movie we headed over to a park where the boys got to let loose, and where we took the video footage. Ah, the simple pleasures of life…it’s great to live in the mountains on days like this.

On to the feats of skill. Strangely, both of my boys have learned a fear of monkey bars due to the structure at our church being so high off the ground. A month or so ago, I really wanted the boys—particularly Aaron—to get over this fear (Sammy still has the age excuse). After trying to encourage Aaron in various ways, I was about to give up when I struck gold—or greenbacks, that is. I offered Aaron a dollar if he could get from one end to the other. Not only did he do this, but he soon traversed an impressive “triple section” monkey bars. The best dollar I ever spent! I didn’t get footage that day, but you can see Aaron’s abilities from today on bars (and trees). Sammy demonstrates more of his usual friend-magnet skills and all-around wonder boy charm.

Speaking of feats of skill, I was three for three throwing chocolate chips into the mouths of Elisa and Sammy across the table at IHOP, where we ate tonight. Surprised everybody including myself, although there was no one else there to witness it. Have you ever eaten in a restaurant where you were the only people there? A nice treat with pampered service and no cause for embarrassment. Ah, the simple pleasures of life…

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tae Kwon Do with Mr. Moss

Aaron and Sammy have been doing Tae Kwon Do with Mr. Moss (Robert Moss) on Friday for about three months now. The boys are "best bubs," so I'm not too worried about how things may escalate between them in future years with the skills they are acquiring.

Mr. Moss and I have discussed a guitar-lessons-for-tae-kwon-do-lessons arrangement so I can learn privately. Until then I'll have to stick with my usual "Scottish martial arts" (mostly head-butting and kicking 'em when they're down).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad and Sammy

We had a little shindig for my dad and Sammy's birthdays (they share the same birthday) plus my mom's too, which was earlier in the week on May 18. The party was held at my dad's condo's pool clubhouse. We were supposed to have some live music as well as jukebox music pumped in via laptop but the local wi-fi was mostly inaccessible. So it ended up being almost all live music in the form of me singing and strumming with miscellaneous party-goers joining in on the guest mic. So with the ailing wi-fi making me hurry to provide the music, I did not delegate anyone to take any pictures or video (duh!) despite the fact that I had both types of cameras. All we ended up with was two poorly taken pictures taken just before the party disbanded, one blurry, and the other one clear but with some people's eyes closed or not looking. J.B. Skogstrom and Laura Goglia came by, as well as our former neighbor from Spruce Street, Kathy Nguyen-Walker. Also a call from Mike Magana blessed my dad. A nice time.

Back Row L-R: Mike Sharret, my dad's friend Dixon, Nancy, Dad, Kerry, Carl, Mike, Sharon(Mom), David, David's wife Carrie. Front Row L-R: Aaron, Elisa, Sammy, Blaine, David's daughters Shaylin, Savannah, and Sascha.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fishing with Uncle Steve - Using Guns

When Elisa's brother Steve makes a promise to the boys, he keeps it. He was supposed to have come up a week or two earlier to take the boys fishing, but was stopped due to work. So I'm sitting in my studio giving lessons on Wednesday afternoon and what do I see but the roof of Steve's vintage BMW drive by. A great surprise--in all the daily rush we'd forgotten he was coming.

These pictures show the boys having a good time fishing the next day with Uncle Steve at nearby Lake Gregory (although they had better luck at Lake Arrowhead and Grass Valley Lake the previous day). Steve is a true fisherman, unlike "Cheetos for bait" Daddy.

Elisa took the photos. All I had to do was compile them into a short video and add music. I don't have to own the copyright to put an improvised acoustic rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" on the video, do I?

Oh, there aren't really any guns involved. I just thought more people would watch the video than if they just saw plain old "fishing" in the title.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Legoland and Sea Life Aquarium

For my mom's birthday (and an early birthday present for Sammy), we went to Legoland. My brother Michael was out from Texas for the first time in about three years, so that was a nice addition that he came with us. Legoland is fun, particularly for kids say 12 and under. Or if you really like Legos, which can build a surprising array of objects. There are actually a few good rides, but the big surprise was the Sea Life Aquarium they have there (extra $$$). I've been to more than a few aquariums over the years and this one is up there. Here's the gist of the day.

In case you're wondering, I did do the music--just a quick guitar jam for the action and then some synth ambiance for the aquarium, all on the fly (so nothing to brag about). Anyhow, I've been getting copyright infringement notices on other videos where I used other people's recordings, and they've threatened to close my account. You'd think they'd consider it a privilege to have their songs on our amazing videos, geez!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sammy and the Spin Cycle Vibrations

What do you think of this name for Sammy's band--Sammy and the Spin Cycle Vibrations. Got kind of a literal and surf thing to it, in keeping with one of Sammy's pastimes. I finally caught him on tape and decided to put some guitar to the mechanical beat--what I hope to be his breakthrough video (you never know these days!).

Hmm, or do you think maybe we should go for a more "speed metal" concept or maybe something "industrial"? Any better ideas for the band name? =)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This one goes out to all the moms out there. Today at church "me and the boys" did a special number to a Steven Curtis Chapman song called "One Little Heartbeat at a Time". I was in charge of singing and playing it and the boys were in charge of doing the interpretive hand motions. Elisa's job (and all the other mom's) was to sit back, smile, laugh, and cry.

We tried to have it videotaped, but due to technical difficulties, it didn't quite stick. So I've included here a video with the songsheet with the hand motions written on it, and Chapman's studio version of the song. You can read the "hand motions" at the right of the lyrics to get an idea of what the boys did. Or just enjoy the song.

May this speak to your heart, moms. Have a blessed Mother's Day!