Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hey people! I set out to write a blog post and then when I finished an entire page of text, I felt like the post wasn't appropriate. Sometime last year my grandfather said that some of what he reads on my blog seems like journal material. Sometimes I post things without thinking them through all of the way, or later on I see the folly of what I'm saying. So instead of posting the rant I was going to, I'll just say "Hi!" and update y'all on what's been going on with me. I am in Florida and a mosquito is flying around my hands. Last night, one was flying around and I caught it, so I caught it. Then, since it didn't appear to have any blood in it, I ate it. Doesn't the Bible say something about having dominion over animals!? It was small anyhow, and I chewed it as best as I could to make sure there were no nematodes still alive in it (which, of course, I think might still be possible. I'm not sure how small they actually are.) Didn't taste like much though. Peter my brother said if we had a bunch of them and ate them all at once you might be able to tell what they taste like. Vincent my other brother says they probably aren't the best thing to catch to try to stay alive in the woods. I would tend to agree ;)


A book came from Paperbackswap.com in our forwarded mail; Occult Invasion by Dave Hunt. It should be interesting. I'm also in the middle of reading Judgment Day, by the same guy. I can't say that I agree with everything he says, but it's very interesting. Most of it consists of what I believe to be sound things. Pagan Invasion was also good. A novel that he wrote was good, but I don't remember the name.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hello friends and occasional readers :) (notice how I worded that?) Just kidding! Even if you don't have time to visit my blog, you still may be a friend. More and more often I'm struck by how unreal the internet is. It's just that - unreal. Unreal in the sense that you aren't necessarily making contact with the real person on the other end. I'm so glad to be unfettered by the internet while we're on the road. Yet I'm so happy to be back to it when we get home. It's kind of nice checking the email once every few days and getting dozens of messages than checking every 5 minutes and not getting anything most of the time.
I haven't been able to keep up with my youtube subscribers (leaving a note to thank them for subscribing) but really, it doesn't matter. I'm glad they enjoy my videos, but youtube can't be my life, and neither can facebook or any other internet thing.


Second, I have some thoughts on music. We're with some good friends here in Texas and they are great musicians. One of their kids picked up the saxaphone two weeks ago and has absolutely blown me away with his playing. It's not even funny! He made 4th in a mandolin contest that is really the big competition (Winfield in Kansas). So anyhow, I've been thinking about music lately. Most of you probably know I used to play trumpet and still do ocasionally, but not as much as I used to. I really did enjoy playing but I just fell out of love with it as I started playing guitar more and more. Now that tendonitis (alternately spelled tendinitis, for those of you who are wondering) has payed me a visit, guitar practice has gone way down. I went from 20 hours a week to 1 or 2 :( It's very saddening in a way, but it's opened another door. It's opened the door for another less hand intensive instrument, such as trumpet.
But on to my point, life is the point. Serving God is the point. Living for Him is the point. Music is a language, but it's just an expression of feeling. Or at least that's what it is ideally in my mind. When you play a scale, you aren't just playing frequencies, you're conveying something. If you play a bunch of random notes that don't sound good, you may not be saying anything, or you may be saying something that's angry or confused. It's like speaking; two people who each speak a different language are THINKING the same thing in abstract thinking, but the way in which they express it are different. In music, life is what there is to convey. As far as lyrics go, people enjoy music that they can identify with. If you sing about feelings which no one has, chances are people won't identify with the music and they won't like it. Sometimes they DO feel the feelings you sing about but they don't realize it till you write it. Then you have brought a feeling in them which was formerly completely without description into clarity, and they identify with that.
Likewise, with instrumental music, you can conjure up feelings that people identify with. You can play a peaceful sounding song and they will identify with peace, and they may further identify it with images of what they consider peace, and this might include abstract or concrete thoughts about their lives. And this has nothing to do with new-agey imagery, it doesn't have to be images.
So the point is not technique, it isn't winning competitions (although that's nice, especially if there's a prize for winning!), it isn't playing a lot of notes, it isn't playing fast, it isn't playing slow, it's just conveying the message. It isn't even playing a particular instrument. I've been sticking with guitar because the point for me hasn't been saying something in the language of music, it's been playing guitar. I want to start to say something with music! Notes only have names because we've come up with a way to organize a perfectly organized system in our heads. It's already organized, it already has form. God created music that way. There's nothing left to do but jump in and explore and learn your way around.
Basically, I feel like I can go play anything and I'll be doing what I want to do. I will (and have) discovered that some instruments are more to my liking than others because it feels more comfortable to express myself on (I feel more comfortable on trumpet than bassoon) but there's no saying whether or not at some point in time bassoon will help me to better express what I want to say. You don't use a 4-wheeler to cross the country and you don't use a plane to visit your neighbor.

So praise God for his wonderful creation, and the way in which He's made us able to understand the little that we do about it. Next time you sit down (or stand) with your instrument, try something new. If you already don't play by ear, trying playing by heart and mind. Think of something and play how that situation feels. It doesn't matter how it sounds at first, you'll get more comfortable with expressing yourself as you go on. You can even take a picture and try to interpret it into music. I tried this with a quilt once and it was fun. I just went around with the different blocks (it was a sampler) and tried to play a musical interpretation of each block. Where there were small pieces I might play a bunch of quick, small notes, or where there was a bold pattern of light and dark squares I might play very softly and then very loudly. It wasn't a song, but it got me to actually play from feeling than by rote, or by reading notes.

We'll be in Alabama on Wednesday I think, then we've got about 2 weeks in Florida. Then in about 5 weeks from now we'll be home, I think. Hasta luego!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Last night at about 9:30 I saw a flash outside and the electricity went out. We all just stopped what we were doing and wondered what was going on. Dad looked outside and pointed out that all of the electricity at the stores around us (including Walmart) had gone out. I said I thought I saw a flash of light and asked if anyone else saw it. Well it happened again, and I saw a big flash and a lot of sparks from one of the power poles. Then we pulled out cameras (dead batteries!) and all watched while 3 or 4 more flashes happened, between which all of the electricity at the stores was going on and off. Then after a few minutes everything turned back on. It was strange seeing the Walmart parking lot totally black with no lights on. Then one by one, the lights turned back on and warmed up to full light. Carol asked this morning at Walmart and they said it happens fairly often because of the wind here, and that they sometimes have to throw out all of their freezer food because they run out of generator!!! It was a little excitement for us all :D I started wondering what it would be like if we lived in a country where there were frequent power outages, or very little electricity. Different, for sure. And dark.

If you haven’t already voted in the primaries, I urge you to get out and do so (unless you’re voting for Huckabee, in which case you can stay home :D) All kidding aside, if you’re not voting for Ron Paul take a serious look at what he’s saying about our country, why he’s running for president, and who he is, and then go vote for him! He made 2nd place in Maine, which is fantastic. If only I had a picture of the signs we have at home (hung from our second story porch so no one will vandalize them), I would post it now.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What, pray tell, do my readers think about switching the Blog of Bonnie J to Generalismo.com? Basically, I've been thinking of coming up with a better way to organize posts (and separate the archives into personal and non-personal) and post all of my ramblings at one location. Generalismo doesn't get updated very often because of the research that I have to do to come up with an interesting post. I'm thinking about it, anyhow...

We're still in South Texas and I made a video for youtube of the leaf cutter ants. I can't upload it because the connection here is so poor. Maybe before we get to Florida I will get a good connection and be able to upload. It was really neat to see them working.

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