Monday, March 30, 2009

New Piano Video

I am excited to announce a new video which features a crafty combination of original photography and my song "You Will Soar".

So as to preserve the beauty and majesty of the video, no pictures of the artist were included. Only pictures by the artist. You're welcome.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

School Dance Festival

Every year the elementary school holds a Dance Festival at the high school. Every grade dances to a different song. I believe this event is primarily a gage of how much parents love their children. Only pure love would cause rational adults to cram elbow to elbow inside a hot, sweaty gym with every other resident of the city, and every resident's extended family. Can you say "Fire Code Violation"? You essentially leave feeling like you've had way, way to many sweaty, moist people inside your personal bubble.

The highlight each year is the kindergartners who dance to a song called "Baby Eagles". Then, the last few minutes of the song each child picks up a strategically placed hula hoop and they hula like pros. It is, without a doubt, the most adorable thing you will ever experience. You suddenly don't feel so bad for having four other people sitting on your lap for an hour.

Here is a video of Danica singing the song Baby Eagles along with the actions. Aside from the lack of cute costumes and hula hoops, this is also highly adorable. And you don't have to feel violated to see it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New (to me) Music

I have been able to get my hands on some great music lately. Among my recent finds:

Mat Kearney – Nothing Left To Lose. Mat has had a handful of songs get some radio time, but his best music hasn’t found it’s way to most ears. I don’t like all the songs on the album, but the good songs are stunning. Check out “In The Middle”, the heart-wrenching “What’s A Boy To Do”, or my favorite “All I Need.”

Mika – Life In Cartoon Motion. I’ve listened to this CD more than any other over the past month. Each song is catchy, energetic, fun, and unique. This has also been the most requested CD by the youngsters. I’m good with that. Mika’s style is a little 80’s, a little pop, a lot quirky, and an ample mix of falsetto. Chock full of great tunes to run to. I like "Happy Ending" and "Love Today."

Taylor Swift – Fearless. This may be the first time I’ve ever agreed with 15 year old girls about what music is good. Don’t count on it happening again. Taylor’s cute, and has a pretty good voice, but her writing (both lyrics and music) is far, far beyond her 19 years. There is actually some very mature music here. The kids love this CD also.

Ryan Adams – Cardinology. The closest comparison I can think of for Ryan is Bob Dylan, but I like Ryan A LOT more. It seems like the beginning of songs on Cardinology start a little bland, but then you reach the chorus and get slapped with some of the best music in years. Take “Go Easy”, “Cobwebs”, or “Let Us Down Easy” (my fav) for example. Fans of old-school singer/songwriters will definitely like this one.

OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud. This is the best album I’ve heard in years, hands down. There is a varied style of music along the lines of Coldplay, including some faster tempo songs as well as some slower ones. I can’t say enough good about this album. It’s probably one of my top ten favorites ever. Check out “All We Are” or “Prodigal”.

If you live nearby, I’d be happy to loan you any of these to listen to. You’ll be glad you did.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Concert

I love to go to concerts….which makes it all the more humiliating to admit the first concert I ever attended:

Michael Bolton. With all his flaming mane of glory. It is both surprising and highly disturbing that there was a time when Bolton was hip and ruled the radio airwaves. Ouch.

Some of the other concerts that I’ve attended in my day were:

George Winston – piano virtuoso
Marc Cohn – We attended this concert with friends Paul & Lynnette Cardall. I remember getting goosebumps during the show. It was one of my all-time favorite concerts. We were even able to meet Marc at an after show party.
John Hiatt
Billy Joel
Gin Blossoms

Jackson Browne (solo acoustic) – Mel and I made a road trip up to Washington state to catch a few of his shows.
Steve Perry (Journey)
(3-4 times)
Rascal Flatts
Brooks & Dunn
(Sometimes you have to take one for the team. On my honor I did not Boot Scoot’n Boogie)
Jackson Browne/Bruce Hornsby/Bonnie Raitt/Shawn Colvin – Saw these guys twice at Red Rocks in Colorado and met Jackson backstage at both shows. This was the crown jewel of concert experiences:

Remedy Drive
Depeche Mode

Toad the Wet Sprocket
Neil Diamond (The King Of The Sequins and horrible old-man dancing. Still a great show.)
Josh Groban

What have been your favorite concerts?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

I love baseball, and have been a fan of the Chicago Cubs since my younger days. My friend Paul takes "Cubs Fan" to a new level (obsession). On Wednesday Paul stopped by my house and said he had an extra ticket for the Cubs spring training game in Vegas that night and the next afternoon. In an act of pure spontaneity, I packed up a few hours later and headed for Vegas.

I took Jackson as my traveling companion. In an even greater act of spontaneity, I hoped that I could find a scalper to buy an extra ticket for him. I talked to one guy (who Jackson later said looked "crafty") offer a ticket for $70. I passed on that and later found one for $40.

Everyone around us was pounding beer like they hadn't had anything to drink for seven weeks which helped take our minds off the fact that it was COLD. We were hungry and I shelled out $14 for nachos, a small cup of popcorn, and a very small drink.

About one hour later I was seriously regretting eating the nachos because I became highly nauseous. I was up all night with a nasty motel garbage can on my lap praying to throw up, but to no avail. I had the fever/chill thing going on and my stomach sounded like I had ingested an angry walrus.
I almost skipped the game the next day because I felt so miserable, but ended up sticking it out. The weather was beautiful and our seats were on a grass hill in right field. The Cubbies lost both games but we still had a great time.

Regrettably I'm still feeling those nachos almost a week later.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Surrogate Dads & Donuts

I had a difficult experience a few days ago at the elementary school. On Wednesday morning I went to the annual Dads & Donuts where teachers serve a scrumptious glazed donut and dads read stories for a few minutes before school starts.

In the kindergarten class I noticed an adorable little girl from our neighborhood who looked like a lost puppy. Knowing that she lives with her single mom, I went over and asked if she wanted to read a story with us. She jumped at the chance. I noticed that she didn't have a donut so I asked if she had already had one and she shook her head.

Then I asked if she liked donuts and she smiled and nodded. I said "Do you want to go get a donut before we read a story?" Her eyes lit up and she got a huge smile on her face. I told her we'd wait until she got back to start the story and she ran to grab a donut. I then realized that she hadn't gotten a donut because she she thought she wasn't allowed to without having a dad there.

As she sat down I heard her quietly say to herself "I don't even have a dad." By this point my heart was broken. I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that everything would be okay. Instead we read a Dr. Seuss book and ate a deep-fried carb bomb.

I haven't been able to get this situation out of my head since this happened two days ago. I'm not much of a crier but this made my eyes water. I'm a fixer - I want to do something to make matters better. I'm at a loss of how to fix this one though, except to pray and turn it over to the ultimate One who can heal broken hearts.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dogs Gone Wild

Our family did a few fun animal-related activities this weekend. The first stop was a dog park in St. George. This is basically the canine equivalent of putting a dozen kindergartners in a bounce house together after getting them all hopped up on Red Bull.

I took my camera and quickly realized that taking pictures of animals is HARD. If you think it’s hard to get a 4 year old to hold still for a second, take a trip to the dog park. Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Following the dog park I took the kids, with loaf of bread in hand, to a place called Grandpa’s Pond to feed the ducks. The youngsters have been begging to do this for months and we had fun. We were there during perfect lighting at sunset and I happened to get this picture as we were leaving: