I found this guy on You Tube today. I nearly started to weep after just one minute of watching and listening to him.
Has anyone heard of him before?
I immediately oredered his CD from his website.
He makes me want to take more lessons.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Today, all six of us drove into the city and had eye examinations. I have recently been invited into the privileged group of the insured. There are all sorts of wonderful things awaiting the members at a mere 20% of the price offered to mortals.
After all the Christmas feasting has subsided, I think I'll need a reduction of some other kind.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I've been noticing for the last few years that I have a budding artist in the family in my daughter Jane. I decided that one of the best gifts I could give her this year would be motivation and recognition. Joyce keeps telling me that what she really wants the most from me is approval. Well, Jane...I approve and here's your own avenue of inspiration.
I wish you a long and colourful life filled with rich hues, multi-mediums, and warm textures.
Merry Christmas, Jane.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Normally, on any other given day, she usually has a frown for me if I stand in the kitchen and open a can of suds before all the daycare kids have gone. I'll sometimes stand around for an hour and finish off a couple before all the little darlings (aka: snot-encrusted beggers) have gone.
This day, the long-awaited holy day, after seeing my approach on the driveway, Joyce bounds to the refrigerater, and with one gigantic leap, crosses the ten metres from the fridge to the back entrance, and places an exceptionally frosted one in my deserving hand. I say deserving only because it is a hand that is ready to share.
Before I am ready to actually grasp the drink, I must first put down a familiar load. Joyce is well-aquainted with this burden. It's the anticipated weight of the season.
Joyce removes the yoke, and bears my yuletide burden yet again. Gratefully I sigh, and receive her offer of liquid refreshment...nourishment.
As I sit back and renew my strength, Joyce is busy attacking the burden which has so plagued me this day. By the time my anxiety has all but vanished, she has disassembled, evaluated, and categorized my lot into a fairly managable sum.
And it always adds up the same: White + Dark + Milk + With Nuts = Fat Ass
Monday, December 18, 2006
I would really like to post something especially nice about my children's Sunday School Christmas program. I really would. But I don't know if I can.
No, it's not that I don't think that the performances were poor, the lighting was bad, or there was loud feedback right when it was Jane's turn to sing a solo. I think it's quite a bit deeper than that. And by deeper, I don't mean that I am thinking on a higher level of intelligence than anyone else. What I am saying is that, just like the tired concept of groups calling door to door or on the phone to collect for local charities, the insistance on the subjecting an entire group of 100 hot, itchy and sleepy children to sit through and present an hour long program at Christmas time, is tired. Notice I didn't say stupid, or rediculous, or idiotic. I said tired. The concept of going to the community to ask for help by contributing food and clothes is a great idea, but have you noticed how tired people have become of the same old thing every giving season? The collection hampers are less full than they ever have been and the ones doing the collecting have to come up with newer ideas to stimulate giving every year.
Most of the kids are bored and completely tired of these programs, except the ones who are prominantly featured. The writers of these productions do their best to keep to the original text and yet bring the story home with a relevant focus. Like how the baby Jesus would like a lame soccer player as much as a star. Or how the angels had just as much personality as the wise men or shepherds. Or making Myrrh as important as Gold.
I'm not really sure what my point is. I'm ranting...you're right. When people are tired, they rant.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
My mind is telling the body that a little more effort is required to maintain that youthful appearance. The financial advisor is advising more financial responsibility if I ever hope to achieve Arizona status. The literacy team suggests greater compliance with the new incentives so that we can have more accurate records to store away in files so that we can say that we have files stored away. And the church, well...there's always the church.
I've never been the kind of person to put much stock into making New Year's resolutions. But I feel the need to make some sort of commitment as I pass from the third to the fourth decade of my life. It's a bit of an itch that needs attention. If I scratch too hard...
Have you ever had this rash?
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
It was the early seventies when I developed a curiosity for things that were typically taboo around home like swearing, nudey magazines, smoking, and parting my feathered hair down the middle. Afterall, Darryl, Edwin, Alvin, and Kelvin were all doing it, why shouldn't I?
Autumn was a time when young lads could easily find themselves tempted to be boys. The rotting leftover garden produce was a tempting harvest for the late evening. We would wait in the shadows alongside highway 32, waiting for unsuspecting travellers whom we could pelt with what we gleaned from our neighbour's backyards. It was always more exciting when they would screach to a halt, turn around, swerving from gravelled shoulder to gravelled shoulder, and begin the chase. We would run like the devil, thinking that we would be killed if caught. We never did end up dying.
Harvest time was usually better for hanging out late. At least it felt like it was late because it would get dark sooner. The harvest moons made the evenings seem mysterious. Late harvest was always a little better. Late harvest meant corn harvesting time. This was the time that the little tufts of hair protruding out from the tops of the ears of corn would be nice and sugary brown and thoroughly dried out. I'm not sure who was the first one to figure this out, but someone decided to take some of this prairie weed, roll it in zigzag paper, and light it up. Oh how sweet it was. We smoked a whole bunch of this stuff. We were cool. The sweet taste on the lips lingered until hours later. When it was time to go home I remember wishing that I didn't still taste it because surely mom would smell it. I can't recall that she ever did.
Last week, as I was driving home, and my hair not really parted at all any longer, I noticed a corn harvester pulling off a crop from a field to the south of the road. As I drove and looked left towards the field, I had a slight craving for that same sweet taste. I thought about my youth and retraced my curiosity.
My oldest son is eight years old. I wonder what he is curious about.
While you're there, check out some of the other great stuff you might find. Look for the names colouring outside the lines, Homo Escapeons and Snippets from Spaceship Orion.
You are allowed one vote per day, so happy voting.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Christmas came a little early at the Hildebrand's today.
Instead of shopping for days and days with a gigantic list, my parents usually tell us to go out and buy ourselves something nice and they'll pay for it.
In February of this year, a blog aquaintance of mine via another blog aquaintance (I love how everything is connected in blogworld) posted a multimedia picture she had created. I had been watching her blog for a while but had not yet commented. I think we've all done that...lingered for a while and then when something stikes us (ouch) we finally take the step to make a comment.
When Carla posted this picture, I couldn't resist commenting. I also said that if she would ever consider selling the original, I would like her to remember me.
Last week she did just that. She was packing up several of her pieces and bringing them away to a special show. But she remembered my comment and wanted to give me a chance to buy it before she submitted it. I received a special delivery this afternoon.
I would probably do her work a great injustice if I attempted to describe it, so I will simply show you some of my favourites.
So thanks mom and dad for the gift...and thanks Carla.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I used to be quite enthralled and vehement in my study of the book of (eating too many funny leaves) or Revelations. I was VERY excited whenever the next book in the Left Behind series was released. I would gobble up every word in a day and a half and then settle in for another eight months of waiting for the next in the twelve book series to be released. I was quite saddend when it finally ended.
That was several years ago.
As life moves on and situations become more wonderfully diverse, minds also expand. The school of life is every bit as wonderful as eight years of formal post secondary education. I would argue that it has a lot more to offer. Especially when one puts their mind into the hands of someone honest to the realities of the world.
That may seem a bit ambiguous, and it would be correct; it is ambiguous. And it is entirely local.
I had a conversation with a relatively sane adult about the concept of truth. A statement he said has been with me for over a year; and that is, "Truth is local and (?) is universal." I can't recall what he said was universal. I'm looking forward to the next time we have dinner together so I can ask him. I want to learn from him.
This is what I think it means. People will believe what they want to believe, even if it is contrary to the stream, as long as there are enough "credible" people (i.e. people in their "locale") that believe the same thing. Or it may mean that something may be true for a time, like the Germans are consumed with world domination. That may have been true for a hundred years or more, but if you speak to a German today, that would not ring true.
I say all of this simply to bring up the issue of running out of fish. Yes, that's right. Fish. The CBC has recently issued an article online commenting that if current sea harvesting practices remain constant, scientists have warned that fish stocks throughout the world could be wiped out by 2048. We all know what that would mean for the rest of global life, don't we? So is this really the end times? Will it end this way? Consuming?
But is this really true? How do I know that this is not simply a local truth and not a (?).
I used to be consoled with the local truth that I would be rescued from one particular end result, but this one is quite different. On one hand, do I really believe it? And on the other, what does it mean for me and my four children who will be adults with young families during the crunch time of this outpouring of consequence. Makes me want to move to Wolseley, hug a tree, and protest malathion spraying. I think this sort of reaction is ingrained into all of us.
We really just don't want to be left behind.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The star was fed and it grew and went to several different star schools, becoming brighter as time passed. The star spent plenty of time dating other stars, all in hopes of finding the just so combination of wavelengths.
The final prism to bend the star's backlighting, was dating a dimlit from the other side of the spectrum. The interplay of light and shadow often created an unfocussed image, but with both deciding to remain on the same palette, an agreeable hue formed.
There were times when one wanted to throw the other back into the sky and shout at the darkness; asking the artist if there couldn't have been a set of instructions, or angrily asking if they really knew what they were doing, sending bright objects into such dark places.
It's been 39 years and the darkness has not won. The star has only become more radiant in spite of it. The day of your birth is a day to celebrate light.
It was a Saturday.
Friday, November 10, 2006
We are currently studying about Canadian Explorers. Any art ideas for me, Jacques Cartier?
Thursday, November 09, 2006
What I like about this photo is the "cut" of my jib . I think I see a developing six pack there in amongst the soap suds. The closest thing I have to a six pack these days I have to pay for in the "specialty isle" at the local Bigway store.
Other than that, I pretty much look like a f*cking dork.
This post was inspired bt Andrea.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
You feel the need to spend some extra time with the kids doing whatever they feel like doing because you mostly ignored them the night before.
There isn't much food left in the house because you virtually emptied the cupboards to prepare and extravagant spread for your good friends. The result is that all there is left to eat is tuna; and that had to be stolen from the legs of the couch and replaced with whatever was left in dry storage.
Friday night, family night, was stolen so it had to be replaced. Thousands of beads. Becomes an instant family activity.
And now we're ready for the upcoming season of Christmas parties. I like this new commitment to celebrate more often.
This day has not been hard to swallow.
I have long loved to look through "home" type magazines. There is a certain appeal in seeing what people who can afford all the right stuff do with all of the right stuff. Leather couches, hand-crafted lamps, recessed lighting, real wood mouldings, and every variety of built-ins. Sometimes it's enough to make a man give in to envy and self-pity.
Most of the time, however, I use the time looking as an opportunity to be inspired. There are so many wonderful ideas out there and so many things to consider that I just would not have thought of. Some are very complex and required gobs of money or great skill. Luckily there are also those more simple ideas. The kind that we can all afford. Like the idea of inviting just the right combination of people over for a dinner. Having the lights turned down just so. A hard-drive loaded with just the right music set to continuous play. A few of everyones favourite drinks. All the kids playing outside in the snow and when they come in, their skin has that fresh smell of cold and outside.
The less I have to spend on the items on my list, the cozier I feel, 'cause there's nothing quite like the worry of a mountain of debt to rob me of that relaxed feeling. You never know if you'll have to give it all back one day.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
She's done it again. My second born child has come home from school with something that stirrs a feeling within me befitting the word pride.
When I was in university studying for my education degree, there was a seemingly endless barrage of group projects to be done. In a third-year English Language Arts class I was grouped with a couple of much younger students than myself. We became good friends. Two of my favourites were Natasha and Jane. They were both very interesting in their own ways. Natasha was tall, elegant, and had the most wonderful thick dark brown hair. Jane was cute, fun and, artistic, with a sensitive edge.
During this time, Joyce and I were expecting our second child. We were not the type of parents who chose to pre-know the sex of their children, so we needed to come up with name options for both. My groupmates both said that if we had a girl, we should use their names.
We discussed several options, but when the day finally came, Jane was the obvious choice. Ten years later, our admiration of her is ever increasing. She is definately a Jane...and definately not a Natasha.
Friday, October 27, 2006
But now it's finally my turn. Keith is arriving tomorrow from Brandon at 10:00am (or I'll kill him) and I finally get my garage wired.
What will I do when it's all done?
Plug stuff in, of course.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Part of the morning routine is sitting during one of the three S's, either at home or at the aquatic centre. Every time I do, I check to see if there is sufficient paper to do a proper job. But I also check to see if the Queen's standards are being upheld.
You see, when I was just a wee lad, my mother; I assume wanting her way in just this one little aspect of her multi-aspected, fury of activity, duty-filled life; told me that the only proper way of installing the lou paper roll was to have it coming out from underneath. She went as far as to say that if the Queen herself were to stop in for a visit (I fully expected this to happen from here on in) that her royal aids would be checking, before she entered our home, to see if the paper would dispense from the bottom. Since that moment of teaching, I've never wanted to disappoint Her Majesty.
I have also since realised that there are different teachings on the same subject, much like there are differing views about the Holy Scriptures. You can actually make your view count if you care to vote.
My fear regarding offeding royalty is really nothing compared to my fear of running out of natural resources.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I always thought that Fridays were a better night to have church...er...a party. Especially because it was the same day that work ended for the week. It was a sweet taste to have on the pallet all day long in anticipation of the evening. Then, if you went a little overboard, you could sleep in as long as you needed to on Saturday. This could never happen on a Sunday because of church commitments.
This week, we remembered the Sabbath and kept it holy. Holy bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, that is.
Last night, my good friend Alice and her lap dog, Homo Escapeons, had us over, with another honoured couple, for dinner...er...no....appetizers and drinks. We arrived a minute before seven and did not consider leaving until seven hours later. This of course was greatly due to the arrival of the Messiah, whom Donn took full advantage of for the immediate receiving of grace and forgiveness of sins.
HE was so elated that he immediately began playing the "I've been forgiven" sonata on the coffee table piano,
What did "I "do all evening? Well, I was the D.D. What do you think I did? I sat in the corner and felt sorry for myself! Or at least that may have been a fleeting temptation. But as it was, I took advantage of the situation and watched as some wonderful people slowly let their hair down, and became real with one another.
I met a man with multiple gifts who looks a lot like Jesus. He was a human that was real, honest, and accepting. He has a passion for making right what is wrong. He is a gifted artist, a caring father, and a man who truly enjoys his wife. I watched him as he smiled, and I imagined his warm thoughts of his wife as he watched her dance and present vulnerability.
I saw three women, each having unique tales to tell of joy and vulnerable living, come together and find connection through common purpose and struggle.
And I saw another man, wise with years of learning, smooth from years of drinking creamy Keg Paralizers, and wonderful from the experience of being real with his children. He sang, he danced, and he welcomed us as we were. And to think, I was a bit nervous in anticipation of this gathering.
The bible says that we should not neglect the assembling of ourselves together. I didn't go to church this morning. I didn't need to. I went last night.
People are good. All anyone needs is for an opportunity to be seen as good. I truly love these people.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I recently purchased the above drawing from Andrea's Etsy site. So, faced with the welcomed problem of how to display this new piece properly, I decided to make my own "frame". I told Andrea that I was making it, but it was a frame with a bit of a twist.
The main part of the frame looks much like a typical shadow box frame. I had a bit of leftover crown moulding from my most recent renovation project, so I cut it to size with the ends returned, and attached it to the top to make it into a small shelf.
Unbeknownst to Andrea, I've been a student of hers for some time now and have been trying to learn her methods of painting using layers. Rather than painting black lines at the end to make my section divisions, I painted the whole frame black, and the sections will be divided by the paint from underneath...from the areas of black that are "not" painted over.
So now I have a frame that is really wild looking to compliment a wonderful drawing. The only problem is that the frame is not supposed to take away from the art. Just like the accompanist is not supposed to take away from the soloist. The music is supposed to provide a frame for the words, not smother them. The frame is supposed to provide a fra...er...compli...uh...whatever. I think this frame is far to damn loud for Andrea's nice picture. Or is it?
You could look at it in this way. I love Andrea's work, so I bought some. I wanted to put it in a frame, so I made one. But I thought it would be honouring to her to make it look like I have been studying her work and trying to learn from it (she is a teacher after all. Perhaps I'll take a real course from her one day). Thus the frame compliments the art because the framer is trying to elevate the artist.
I asked my wife, Joyce, what she thought of my project. She smiled and said, "Not bad...for a cheater".
Oh yeah...the shelf is for an earlier Andrea purchase. Something I've been staring at quit a bit lately.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Mostly, I did not enjoy my time planting trees. There are a few good memories that I have kept with me, but I did it purely for the money. The goal was to make at least $200.00 per day, which meant you had to plant about 2000 trees every day. There were a few start-up costs like buying planting bags for about $150.00, boots for about $200.00, and a shovel for $45.00. There were also daily camp costs of $25.00 which gave you as much food as one could possibly want, and a hot shower if one had enough energy to strip after eating dinner and before falling into bed.
I recently decided, while cleaning up and organizing the garage, that the bags and the boots finally had to go. That part of my life is over.
While tree planting you learn all sorts of interesting trivia which will likely never be used. Like that it takes about 65 years for a planted tree to grow into an adult tree ready to be harvested again. And also that the trees we planted had about an 85% chance of survival, which I thought was fairly good considering the various things which could hinder the growth of a forest.
Whenever it comes time for me to do a building project using wood, I think of all those thousands of trees I planted so long ago. They are a little under a third of the way through their growing time before they will show their rings again. I sometimes feel like thanking the trees for giving their lives so that we can use their lives to improve our own. My workmate Mar Cadiz from the Westin Hotel would always have this attitude when we would cut roses to put on all of the room service trays. He would apologize to each one and thank them for giving their lives for man's decadence.
One of the more recent building projects I was involved in was building a wheelchair ramp at Ken and Kate's home. Ken needed it for easier transfer during his frequent home visits between times of cancer treatment. I did not feel that the wood was being used in a decadent way for this project. A sacrifice of one for the life of another. After Ken died, there was no longer a need for the ramp, so we took it down and away.
I couldn't bear to see the loss of life compounded by the waste of good wood, so I sent Kate an email telling her of some of the things I thought would be a good use of the wood. She kindly replied saying thank you, but that she would rather not have anything to do with it as the ramp was a symbol of pain and sickness for her. I fully understood. But I had a burning need to do something meaningful with all of that precious lumber. I wanted to make a new beautiful symbol out of a bad one. This brought me to thinking about what Ken's life represented. There were many words which came to mind like family, friendship, community, hope, justice, freedom, being real. Ken brought people together, and so I tried to think of a symbol that also brings people together. An image of two people sitting on a bench came to mind. So I quickly set to making benches, as many as the ramp wood would allow. 13 perfect people connectors.
After seeing the first one finished at a party at Carol's house, Kate said that she did indeed want one. That put a smile on my face, but what I really wanted to do was cry. I'm not sure why.
Each family member will receive one, and the rest will be given to Ken and Kate's friends who would appreciate a thoughtful symbol of a friend now gone.
Mine will take an honourable spot next to another proud use of a tree's sacrifice.
Friday, October 13, 2006
I usually have my students practice their keyboarding skills for at least 10 minutes before having any time using Google tools or having free time playing games. I told them that they have to "paint" for at least five minutes, but many chose to create for the entire time.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
I have two grade levels in my class this year, both grade 5 and 6. This creates a bit of a challenge when it comes to planning the year and how to manage covering the required curriculum. For the most part, I will be teaching the grade 6 material, as it is nearly impossible to teach all of both.
In the grade 6 Social Studies, the required material is Canadian history starting with, and including, Canada's first people, and then all the way to Confederation in 1867. We are still on the first unit. We are studying Canada's first people. The Northwest Coastal, Plateau, Plains, Subarctic, and Arctic Natives. Including all of the various included tribes.
When planning for the day, I seek to, as much as possible, try to find how one subject can mesh with another during the week. My art projects usually have something to do with Math, Science or Social Studies. This week month's art comes from Social Studies.
When studying about the NW Coastal Natives, we discovered that some of their art included paintings on cedar planks. I immediately thought of something we could do as a related art activity. I remembered those leftover bundles of cedar shingles from last-year's shed project. There are about 60 shingles per bundle and each bundle goes for about $20.00. They are No.4 Western Red Cedar shingles out of British Columbia. I felt good about this as that was the area of Canada we were studying.
The shingles are a little rough and quite porous, so I thought that they needed to be prepared before taking paint. I sanded a few more than what was needed for my class. I remembered a post of Andrea's where she was using Gesso to treat a wooden surface, so I decided to do the same thing. I put on two coats. I'm not sure if the second coat does anything but I did it anyways.
When it came time for the actual project, we looked around for some examples of Western Canadian Native art. A Google search didn't disappoint us. We were led to THE COGHLAN ART VIRTUAL GALLERY and the artwork of NORVAL MORRISSEAU.
I copied some of his paintings onto an overhead film and let the students choose which one they would trace onto their cedar boards.The reason I let them copy someone elses work was to have an immediately successful attempt. From my experience, much of young student's frustrations with art comes from self criticism as a result of failed attempts. My goal was to have them "create" something wonderful on their first try, even if it is "cheats art". My hope is that this success will be the impetus for further energy and confidence in the arts.
As with every art project I teach, I try to model the skills and medium needed for the project. I try to make it look as easy as possible. I modeled this project exactly as they would be doing it. This process is basically a glorified colour-by-numbers. The only thing different between mine and my students is that I did mine on a 19x22 prepared hardboard. My goal for the near future is to learn how to do this properly, in layers, not by small sections.
The students are currently working on their paintings, and probably will for the next week or so. I'll post a group shot when they are all done.
The answer to the question of What makes a red man red is he wasn't really red, but the Beothuks painted their bodies and clothing with red ochre paint. Many "Indians" used red ochre as an insect repellant, but the Beothuks considered red a sacred color and wore it all year long. Neighboring tribes called them the Red People, and the Europeans called them Red Indians. Some Europeans started using "Red Indians" to refer to all Native Americans, not just the Beothuk tribe. Other tribes strongly dislike this term, though. They consider "Red Indian" a racial insult, and prefer to be called First Nations. The Beothuks were the original natives of Newfoundland, Canada. They eventually became extinct after the Europeans grew tired of dealing with them and began hunting them for sport.
Canadians have a rich history...albeit colonial.