Goodbye, Addison Road

On March 1st, Addison Road will be officially archived. It has been about 2 years since this place was really alive, but it deserves better than to fade away into the darkness. It deserves a dignified death. It deserves to be laid to rest.

For those of us who used to hang around here, the blog served as an ongoing diary of the end of our youth and the beginning of our adulthood. Between the years of 2005 to 2010, we blew into our 30s, bought homes, had kids, changed careers, and started the business of building roots and a sustainable future.

It served as a record of our evolving faith, grappling with theology and church life, sorting out how to have careers in ministry in the midst of being perpetually disappointed by the institutions we were serving. We became parents, and started to see the world through that peculiar lens. We became more conservative in some ways, more liberal in others, and more confused in almost every area. We made some music. We made some art. We wrote some prose, and some poetry, and some prayers. We poked at the larger world to see what it was made of.

If you want to start at the very beginning, the first post on the whole site is from April 8th, 2005 and you can find it here: Opening Salvo. If you want to read through the whole history, you should set aside 2 or 3 days. The search bar on the right will take you to a google search of the whole site, or you can poke through by categories. Maybe some of you will link to your favorite posts in the comments (or ask us to link to them, Sharolyn).

I’ve always thought of this place as a perpetual backyard BBQ, where you hang out with friends late into the night, and talk about things both stupid and life-altering. We don’t do that as often, even in our real lives, as we did 5 or 10 years ago. That space has been filled up by other things, maybe to our detriment. I want to find out where it went, and make a place for it again, but I don’t think that will happen here. The season of Addison Road being that place has ended.

Here’s what will happen on the technical side. The site will still remain intact, but instead of being alive and breathing, everything will revert to a static page. You will no longer be able to post new content. It will remain online as an archival record, but you won’t be able to post any new comments. I’ll remove the WordPress software and the database (which have become perpetual targets for hackers and spammers), and the site will remain in its current form for the foreseeable future.

To all of you who made this place what it was, thank you. I appreciate the time and thought you poured into it. That you decided to take this little corner of the internet seriously (and not so seriously) meant more to me than I can say. I’d like to think that someday our kids might pick their way through some of this stuff, and it might help them understand a little better who their parents are, and how they came to be that way. And if it’s you kids reading this, be charitable, be gracious, and think of it as a time capsule recording the steps we walked into the grownup world.

Until then, farewell. God go with you, and fill your life with blessings. May your table always be full, may you walk with friends beside you, may you work hard at something worthwhile, and may the world be a better place for your having passed through.

Goodbye, Addison Road.

Thanksgiving

This post combines two things for which I am thankful: our dedicated military, and awesome neighbors.  Here my neighbor shares some of what they have been through this Fall.  (Shared with her permission.)

Link

Once Upon A Time

Wow… I liked a TV show!

Did anyone else see the pilot of “Once Upon A Time” last night?  10 minutes in, they had me hooked.  It seems like the kind of thing the Addison Road crowd would appreciate.

http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi803970585/

Art Is Its Own Purpose

I am in the midst of a project right now that, I am certain, will be the purest artistically motivated thing I do. Not for me, mind you. I’m being motivated by the promptly paid invoices.

The artist at the center of this, however, is creating something based solely on his internal imperative. He has a concept, and he has arrived in his life at the fortunate place of being able to hire an army of people to construct that concept. I’ll share more with you later, but the lid is pretty tight on it until after the public debut.

Here’s the overall conception: he has become disgusted with the modern world’s relentless pursuit of easy and fast. In response, he is creating 35 different large-scale projects (and I do mean truly large) that are all inherently hard. Hard to design, hard to execute, and impossibly difficult to grasp and understand as an observer. They are projects that invite you to spend some time in the midst of them, knowing from the very beginning that there isn’t enough time in your life to even observe the entire project, let alone understand it.

Nothing is for sale. Nothing is entertaining, except incidentally. There is nothing in this project that does not begin and end with the artist’s aesthetic conception. It is, for better or worse, the purest piece of art that I’ve ever encountered.

I’ve been remembering this quote, that I think is from the introduction to Rimsky-Korsakov’s book on orchestration, but it’s also possible that I just made it up and have been attributing it to him.

“Art is its own purpose. If it assumes any other purpose, then it descends into mere politics and commerce.”

he responds to negligence by contempt

Shortly after Schoenberg died, his widow found this thing he had written about Charles Ives.

“There is a great Man living in this Country – a composer. He has solved the problem how to preserve one’s self-esteem and to learn.  He responds to negligence by contempt. He is not forced to accept praise or blame. His name is Ives.

What do you think this means?

Prayer for Independence Day

God our Father,



By Your providence You have formed this, and all nations, intended as instruments of Your common grace.

With humble gratitude, we thank You.

For the freedom to gather as Your people, and openly worship together,
We give You thanks.

For the freedom to speak the truth in Your name, without fear or hesitation,
We give You thanks.

For the men and women who, for the sake of liberty and justice, stand willingly in harms way,
We give You thanks.

When we have failed to live out the high calling of our founding principles,
Grant us mercy, O God.

As our leaders guide this nation in the course ahead, may they be held true by the law that You have written on the hearts of all people;
Grant us wisdom, O God.

Though the injustice of this world may, at times, compel us to take up arms, may we ever be slow to anger and guided by justice, looking forward always to that coming day when You shall end all wars;
Grant us peace, O God.

Holy God, You are the source of every blessing that flows from free and prosperous lives, sustained by the imperfect virtues of this great nation.

May our strength be guided by justice,
May our justice be guided by compassion,
May our compassion be rooted in love,
May our love be the fruit of our freedom,
And may our freedom be yielded to you.

May Your strong right arm

So order all things

Amen

The One-Another Life

Well friends, it’s time once again for you to do my homework. I’m back at Christ Community Church this Sunday, this time in the pulpit instead of behind the piano. The message topic is “The One-Another Life”.

I started scanning through the New Testament, and pulling out verses that command us to ______ one-another. There are roughly 600 million of them. Love one-another, pray for one-another, encourage one-another, forgive, be at peace with, serve, be kind to … it’s a catalog of instructions for how we should live together as believers. Or, as people even. So, some scattered thoughts that are coalescing into a message:

  1. Very few of the Christian Virtues (patience, compassion, gentleness, humility) are solo endeavors. They require another person to be put into action upon.
  2. The one-another commands are practical application of internal virtues. The act of patience toward someone else exercises my humility muscle. Humility muscle. That sounds weird. I’ll probably phrase that a little differently.
  3. The church is a practical workshop for training up virtue by means of community interaction. It’s where we practice the best expressions of ourselves. I don’t mean this in an exclusive way, that we save the best of ourselves for making the club a nice place to hang out. More like a gym, where we build up the strength that we then use to do the things we ought to do when we go out into the world.
  4. This kind of one-anotherness requires messy and intrusive relationships. In any room full of 100 people, there is somebody who badly needs a mentor, somebody else who needs help watching the kids while they go to school at night, somebody who is struggling with the same failing sin over and over, and needs somebody to step in and call them on it. All of these things require us to be close enough to each other that we get to peak into private spaces. Peak into private spaces. That sounds awkward. I’ll phrase that differently too.
  5. The thing is … I don’t like that idea. I like space. I often feel like I don’t have much in common with “church folk”, and the idea of letting them into my life far enough to practice the one-anothers in a meaningful way makes me uncomfortable. Like, really, really uncomfortable. I don’t like small groups or home churches. They are, well … weird.

Thoughts? Input? Suggestions? Angry personal slurs? Let ‘em rip! P.S., if you don’t have anyplace to be this Sunday, head on down to Christ Community Church at 10:15. It’ll be a hoot!

one key to worship

I figured something out about worship.  Since it is a rarity to catch a glimpse of how the mystery of worship really works, I hope I can put it into words.

Often on Sunday mornings, after we check our kids in at the rolling computer and they are signed in to their respective rooms, we head to the sanctuary for the worship music.  Often I am trying to leave the frazzled and extremely recent morning events behind as well as trying to get musical technicalities out of the forefront of my mind (whether I’m playing or not) in order to mean the words I am singing.  “Worship…. worship!”  Trying to ignore these distractions can be like  saying… “Don’t think about purple giraffes!”  Now you can’t help but imagine a purple giraffe.  The sequence of events on most people’s Sunday mornings don’t lead to a heart that is prepared for worship, no matter how hard we try in a specific moment.

Twice lately we’ve had the opportunity to worship with a body of believers who dismiss the kids after worship.  I absolutely love it.  With my daughter singing at the top of her lungs, and my son in my arms and playing with my pony tail, tears well up at the sound of our family together, worshiping God.  Although my kids don’t have anything directly to do with the words on the screen, from this mother’s heart, they are the most tangible and overwhelming sign of God’s grace for me.  I am so humbled to be their mom that I don’t have to work at humbling my heart; my overwhelming love for them is so evident in this environment that it is easy for me to understand how God might feel about me.  When my kids are with me, I don’t really care what else is going on, I just want to sing to and about God!  I also love hearing my kids sing the songs throughout the rest of the day.

Maybe we weren’t all meant to go our different directions during the worship set.  There is a need for individual time with God, but perhaps there should be a routine corporate time for the families He saw fit to put us in.

Hey Band Nerds!

All you squeakers and squawkers out there, reed, double-reed, no reed, brassheads and trash can bangers, looking for some help here. I’ve been asked to write a piece for symphonic band, which is a genre I haven’t touched since … let’s call it 20 years. So, here’s my question for you:

Is there a piece of literature for symphonic band that really, deeply moves you? Anything you’ve listened to that just left you breathless? The only one I can remember is Bukvich’s Symphony No. 1 (In Memoriam, Dresden, 1945). Anything else that comes to mind?

The Swamp Effect

I have a horrible habit. At some point in every project, things start not sounding … right. Good. Emotional. Whatever. The train has jumped the track, and is off wandering through antique stores on State Street. I’ve lost my way.

At this point, I do the same thing, every time.

I do more. I do everything. I take every idea, and make it louder. I double it. I do it in octaves. I do it with a triplet backing rhythm. I add 3 string samples and 2 pads, on top of 3 more loops and a delay. I start putting out frantic midnight calls for friends to play overdub parts, stacked, with overdrive and double-stops.

I add piano, add flamenco guitar, add horn swells and swirly synths, a B3 solo, 6 passes of backing vocals, and a Taiko. With reverb. Then a reverse Taiko with even more reverb.

Then I put a limiter on the main bus, a 6:1 multi-band compressor, then another limiter. Then I turn my mains up. I turn on the sub, then add another low string sample.

The swamp effect takes hold, and whatever spark of inspiration birthed the process has been completely, utterly, horrifically buried in a morass of crap.

Save as.

Rename.

Delete.

Repeat.

The Good Kids

As I was driving home from a gig yesterday, the LA sun painted the San Gabriel mountains with just the perfect Tuscan hues, and it got me thinking about June and Stick moving back to LA, because how could they not? and that got me thinking about our secret long-term strategy to marry our two great houses together. Sophia and Zane, or Sophia and Nate, we’re fine with either. And that got me thinking about our kids. It got me thinking about Ella, and Z, and Nate and Zane, and Camille and James, and all the other little munchkins that are trolling along behind the Addison Road crew.

There’s a good chance that none of our kids will end up married, although I will lay a $200 bet that Ella is going to be Josiah’s first heart-breaking crush. Although nothing would thrill me more than to look across the aisle on that sacred day and see one of y’all sitting there, parents don’t really get to plan that kind of thing anymore. Still, the thought of it gave me hope.

The reason I would love to see any of my kids with any of your kids is because I’ve seen how you are raising your kids. I can see the trajectory you’ve set them on, and 20 years from now, they are going to be incredible people. And it gave me hope, that there are people in the world who value the things we value, who are teaching their kids to be respectful and curious, joyful and passionate, hardworking and generous. And if you guys are doing it, then other people are doing it to, and if there are such people out in the world, then there is a chance that my daughter will arrive at 26 and find that there are men in the world worthy of her attention, and my son will find that there are women who will make him want to grow up and become a man worthy of their attention, and that thought gives me hope.

Carry on, good people, your sacred mission of stewardship, so that our charges will burst into the world full and glorious and bright, and will charge the heights in the company of good and worthy friends, well-suited spouses, and a cloud of witnesses to give them strength. Carry on.

Ender’s Game – Thesis Project

So, my Masters of Music thesis project is in full swing, and I thought I’d cross-post some of it here. I’m taking 4 books that haven’t been turned into films, and writing scores that would fit if they ever were turned into films.

The first book up is Ender’s Game, one of my all-time favorites. You can check out the work so far here:

Ender’s Game Thesis Project

Post Royal Wedding Thoughts for Husbands

Hi Husbands.

Most of you rock.  Keep up the good work.  I’ve heard some bemoan the Royal Wedding and can practically see the eyes of your profile pictures roll when the topic comes up.  And for you I have the following thoughts.

I am not naturally sports-minded.  I enjoy the emotion in the last few minutes of any close game.  I get a kick out of watching lives change, for example, with the NFL draft this week and watching guys’ faces upon the fulfillment of their lifelong dreams.  But I can’t predict the next play, or come up with a good game strategy, or tell you stats.  My patient husband never writes me off when it comes to sports.  He is happy to explain things to me in a way that does not make me feel any less smart.  Even though the Super Bowl is of no importance to me, I can still buy snacks at the grocery store and invite people over on the day of the game.  I’m interested in what interests him.

You are (probably) not Royal Wedding-minded.  But I’ll tell you a secret. If you pay attention to it, for just a few minutes, you may score some points with your wife.

Some have said, “What’s the big deal about some people we’ve never met getting married?”  Good question.  What IS the big deal?  I can tell you for this girl the curiosity of anticipation involved things girls love.  For example: weddings (duh!), traditions, nobility, fashion, and people (could have a whole conversation on Elton John alone).

But here’s the heart of the answer.  She walked down the aisle.  He exchanged glances with his brother.  He finally saw her.  And we watched him mouth the words “You look beautiful.”  Forget about it!  Prince Charming is telling his bride she is beautiful.  That’s the part I can’t explain.  I physically had to grab the hand of the woman next to me.  You don’t have to get it.  But if you can be interested in what makes your wife’s heart leap, you just might see the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

We all create our own circus.

I totally agree with Jerry Seinfeld, that the upcoming royal wedding is a circus act.  But so is the Superbowl.  So are the Oscars.  And so was the last episode of Seinfeld.  We are all drawn to different events that make life fun and interesting.  Therefore, I say, cheers to the handsome couple!

The Sound of Light

I was recently a guest in a classroom (not at APU) and listened to a fantastic composer and beloved professor tell a room full of eager students that the reason florescent lights buzz when they start to go bad is because some of the light is slowing down, and the frequency of the light is getting so slow that it becomes a sound wave instead of a light wave, which is why the buzz is at 60 Hz.

Nobody in the room contradicted him. Nobody. After about 30-second of dumb disbelief, I protested, and the whole class turned on me as if I were an idiot, daring to argue with this obviously brilliant man.

This brought to mind 3 things:

1. An expert in one area is not an expert in all areas. If you are a teacher, be sure you communicate to your students when you are speaking from your area of expertise, and when you are speaking out of your nether regions. If you are a student, become critically aware  of the difference. 
2. Intellectual authority comes from being right, not from being in a position of authority. Don’t be afraid to challenge professors when they are wrong.
3. In a room full of 20 people, I can’t believe nobody knew enough about light, or sound, or electricity to contradict an obviously absurd assertion. I’m worried that we’ve come to just accept general ignorance about how the world works.

So here’s today’s extra credit question. Help me restore my faith in the world. Without heading to wikipedia or google, with just your general knowledge of physics, what would you have said to the man to demonstrate his error?

Family Quotes

Me: I realize you are capable of going to the grocery store, but if there’s anything you want me to get for dinners while I’m gone, put it on the list.

Jason: McDonald’s gift cards should be fine.

Has your family said anything memorable lately?

Anthony Griffith: Best of Times, Worst of Times

I listen to a podcast on iTunes called “The Moth“, where people tell true stories to live audiences. It’s powerful, funny, very raw, and sometimes just incredible.

This morning as I was driving to work, I heard what has to be the most overwhelming 10 minutes of storytelling ever delivered. I was sobbing by the time I got here, and had to stay in the car in silence for about 20 minutes just pulling myself together.

It’s the story of Anthony working as a comic, performing on the Tonight Show, while his young daughter is dying of cancer. I think you should listen, but you should prepare yourself before you do.

Anthony Griffith: Best of Times, Worst of Times
(Note: this site will comply with all DMCA take-down notices. If you are the copyright holder for this audio, and do not want it posted here, please email me immediately. Thank you.)

It’s Friday, Friday

So, a few weeks ago, ARK music productions unleashed what is, unarguably, the worst pop song ever inflicted upon a listening public. That song is called “Friday”. It has been watched by 34 million people. 34 million.

What I offer here is a bit of musical sorbet, a palate cleanser if you will, to remove the fetid taste of bubblegum ice cream from your mouth. Here are the days of the week, as they deserve to be songified.

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

The Days of the Week

the devil can’t have all the good music

Our associate pastor has been preaching a four-week series.  Usually whoever is preaching doesn’t request a specific postlude (played after the benediction, as the congregation is exiting), but sometimes new blood behind the pulpit brings fresh ideas.  Each Sunday he requested a specific pop song that tied into each sermon, making it more memorable.  For Mark 2, when the paralyzed man is lowered from the roof due to the large crowd that had come to hear Jesus, the worship band played James Taylor’s “Up On The Roof“.  I loved it.  One of my favorite songs has a whole new meaning.