Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I'll meet you there someday...

Man. What awesome springtime weather we're having. Wet, cold, windy Springtime weather. I'm not sure if March has come in like a lion or a lamb, but regardless, it left the fridge door open, and now it's freakin' freezing. I'm just glad I hadn't put up the box of sweaters (TM) that I had packed in my bedroom just quite yet.

This week's been interesting so far -- not only have all the tanned, rested and relaxed undergrads returned to the nest (bringing with them their tanned, rested and relaxed attitudes -- buncha friggin'...), but Friday, I found out my advisor from grad school had finally lost his battle with cancer and died in his sleep.

I think I was more or less...numb...Friday, and I (mercifully) was able to not dwell on it too much this past weekend.

...then came the funeral yesterday. I'm not even sure if I'm able to speak, type or process it fully yet.

Ed was Jewish, which meant the service was a beautiful, beautiful celebration of his life. As the Rabbi was performing the service, I actually realized that I knew more about the Jewish faith than I realized. The point that totally twisted a knife in my heart was when his younger daughter, Claire, read a letter to him. A good-bye letter she wrote for him.

Ed's diagnosis with cancer came early enough that his family was able to process this with a good amount of lead-in time. I mean, his daughters even put on a fashion show for him the week before he passed away, so that he could select what they should wear to his funeral, so that they knew he'd approve of and like their clothes.

When we came to the registry book, there was a photo of Ed with Hannah and Claire (his kids), that took me by surprise. I stared at the picture for a good 30 seconds, trying to figure out when it was taken. At first, I thought it was an older picture of him, because he had a full beard -- but then I saw the girls, and I realized that this picture had to have been taken in the last month or so, because of how old they were in the photo. As I started at the photo, I had three thoughts that ran through my head, all within about the span of two seconds:

"Man, he looks really thin." Ed was never a petite man, and the chemo just...gave him a physique that changed his overall look.

"He looks good with a beard."
and "God, I wish that I could have told him how good he looks with a beard."

Amazing what thoughts will run through one's head -- especially when you realize that you can never say them to the person you're thinking about.

There are professors, and then there are people like Ed, who went the quantum leap past educator to friend. I was at least able to send him one last insanely sarcastic (yet filled with love) email message before he died. I think he knew how much he meant to me, but...for those of you in grad school: think for a minute about what it would be like losing your advisor. Think about the years of experience, mentoring and genius given by this person. Think about how annoyed and frustrated you can get at them -- and then think about not having them.

Death tends to make me wax poetic, and get all openly emotional.

So -- enjoy the remainder of your week Sleep late one day. Go watch an old black-and-white film. Eat chocolate when you're in class or at work.

And go hug someone. Tightly.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Everybody in the audience appreciates the choir

So -- how was the concert, you ask...

The crowd was much larger -- over fifty in number, not in median age nor waistline size -- than I would have expected. Oh, to be sure, the vast majority of us there were the esoteric and old Christian music junkies (if you were raised on Passion music, please stop reading now; you wouldn't understand us, and we don't quite get you either). (-- just kidding.) (Maybe.)

MUSICALLY: The set was great (the jam section on "Circle Slide" was...yeah. Wow), and the majority of the tunes played came off of the Chase the Kangaroo, Wide-Eyed Wonder, Circle Slide and O How The Mighty Have Fallen discs. However, the set felt...short (clocking in at about an hour in length). I mean, they could've played their entire repertoire and it still would have seemed short, but after a few of us rushed the stage to see the set list -- well, when we saw what they were going to play compared to what they actually played, we wanted a second concert ("God of Wonders," "Beautiful Scandalous Night," "Wilderness" and "Chase the Kangaroo" were among the tunes listed to be performed but not played).

When the crowd started shouting out requests -- "Triangle" and my own requested "Everybody in the Band" among the two that caused the most laughter -- Derri and Steve, thankfully, ignored us and kept playing.

Steve Hindalong made the most...Interesting...faces while playing. Derri jammed out on guitar like he was 20, and his voice shows NO signs of aging or slowing down at all. Dan Michaels -- the undisputed most under-appreciated member of the band -- was spot-on in his performance. Marc Byrd's backup guitar supplemented their sound perfectly. Matt Slocum on bass was both a surprise and a treat; I think it's a high compliment to him that he sounded like he'd been playing with them since day one.

A good number of people who had seen them multiple times before said that this particular concert was the best sounding one they'd ever heard the guys perform. It was stylistically and musically about as perfect as we'll get on this side of forever.

Dan patted me on the shoulder as they walked off stage. Derri hugged me after the concert (once I assured him I wasn't a stalker). THAT made my night. ...and yeah, once we got outside, I danced around my car. It was a very Dead Poets kinda moment.

No joke; my face was hurting on Saturday from the big grin I had plastered on me during the whole set. There was one moment even before the guys took the stage that took me by surprise -- I was sitting there, in my chair (second row, middle section, aisle seat on the left ) and I thought I was going to cry. Tears of joy. Just...anticipatiaion caught up in wish fulfillment.

There's something wonderful about love. Indeed.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shovel Go Deep...

If you've known me for a year, a month or even a few decades (hi, Wooley), you know...you KNOW that there's been one band I've never seen in concert that I would love to see.

One band that shaped a lot of my musical tastes (so yeah, you can blame them) and helped to shape me spiritually...one band that's even inspired the name of my blog. :)

-- and they're coming to Athens. Friday, March 10.

I'm not kidding when I say that this will be the last concert I "need" to see in my life. Other bands/singers that've been THE ones that I had to see -- Over the Rhine; U2; Steve Taylor; Chagall Guevara; the violet burning; Vigilantes of Love -- been there, done that, checked that box, got the bootleg recording of the gig and am moving on.

the choir. Derri Daugherty & Steve Hindalong (FYI: Steve co-authored "God of Wonders" with another choir bandmate).

Check out www.thechoir.net for downloads, etc.

Venue Name: Calvary AthensVenue Address: 120 Commerce Blvd, 30622Website: http://www.calvaryathens.comTickets: $10 adv / $12 doorShowtime: 7:30pm doors, 8pm showAdvance Tickets: Available at The Carpenter's Shop or by calling 706-543-0901
Now. If someone could just get Leslie/Sam Phillips here. I'd be musically set for the rest of my life. :)