Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Musical Chuckles

Tonight was the third grade Christmas musical performance which was, as usual, very cute. My son Jono, however, is not too fond of stage performing; every year he does his best to minimize being seen on stage. This year, he and a few others stood off to the side of the choral risers and he just about disappeared altogether.

I had to go around to the far side of the stage to be able to see him (see the red arrow). The audience is to my left in this picture. But at first, for a minute or so after the curtain went up, we couldn't find him at all. David, The M, and I were sitting in the seats scanning through the kids, trying to find him. Then I saw him. Correction, I saw the top of his head.

He was barely visible behind this prop. I felt a twinge of pride that I was able to recognize him by just his hair and forehead. Such stage presence with that one!

Contrast this to David's Christmas orchestra concert about a week earlier. He's in the upper orchestra for 7th and 8th graders (watch out Yo-yo Ma). He enjoyed playing and it was good to see him perform in this arena of his life. I like this picture because it shows the swirl of the cello and the swirl of his hair - which is like his mama's.

After his songs, then the high school orchestras came out (both upper and lower orchestras) and performed. I must say the top orchestra was really quite good. Then it was time for the big finale; all the strings (violins, violas, cellos, and bases) from all the orchestras (7th through 12th grade) came out on stage together. The stage was packed! Actually, there wasn't room for them all.

As you can see, they were so full they actually had to put the bases down in front of the stage just to have room for everyone. You may also notice that David is standing near the center of stage in this picture. That's because they needed volunteers to play "non-traditional" instruments in this song, and David was eager to ham it up.

So David had a solo in front of a huge crowd... playing a duck call. Makes a fella proud. I guess children's musical performances aren't all they're quacked up to be. Ba dum bum.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Virtual Exhibitionism of the Soul

Perhaps you have wondered if I have been hit by a bus. What else could explain such an extended period without new blog posts? Maybe I really have been posting but the Google servers have been erased by the Stuxnet worm. Maybe I forgot my password and couldn't log on or was trapped underneath something heavy... for three months. Three months is enough time for the earth to sweep out a quarter of its annual circuit. That's like a gigantic piece of pecan pie with asteroid pecans. At any rate, has nothing blog-worthy occurred in that time? Where have I been?

I've been busy repairing my Christmas tree - no time for blogging.

I know what you've been thinking. "He's given up blogging. He's let ORANGEHOUSE die like so many other hobbies. This is the latest in a long line of atrophied fade-to-black beginnings without end. Gourmet cooking, check. Amateur astronomy, check. Playing guitar, check. Surely blogging is next."

Or has the novelty of blogging, this virtual exhibitionism of the soul, become so ho-hum, passe, and bourgeois that it no longer thrills me to display my vocabulary, my word smithery, to the bloggosphere? Have I lost the desire to pretend to be a writer, or to vent to the world my semi-anonymous DIY op-eds, or to string together cumbersome and often gyroscopic sentences with over abundances of hyphens, acronyms, and some other third things I can't remember at the moment?

Frankly, I think that which impels me to write has been short circuited by facebook.

Yes, I created a facebook account last summer and have been spending my blog time doing that instead. I admit it. But I regret it. Well, sort of regret it. It's kinda fun, but it's like junk food. It satisfies the stomach without giving any sustenance. It's a gummy worm, or perhaps a Pringles. Plastic food. Facebook let's you remind the world that you are still there, without saying anything of significance, or without actually relating to another person. Who cares if you're getting coffee, really? No one. But it feels good to shout it to your 375 (and counting!) virtual friends, "Hey everybody, I'm still alive!"

So I think my appetite for blogging has been ruined by the pre-meal snacks I've been munching on facebook. The appetite, the deep human desire, is the need to connect with people, to shout to the universe "I AM HERE AND THIS IS WHO I AM", and then to subtly whisper "do you Like me?" This appetite for approval and acceptance fuels bloggers and facebook users alike. Ultimately, it comes from the fact that we are persons (made by a Person). We have personality. We are personal. And we long from our deepest selves for the meat and potatoes of connecting with other persons out there who will remind us we are not alone in this thing called life.

"Alone and yet together like two passing ships" - Neil Peart