I didn't get to stay at church for lunch today, it was like part of me didn't get fed.

I had a lovely time seeing and singing with many old good friends.

and then I talked to some guy who just was not listening, and didn't realize we were speaking different languages.

what to do with life eh?


Hospitals, Doctors, Midwives....

If you go to a hospital, its because there is something wrong, and you have to get it fixed, or at the very least, stop feeling the pain.
Childbirth, then, must get lumped into that category by those who work in hospitals because I doubt that they are trying to change their approach to the problems that walk in the door based on the nature of the problems. I imagine it would be hard to change your approach when your training is all about problem solving. I have a good friend who is a Doctor and his wife is a nurse, and I know they do a great job, but (and I have yet to ask him) I think it too is a problem to be solved.
So, the difference (gross generalization here) between a Doctor and a Midwife is that the midwife is seeing the birth as a good and natural thing, and the Doctor sees it as one of many problems that he has to solve during that shift. I am so thankful for Doctors, they do wonderful things, but I think it is the worldview difference that becomes obvious in the way the situation is treated. Pregnancy and Childbirth are not problems, even if they are problematic.

Did I mention how excited I am to have a baby! Matthew and Mira had their baby last night, and the pictures on facebook are great, Joshua is SO cute. he looks like a cute muppet cross of Matthew and Mira. honestly. very cute.

Its cold and cloudy. Sufjan Stevens Christmas music is playing, and I am still hanging in the balance. That is okay though, I don't mind waiting.
I do absolutely love being the choir director, we had such a great practice the other day, it was so fun and effective. The Christmas music is so beautiful. And I love the word Megalynarion. honestly!

I think maybe its time for a fire in the fireplace. I haven't been shrimping lately, I lost my gloves and its cold out, so I am hiding inside until I find them or really get desperate for some shrimp. Or until G and R come and visit, which is going to be fun. I am very excited to see them, its been a while. The girls get to be pregnant and go shopping together, and G and I will go biking and exhaust ourselves because we are out of shape, though I think I win in that category. my back still hurts from surfing in Tofino.

we will be at St. H's on sunday because we are having supper with the in-laws, its F's Birthday, and its going to be a fun bash. L's brother is coming from AB, so that will be cool. I am having fun with all of these abbreviations.

have you heard the Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums? They are so great, especially the songs he has written about his sad childhood. man, they are funny and sad. what a guy.



I am still a hot head.

forgive me brothers and sisters.


part one, second time.

SO last time, I think it was fine, but poorly organized, so I am going to start off with a skeleton, and work my way into it over time.

1. Trust.
2. Proper Breathing.
3. Awareness of Body: Including
-vowel shape
-rib cage placement
-space inside mouth
-resonating chambers inside head-sinus cavities
-tension and its effect on the body ergo the voice
4. Listening louder than you sing
5. Vowel shape and its affect on tuning with other singers.
6. Learning music -Aural or Visual?
7. Meaning of text matching the shape and meaning of the phrase, and the piece.
8. context of the piece in the liturgy
9. Liturgical considerations for variation of settings/arrangements.
10. Ability for the congregation to sing along, size of choir, choristers being booted to the congregation to beef up the sound of the body as a whole.

Now, this is not a comprehensive list, I am sure there are more things to think about, but I am thinking out loud here. If there are any categories I have left out, please let me know. Then I will more systematically address each of these issues, and perhaps have a little pamphlet to put together.

Gabe is going to be here this weekend, so that is going to be good. I look forward to seeing him. Life is so weird, with all of its changes, and seasons. People I used to live with, like Gabe, I rarely see. but that is partly due to the water being wide. ah well.

we were at Galiano Island this week, and during the week the gulf Islands sure are dead. it was SOOOO quiet, which was nice. but even the nice restaurants were all closed, which was a bummer. but we still enjoyed ourselves.

I am so excited to meet our baby, I can't wait. It's going to be so much fun. and so crazy hard no doubt.

oh, and Pray for Konrad, apparently he hurt himself in an accident. I don't know much more than that.


choral manifesto pt 1

I believe quite a few things about music, and choral music particularly.

First, the most important part of a choir is the trust built over time between the members, and between the members and their director.
If this trust is there in even the smallest amount at the beginning, and grows at whatever pace, over time, any issue that is musical or extra-musical can be worked on because there is an atmosphere of trust between the singers and each other, and between the director and the singers.
Tension in the body is one of the largest contributors to singing incorrectly, either with regard to the diaphragm apparatus or with regard to the shaping of the vowel. Tension can manifest itself as poor posture, which will result in singing out of tune.
It can also manifest itself as poor vowel shaping. If you carry your tension in your jaw, it will make you shape your vowels in a locked manner, so that you don't allow the sound to reverberate through the back of your throat and out through a nicely shaped resonating chamber, ie, your mouth.

So, if you can create a trusting environment between all members of the group, you can begin to eliminate tension, and begin to think about these details that will allow for better singing.

After this first step, begin to think about the blend of the group. this can be adjusted by moving singers around to stand next to different singers, which will change the sound they are used to hearing. It will also help the singers become more independent.

I think what I am trying to say is that the most important aspect of music isn't the music, but the people.

this is the first in a series of attempts to put these thoughts together coherently.


spinto band/love/axios

So I found a cool band all on my own. check them out. they have the most amazing videos.


I was talking to Fr. G the other day, it was great. we talked on the phone cause I haven't been able to get over there, and he reminded me of things I know, but forget. I find it important to remember that when we feel like we need to be loved, the way to kill that passion is to love others because it creates love and denies the selfish side of that ego based lie, because we really are loved by God, and it takes our trusting in something that we can't feel and ACTING on that trust to create love and live in it. So there. Go and love someone when you are feeling like someone should be loving you. Let me be clear, I know how loved I am in so many ways, but its something that I am happy to be reminded of and to bring to your attention, whomever you may be. anywhoo. there you have it. it's like prayer, practice praying and eventually you will be praying for real. Or practice loving, or being a christian, or whatever, and then one day, you realize that you own the doing of it so that it is where you find your identity, in a good way.
Victoria did some work on her template, and it looks good. go check it out.

Eis Polla Eti Dhespota Met. Jonah! Axios!


Dear Sufjan Stevens

Thank you.

have you ever heard of the orthodox church? you might like it.

but seriously, thank you. keep it up.


Dear Dave (Matthews)

Honestly, when I first heard your music, I wasn't that impressed. I remember two times listening to the radio when I was about 13, hearing "what would you say" and thinking about how cool it was that there were a bunch of men shout-singing a chorus, it was such a good acknowledgement of masculinity. but that was about it for that song, and then I heard Crash, which was nice sounding, but all I remember is the 'I'm the king of the castle' line. Which, I thought was clever.
anyways, your music is a struggle between a celebration of life, your obvious anger with God and a desire to not believe in Him, despite your deep appreciation for being alive and the reality of Love. There is such beauty in that kind of a struggle, as is evident in much of your music. Many people say you are a cheeseball, especially when you are performing live, but I get it. I mean, I communicate so often and so have had the practice, but I hear the clarity of meaning coming through your music, and the fog with which you speak when you try to use your words. No wonder you have to write music. anyways, It's beautiful.
But listen, the God whom you are so angry with and have been hurt by isn't actually God, its people who have done terrible things in God's name. And, the the material things you enjoy so much have been created by God and are good. Its true. The rules that many american Christians would have you follow in order to restrict your freedom are not the same as living life fully and giving thanks for the beauty that has been created for us to revel in. When we truly are thankful for all we have been given, we will begin to understand the right place for all things in God's creation. I think that appreciation will lead to a proper use of all of the gifts of the world, where we don't have to be controlled by anything, and we can give thanks for everything. And the thing is, I see that thankfulness in your music, celebrate we will, cause life is sweet for certain. It is. So often you have clearly expressed the ideal of certain aspects of life in ways that cannot be properly grasped except through music because it occurs in time and with other people. Its temporal aspect is the acknowledgement of our humanity, our mortality. And, it is that mortality that creates or leads us to beauty, to choose one thing and not the other.
Don't believe the hype, you already know that God loves you, you just have to go and ask Bob Dylan where to hang out on sundays.


on location

So, we are having a mini vacation in Tofino, where I went surfing with Ilya yesterday. It was so great! After the first attempt,which lasted about 15 minutes, I was so winded and a little uncomfortable in my wetsuit that I had to take a break and just breathe and get used to it. I thought I was going to puke I had swallowed so much saltwater and my arms were already tired from trying paddle past the break. but whatever, I went back out and finally caught a few waves, not standing up on a board, but just finding out how to catch them and ride them in and get momentum. It was quite the rush, the waves just push you along, which I suppose is the whole point. anyways, it was sweet. I got dumped a few times and tumbled around in the water like a rag doll, which is not that comfortable, but it felt very cleansing in a way. I can't really describe it, but it was amazing. I think I understand why people live to surf, but I think it would get old, kind of like snowboarding. and skateboarding. Now, mind you, those two sports evolved from surfing in the first place, and having skateboarded since I was like 5 (not learning tricks since then, but riding nonetheless) and snowboarded thoroughout my high school years, I always regarded the culture of surfing to be a cultural homeland of sorts that I never was able to get to, because it was just that cool and far away. That, and I thought wetsuits would still be cold. Surprisingly, if I had the strength, I could have stayed out there all day. I was pretty tired pretty quickly. anyways, I was not cold. Anyways, I finally made it to the storm surf shop in tofino, a place I had seen as a mecca. well, I am glad to have been there and done that and not bought the T-shirt, I think I had romanticized it quite a bit, and it was just another expensive store selling name brand skateboards, surf gear, and expensive jeans to people who want to buy an identity that is cooler than they really are. I used to be like that and now I am not. I struggle to continually have my identity in the right place, but I know it can't be bought, and I know that Storm, as cool as it is, is not who I am, nor who I want to become. Surfing is fun, and an amazing workout for the upper body (and I imagine if one gets up on the board, lower body too) but it's not an identity that can last.

that said,

Dear unnamed pro surfer:

your ability to ride waves is unparalleled, and its quite poetic to see the rise and fall being managed by a guy on a board, but why do you keep going back, day after day? Isn't it always the same, or even just a little bit different, and what is it about surfing that makes you keep going back, is it the admiration of fans, the girls that you ride with, or for, or the tan and the hair and the big sunglasses and baggy jeans.

I guess what I am realizing is that I see everything as good and can't imagine becoming so focused on one thing because it negates the possibility of all others. But I guess that is the reality of life. I think my enneagram says something about this. ah well.

Nonetheless, I am in Tofino, with my lovely wife, and we are enjoying the peaceful time. We are staying at a beautiful house that is in the process of being built, and our hosts are very generous and hospitable. It was dinner last night at shelter, a restaurant befitting a destination resort town like whistler, or apparently Tofino. This weekend there are a lot of students up here renting boards and hitting the waves. Its a good time. pictures to come.



This is the first of a few open letters to musicians I like.

Dear Greg Graffin,

I have spent much time listening to your music, and I love the way it calls the powers of our nations to account for the things they do that are less than moral. I love your critique of hypocrisy in institutions because of its powerful form and accurate content. I loved being in the mosh pit hearing 21st Century Digital Boy, and I love that I am posting this on a blog.
I think that you believe so many of the same things about the world that I do, that freedom is a part of life, not merely a right, but something so fundamental that it should be taken for granted. That there is such a thing as right and wrong, and injustice should cease. That this planet is valuable and should be taken care of. That those in positions of power who abuse and take advantage of vulnerable people should be judged harshly.
I take issue with your narrow view of Christianity though, because I think you are tainted by the vocal right wing american version of the church. I must say that as a Christian, I identify (shudder) in a way with them, in that they claim to be followers of Christ. I think if you were to look at certain followers of Christ, like Ghandi, you would find a different way of reading and being that makes a lot of sense. I suspect you agree with Bill Maher in some ways, though not in such a vitriolic fashion, that Faith is a foolish construct. I suggest that reason requires just as much faith as an epistemological foundation as faith, when you really get down to it. Even Descartes had to take on faith his assumptions about being. I see being as a relationally believable situation. We exist because we are in relationship with other beings, and finally and fundamentally, we exist with, for and before the one who created us. It takes the same type of faith to trust in scientific facts that you can't engage with through sense data other than words, as it does to believe in 'myth' that comes to us in the form of words, and is lived out in community with others. Can you really deny the existence of love, or tell me that its existence is a result of evolution? do animals love and if so, does it help them survive? what about music? you are a professional political musician, and music should have died long ago, according to its lack of evolutionary purpose.
You may think you don't have faith, that your knowledge is purely based on reason and rationalist thought, but if you are honest with yourself, you will find that you use a faculty called trust in the same way I do, but you trust in hypotheses made by men about things they didn't create and can't see. I didn't create anything, but I can see love, and that's enough for me to continue to have faith in its reality.



There is change in the air, Barack Obama is the next president of the US, and the world seems hopeful.

What I want to know is how should orthodox christians vote? I see abortion as an issue that points to the rest of your worldview, so we can't possibly support abortion as a morally acceptable practice, with the possible exception of it being a lifesaving situation, even that I don't understand and don't want to comment on.
However, Obama supports late term abortion ( I think ) and that is absolutely brutal. But he seems to have a lot of other seemingly Christian policies, financial, foreign, political, etc.

What I want to know is why is there no consistency of worldview? why does the left support the poor, as Christ would, and care the planet, as Christ would, and abort babies? It seems so strange.

I don' think there is an answer, but I don't get it.

In other news, I have been recording a lot of music lately for Choir practices, and its been going well. We had the greatest Choir day ever the other day, it made me so happy to be the director.

I find myself to be very busy these days, between school, church, and everything else, there aren't many evenings free. one in fact.

I wrote a paper letter and its in the mail today. I haven't been to visit Gibsons in SO long. I miss those guys immensely, and I need to get there for a visit before they have their new addition. So I wrote a letter. A paper letter. I think this digital age is changing our value systems, specifically to do with information and the written word. It is not actually going to change what we value, but how we decide what is valuable. Publishing is so easy now, how do we decipher what is good, when preservation is so widely available. And, oh, imagine all of the annoying people who are going to be given PhD's 200 years from now because of their research on the beginning of the digital revolution? They will spend hours pouring through email accounts that belonged to people who died and never got purged (somehow) I wonder what happens to an email account when the owner dies. or a blog for that matter?



I just don't know. I love my life, I love it so much. It is a lot harder than it used to be, for sure, but in good ways. I love being married, I love being orthodox. why do I get to have such a sweet life? (more on this later)