Friday, May 27, 2011

Nathan's Theme

Inspired by recent discussion at Books, Bones, Bricks, and Bullets, I began to wonder, If the world was covered in invisible speakers, what would they play when I entered a room?

To be honest, this wouldn't be the first time I've had such thoughts.  On the old blog, I once proposed an idea to create a "life soundtrack," with the intention of assigning theme music to personal activities, places, situations, and family and friends.  (At least one reader took the challenge, but I didn't follow through myself.  Maybe someday.)  But this time it's different.  It's just my own theme music--describing Nathan alone. 

So, when Nathan enters a room, what do we hear?

At the start of this quest, I had to make one thing clear with myself: favorite music and theme music won't necessarily be the same.  I have plenty of favorite songs that I would love to have playing as I go about my daily business, but at best, each of them perhaps only captures one tiny facet of my personality.  One song might work great for when I'm happy, another when I'm sad, and yet another when I'm struggling to get up in the morning.  That's part of why they're my favorite songs: they take how I'm feeling in a particular moment and magnify that emotion.  But for my personal entrance theme, I want something that covers all the bases and illustrates "Nathan in general."

The second rule I set for myself was realism.  In other words, as awesome as the epic stuff is, I am not a ninja or a pirate, nor do I frequently lead armies into battle (as far as I remember, that's only happened once).  So, the sweeping melodies of Braveheart or The Lord of the Rings most likely aren't going to fit who I am and how I live.

Third rule: my theme must get to the point as soon as I enter the room.  Lots of great songs make the listener wait for the main event.  They start out quiet, then gradually build and build until bam!, you're face-to-face with an organ-playing octopus!  Here's the thing, though: when you enter a room, do you say "I'm coming, just stuck in traffic right now," or do you say, "I'm here!  And I brought drinks!"?  When those speakers start announcing my presence, I'm too busy saying hi to people to remind them that I'm not actually supposed to be there until the sick guitar solo at 3:18.

So, general, realistic, and to the point.  And the winner is. . . .

Barret's Theme
Nobuo Uematsu

For those of you who have played Final Fantasy VII or know Barret's character at all, take note that I do not compare myself to Barret.  Simply remove the song from the context of the game, and I think it can actually do pretty well at announcing, "Hey, Nathan's here!"  It doesn't go in depth describing who I am, but it gets the general point across quickly, which is what entrance music should do for a person. 

To me, this song in particular paints a picture of a well-rounded person.  It can effectively say both "Let's get to work" and "We've worked hard; let's go have some fun."  It's a little rough around the edges, yet civilized and friendly.  It describes someone who enjoys a good adventure, but doesn't mind staying home now and then, either.  It's active, but not rowdy; strong, yet sociable; intelligent, yet down to earth.  I like it.

What would you choose as your own entrance music?  Do you think mine fits, or would you pick something different for me?

One thing's for sure: the next party I go to, I'll be playing this song in my head when I get there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Scout is Loyal

There are responsibilities and duties that come with privileges.  Look at someone who has a lot of privileges, and you will also see that they have many responsibilities.  Those who seek to have privileges without also fulfilling their duties are those who are also trying to neglect their values and principles.  Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, 34th President of the United States of America) said, "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

--Ron Wendel, The Scoutmaster Minute, pp. 16-17

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Scout is Trustworthy

Several years ago I started a project to depict the points of the Scout Law in Lego, but only got a third of the way through.  I always meant to finish, though, and this feels like a good time to get back into it.

As far as building goes, I'm going to pick up where I left off instead of starting over.  But the first four installments of this blog series will be the original vignettes from my first attempt at the project.  So, without further ado. . . .

If you've ever lost a ten-dollar bill, you feel pretty bad.  If you lose more money, you feel even worse, but that's nothing compared to how you feel when you're sick or injured.  It's especially bad if you find out that your sickness or injury is going to take a long time before you're healed.  But there's one thing even worse than losing money or getting sick, and that is losing your integrity.  It has been said that when wealth is lost, nothing is lost.  When health is lost, something is lost.  When character is lost, all is lost.

--Ron Wendel, The Scoutmaster Minute, p. 10

Monday, May 16, 2011

Burn season

I've learned to appreciate a good sunburn; there's nothing like putting in a hard day of work or play and coming back in to see the evidence.  It tells the world, "I got outside.  I'm living life."

I don't advocate going out unprepared.  But when burn season comes, I certainly can't complain if my skin gets a little red.  Eventually the tan comes, and if I start the fall darker than I was in the spring, that's success.

First burn of the season has healed and I feel good.  Happy burn season, everyone.  Have fun out there!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Getting caught in the rain

We spent a good chunk of our Saturday cleaning out the back shed.  It all started quite nicely; the weather was beautiful and warm, and we had no problem getting all our stuff out of the shed and spread all over the lawn.

Once we got to that point, the thunder began to clap and an ice-cold rain fell, drenching everything.  We worked frantically to fill the shed again, but in no time we ourselves were entirely soaked. 

And I loved every second of it.

I remember a Monday evening on the southeast side of San Antonio.  My companion and I hit the streets to find people to talk to, and it was an overcast day much like today.  Then a flood of rain suddenly came down, and we had left our umbrellas at the apartment, so whaddya do, you know?  I'll tell ya, though, that was some of the most fun I ever had street contacting on my mission.  We surrendered to the elements, so we didn't even care that it looked and felt like we had just jumped into a pool with all of our clothes and proselyting materials.  In that moment we truly lost ourselves, and we were having so much fun that we radiated happiness.  Anyone who was crazy enough to still be outside definitely heard from us in that neighborhood that night.  There was no escape.  And I like to think we left at least some of them feeling better about their day.

In Texas we had plenty of hot days.  One summer I was there, Austin broke a record for the most consecutive days over a hundred degrees.  Church marquees all over the place could be seen inviting people to pray for rain, and in two of my areas, there were even stake-wide fasts for rain (which were all answered the very next day--cool stories, I won't get into them right here though).

But man, when it rained, it rained.  One evening I passed an empty flood basin, and the next day it had risen over eight feet and become a roaring rapid.  I saw swimming pools that had overflowed so that they were just the deep part of a much larger puddle.  And there was at least one occasion in San Antonio when it seemed almost pointless to keep our windshield wipers on, because the rain was just coming down too hard and too fast.  It doesn't rain in Utah the way it does in Texas.

I love it when it rains because it takes me back to my mission, and thus motivates me to become a better person.  Today's rain took me back.  So, in tribute to the rains of my mission, a few videos from some such times.


On Monday's post, one commenter asked:

Are you going to be posting any videos of you playing on the new instrument?

Well. . . .


Carly Comando

Monday, May 9, 2011

The antique piano

This is the piano I grew up on.  They don't make them like this anymore; and for how old it is, it's still in great shape.  Truthfully we don't know exactly when our piano was built, but the most recent date engraved on the soundboard is August 18, 1882--interestingly enough, precisely 128 years prior to the day I returned from my mission.  Let's take a peek inside this beauty:


I wish this old piano could talk and share its story.  It only came into my family's possession in 1988; so as far as it's concerned, I'm still fairly new.  I want to know who played this piano before me.  I want to know how it got to the place where my parents found it, and where it stopped along the way.  Was it the background to a saloon somewhere?  Or did a more wealthy family put it in their parlor?  One of these days I'd like to write such a story.

But, here and now, I know this piano is part of our family, and will continue to be as long as I have anything to say about it.  I've played on it my whole life, and I'm delighted that my children will also play on it.  The arrangement is that when I'm married and moved out of the house, I will inherit the piano.  And so the story will continue onward into the next generation of pianists (and the fact that my wife and I won't have to take time to save up for a piano is also a huge plus).

Until then, starting today, it is in the care of my older brother, who will protect it, play it, and love it.  But just moving the thing proved a most impressive feat; as I said, they don't make pianos like this anymore.  It's almost as tall as me, and quite a bit heavier!

But you know, a house without a piano just feels . . . kind of empty.

Guess it's time for a new one!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...