31 October 2011


National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow.
And I totally just realised what I've gotten myself into.

100,000 words. Two novels. Thirty days.

I'm screwed.

28 October 2011

Music Day

Another song from my childhood. (It was either this or more White Heart.)
This band has exactly two major hits (that I'm aware of, anyway). One from a VeggieTales episode (The Rumour Weed Song, from Larry-Boy And The Rumour Weed), the other, featured today, was catapulted to fame when Christian radio started advertising it as 'from the band who performed The Rumour Weed Song on the new Larry-Boy video.' The immense popularity of Larry-Boy at the time (strengthened by the newly-launched website -- a big deal in 1999) and the catchiness of both songs combined so strongly that most people who listened to Christian radio and/or knew VeggieTales in that era can hear either song now, more than ten years later (has it really been that long?) and still name the band. Not a lot of Christian hits from 1999 are that recognisable.
This is probably the only song that reminds me of PFR that isn't actually by PFR.

Title: The Devil Is Bad
Artist: The W's
Album: Fourth From The Last
Year: 1998
Label: Five Minute Walk Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Because let's face it, it's way too much fun to say Ski-dee-lee-oo.

24 October 2011

What If

What if we never saw each other again?

What if that thought was in the back of our minds every time we associated with anyone? What if we kept in mind the fact that a sudden health problem or car wreck or wayward bullet or freak accident could take either you or your present company out... permanently? What if we fully realised that the human lifetime is so so very short and we have no guarantees? What if we spent every day feeding the legacy we want to leave behind? What if that legacy wasn't power, or money, or fame but having thousands of people come to your funeral and say from the depths of their hearts "I was blessed beyond words by something this person did for me"?

What if we realised that even if I survive tomorrow, my friend, my brother/sister, my cousin, my grandparents, the neighbour, the person in front of me at church may not?

What if we realised that the computer is always there but people are not marked with expiration dates like milk? What if we made the most of every second we have in each other's presence? What if... what if you let someone know you love them? Sacrifice your pride, your carefully-maintained reputation, your time and work at adding a splash of colour and warmth to someone's life.

Because what if there is no tomorrow for one or both of you?

21 October 2011

Music Day

I was listening to this album the other day, and as I was staring out the window at the blue sky and the yellow and red leaves popping out against it, this song caught my attention.
It's beautiful.
It's charming -- the analog hiss makes it feel a little more intimate. The one-take recording adds to it -- no autotune, no computers; just a regular guy and an old piano, singing for the God who gives him breath.

Title: Nothing Is Beyond You (Demo Version)
Artist: Rich Mullins
Album: The Jesus Record
Year: 1997
Label: Word Records
iTunes here.

The heavens stretch to hold You
And deep cries out to deep...
Time does not contain You
You fill eternity...

20 October 2011

Problem Solved

Remember the little conundrum I was in last week? Trying to decide between two different plots for my November novel?

I fixed it.


I'm doing them both.

Yes, both, at the same time. The plan is to work on them side-by-side and get them both to 50,000 words in November. I mean, I've done this one novel at a time for six events now, I think it's time for a challenge.

I'm not so much worried about keeping up with the word count, I'm more concerned about switching in my head from one plot to the next, as they're both quite different. (One is about a girl who finds an abandoned film studio hidden practically in her aunt and uncle's backyard; the other is about a man whose wife is -- seemingly randomly -- kidnapped. Over the ensuing investigation he finds that she had a brother who was also kidnapped nearly thirty years before. Coincidence?)

18 October 2011

Sometimes The Littlest Things Make The Biggest Difference...

Nearly two weeks ago, at our extended-family Thanksgiving dinner, my aunt, who quite enjoys my photography, asked to see the binder that I put some of my best prints in. It was on my desk, beside where I usually use my MacBook. I've long found that space constrictive, but I had nowhere else to put that binder.

Anyway, I went to my room and brought it out for her to look at. She ordered some prints and we continued visiting.

Later, once she and everyone else had left, I brought the binder back to my room but didn't put it back on the desk immediately.

That evening I was listening to music on my computer and got an idea for a dance. I grabbed my choreography binder. At first I put it on my lap like I usually did, but then I looked at the now-empty space on the desk.


I pushed the MacBook to one side and set the open binder down beside it. There was just enough open space on the desk for both. (Once I moved the stacks of CDs there was even more room.)

It's crazy how much that freed up my brain for choreography. Having the binder right in front of me and the computer playing music within easy reach (for volume adjustments or checking playing times) didn't seem like that big of a difference, but in the past week and a half I've gotten a lot of formations and some sequence work done for three or four albums' worth of songs. (I used to get maybe five steps done on maybe two or three songs a day.) I haven't yet 'completed' a dance, but I have some that should get done within a few weeks, provided I keep working on them.

Once I've got a decent collection of completed choreography, the next step is getting some dancers together, teaching it to them, and actually getting it staged somewhere...

14 October 2011

Music Day

This song makes me think of bright colours, neon lights, and rollerblading. I don't know why.
Still, it's a lesser-known song from this band that seems just a little different from their mainstream hits -- quirky maybe? Perhaps it's just me. It just feels like a breath of fresh air. Not that they really had any stale songs (up until the release of the Born Again album, anyway). It's like hearing a new hit from a band you used to love but somehow forgot about. I've had this song for several years now and I've yet to tire of it.
Also, my mother likes this song. There you go... this is certified cool now.
(For those new around here, read this and this to get a sense of her musical tastes.)

Title: Spirit Thing
Artist: Newsboys
Album: Going Public
Year: 1994
Label: Star Song
iTunes here; YouTube here.

12 October 2011

This Post Is Brought To You By My Indecisive Brain

NaNoWriMo preparation for November 2011:

1 September: "Ugh. Do I even want to put myself through that again in two months?"

Mid-September: "Hey, I could use that idea from a few years back... and really, what's November without writing a novel?"

6 October: "Okay. I am doing this novel, no second-guessing. None. I've got this all figured out and everything. Bring it, November!"

9 October: *waiting for November and trying not to pre-plan too much because my brain is like 'well, you have an idea, keep adding to it and working it out...' No, brain, that's what November's for*

12 October: "OHMYGOODNESS EPIC NEW PLOT TWIST IDEAS FOR OLD SCRAPPED PLOT!!! I could totally do this for NaNoWriMo!"


07 October 2011

Music Day

Since Canadian Thanksgiving is on Monday (usually I don't make such a big deal out of Thanksgiving, but this past year has changed my perspective a lot), I decided to feature a thankful-type song.
Naturally the first one in my head was a Petra song (look at the Music Day tab just under this blog's heading and you'll see what I mean), but there's also a very nice Silverwind song of gratitude as well... actually, two, now that I think about it. (There's more, but I struggle with indecisiveness enough without consciously looking for things to be indecisive about.)
(Now that I look for one of the two songs on YouTube I find more good thankful Silverwind songs...)
(And a Petra song. I CAN'T GET AWAY FROM THEM!)
(Yes. It's late. I get a little daft when it's late.)
(This is why I do most of my writing at night... then I'm too hyper to notice (or care) if it sucks.)
(Neither of the Silverwind songs I thought of are on YouTube. I should just put them on myself.)
(...If I wasn't so lazy... er, that is, if I didn't already have a thousand things to do. Like go to sleep and do this in the morning.)
(Well, later in the morning.)
(You know what I mean.)

Anyway, the song's on iTunes and that's the main thing. Now that they've switched to a minute and a half long preview, that gives you a pretty good idea of whether you'd like the song anyway (even if it takes entirely too long to preview albums now).

Title: Thank You Lord
Artist: Silverwind
Album: By His Spirit
Year: 1985
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here.

I have always loved Betsy's voice and in fact, it was thanks primarily to Betsy Hernandez (of Silverwind) and Agnetha Fåltskög of ABBA (similar sound, completely different outlook), that I taught myself to sing. My dear childhood friend could tell you stories... many were the times when she'd grab me by the shoulders and say 'Will you STOP TALKING about MUSIC?!?'

Obviously I didn't -- I just redirected it.

05 October 2011

Thanksgiving - A Challenge

This morning I was late for my ballet class, and in a desperate way.
Or so I thought.
When I arrived, I found that the previous class had gone late -- a rare occurrence. Therefore I was still technically not late as my class hadn't begun yet.
As I was speed-changing into my practice clothes, it dawned on me that that was God's undeserved grace right there. I didn't deserve this kind of break; it was my fault I'd left my house late in the first place. Why He saw fit to give me that extra few minutes I don't know, and perhaps I never will. But the fact is He gave it to me.
Not long ago, I heard a speaker talking about the perfect holiness and good goodness of God. He talked about how people always say, "Well, if God is so good, why does He let bad stuff happen?"
The speaker said that is entirely the wrong perspective. We as humans are pure evil without Jesus purifying us. The question instead is 'Why should God let anything good happen at all in this world? We sure as heck don't deserve it.'
God gives us a beautiful sunset every night. Why should He allow us to see such beauty? We don't deserve it.
God gives us food and clean water. Why should He allow us even enough to survive, never mind give us excess amounts of it? We don't deserve it.
God gives us the air to breathe and the chest to breathe it. Why should He not only let us live, but Himself be intimately involved in our moment-to-moment survival? We don't deserve it.
God gives us (especially in Canada) warm clothes and blankets on our beds. Why should He allow us to be warm and comfortable? We don't deserve it.
The list goes on.
And this morning an idea struck me. Why not keep track of every instance of God's grace that I see every day, for a period of time? Like the 'counting blessings' thing, but rather than just focusing for ten minutes on a couple of big things (house; bed; food; clothes), let's focus more on the little things. Like the times my laziness should get me into trouble, but it doesn't. Like the fact that God could have withdrawn His hand from around my heart and let it stop two paragraphs ago but He didn't. Like the fact that He hasn't allowed the motor to fall out of my rattletrap vehicle yet even though it probably should have two years ago.
And then I thought, heck, (Canadian) Thanksgiving is right around the corner; this coming Monday to be exact. Perfect.
The thought continued... I should get a bunch of people involved in this.

So I'm going to go out on a proverbial limb here and present a challenge for both you and me.
Throughout the day, as things happen (or don't) by God's grace, write them down (or use the voice recording app on your iPhone, whatever). We'll do this for... let's say two weeks, starting Sunday morning, the ninth of October. At the end of the two weeks (the twenty-second), look back over the lists. If you (and I) want to continue after that, great; but if not, hopefully we all have a greater appreciation of just how much God does for us in our day-to-day lives. If you want to do a blog post detailing every instance you saw or just what you learned from the experience, that would be interesting as well... you can link to it either here in the comments on this post or hopefully I will be publishing another post as sort of a follow-up after two weeks and you can link to it there. I would love to see what God shows you. Note that it's not a requirement that you post about it, but you might enjoy thinking over it all again.
I have to say I'm really looking forward to this. I'm also curious to know who's going to try this along with me... feel free to comment!

(If you're reading this several weeks, months, or even years from now, try it for yourself. Set aside two or three weeks and give it a shot. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.)

P.S. -- Bonus points if you caught both of the Lecrae references in this post.

03 October 2011


The word nerd in me recently noticed that the word 'pretty' is hardly ever used anymore except as an adverb (pretty good, pretty stupid, pretty intense...).
And the word nerd found it sad.
As children -- specifically little girls -- 'pretty' is one of the most-used words in our vocabularies. Everything that is a) pink; b) has flowers and/or hearts on it; c) involves dress-up or make-up; or d) looks frilly or lacy is called 'pretty.'
'Pretty' is one of the highest compliments a little girl can receive and it's one of the highest compliments a little girl can pay anybody. It doesn't matter if you're fifty and 300 pounds overweight with whiskers or if you're twenty-two with 'perfect' skin and a seven-year string of beauty pageant championships, if a little girl calls you 'pretty,' you will treasure that forever. (And little girls, if my recollections of the experience are any indication, tend to think of almost all adult women as 'pretty.' Now that I think about it, when and why does that change?)
But somewhere in the teen years, 'pretty' is replaced by 'hot.' Sorry, I mean 'hawt.' Or 'sexy.'
Call me an innocent purist, but none of those have the same sweet ring to it as 'pretty' does.
Let's bring it back, shall we?