Friday, March 27, 2009

I think we're in Kansas, Toto.

So, this entry will take you back a bit. The whole idea of going to a blog as opposed to a monthly newsletter was so that I wouldn't fall behind. But, now that we've sprung ahead into spring, I will catch you up on the doings of us. Um, the doings of we? Who knows? It's so hard to pick your pronouns when you're matching them up with colloquial phrases that don't really make for good sentence structure, don't we think?

Back to Kansas . . . home of the band, of the same name. Michael flew in a day early and drove a million miles from Detroit to pick me up in Kansas City. Once he got me, it was just another 5,000 miles out to Sterling, where we were pleased to have been invited back to play at the aptly named, Sleepless in Sterling event. Before we get there, in case you have never been to Kansas, I felt I should give you a few photos to give you a sense of it:

As you can see, Kansas is the place where they grow the fabric that brown suits and blankets are made from.

And, Michael and I finally have photographic evidence that the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.

And then, we arrived in Sterling.

I don't know what they mean by POE at this motel, but I'm hoping it's not this guy. Cause, after all, he's scrary. AND, he's been dead for a long time.

Anyway, there at Sleepless in Sterling, they asked that we do a lot more than play music, and we happily delivered a series of talks, or led the small groups, or both actually. I had ample opportunity to display my artistic talents, as you can see in my rendering of the Kingdom of God.

AND, we found that the building we were playing in was dedicated to an important member of the community. Now maybe it's how I framed the photo, but that last qualification doesn't really seem like it belongs in a plaque at a Christian College.

Anyway, we had a great weekend and, when it was over on Sunday, we drove approximately 3,000 miles back to Minneapolis, so that we could fly out in the morning, which we did.

From there, I had a bizarre set of flights that took me through Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia on my way home. But it was worth it, since I made it over another hurdle.

Now, ordinarily, the post would end there. However, being all far behind like this, we press on. The next weekend, Michael and I flew to Minneapolis, got the van, and drove eastward into Wisconsin. In case you have never been to Wisconsin, since I didn't get any photos, I will provide with a visual here.

Saturday night, we played in Mosinee, which i think comes from the French phrase meaning "my friend." Played in the local high school there, and had a great time. The local worship band from the next morning played a set before ours, and they were quite awesome. The next morning, we played some songs during worship in Steven's Point (advantage Steven) at the local college ministry chapel, which is where the local worship band from the night before plays. Would have been nice to stick around, but we had some high tailing to do to get to the evening's concert, which was in a brand new Lutheran High School in Hartland, Wisconsin. Though they spell the word "heart" incorrectly in their town name, they have built one beautiful High School.

After that concert, we headed over to a hotel near the Milwaukee airport. In the morning we flew home, and that was the end of that short weekend.

Though I could continue, the next weekend deserves its own post, so I am going to stop for now and make you wonder, "Huh?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back in Ohio Again (All the doors I closed one time will open up again)

It's music week around here because . . . well, because I decided it was. No pictures, just lots of interesting musical links. (Facebook readers are advised to go here, for full visual stimulation.)

So, we were able to leave our homes fairly late, in the scheme of things, and fly back to Detroit, where you may recall I left the van. After finding same, we headed off south and east, passing over that new bridge in Toledo, past the town where I got married, then off toward roller coaster heaven. (Which is where roller coasters go when they die, I guess.)

Arrived at the secret location for the youth gathering, and had the second of two consecutive Lutheran middle school events. Again with the pirate theme, again with the Bob Lenz speaker, and again with the great time had by all. It was deja vu all over again, except a lot bigger than the first time.

Met some very interesting people, many of whom will be my new neighbors in just a few months. But no time to stick around being neighborly. because we had to race on over to Jackson, MI for a concert. We were relieved to find out that the MI stand for Michigan and not Mississippi. Not that we've got anything against the Magnolia State, it's just that we would have missed the concert.

Got to Jackson about an hour before the concert, so it was a race to set up. Had a good workout carrying stuff up the ramps, but we were all set up about 15 minutes before the opening chord, so it was no problem. It was a beautiful church, right downtown, and the mosaics were all done by a previous pastor. Wish we'd had time to stick around and get some photos and stuff, but we had to race off right away to make some flights out of Detroit.

I dropped Michael off, parked the van, and we both made our flights home. A simple weekend, came to an end, with nary a hitch. Next weekend, however, will be filled with challenges. But meantime, I've got to go to class. Rock on, people who read blogs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

St. Louis and Ohio

I begin with my usual disclaimer to Facebook readers that the blog looks better here. I'm just saying.

So on Thursday, we headed for St. Louis. Well, technically, Michael left on Wednesday night, but he arrived on Thursday, same as me. Or, I guess I mean same as I. Or, based on what the flight attendants say, I think I mean, "Michael arrived on Thursday, the same as on behalf of myself."

That afternoon, we played for a large group of area Lutheran students, that being National Lutheran Schools week. (Who knew, right?) I don't know that we were much help in "securing each student's future," but we were happy to play our songs for them, and they seemed to tolerate us just fine. Later that night, we played a concert in the same room, and some long-time friends from Spec and elsewhere.

The next morning, we headed off for parts east, driving across the On-Behalf-of-Myself states (Illinois and Indiana) and arriving in southwest Ohio. We were actually headed for Mason, which is Cincinnati adjacent. Continuing with our Lutheran theme, we were there to play for a Lutheran youth gathering, which we did. We were psyched to find that the speaker for the weekend was none other than our long-time pal, Bob Lenz. Had a great time, celebrating the pirate theme, but i never have been able to get the hang of those pirate eyepatch things.

Sunday afternoon, we raced off to the east, looking for a place called Crooksville, Ohio. Since we got to town early, we decided to make a stop at the National Ceramic Museum, which we saw in our Atlas, and which was right on our way to Crooksville. We realize that neither of us is exactly a big fan of ceramics, but, you know, it would be interesting just to see what kind of stuff one finds at the National Ceramic Museum. We figured there would be gift shop, and all sorts of interesting things.

We were surprised to find so much parking available.

We thought the entrance seemed a litte unkempt. But, hey, these are artists, not landscapers.

We wondered about the orange pieces of paper that were stuck in the door.

Perhaps some kind of brochure? An explanation of the displays currently on exhibit?

Um, so . . . It seems maybe the National Ceramic Museum isn't exactly operational just now. Possibly, if you're a fan of ceramics, you can help them out.

Anyway, we went on to the town of Crooksville, where we were playing. When we got to the church, we were a little concerned to see this sign out front, given that we were playing there in March.

Turned out, we had the wrong church. Our spirits lifted when we found the right Methodist church, where we found people instead of birds that had expired standing up, like this one at the ironically named "New Hope."

As I say, the real concert location was much nicer, and the hosts were fantastic. Had a good concert, but then had to race on north and west to the Toledo area, where we slept briefly in a hotel, before heading north to the Detroit Airport, where I dropped off Michael, parked the van, and then returned to the airport for my own flight home.

On behalf of myself, here ends the missive,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Back at It

So, if you're reading this on Facebook, I think it looks better at the actual location, which you can find here. I'm just saying.

First off, a little cleaning up the piles of stuff around your apartment can yield all sorts of interesting things. Take this picture, for intance:

After several weekends off (which explains why I tried to straighten up my random piles of stuff), Michael and I were pleased to join together in Maryland for some concerts this weekend. (We were particularly pleased in that Troy was willing to be the one to drive the van from Minneapolis to Washington to pick us up.) We met at the airport in the late afternoon, and raced off into Maryland. Given the name, I thought we were going to a nice hotel, but it turns out there's a town in the Old Line State called Waldorf. Set up for a nice concert, and had one, as a matter of fact. Michael sat in for the receptionist since the desk was empty that night.

The local ELCA Bishop offered a plausible explanation of Maryland's nickname, and we accepted his proposal. (And it certainly beat that time when someone told us that Wapakoneta came from the Native-American term for "white pants.") The pastor at the church in Waldorf had all manner of interesting toys, and we had great fun playing with the flying suacer thing. Who says church isn't fun, right?

Turns out the church in Waldorf was planning to add on to their building. A special kind of addition, as you can see here:

Anyway, we had a fun concert in Waldorf, and afterward drove north into Pennsylvania.

The next afternoon, we found our way to the Toftrees Golf Resort (talk about your white pants!) to play for a group of enthusiastic folks from the Allegheny Synod who were gathering for a gathering. This was a lot of fun, for us anyway. But we had to race on out of town to get to Dillsburg, which is Harrisburg adjacent. The folks at the BIC Church there were doing a 30-hour famine event, and they asked us to play a concert at the end of it. (I guess the theory being that after 30 hours without food, they were all worn down to the point that they could take a Lost And Found concert.)

Had a great time, and headed back to the hotel for a brief rest before getting up early to play during worship in Neffs, PA, which is near . . . uh . . . well, it's kind of not near anything as far as we could tell. Or, mainly, what it's not near is an exit off the 476. Got a little lost on the way to worship, but we did eventually find the church and made for a quick set up. The church people had set up a stage in front of the chancel, which was somewhat unusual, I must say, but served our purposes quite well. I did notice that the pulpit had a conveniently located thermostat.

As you can see, the preacher can reach down during the sermon and make adjustments as needed. I'll bet that's particularly helpful when people are getting drowsy and she can turn it down to, say, 55 or so.

After worship, we had a few hours off, and then it was time for the concert. The opening band, called SWiM were really quite excellent.

The hosts turned out a huge crowd, and we had a great concert. Afterward, Michael used the Slinky Phone from Waldorf to spend a little time with Jesus. From there, it was time to go our separate ways. Troy got back in the van and headed off to St. Louis. Michael and I got in the rental car and headed east for my place in New York. Unfortunately, Michael's flght was cancelled for some reason, but that gave him time to clean off the car to get to the airport.

I would've helped, but I was busy taking pictures with my phone. Since I didn't receive a panicked call from Michael after he left, I'm assuming he found JFK alright and is currently somewhere over the Miidwest at 30,000 feet. So, now we have a couple days off, until we gather back up and find where Troy left the van.

And speaking of Troy, if you're interested in getting a free copy of one of the Slide Girl recordings from this weekend (or any other weekend, for that matter) you can e-mail him at