07.29.05 - cleveland, OH

steve and I had one of our best shows last night. good turnout. great venue - the sound and lighting made all the difference. i screwed up a few lyrics, but the vibes were good in the room.

lots of great responses from jodi's friends and family... and from a few strangers. a curtain was up so that casual coffee customers could hear, but not see the show without paying.

our youngest fan, 3 week-old Keller. congrats Zack and Shelley - sorry the picture's blurry.

i guess the seekers stage has been graced with the likes of the ragamuffin band (rich mullins' former band), the lost dogs (kurt would be giddy), shaun groves, eli, zoegirl, and a few other national christian acts. hoping they get one of these in AZ - we could use a nice clean christian venue.

we played till 11pm, then packed up and drove from cleveland to new castle. got in at about 1:30am and we play meadville tonight. i'm LOVING life on the road.


more butt-arms

we had a little too much fun with the camera phone and our elbows.
reminder: these are the arms, not the back-sides, of adults and kids....

jonathan's arm.

our nephew luke. he's only six, and it's already hairy!

above is my butt-arm. kinda chunky, eh?

this is the most hairy and freckle-covered of them all. the butt arm of my brother-in-law, kosta:


kelly and deke were so sweet. they let us crash in their basement when we played in columbus. the only condition was that their little anna had to show up on the blog....

anna too close.



07.28.05 - columbus, OH

columbus was a blast. not the greatest turnout. but susan and the crew at the mustard seed were such great hosts.

got to have dinner with my sister and her family before the show.

steve and I are getting tighter as a duo. just in time for us to part ways after tomorrow's show. he's a great guy and an audiophile like me (e.g. he and i casually conversated about velocity-sensitive distortion on wurlitzer keyboard pads).

the road to columbus (leads to me?)

jodi driving - eyes on the road, girl!

capitalizing on god's wonders

the grand canyon
intimate human "relations"
niagara falls

what do these things have in common? they're all god's creation, made for us to enjoy, and taken by us to make money and earn status.

i was thinking about niagara falls. how god made it for us to marvel at. to enjoy and appreciate. and then how we, mankind, have built up this shiny, ritzy, money-making frame around it.

i feel the same way about human "relations" - we've exploited it with pornography, entertainment, clothing.

and although worship music is an 'industry' i'm currently pursuing, I've started to feel similar vibes. guess it's one of the many things we'll look back upon from heaven, realizing that aside from jesus, we had it all wrong.

we play columbus tonight. praying I don't ruin it with notions of status and income.


the butt-arm

our 6-year-old nephew luke taught us how to make an arm look like a butt.
we're fascinated.


the falls of niagara

a rule of thumb on tours it to keep the overhead way low. we've not followed this rule very well. airfares, 2 days in cedar point, rental vehicles, eating out, and... a trip to niagara falls!

jodi and I went with her parents, and her brother's family, including their porcelain baby doll daughter, shannon. i'd probably been to the falls about 10 times - my family lived in ontario for a while growing up. but somehow, when my parents took me and my sister, we managed to miss a few fun things....

i finally made it onto the maid of the mist - fun and refreshing since it was a hot day. the horseshoe falls are fast, massive and overwhelming. can't believe god made something so huge for us to enjoy and appreciate.

and we went onto the US side for the cave of the winds tour. you have to do this! we were blown away by the sheer force of those falls. a great reminder for us to fear god a little more.


07.24.05 - new castle, PA

pastor mark and the gang at first church of god in new castle were so sweet! they welcomed me and steve back with so much enthusiasm.

the congregation responded so well to our tribal worship set (me on acoustic, steve on djembe). at the end, someone shouted out "tug!" - and we got to do one more song as the pastor dismissed the service.


07.23.05 - greenville, PA

"what do you think about me coming to greenville?" - action figures

the Jamhouse was my first stop on this here tour. got to meet steve mokris - my percussionist for the tour. he responded to an ad I put on craigslist just 2 weeks ago - I love technology....

cassie, john, and martin were mighty hospitable - helping us load in, load out, serving us yummy coffee, popcorn and just being nice folks. steve and me slammed through 2 hours of music - much of it improvised since steve had never heard the songs before.

afterward, we had a competition on one of those playstation dance games where you have to stomp on the arrows at the right time. kylie jo sat in for me and beat the snot out of jodi. then cassie from the jamhouse made all our jaws drop by doing a dance that involved both (player 1 and player 2) dance pads!

me and steve.

the dance-off - sorry so blurry - new camera phone.

cedar point

jodi and I spent our 3 year anniversary at cedar point - and it rocked! we went with friends Shana and Eric (aka "the honeymooners"). here are some highlights.

i went on all the coasters, but i wimped out on the ocean motion.

their newest ride, the Top Thrill Dragster goes from zero to 125mph in about 6 seconds, then shoots you vertical for about 400 feet. this was the longest wait, but the shortest ride.

i've now perfected the art of listening for jodi's scream - i could be 100 yards away and still know when she's on a particular ride.

my favorite was probably the raptor.

good times and a great anniversary. the tour starts tonight. i get to meet my drummer (we found each other on craigslist) today too. stay tuned....

eric, shana, and jodi - note the demon drop in the background.

jodi in the hotel lobby.


taxi mishap

here I sit, waiting for my taxi to take me to the airport.

I made a reservation yesterday for a pick up service - the best price I could find - to come get me at 5:40am. when they were 10 minutes late, I called to check my reservation, and they had me downfor 5:40PM. crap!

so I'll be cutting it close to make my flight, but I'm sitting here casually blogging b/c it'll be a few minutes before a cab can pick me up.

today is the 3rd year anniversary of my marriage to an incredible woman. can't believe how the time has gone by so fast. we're having such a blast doing this marriage thing together. the Big Guy definitely knew what he was doing when he made us run into each other over and over again at camp.

god, please help us to stay strong - help me not to screw things up - and help me to see all her dreams and hopes through.


mandolins, cankles, and nogales

this weekend, we took my sis' and her family pretty much everywhere in Arizona. grand canyon, native reservations, flagstaff, slide rock, sedona....

we discovered that "aunt jodi" might have cankles - all the native american anklets she tried on (except for one) fit a little snug for some reason.

did worship sunday morning at crosspointe with stand-up bass and mandolin. Kurt had some tasty mandolin licks on our version of "fairest lord jesus."

then yesterday, we rented a van and drove down to nogales, mexico. first time over the border since we've been in AZ - and it was quite an experience. we honed our bargaining skillz. I bought a couple of "imported" cigars. we were awestruck by the choices of prescription drugs that were available. and I gave a begging, barefoot child the last 1/4 of my water bottle.



yesterday my cell phone was stolen.

i accidentally left it out on our table at the wave pool where we took my sister and her family. we're guessing it was a young kid - a bunch of them came on two busses - and an adult would know that it wasn't worth very much.

not worth much to anyone else but me, that is.

so we'll see how well I am at detaching myself from such things. from technology, instant communication, and my whole phonebook at the touch of a button. funny how we become used to these conveniences.

sprint has been pretty good about it though. after first calling my own phone (got my voicemail - that's how i know it's stolen because I left it on and fully charged about an hour before i realized it was gone), i called to suspend it so no one could call from it. they told me no one had made any phone calls from it. then, they enabled a feature on my account that would allow me some $$ toward a new phone since it wasn't insured.


big oops...

i pulled a nice fat no-no last night. cancelled a gig - in my mind - without letting the venue owner in on my little decision.

see i was scheduled to play at into the bean with Sara McKinnon last night. my work called me late in the week and was going to give my shift away to someone else if i couldn't stay till 2am. i took the extended shift and told Sara about it - but forgot to tell luis (manager of into the bean) about it. i ended up at work, suddenly realizing it was already saturday, and not having the phone number or the time to call from work.

luis was expecting me. some folks from my church even showed up. and wahba/sara were nowhere to be found. don't think we'll be playing at into the bean any time soon.

really smooth. i'm such a screw-up sometimes.


wife carrying competition

apparently this family has won five times. jodi, what do you say?


storytellers worship

yesterday our church congregation was my collective lab rat for a pretty successful experiment.

using paper "ballots" with a list of all our songs, and a few questions at the bottom, we had them submit their favorite worship songs over the past few weeks. we then took a whole sunday morning service to play only the songs they picked. no sermon, just their songs. before each song, we either had the individuals come up and introduce the songs, or we had their comments projected so the congregation could read them.

here were my observations:
  • no one chose any slow, worshipful songs! we had to take 1 1/2 songs that weren't really 'worship ballads' and slow them down so that we could have some prayer and communion time.
  • some people's comments were enough to open up the rest of us to start liking a few songs we wouldn't have necessarily called our favorites.
  • people were surprisingly concise. no verbose drivel. not even from our pastor!
  • when I asked myself, "have I seen Flo (flow) today?" the answer was a resounding yes.
  • there's a rich history of worship songs that Daniel (our former worship pastor, now youth pastor) used to do regularly, to which our community still attaches themselves. props to Daniel for being such a big part of their Christian memory. and shame on the rest of us for neglecting it.
  • the single most requested song by anyone in our church was matt redman's "blessed be your name." although I don't particularly attach myself to the song, I should consider using it more - it's become an undeniably important song for the Church.

i'm learning that worship songs are really just... songs. they aren't very much on their own without the healing, joyful, hope-inspiring power of the Spirit.