Friday, August 22, 2008

Selling My Drumkit

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sitting in my basement studio to the left

i knew this day would eventually come, but i’m dreading it.  i just spent the last few hours taking photos of my drumkit, researching its specifications, and typing everything down… all in preparation to sell it.  really, it’s not a big deal because i’ll still be playing drums, just using calvin’s chapel drumkit and practicing there instead of at home.  i can also buy another drumkit in the future, probably even a better one that will make me forget this one.  but for some strange reason, i don’t want to sell it.  i’ve spent three years with it, and we’ve gone a long way together.  i have great memories setting it up in my dorm room on 3rd beets, playing almost every day during loud hours, taking it to occasional shows, and teaching lessons with it.  how can i become so attached to an inanimate piece of wood?

i have a friend that feels the same way about guitars.  he told me one night that he’d like to fall asleep on his bed with his guitar, like a child sleeps with stuffed animals.  then he proceeded to poetically describe how guitars are constant and loyal, unlike people.  he loves his guitars like he would love a friend.

at the time, i thought that was a little odd, but in the back of my mind i understood.  now i’m experiencing something similar.  but i don’t think it’s right.  the danger of being too attached to material possession is a reality.  i feel like i could easily become a pack rat if i didn’t watch myself. 

i have a friend who called himself a pack rat, and he took drastic measures for change.  he literally sold or gave everything away and remained with two suitcases.  there was extra incentive for this selling spree; he had just become the drummer for a touring rock band and he couldn’t afford to lug his stuff across canada.  the next time i saw him, he was just down to a backpack.  i asked him how he felt.  he looked at me, smiled, and said he’d never been freer in his life.  he doesn’t have to worry about his stuff, and he can spend his shopping and research time in ways that really matter - by spending his time with friends.

my friend’s story reminds me of that scripture passage where Jesus invites the rich man to sell everything he had and give it away to the poor.  if material wealth was preventing him from reaching his full potential as Christ’s disciple, then he truly needed to get rid of his possessions.  i’ve heard pastors soften that passage before, saying things like, “but really, Jesus didn’t mean for all of us to sell everything we have.  that would be utterly ridiculous.”  but what about those in the audience who are addicted to stuff, the ones whose closets look like a new york subway during rush hour, and whose curbs are constantly lined with salvation army donation bags filled with old clothes to make way for the latest ralph lauren clothing line.

when i lived in hong kong, some of my high school friends chased after the latest cell phones.  i went to a private school, so most of the kids were pretty well off.  every month, they would come to school flaunting the latest cell phone.  the phones i saw then are just coming out in america.  i don’t blame them, their parents did the exact same thing.  is that a lesson i want to teach my kids?  will i say, “son, it’s important to have the latest cell phone model.”  or worse yet, will i say, “we need to support an orphan in india, and we’re gonna be sending $20 a month to a charity.  this is what Jesus wants us to do.  a picture of the kid is on our fridge, have a look,” then shortly after i say that, i return to my online shopping, researching the latest Google Android or iPhone developments and plotting of ways to switch phones without incurring a loss.  actions speak louder than words, and my son will see right through that.  sometimes these hard-hitting passages don’t need to be softened.  after all, isn’t the fact that the passage is being softened proof that it’s hitting a little too close to home?  that makes me feel uncomfortable, so i’m going to defend myself against it and soften its blow a bit.

Posted by Nehe555 on 08/22 at 09:36 AM
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Essentials To Life

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the essentials to fulfillment

there isn’t really much i need in life.  anyone who takes a look at calvin edeals, grand rapid’s craigslist, or the marketplace listings on my facebook profile will see things that i’m selling off.  the sayings are true (at least for me): material wealth doesn’t bring happiness.  rather, it’s the work that i do and the joys of new challenges.  in the photo above, the items on the table are my essentials to life.  i didn’t fully comprehend it until i walked into my dining room to finish some writing.  i took a step back and looked things over. 

my favorite sony mdr-7506 headphones lay to the left and function as my gateway to a mysterious world filled with chord progressions and drum beats.  its flat frequency response gives me an accurate picture of the mix, not some super bass boost extended highs cut mid scoop distortion of music.  boy, that sounded incredibly condescending… i guess i’ve found a pet peeve.

to the headphone’s 2 o clock is my wallet along with all its good stuff.  it’s a little chubby right now because of all the quarters i need to take the bus.  nestled next to my coins are some guitar picks, for the guitarists i hang out who always forget their picks (i’m always surprised by how often that happens… that’s like a drummer going to the gig without drum sticks), and earplugs for loud concerts, lawnmowing, drumming, etc.

below my wallet is a bowl of rice and a fried egg.  food to keep me energized throughout the day.  add some soy sauce and you’ve got a carb-loaded, protein-filled bowl of energy.

for more energy, consult the bag of chocolate chips behind the handle of my spoon.

tucked away under my chocolate chip bag is a business card from a company i might work with to order some CDs.  i’ve got a stash of business cards in my bedroom somewhere from businessmen i’ve met over the years at conferences, functions, company launch parties, and other networking thingies.

then there’s my laptop, with a stickie note listing out my tasks for the day.  i’ve established a habit for writing down next day’s todo list before i go to bed.  i also leave a notepad by my bed in case i think of an idea.  that way i can jot it down and get it out of my head instead of mulling it over.

something that isn’t on the table but still essential to my life is what’s outside the window: the great outdoors.  i’ve realized that i need to see outside, or else i get cranky, irritable, and frustrated.  i spent one summer working in a windowless office, and i’ll never do that again.  creatives need an inspiring work environment, and the great outdoors always bring inspiration.

Posted by Nehe555 on 08/19 at 10:17 AM
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Remember the Garden?

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a vibrant, healthy, edible garden!

thanks to emily’s hard work on a saturday morning, our garden looks great and weed free in this photo.  during the spring, i blogged about planting a community garden in my backyard with emily’s house.  after some hard work and money, we’ve gotten to literally taste the fruit of our labor.  we had varying degrees of success with different plants.  for instance, out of all the bell peppers i babied as seedlings, only one survived the harsh outdoors.  both of the more developed plants that cutter bought from the farmer’s market survived.  most of our corn disappeared, but the ones remaining are growing strong.  about half of our cucumbers survived, and almost all the tomatoes are thriving.  the fence prof. nyhof donated did wonders fending off rabbits, and i’ve yet to see any wounds on our plants from gnawing rabbits.  overall, i’m very pleased and excited at the result, and the vegetables have tasted delicious.  there’s something about bell peppers on my pizza fresh off the stalk from my backyard.  the miracle of food never ceases to amaze me!

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baby cucumber that will be edible soon

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bell pepper tucked away amidst leaves to the left

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corn as tall as i

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tomatoes growing from prof. warner’s plants

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the weeds emily pulled in preparation for the big photo shoot

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cutter enjoying a really baby carrot

Posted by Nehe555 on 08/18 at 07:58 PM
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