Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.

The Force is Strong in this Bladder

That's what I was feeling about an hour and 45 into the latest Star Wars. (Should there be a space there, or is it StarWars? Nerds, help me out.) I'll have to see it again at some point when I'll be a little less distracted by the warm, wet side of the Force.

So, my review? It was a pretty good movie on its own, really good compared to Episodes One and Two, and absolutely masturbatory in the satisfaction you receive in witnessing the events that shaped Luke Skywalker's and Han Solo's galaxy. This movie had two distinct strengths: the lovey-dovey stuff was kept to a minimum (as opposed to Episode Two when I nearly puked) and the pacing of the movie was great (as opposed to Episode One when I nearly tried to figure out a way to commit suicide with Junior Mints halfway through the pod-racing scene). Oh, yes, and Jar-Jar is present but completely mute. Not quite as good as getting hacked up by Sam Jackson's light-saber, which is what I was holding out for, but acceptable.

I think my only complaint with this movie is dialogue. George Lucas is a great story teller and can think up fabulous events and situations and weave them all into a coherent whole, but he can't write dialogue for beans. There were several points in this movie where I felt like I had to ignore what the characters where saying in order to enjoy what was going on. No spoilers here, if you want to debate some finer points just email or call me, and I'll probably ignore you 'cause I'm not enough of a nerd to spend my time debating the finer points of the Star wars galaxy.

Well, that's it for now. It's a good movie, go see it. Tell 'em Good Shot Mike sent you.

My new name is "Good Shot Mike"

That is all, you may go back to your lives, or should I say you're lives?


From an article announcing Sony's plans for the Playstation 3:

"Each time SCEI (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.) launches a console, the video games business moves to the next level. With PLAYSTATION 3 it looks as if it might be time for interactive entertainment to become, finally, the world's dominant artistic medium."

Take that, art!

Oh, by the way -

Jeni's graduating today! Yup. Give us a call if you want to say congrats (and if you know our number).

Whelp, it's pretty much over.

School, that is. Black gold. Texas tea. Finals week was a breeze. I didn't have a single final that took me more than 45 minutes to complete, and one took less than six. While I didn't do much academic work, I did play a lot of guitar:

Last Friday: Concert in Cd'A
Sunday: Guitar preludes in both church services
Monday: Musicfest
Thursday: Preformance finals
Also Thursday: Perform on the radio
Friday: Perform at the Met

Yeah, that was more guitar playing than I've ever done in a week. It was really cool though, each was a completely different playing experience. Playing at the Met was a good capstone for the week. I think the audience was a few hundred at least. After that my guitar teacher bought me a calzone and a beer. (Good beer, too: Chimay!)

So, that's where we are now. Jeni's mom and grandmother are both in town for graduation, as are my aunt and uncle. Today was busy, eating out for every meal and showing people all around town. I also got to plow for the first time today out at Dr. Mike's farm. Big fun, now sleep!


If you want to hear me on the radio follow this link and click listen to 91.1 at 11am on Thursday.

The Axe

I've been talking a lot about guitar recently and realized that I never posted any pics of my new guitar. Well, this one isn't great but you can get a look at it anyway. It was built completely by hand by a luthier named Mike Elwell in Idaho. The back and sides are Macassar ebony and the top is an old (~30 years) piece of european spruce with a lot of figure in it as you can see from the picture. The fin looking deisign on the tie-block is made from fossilized mammoth and walrus ivory. The rosette (the design around the soundhole) was also done all by hand. In addition to looking great, this guitar sounds amazing. It is one of the loudest guitars I've ever heard (it has ports on either side of the neck on the side of the body, about where my chin is in the picture, which increase volume and open up the sound) and always gets a lot of attention at shows for its tone and projection. I really lucked out with this guitar.

Rock rock on!


I'm sure all of you have been waiting anxiously on the edges of your seats wondering how I would do at Musicfest today. Well, I played pretty much the best that I ever have in a live performance so I was really happy with it. Secondarily, I won my class, so I'll be playing at the Spokane Met this Friday at 7:30. I'll probably also be playing on The Guitar Hour on KPBX 91.1 on Thursday at 11:00am.


Today was an ok day. The school year is winding down and that's having a decompressing effect on me. I like school but I feel like this year I developed some habits (such as time-management ones) that I'd like to break, and summer is a good time for that.

Tomorrow is Musicfest, a music competition up here in Spokane. I played the competition set piece this morning for a prelude in both services which was meant to be a warm-up performing experience, but really was just kind of depressing. I played well, but no one listened. I guess people just assumed that I was background music or something. (By the way, this could open up a whole discussion on the role of service music in the church and in fact already has today as I discussed the event with our organist, but I won't go into any of that here.)

The afternoon was spent writing a paper and making the main course for the last family dinner night of the year. Family dinner night is when a bunch of people from school get together for some home-cooked food. We do it about 3 times a month at various houses. Today I made dijon mustard backed chicken breasts and they were very good.

I also got to play a little concert tonight for family dinner night. I played for about 15 minutes for ten people or so in a friend's living room. It was the first time I've done something like that and it was really cool. It was the most laid back and fun performance experience I've ever had. I'll have to keep on doing stuff like that, I think it'll be good for my playing. Hopefully it put me in a good mindset for the competition tomorrow. I really don't care this time around if I win anything or not, I just want to keep racking up the performance experience. Something like this with high pressure in an inhospitable is a good thing to get used to. If I can relax and play well in that kind of situation I think I could do well with pretty much anything.

It's that time again

That's right, more time with your favorite Matt, Matt! I was going to post last night but once again TIME reared it's hideous head and by the time I got to the computer it was much too late and I was much too tired to think in any sort of ordered fasion.

My reason for being out so late last night was that I played in a guitar concert in Couer d'Alene, Idaho. Cd'A is a resort town on a lake not too far from the ID/WA border. Yesterday was an excellent example of how time manages to push me around. My morning was free so I spent it playing guitar since I knew I wouldn't get a chance to even warm up before I went on stage that evening. Then:
1-3:15ish class at Whitworth
3:15-4 run my pieces once more just to see if I can do it cold, which I will have to later in the day, grab some dinner
4-4:30 driving to church
4:30-5:30 Rehearsal for Sunday morning
5:30-6:00 Driving back to Whitworth
6:00-6:30 watching the first half of a recital
6:30-7:30 Driving to Cd'a (which includes driving past the church I had left an hour ago
7:30 Walk into concert, listen to a few guitarists before my, tune up and play

By the way, the drive to church is about 7 miles each way, the drive to Cd'A about 37 each way.

So why am I cheesed off about the business of yesterday? Well, it must be because I feel like that time was mine and I would have chosen to spend it on something else. But what? Guitar is the thing that jumps into my mind first. Whatever I'm doing, almost invariably I'd rather be playing guitar. And I want to do it on my terms. Yesterday I drove for nearly 2 hours in order to play 10 minutes worth of music without a warm up. Not really my idea of a great time.

If I sound selfish and bratty by now, good. That's the point. I'm way too selfish with my time. I always want it on my terms, I always want to do what I think is best. I have no problem sitting down with my guitar and practicing for 5 hours, but when was the last time I spent half an hour reading scripture or praying. Man, and I work in a church, too. Well, what about cultivating your gifts? What about using the talent God has given you. I'll be straight with myself and admit that I'm one of the best guitarists in the area and the time I've put into it has indeed been paying off, but I'm in some serious need of reprioritizing.

Time... something I have to figure out how to deal with. Why am I so busy all the time? I don't have a TV, I don't play video games, I don't spend near as much time on the internet as many people I know and yet I still always seem to be rushing off to one thing or another or working hard on something as another thing looms close on the horizon. Hmm.

I have two classes back to back on MWF afternoon: Music History 3 and Intro to the Christian Faith. MH3 is taught by an adjunct and I believe it is his first time teaching this material. ICF is taught by a prof who's been at Whitworth for what seems like forever and has been teaching this class just as long. In MH3, we're always running out of time. Our prof tries to tell us all sorts of disjointed facts about a whole slew of composers while trying to play examples of their music for us, most of which he is hearing for the first time with us. I've never heard a teacher mutter so much about being so short on time. Half of the class period is spent listening to him mumble about running out of time while he fumbles with the cd player, trying to find what he's sure he listened to earlier that day.

ICF follows immediately. The classes are of the exact same length, and yet ICF never seems pressed for time. The class starts often with some time of discussion, then singing some hymns, then recapping the last lecture, then going on into new material stopping often for discussion or questions to the class and just when you think class must have gone over by ten minutes at least (not because it wears on you but simply because so much has happened), you look at your watch and realize that there are still ten or fifteen minues left.

Well, I won't make any commentary on these observations tonight, it's getting pretty late and I feel I've spent enough time on this for tonight. I think I'll continue writing about TIME tomorrow.

Why blog?

This is a question that I've asked myself several times since I started this blog, once prompting my absence of several months. What a strange medium this is. It's not really a journal because my thoughts are open to anyone to read right away, it's not a stage to entertain from since I'm not that entertaining and it's not really a great place to build relationships since I prefer doing that face to face. So what's the deal with blogging?

I don't know why I started bringing up old stories recently, I guess I figured that if I was going to blog again it had to be something different than it was before. Of course, if you look at 'before' I don't think you'd see that a real unifying theme ever emerged. I guess that's why this whole format change idea was bound to fail from the beginning. I like telling old stories, but I don't think I could do it all the time and at the expense of other things.

I figure this blog should have some sort of personal purpose. This recent post should give you a bit of an idea regarding what I mean. This forum shouldn't just be a place to waste time, but a place foster growth emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. If it can help with those things, which I think it might, then it serves a good purpose.

Don't worry, I'll still post stupid pointless crap up here. Pointless crap can be like a rainbow: if you follow it far enough you may find a pot of gold at the end. That's already happened once in the past week or so.

Our meat tenderizer only cost 99 cents and came with free rootbeer!

At least one very voraciously vigilant vicarious viewer (I don't know why I just typed that, it doesn't even really make sense) noticed the IBC branded bulbous bottle of bodacious beer of root. That large bottle has served faithfully for nearly half a year as our trusty meat tenderizer. It really works quite well, I'd recomend you all go out to the store right now, buy some rootbeer and pound some meat.

Jr. high!!!
Jr. high indeed. I had a stretch of good english classes for a while in my life and even considered english as a major when I came to college. In one Jr. high english class we had teams of about 4 students each that we worked in throughout the year. Our textbook was the Holt classic Elements of Literature. Now it just so happened that at this point in my life I was proficient in drawing not only all manner of sea life, but all sorts of large land mammals as well. To put this mammoth mammalian mastery of..(um) ..mammoth..(crap).. mammals..(oh geez)..well, aside from the mammoth..(well, at least that's over with) to good use we named our group the Elephants of Literature!

Well, the Elephants didn't do much of any import in my life. My only memory is of once during a debate when someone from another team vehemently stated (for some reason which escapes me now) "it's because we can't find a better way!" and one of my teammates started singing "Can't find a better way..." to Better Man by Pearl Jam. That was close to a decade ago and it's still stuck in my head.

What's cookin'?

Um, nothing. Sorry about that. It's late (to me anyway) and I wasn't on the ball today so no posty. Hey, you do get a cool pic of my stove though! That's got to be worth something!

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