Monday, August 29, 2016

Music Monday: Everybody Needs Love

September is Wedding Month in the blog's family... You should probably prepare yourself for a few music-that-should-be-wedding-music posts... Like this one.

I cannot imagine why this song isn't The Official "close down the wedding reception" song. Seriously, America. Get your act together.

Drive By Truckers -- Everybody Needs Love

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Announcements: Domain Names and E-Blasts

A couple quick blog announcements to wind down the summer --

First Up: 

I finally got around to buying a domain, so the blog can now be reached at: is still valid, but this gives me a little flexibility if I ever decide to join the Wordpress revolution.

Second Up:

I'm officially announcing the official launch of the Once A Month Blog-Blast.

An email that will go out at the beginning of each month highlighting a couple of my favorite blog posts, previewing the next events, books, and courses that the blog expect to cover in case you want to follow along, and also highlighting some of my other endeavors (like maybe an Etsy store) and some special promos and offers for blog readers (like, say free shipping at said Etsy store).

You are always welcome to sign up for the RSS email feed as well, but the Blog Blast will be its own thing.. I feel like I've been going in a bunch of different directions lately, and I'm hoping this will help tie it all together.

Thanks for joining me on this next step in the Great Blog-Venture!

Stay tuned for some posts about the awesomeness of church choir, and my recap of Space Camp Astronaut Training the crazy Vestibular Balance Disorder Testing that went down last week.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Music: Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings

The Welch and Rawlings are playing SECCA Crossroads this week.

Get your tickets early (no sales at the door).

And Get Ready:

Miss Ohio

Wayside/Back In Time

Pass You By

Red Clay Halo

NPR Tiny Desk Concert

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Music Monday: Zac Brown Band

The official Music Of Summer Trifecta is Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and the Zac Brown Band. True fact. Look it up.

Zac Brown Band: Jekyll + Hyde




Young And Wild

Tomorrow Never Comes


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Five: US Medals Not Swimming or Gymnastics

Gymnastics and Swimming are awesome, but this Friday Five is a shoutout to some of the other Team USA medal winners this week.

Love all the hardware these guys are bringing home, and I love hearing a little bit about the background and accomplishments of sports that are a little off the radar -- the Olympics catches people at their best, and we get the benefit of seeing all of the hard work at the range, or track, or gym that they've put in for so many years.

In other news, I'd just like to point out that the offical Rio website has apparently used the athlete's ID card (or possibly, Passport) photos as profile pics instead of any sort of actual photo-shoot/instagram/facebook/decent photos. Get it together, Rio.


Virginia Thrasher -- Air Rifle
Thrasher won the first Gold of the games, which means the first Gold for Team USA, in sort-of an upset.
Which is just crazy.
The game is Riflery.
And she's from West Virginia.
If we aren't actively recruiting our Olympic Shooting teams from Tennessee and West Virginia, and winning Phelps-like medal counts, there is no hope for America, I'm just saying.

Corey Cogdell -- Trap Shooting
Bronze medal won during a sudden death shootoff.
Corey's from Alaska. My apologies, terrible oversight, pls definitely add Alaska to TN and WV on the official recruitment tour.


Kayla Harrison
Kayla now has two Olympic Golds. Rock. Star.

Travis Stevens
Silver for the three-time Olympian who overcame a severe bacterial infection in which he almost lost his leg. A year ago. Seriously.


Kristin Armstrong -- Time Trials
Won her 3rd Gold in her 3rd back-to-back-toback Olympics, at 42 years old. Rock On.
*Special props out to the cyclists since Winston is home of the National Cycling Center. Just Sayin.


Alexander Massialas - Foil
Two time Olympian bringing home Silver, which is the first medal in Foil in a long time.

Daryl Homer -- Sabre
Two time Olympian bringing home Silver, originally from St Thomas (US Islands).


Phillip Dutton -- Eventing
Multi-Time Olympian wins Bronze for his first individual medal. He was born in Australia and previously competed for the Aussies, but now for Team USA. Because 'Merca.

Extra credit: Archery. Men's team brought home Silver. 

And that's it! Seriously, all the other US medals (as of late Thursday night) are Swimming, Diving, and Gymanstics. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sky Watch: 2016 Perseid Meteor Shower

A year ago I made the crazy, impulsive decision to drive an hour into the mountains and spend the night out under the stars. Luckily a good friend was just crazy and impulsive enough to hit the road with me.

It came with a high price -- incredible pain keeping me home-bound for a few days, and losing over a week to real 'recovery'.

But they payoff is that my life-story now includes this picture:

This year's Perseids will peak in the early morning hours of the 12th.

Info about the Persieds:

American Meteor Society: Viewing the 2016 Perseids

The Perseids are active from July 13th through August 26th. Maximum activity is predicted to occur on the morning of August 12th, when rates in excess of 1 per minute may be seen from dark sky sites. On the morning of maximum the waxing gibbous moon will set between midnight and 0100 local daylight time as seen from mid-northern latitudes. This will free up the prime observing hours from interfering moonlight.

Washington Post: The Perseid meteor shower could be twice as awesome this year

In any given year, when the dark heavens cooperate, the Perseids could peak at 50 to 100 shooting stars an hour. This year, the International Meteor Organization thinks that number may increase to about 150 meteors an hour. Other astronomers are calling for up to 200 meteors an hour. Perseid Meteor Shower Guide

Some skywatchers plan to camp out to see the Perseid meteor shower, but at the very least, viewers should bring something comfortable to sit on, some snacks and some bug spray. 

Dark sky watching in Winston-Salem... Forsyth County... Central(ish) North Carolina.. 

Forsyth Astronomical Society

Dark Sky Sites driving distance from Winston
Most are along the Blue Ridge Parkway -- My favorite is Doughton, which has a nearby campground, and a little further up the road some bed and breakfast type places, if you want a cozier adventure. 

(Btw: there's a lodge at Doughton that is between owners, I believe. If someone would please take the place on I'd promise to visit several times a year and provide free promotional assistance. Thx.)

Dark Sky Sites Presentation Slies (PDF)
With lots of great info about where to go, and how to get there

Bonus Points: Pictures

It takes a really good lens to get great star pictures, as I learned last year. I was excited to get to experiment and learn more about my camera and how to set it up for sky pictures, but the results showed that even with the right settings there were going to be limits to the clarity and resolution that I could get with the standard setup I was using. For my purposes the camera I have is perfect. But I learned a lot about why folks invest the big bucks on special setups.

Meteor Society: How To Photograph a Meteor Shower With A DSLR

Verify file save settings are medium JPG and RAW
Mount camera on tripod
Set camera settings for ISO to 400-800 depending on conditions
Set f/ratio to lowest possible setting considering light pollution
Set camera exposure time considering light pollution, usually between 10-25 seconds.

May your skies be cloudless and dark.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Faith: In Search Of Quiet Worship

There are things about This Crazy Illness(TM) that make it straight to the blog.. And then there are things that go into journals and are forgotten for awhile..

New symptoms and changes to medicine have converged into a weird mood, with lots to say but not the words or focus to say them.

So I went looking through some things I'd written over the past couple years, and found this. And found it still relevant.

I didn't make it to church this morning. Which is not unusual these days.

For all sorts of reasons... it's a big church, loud, noisy, hard to navigate, parking is ridiculous, navigating downtown streets with people ducking across and parallel parking...

but especially today, which is day 2 of a truly terrible episode of pins-and-needles covering my entire right side, including fingers, arm, shoulder... toes.. eye...

Driving me up the wall and though it sounds like an excuse, I swear it makes every activity (typing, thinking, driving..) seem a hundred times more frustrating.

In any event, I did not make it to church this morning.

For some time, I've been looking for an evening service. There are so many reasons I love church at night. The few times a year we meet in the evening - Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Christmas Eve - there's something about the quiet, calm, ending of a day that draws me to God in a way the joyful, boisterous Sunday morning doesn't.

I know that we are called to be in community. In the larger community with all our rough edges -- kids and older adults, and those of us in-between, families, singletons -- all of us together bearing with one another, supporting each other in messy love-filled relationships.

But when you belong to a big church, there are times when you just need some grace. The families with small kids, who were climbing a mountain just to get there this morning need for me to extend grace to them...

But I need some grace, too. Some room to breathe. A space to join in others in worship without having to navigate packed hallways and parking lots.

I find I am in the midst of a deep yearning to be near to God in a quiet place; to be led in worship, given words I can't seem to find on my own, in space and time set apart for the seeking of God.

My heart longs for Vespers.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Music Monday: Saltwater Gospel

Work with me here and skip past the message of Sunday Church truancy, and embrace the summer fun/God is where we are/this big world is a pretty amazing place - jams.

Eli Young Band: Saltwater Gospel

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