The BvO™

Flattstreet

Had the privelege to attend the CD Release Party of a local jazz ensemble that I encountered accidentally this summer. They're Flattstreet and they really, really, really rock. Like, a lot.

This is the new CD, and it's worth whatever they're currently charging. I promise.



Friends in attendance included Naomi, Steph, Justin and Anj, Chris, Bun, Joel, and Mr Brink. A fantastic way to end a long three-day work week.



This post bubbled to the surface on Thursday, December 30, 2004


The Eggmen @ Pepperjack

I'm heading to the corner of Hughson and Kingwilliam with some friends in the very near future. On the southwest corner of that intersection is the Pepperjack Cafe.

The Eggmen will be playing some great Beatles rock, from about 10pm until about 2am. So, if you read this before 2am, come on down.



This post bubbled to the surface on Monday, December 27, 2004


Uncle Nicky

A big hello to the newest blogger on my list - Uncle Nicky. Nick is my roomate and now he occupies part of my webserver too.

So, go check it out!



This post bubbled to the surface on Monday, December 27, 2004


Live.... from Aukland...

It's the adventure blog of our favourite jetsetting choral wondercouple.

Introducing, The Toilet Flushes Backwards: the adventures of Jonathan and Julie Hunse on the other side of the world.

I've had the privelege of setting up their domain and blog on behalf of a generous anonymous sponsor. I had a highly advanced and rather pretty template for the blog, but it had so many bugs that I've temporarily abandoned it in favour of a working, legible template with a few custom modifications. If you have suggestions on design ideas, feel free to let me know, or tell Jon and Julie who will be communicating their design requests via email.

In the meantime, check their blog frequently (via RSS, if you like) and leave encouragements for them.



This post bubbled to the surface on Friday, December 24, 2004


Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Check this out! These are two shots taken in Sarnia at the ole homestead. The first is our street, and the second, my mother's house.





Rejoice with me! Oh, and condolences to Jenn who has the misfortune of a snow-curse: the slush follows her and the snow avoids her. Poor dear.



This post bubbled to the surface on Friday, December 24, 2004


Happy (Belated) Birthday To Me

Many thanks to Shanna - my favourite sister - for a fantastic birthday present.



I had the bad manners to stay in Hamilton around my birthday, so I was told that my present would stay in limbo here in Sarnia until I appeared hear at the familial homestead. As I'm now basking in the company of my charming mother and lovely sister, I am now in posession of my delayed gift:



Presents are fun, aren't they?



This post bubbled to the surface on Friday, December 24, 2004


I'm So Proud

It's really the little things that make you proud of an institution. It's these things that make you comfortable saying - in public - "I went there," or "I go there," or even, "I graduated from there."

I just had one of those warm and fuzzy moments vis-a-vis my quasi alma mater, Redeemer University College. I had this moment because I wanted some routine information and went straight to my computer to get it. I had it because I decided to visit Redeemer's website. This moment became real the moment I saw the message:

"The connection was refused when attempting to contact redeemer.on.ca"



To quote the great RJ: "This is unacceptable."




This post bubbled to the surface on Friday, December 17, 2004


My Heroes: Ludwig and Matt

Can you find the similarity between these two?



Whether or not you see any physical reseblance between these guys, there is one striking similarity worthy of note. It's both of their birthdays today.

Fortunately for Matt, he's alive to celebrate it.



This post bubbled to the surface on Thursday, December 16, 2004


Faith in the Face of an Axe-Wielding Crazy

I have had a long day. I worked today. That's novel, but it's not what I'm posting about.

I had the opportunity to spend time this evening with two very different, very wise friends of mine. These two friends have helped me to see my life and the world more clearly. I am convinced that God had put them here with me for a reason.

To both of these gentlemen I told my recent-and-not-so-recent joys and frustrations in life. Both of these friends actually care to hear them. I dig that.

My first friend is very much like me. He's just been around for a few years longer. He issued a gentle rebuke to my whinings. He told me - and I'm severly paraphrasing - to shut up and do what I know I have to do. I have to deal with my very real financial pressures, I have to stop feeling sorry for myself and learn instead to work hard and be realistic about what's required of me. Dodging these imminent crises will only prolong the agony - I'm told. He told humbling stories about his father-in-law who struggled a whole lot harder and a whole lot longer than I could imagine. He told me to stop navelgazing and to spend time on other people. This is good stuff. He also paid for dinner. That too is good stuff.

On the way home I got a call from my second friend. He said we should go for beer, and since I dig beer, I consented.

My second friend is very much unlike me. We have very dissimilar struggles in life. We think and develop relationships very differently. We encounter God in very different ways. Funny thing is, we are both reluctant servants of the same Lord. The more we share eachother's burdens, the more similar they seem. My friend shares a story:

When the world began, people lived on the ground. They ate, worked, lived and raised families on the ground. The ground was good. The ground was home.

Then one day a catastrophe! The ground became inhospitable. In fact, It was toxic to the point of fatal. In order to survive, people built tables. They elevated their lives on stilts to fend off the toxic ground. They learned to live precarious lives just off the ground. They learned to eat, work, live and raise families on these tables. They trained their children to do the same, to survive, to cling to the table and to build their own tables. In this manner did history progress.

Into this story steps a crazy character. He claims that the tables are no longer necessary. In fact, he goes so far as to say that he himself would be their elevation. Some of the table-dwellers are taken in by this story and come to believe that their tables are unnecessary. They still live on tables, but they no longer feel dependent on them.

What's interesting is that one table-dweller can't tell if another table-dweller believes the story or not. The fact of the matter is, everyone is still on tables, but the paradigm has shifted.

(Editor's note: It doesn't take an Honours English degree to catch the analogy here. But, I found it enlightening, thought you might too, so I've included it here.)


We then spoke about faith and doubt. My friend asked if I doubt God's existence and I honestly said "No." I couldn't possibly doubt that. God has been all-too-real in the shaking of my life. The fights that I've faced have all the marks of intelligent design and wise intentionality. Sometimes it feels like He's a bloody sadist, but it never feels like He's not there.

The story above, says my friend, continues. Some of the table dwellers who believe the crazyman's claims about "providing elevation" are intent on having certainty that they truly are depending on this mystical elevation instead of the elevation that everyone else (very reasonably) depends on. They ask for faith. What they get instead is the crazy man taking an axe to their table. Now, seriously, nobody wants that. Things get pretty scary pretty quick and allofasudden their table - their safety - is teetering on one splintered leg. It is in the moment before falling that they realize that they really didn't want what they'd asked for.

The fact of the matter is, God gives us what we need. When we ask him for things out of selfishness or naivete, he often delivers. The problem, then, is that we get more than we bargained for. Do we really want faith? Do we really want to be wholly devoted? At what cost?

Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.



This post bubbled to the surface on Thursday, December 16, 2004


Great Day For the Race

What race is that?

The human race.

It is a great day for the race because, effective today, I have been running it for twenty-five full years. Not quite sure what to think of all that. Twenty-five.



Now, all of yesterday's kidding aside, I certainly do not feel old. I will resist the impulse to look back and think: "Look how far I've come! Look how much I've grown." This would be short sighted. According to several marathoner racers, I've barely gotten out of the gate yet.

On the other hand, I cannot resist the urge to reflect on a whole quarter-century (that sounds impressive, no?).

At this milestone I find myself LESS certain of my abilities. I find myself LESS certain of God's calling for my life. I find myself MORE in debt than, say, five years ago. These are hard things to bear for one so proud and self-sufficient as I.

On the flip side of the very same coin I find myself MORE able to match my reach and my grasp. I feel myself MORE dependent on God's timing and wisdom to show me direction. Believe it or not, I find myself humbled by the immense generosity of a very real God. With the setbacks and challenges of the past two years I have learned to be more trusting. I have seen more clearly my dependence on my family, my friends, and my church community.

As I pause at this juncture, one conviction screams for attention: I am blessed, if not with regular employment, with blessings too numerous to count. Here's just a start: A family that keeps in touch over great distance; Friends that know God and struggle to obey Him; A church that is alive and growing; An Alumni Choir actively working alongside a great Concert Choir; An (almost) alma mater liberally sprinkled with friends and scholars; A roomate who's very patient; A bright kitchen and a full fridge; Cold beer at the ready; John Tavener playing through some very fancy electronics...

I've been blessed enough for a lifetime, and I'm just getting going. I'm looking forward to these next twenty-five years.



This post bubbled to the surface on Monday, December 13, 2004


Reviews and Updates

I feel compelled to give an update on the progress of "The BvO's Entertainment Index."

:::

Friday's concert at Mount Hamilton CRC with the awesome Sonia Reid and the august quartet of Jon/Julie/Dan/Jane was a great success. The sanctuary was not nearly full, but all those who braved the roads that evening were glad they did. The program was mixed, with sections of Sonia's solo work interspersed with sections of quartet pieces. There were a couple opportunities for the audience to engage in some hymnbook singing and for them to stand and stretch as they did so.

It is uncommon for a mixed ensemble of this sort to blend as well as they did, and to maintain a comfortable balance of volume between parts. Kudos go to Julie for being a brilliant alto - and audible! Extra props to Jon who capably accompanied all the pieces that he wasn't singing. The extra strain of his dual role had an impact on his timbre, if not his tone, but this challenge was ably met by sheer natural talent and a bit of support by the rock-a-steady Dan.

:::

Sunday evening's jazz trio (Butternut Squash) at the Staircase provided just what was needed after an uncharacteristically busy Sabbath. The venue is always condusive to a good time, the company was amiable - and Ben Bowen rocks.

I'll admit that I'm easy to please in this regard - he plays the trumpet. If it's jazz, I'm content. If it's jazz with horns, I'm pleased. If it's jazz with a muted trumpet, I'm tickled pink. It's just that simple.

Thus was I tickled pink. Massive respect to the Bowen clan. If Ben plays in Hamilton again, you can expect another plug here on my blog.

:::

Now, there were five events listed in the newly minted Index, and so far I've been batting 1000. That should entice you to check out the remaining three gigs listed. I won't lead you astray. Seriously.



This post bubbled to the surface on Monday, December 13, 2004


Good Times:

Many thanks to the ladies of the Sugar Shack™ for hosting the First Annual Sugar Shack Christmas Party. It was a raging success - just ask the neighbours.

No hard feelings toward Samwise for thiefing my frogs. I'm rather content now with Clarence my guardian duck.



This post bubbled to the surface on Saturday, December 11, 2004


Mark Your Calendars

Here are some events you don't want to miss:




Friday, 10 December @ 7.30p :: Sonia Reid and Friends

Venue: Mt. Hamilton CRC
Admission: $10 at door

Sonia's fantastic and she's doing well to have friends like this: Jon and Julie Hunse along with Dan and Jane Koopman are putting together a fundraiser to see the Hunses off to the other side of the world.






Sunday, 12 December @ 9.00pm :: Butternut Squash
(the Ben Bowen project)


Venue: Staircase Cafe Theatre
Admission: $5 at door






Friday, 17 December, doors @ 8.00pm :: Matt DeZoete

Venue: The Casbah
Admission: $10 (email Matt for tickets)

'Dizzy' opens for The Silver Hearts - "a hip, super swinging, rag-time brass band from peterborough."




Monday, 27 December @ 9.00pm :: The Eggmen

Venue: Pepperjack Cafe (corner of Kingwilliam and Hughson)
Admission: $5 at door

This local area band plays "all beatles, all night, all right." With remarkable energy this ensemble very faithfully covers some of the best rock 'n roll of the past century.

Warning, this is gonna be a big party. Prepare to stay late cause you won't want to leave.




Wednesday, 29 December @ 9.00pm :: Flattstreet Jazz Quintet

Venue: The Casbah
Admission: free?

I've previously posted on Flattstreet. They're amazing. They now have a CD. This is a CD release party. I want that CD. You want that CD too. Come and listen to them play, anyway.





This post bubbled to the surface on Friday, December 10, 2004


The Tallis Heroes

Had the brilliant opportunity to visit Toronto's eminent Roy Thompson Hall this evening. As we took our seats the stage was strangely bare but for six music stands. In short order nine black-clad superstars (pictured below) took their positions behind said music stands and the rest is pure drool.



Introducing The Tallis Scholars - the "world's leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music."

I have never heard such singing: Pure sopranos, perfect altos, proud tenors and profound basses. (this post has been brought to you by the letter P and the number eleven)

Not incidentally, the company was fabulous too. Joel Harsevoort, Dan Postma, Jenn vanBreda, Erin Ensing, Rob Joustra, Felix Lam and the blogless Matt McKenna.



This post bubbled to the surface on Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus

"Comfort, comfort my people," says your God. "Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for. In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In a loud voice we all sing: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" Finally, I hear every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"

Amen.

What a great God is He who moves his servants to such song! Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power be to Him. Amen and Amen forever.

I have seen - as through a glass darkly - a flicker of His coming kingdom... and long all the more.

With the whole creation
we wait for the purifying fire of judgment.
For then we will see the Lord face to face.
He will heal our hurts,
end our wars,
and make the crooked straight.
Then we will join in the new song
to the Lamb without blemish
who made us a kingdom and priests.
God will be all in all,
righteousness and peace will flourish,
everything will be made new,
and every eye will see at last
that our world belongs to God!
Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus.
Our World Belongs to God - #58



This post bubbled to the surface on Sunday, December 05, 2004


Easier for some than others...

Clever website that Naomi's Blog pointed me to.



This is much easier dogma for those of us with "restricted" incomes to preach.

By the way, how spotten (on a ten scale) is the use of the icon in the image above?

Anyone... anyone... Bueller?



This post bubbled to the surface on Friday, December 03, 2004


William Lyon Endorses George Walker

"The energetic defence of our nations is an important duty. Yet, defence alone is not a sufficient strategy. On September the 11th, the people of North America learned that two vast oceans and friendly neighbours cannot fully shield us from the dangers of the 21st century. There's only one way to deal with enemies who plot in secret and set out to murder the innocent and the unsuspecting; We must take the fight to them. We must be relentless and we must be steadfast in our duty to protect our people.

Both of the countries have learned this lesson. In the early days of World War II, when the United States was still wrestling with isolationism, Canadian forces were already engaging the enemies of freedom from the Atlantic — across the Atlantic. At the time, some Canadians argued that Canada had not been attacked and had no interest in fighting a distant war. Your prime minister, Mackenzie King, gave this answer; "We cannot defend our country and save our homes and families by waiting for the enemy to attack us. To remain on the defensive is the surest way to bring the war to Canada. Of course, we should protect our coasts and strengthen our ports and cities against attack," but the prime minister went on to say, "we must also go out and meet the enemy before he reaches our shores. We must defeat him before he attacks us, before our cities are laid to waste." Mackenzie King was correct then, and we must always remember the wisdom of his words today."

— George W Bush
Pier 21, Halifax, Wednesday, 1 Dec 04

This quote highlights a bothersome idiosyncracy that plagues Canadians. We are at once proud of our historic military accomplishments in Europe and disdainful of our neighbours who have the cheek to maintain a military.

Thanks to Dubya for pointing that out.



This post bubbled to the surface on Thursday, December 02, 2004


Attention One and All:

There are several good reasons to attend this event:

You're not cool unless you go.

1. It'll be good
2. I'll be there
3. It'll be good



This post bubbled to the surface on Thursday, December 02, 2004



  
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