Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Hanson String Theory Tour with ASO

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

From middle school until I was about 17, I listened exclusively to country music.  I went to several concerts, including two Reba McEntire concerts. I was even in her fan club at one point.

In 11th grade, I sat in honors chemistry next to this girl named Travero. We would talk about all sorts of stuff, including our cultural differences. She was a very smart black female and I was just an average white male. At some point, she encouraged me to branch out and give other types of music a try. Of course, I didn’t know which genre to listen to so on the way home, I tuned in to the local pop station.  After listening to that for a few months, I began to watch a little MTV and became hooked on Total Request Live.

Sometime during my senior year, I was exposed to this band of little kids, called Hanson. I was intriqued that these kids, all of who were younger than me, were such talented musicians.  The song MMMBop was a little cheezy — of course, it was the late 90s when everything was cheezy — but when Weird came out, I knew it was my anthem. I bought the CD “Middle of Nowhere”. They quickly became my favorite band.

Unfortunately, they were classified as a “boy band”. All of the other boy bands were a manufactured group of while males who could sing and dance. They had no real musical talent or instrumental abilities. There was 98 degrees, Backstreet Boys, NSync, LFO, and others during that time.  Hanson on the other hand, were a set of brothers who wrote and played their own music. Grouping them with the “boy bands” has caused them to be terminally underrated.  I believe that their Christmas album “Snowed In” (now 20 years old) is the best holiday album of all time.

I attended my first Hanson concert on July 5, 1998 at Lakewood Ampitheatre in Atlanta. Two years later, I followed them from Atlanta to Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. In the years since, I’ve seen them several more times in Atlanta. I have all of their CDs and know all of their songs.  I’ve met them twice. Over the years, their music has consistently matured. Today, their art is so far from MMMBop that when the average person hears their more recent stuff, they are in disbelief when I tell them it is Hanson.

When I was on my 2nd or 3rd date with Kimberlie, I was looking through her CD collection and stumbled across a Hanson album. I knew then that she was the one for me.

It hasn’t been easy being a fan of Hanson.  Their typical fan in the beginning was 12-15 year old white females who had one or more of them as crushes. And then, there was me. I was just there for the music.  I’ve been laughed at, ridicules, called gay, etc. for being a fan.  I’ve made many Hanson friends along the way and I’ll be a fan forever.

Last night, I attended ther Atlanta show on their String Theory tour. They are touring and performing with symphone orchestras around the world.  Last night, they performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Since Mackenzie plays percussion in the middle school band, I took her along. For her, seeing the instruments at work was amazing. For me, hearing my favorite band accompanied by a 75 piece grammy winning orchestra was simply amazing.

Mackenzie and I in front of the tour bus:

Mackenzie playing a random piano outside of the arts center:


Over those 20+ years of attending concerts I’ve noticed that Hanson fans have changed considerably. They are no longer the cute little teenage girls. Now, they are typically 35+, overweight (this is not meant to be derogatory — I am in this boat as well). They also need a glass of wine before the show. They mostly all wear glasses (as do I sometime) and have tattoos. Oddly enough, a good bit of them smoke.  Those are just my observations.

FMMS 6th Grade Band Finale

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Mackenzie had her 6th grade band concert this evening. It’s crazy to think that 8 months ago, the only drum stick she had ever touched was when eating fried chicken. I never imagined her as a percussionist and it wasn’t her first choice of instrument either. But she has really excelled at it. This evening, she played several different types of drums.

Feagin Mill Awards Day 2018

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

This morning, we attended the 8th Grade Awards Ceremony at Feagin Mill Middle School.  Tristan received the honor roll award for all A’s.  He also received an award for achieving all A’s during all three years of middle school.

A few hours later, we returned to Feagin Mill for the 6th Grade Awards Ceremony.  Mackenzie also received the honor roll award for earning A’s in all classes. She actually has a 100 average in 3 of 6 of her classes.

Here are photos of Mackenzie with her teachers:

Mrs. Huckabee – Accelerated Math

Mrs. Waller – Science

Mr. Harrell – Social Studies

Mrs. Medalis – English/Language Arts

Mr. McDonald – Band

Band Dork

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Mackenzie has joined the Feagin Mill Middle School 6th Grade Band.

Here she is at the “song flute” concert.

The students have rotated through all of the instruments in the band to determine which they might be interested in. Additionally, the band director has used the song flutes to assess their dexterity.

Mackenzie was most interested in the saxophone. So, he assigned her percussion. I guess we’ll have a little drummer girl. At least for this year.

Sunset on Summer

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

The kids are enjoying the last weekend of summer before school starts back.

Fall 2017 Rilianne Randoms

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Waiting on Daddy’s car at the Honda place:

Fascinated by the bear at the pool store:

Getting serenaded by Tristan:


Firehouse Subs:


Rilianne’s First Cruise

Monday, April 4th, 2016

We just returned from a quick three-night cruise on the Disney Magic. It was our first time on the Magic and now we have sailed on all four Disney ships!  Two new ships will debut in the 2020s and we will definitely check those out as well.

Here is Rilianne waiting to board the beautiful ship.


We participate in an unofficial gift exchange. Here is our “fish extender” that we use to receive gifts:


After eating lunch, we explored the ship, including the children’s areas.


Mackenzie ran up to the top deck to try out the Aquadunk.  I tried it later and it was pretty scary. You stand vertically and suddenly the floor drops out from under you and you quickly slide down.


Rilianne explored the splash pad. She loved it!


I went to the Disney Vacation Club member mingle, where I was treated to complimentary drinks.


After a safety drill, it was time for the Sail Away Celebration!


Before dinner, we explored more areas of the ship.




Earlier at lunch, a random server was giving Rilianne all kinds of special attention. That evening, we realized that she was our assistant server Yanupe. We’ve realized that asian folks are really drawn to Rilianne and she was no different.


Tristan participate in a bingo game and won!


The next day was supposed to be a “sea day”, but when I woke up and looked out on our verandah, I saw a campground.  People who live on islands don’t typically own RVs, so I knew we were back in America. It turned out to be a medical emergency that forced the ship to return. Less than an hour later, we were back at sea and most people never realized that we went all the way back to Port Canaveral.


Back at sea!


Rilianne, getting ready to meet Anna and Elsa.


Rilianne loved being on desk with the wind blowing and sun shining!


The highlight of the day was putting Rilianne into the diaper derby.  She was the first baby to arrive, so her “bib” number was 1.


Three other babies participated. Rilianne didn’t do very well during the practice round, but we quickly realized that if Tristan crawled next to her, she could win.



And she won!  The entire atrium was filled with spectators cheering her on.


She received a Mickey head medal and a Disney Cruise Line bib for participating. Throughout the rest of the cruise, random people would approach her and call her the diaper derby winner.



That evening was pirate night! One of the highlights of a Disney cruise.


Here is Mackenzie with her cousin Elinor:



And here is Mackenzie dancing with her cousin Caroline:



The next day was Castaway Cay day, which I’ll talk about later. That evening was time to say farewell to our service team. A three day cruise is too short!  Here is our head server:


Rilianne eating dessert. She ate all of that ice cream!


Once again, our assistant server Yanupe.


Here is all of us with our server and assistant server.


Late that evening, Kimberlie and Rilianne went to sleep and Tristan and Mackenzie were in their age programs. I went down to the piano bar to listen to one of my favorite musicians: CLARA. We discovered CLARA on our seven day cruise in October 2014 and I was thrilled when I found out she was on the Disney Magic with us. She is an awesome pianist. Go check her out!


The next morning came early. So early that the kids were like this for most of the trip home.


Mischievous Mozart

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Here are a few pictures from just today of my little wild child.

Rilianne loves sitting at the piano banging on the keys!




She is into everything! That black stuff on her mouth and all over the floor is dirt from the plant in the background. We walked away for 30 seconds and she ate dirt!


And the kitchen is her playground. That plasticware didn’t stand a chance of staying organized!


Flashback: Oprah’s Favorite Things 2007

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Eight years ago was one of the coolest days of my life. I got the hottest ticket in television.

But first, let me go back a few weeks. On October 24, 2007, the local television station announced that Oprah Winfrey would be coming to Macon to film her television show. At the time, The Oprah Winfrey Show was the highest ranked daytime show in television history.  They wanted Oprah’s biggest fans to fill the audience, so to have a chance at a ticket, you needed to write an essay and submit it online. I wasn’t the biggest Oprah fan by any means, but Kimberlie did enjoy her show so I knew I had to put my name in the hat. Here is the essay I submitted:

I am requesting two seats for the Macon studio audience so that I can surprise my wife Kimberlie and fulfill her dream of being in the Oprah studio audience.  This isn’t one of those “she’s been watching for 22 years” type letters.  In fact, Kimberlie is only 24.  She is an occupational therapist assistant at a local Macon nursing home and she makes sure that she sees the bed-ridden patients in the afternoon so that she can watch Oprah while giving them therapy.  Although Kimberlie is sometimes at work or driving home during the show, she strives to get in every minute of Oprah that she can.  Sometimes, she even leaves the kids at day care so that she can come home and watch Oprah without them.  She has even purchased and read books solely because they are on Oprah’s book list.   Two years ago, we visited Walt Disney World.  The highlight of the weeklong trip for Kimberlie was accidentally finding the bust of Oprah at Disney Studios.  I was trying to save my film for what I considered more important things, but she insisted on having her picture taken with the bust.  You can view the picture here.  We recently took a work-related trip to the west coast and while pondering attending a television taping in the area, Kimberlie made me promise that if we ever visit the Chicago area that I would do anything possible to get her a ticket into the show.  She wasn’t interested in being in the audience for any other show!  Kimberlie is a great wife and mother and I would love to see her face if she were able to attend the taping. Even if you can’t fulfill the request for two seats, please at least let me give her a ticket as a surprise.

Here is the photo I was talking about. Back in the days of film, if someone blinked at the wrong time it was just too bad!


When we arrived at the taping, we had no idea what topic the show would be on. There was a huge replica of the Hay House, which is a famous local attraction. When Oprah came out, drinking a sweet tea, she told us that she decided to film in Macon because Macon has the highest percentage of viewers than any other location. I’m not sure what it says about my town when more televisions are tuned into The Oprah Winfrey Show, especially when it came on during the workday.


She then told us that we had the HOTTEST ticket in television and that the show was actually Oprah’s Favorite Things, where she talks about all of her favorite items and gives them all to the audience.  Since both Kimberlie and I were there, we left with two of everything!

Taping a TV show is crazy. We filmed scenes over and over and over.  Our reactions to each item that were on television were most likely not the first time we reacted to that item.  Somehow, Oprah snuck both David Foster and Josh Groban into town for the taping. It was amazing. I actually played my Josh Groban music at a Christmas event at work today.

Below is an almost complete list of the items we received (2 of each item)

  • Samsung HD Camcorder (SC-HMX10C)
  • UGG Australia Classic Crochet Boots
  • ToyWatch Crystal Watches
  • Perfect Endings Cupcakes by Williams-Sonoma
  • Melamine Bowls by Williams-Sonoma
  • KitchenAid Artisan Mixer
  • Planet Earth DVD Set by The Discovery Channel
  • Kai Body Butter & Buffer
  • Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System
  • Claus Porto Soaps from Lafco New York
  • “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett
  • Breville Ikon Panini Press by Williams-Sonoma
  • Ciao Bella Sorbetto
  • Rachel Pally Swing Turtleneck and Sailor Pants
  • Scrabble Premier Edition from Hasbro
  • United Artists 90th Anniversary Prestige DVD Collection
  • Shaklee Get Clean
  • O’s Guide to Life
  • Josh Groban’s Noël CD
  • LG HDTV Refrigerator
  • $250 Target Gift Card
  • RED Wrapping Paper Kit

Since we had duplicates of everything, I sold a lot (like the extra refrigerator), gave several away, and kept some (like the cupcakes and gift cards).  The proceeds I made from selling the items went towards me purchasing my Honda CR-V, which I still have.  Oprah actually paid the taxes on all of the “winnings” and she paid them at a higher tax bracket than we fell into for that year, so we came out ahead there as well.  We will use our refrigerator with the TV on it. It still impresses people.  And Kimberlie still wears her UGGs. I still use the HD video camera occasionally and I’m staring at the Scrabble board and DVD collection as I wrap up this blog entry.

Although I wasn’t really an Oprah fan, this event definitely makes my list of the Top 10 events in my life.

Tristan’s First Gig

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Kimberlie’s uncle has had some health issues lately and has been unable to work, so their tiny country baptist church held a fundraiser for the family by selling “chicken plates” (as they are called around these parts) and having a gospel sing.  Kimberlie’s dad asked if Tristan would play a few songs at the event.

He practiced hard for the last few weeks and did pretty good last night. It was his first real gig, even though he didn’t get paid for it.  Here are the three songs he performed.

First up, The River by Garth Brooks:

Next, Photograph by Ed Sheeran:

And finally, since it was a “gospel sing” and all, Amazing Grace: