Think About Music


This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics over the next year. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This week’s topic is “Singing.”

Nomad: What is the meaning?
Uhura: What?
Nomad: What form of communication?
Uhura: I don’t know what — Oh, my singing. I was singing.
Nomad: For what purpose is singing?
Uhura: I don’t know. I — I like to sing. I felt like music.
Nomad: What is music? Think about music.
Star Trek, “The Changeling (And I have to mention Information Society’s Come With Me here, which is how I know this exchange.)

For some reason, this topic has been one that I’ve really been looking forward to. But now that it’s here, I don’t know exactly what all I want to say about it. The assignment is limited specifically to singing; I would probably have a lot to say if it were about the broader area of music in general. Music is a big issue for me; I’m very aware of the soundtrack of my life at times, I can communicate in music at times, music and mood are very linked for me. The irony is that, in all the creative arts, music is the area in which I have the least ability. I have varying degrees of aptitude for the written, visual and performing arts, but I have negative talent for music. I suck musical talent out of people around me.

The cool thing is, I’ve come to realize over the last year what a gift that is.

That sign is so me, which I’ll get into in Part II of this post later in the week. I take the sign’s message to heart — I’m not the best bird, but I’m still going to sing.

But God did give me other talents. For example, He gave me a talent for improv. I’m good at making people laugh.

And that’s important to note. Because I used to believe I had no talent for singing. The problem was, I was failing to put it in the proper context.

These days, I get to perform. I get to sing in front of audiences. As an improv actor, my job is to make people laugh. And, when I sing at a show, I assure you, people laugh.

I once thought my singing was a lack of talent. But when I found what I really enjoy doing, I realized that it’s actually a skill for being good at something I love.

And that’s the best talent you could be gifted with.

Various And Sundry 3: Variouser and Sundrier


Random stuff I’m writing about today:

– I was in the Barnes & Noble at the Summit in Birmingham Sunday. For the first time, I got to see a copy of the Smithsonian Atlas of Space Exploration, which includes Homesteading Space in its bibliography of essential spaceflight reading. When I was browing through the humor section, it occured to me that they probably also had The World According to Twitter, and, in fact, they had three copies of it. Amused and intrigued, I pulled out my phone, confirmed they had a copy of it, and went and found Black Men Built the Capitol on the shelf. Even without having a copy of Homesteading, there are three books in that bookstore that have my name in them. That’s kinda cool, and more than a little funny.


– Ole Miss students will be voting today whether to replace Colonel Reb with something else or to “remain the only school in the Southeastern Conference without a mascot.” The vote today is just yea or nay, the exact “something else” with which Colonel Reb would be replaced would be determined later. I wrote about my thoughts on this issue back during football season, and won’t go into all of that again now, other than the fact that I think it’s sad that Ole Miss is gradually losing having any unique character at all. However, I will share this mascot option that I’ve seen posted on Facebook.

Best. Trek. Novel. Ever.

– I taught kids again at church on Sunday morning. The materials were different this time; last time I had multiple activities to do with them, this time I was just telling a story. Part of my problem was that I got overconfident. The story was about David and Absalom, and I figured the studying I’ve done of David over the past year would help me, but, really, not so much. I also figured that my improv experience would help me ad lib some funniness that would make me more engaging, but, again, not really. I felt boring, and it was a lousy feeling. Just have to do better next time. And hope for better material.

– I went to the zoo in Birmingham Sunday also. Not that I didn’t have fun, but it was a bit more impressive 30 years ago.

– Stuff Christians Like: The Obligatory Lost Sermon: “But maybe you were unaware of the need to experience an obligatory Lost sermon. Maybe you didn’t even know that was an option. And with the show in its final season, you’re lost as it were with how to properly judge the quality of a Lost sermon. It’s almost as if you need a Lost sermon scorecard.” Now I kinda wish my preacher did this sort of thing.

– I’ve heard versions of this story about three janitors at NASA enough that it may be apocryphal, but I hope not. And it is a good reminder, not only for those of us in the agency, but for life in general.

– Two bits from “Overheard in the Newsroom:

Reporter: “A preacher just lied to me! Isn’t there a commandment against that?” Editor: “Was he Baptist?”

Editor to Reporter at Canadian paper: “Space crap is all the American’s can do right, and they are not even doing that!”


This picture by my coworker Heather may be my favorite thing thus far to come out of the 365project.

– I went to improv rehearsal last night, official improv rehearsal, for the first time in about three months. It was very good to be back. As I’ve mentioned, I’m working in shows Friday and Saturday night, to which you should come, so it was good actually being able to get some rehearsal in before working again this weekend. Probably the biggest thing to come out of the rehearsal was discovering that, even rusty, I’m still competent, though I’m hoping that being back in an actual show again will inspire a bit more than just competence. Last night, I karate-chopped my wife, pitched racist t-shirts, got hypnotized, and became a genius phrenologist via head trauma. All in a good night’s work.

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