Friday, March 23, 2007

37 hurts

Well, as my wife told you my birthday was the other day.  I am now 37.  Since my birthday was early in the week, we were not able to really do a lot as a family together as my younger son had basketball practice.

Basketball...  Yeah, basketball...  I always wanted to get the call from the NBA saying there was a spot for me on the Pistons.  (Drifting away in dreams)  "Ok, Rob, you are in the starting lineup...."

The ball is tossed up and the play begins.  Our team is a little bigger than the other team, giving us the advantage.  We are playing man to man defense, and I am covering this guy who looks just like Curious George.  He is little but tenacious.  It is alright, though, I have his number.

The game goes on, we pity the other team, so we let them stay in the game.  I am playing well.  I think by the third quarter I am up to 20 points with some amazing plays.  Oh, break away play.  The ball comes to me.  Turn, dribble, make the pickup to go for the big slam and out of nowhere two defenders run into me from either side.  I go down hard on my knee.  A few minutes later I get up and limp away.  That pretty much ended my NBA career, and my night at the Upward "parents vs kids game.  Oh well, snap back to reality.

So now I have been 37 for 3 days and I still haven't recovered.  It all felt good when I was playing, but I don't remember even having some of the parts of my body that hurt now.  Good thing Andrea bought me a bass guitar for my birthday.  Rock Stars never get hurt.....

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

On Learning Bass Guitar


I have always been into music.  I got into it in sixth grade, about 25 years ago.  I guess I should tell you that story…..


Well, there I was in homeroom at Sterling Junior High.  The year was 1982, so flared pants, polyester, and long hair were just starting to be on the way out.  Homeroom is a class where young students can take a break and catch up on their learning.  Well, that is what it is soused to be for, but if you are young Rob Elliott, it is a place where you can talk your head off and practice your latest jokes.  This is where it all started.  “Rob Elliott, SHUT UP!!!!”  was the cry from the teachers desk where sat Mr. Nitterhouse, a dark complected man with a hint of salt and pepper in his hair.  This went on for several weeks until Mr. Nitterhouse finally had enough.


“Rob Elliott SHUT UP” came the cry again.  This time, though I tried, I could not.  Mr. Nitterhouse was patient for the next thirty seconds as he concocted his evil plot against me.  “Rob, come here.  I see you have a difficult time keeping your mouth shut.  This class is designed for you to catch up on your homework, not your comedy skills.  I have a proposition for you.  I will bet you that you can’t keep your mouth shut for one entire class.  If you lose, you will have to write the following paragraph 1,000,000 times” (handing me a piece of paper which had a lot of long boring writing about manners and the like on it).  “or you can join the school band.” 


Well, needless to say, less than ten minutes later, Mr. Nitterhouse and I were deciding what instrument I would be playing.  I ended up with a tuba (what Mr. N played).  From here, it was apparent that Mr. N was a great man and played a major part in my life all the way through high school where he became a band director shortly after my freshmen year.  This is another story though. 


So anyway, here it is 2007.  I had a music scholarship to Wayne State, where I learned nothing, except who God wanted me to marry.  This is another story though.  My point was, I had a lot of musical training and now have no outlet to use it.  I have a coronet, but I also have a bridge on my top four teeth which limits my playing.  I never could understand how to play piano until recently, but my pumpkin dominates that, and when she isn’t playing (she taught herself, and is now taking lessons) she is teaching my peanut.  My monkey plays the drums, and the potato plays the guitar.  Hmm.  We have a drummer, guitar, piano, singers…  all we need is a bass.  Wait a minute, bass is my middle name.  I live in bass clef.  I must act on this.


Well, I have been interested in playing for some time.  I finally asked my buddy Joel if he knew of a bass I could borrow to see if I liked playing.  Joel happened to have a bass and he graciously let me borrow it. I came to find out I like this.  I have been getting acquainted with the strings and having a bit of fun.  Old tuba solos are popping in my head and I am trying to play them from memory.


Another fun thing about bass is it is similar to guitar.  This is a good bridge builder for my now teenage son and I.  Though I know a ton about music theory, reading music, and general music rules I sit down with him for my lesson.  This is a great thing for us as it gives us another point of contact and communication.  We sit down together and he teaches me.  We are currently working on worship music we play at our church.  I am glad we are doing this together.