Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Trick and Treat

First the Trick:

At the end of the long trek to my car after teaching my last class tonight I discovered that its left rear end had been painfully rearranged.

Now the Treat:

The young man who had backed into my car left an extremely nice note beginning with, "First of all I am so sorry!" and ending with, "Again I am so terribly sorry." He has insurance and provided all the necessary information.

His parents raised him well!

Hope his car is okay!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Facing facebook






facebook?

What's facebook?

Why is there no capital in facebook?

Why is facebook one word?

I wasn't at all interested in facing facebook, even after receiving an invitation to join the facebook APU Faculty Network. It was too much for my 20th century brain to wrap around.

Trouble is, my APU students continually referenced facebook.

Like, constantly.

Still not interested.

Then my niece Bethany invited me to join facebook.

The nerve!

It took about a week before I took the plunge. Even then I didn't use my real name. I stuck with the name of this blog - with one minor variation. facebook would not accept FlutePrayer as my name. I was required to have a first name (Flute) and a last name (Prayer). Works for me.

Anyway, I finally signed up a few days ago. Here's what I discovered:

facebook is a great way to be in touch with my flute students, past and present. It is easy to use and not at all creepy.

In fact, it's kind of addictive.

So if you don't see me hanging around the blog as much, you can always find me at facebook...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Scaled Back Halloween in Bixby Knolls

(Jeff Gritchen / Press-Telegram)

My excellent accountant Carol and her partner Mark were featured in an article in the Long Beach Press Telegram today.

A year ago on Halloween night a brutal beating occurred outside their lovely home just a few blocks from my own humble abode.

It sounds like the police and press are planning on a strong presence this year.

I'm so sorry for the division and disharmony this incident has provoked.

I'll be praying for peace in our neighborhood Halloween night.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Colonel Corn's Mission


Photo of Kenneth Corn



I am grateful to Lenslinger at Viewfinder Blues for many things.

He has a way with words. You'll just have to surf over there and sample them for yourself. Prepare for a banquet of ravishing prose!

He is a big fan of beFrank, my blogging hero - no higher praise than that!

He "introduced" me to Kenneth Corn's Mission.

Kenneth Corn is a photojournalist for a local television station in North Carolina. For some riveting reading, surf on over to Kenneth's blog "Kenya Mission 2007". He is posting entries from the journal he kept during his summer trip to Kenya as a mission team videographer. I am waiting impatiently for his next entry. Kenneth says, "I'm a bit slow in writing but I will get my whole journal on the web for everyone to enjoy."

To review:

Lenslinger: Great bedtime stories (He tends to post at night. I look forward to every one)

beFrank: The coolest, wittiest author who ever posted an illustrated blog entry (He does pretty well at his day job, too)

Kenneth Corn: My missions hero

Have fun in the blogsphere!



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jethro Who?

My grad student Amy told me about a great flute clip she'd seen on YouTube with a "weird 70's guy" playing a flute solo wearing a funny outfit and making lots of noises into the flute (see that clip here).

That "weird 70's guy" is Ian Anderson of the group Jethro Tull. He inspired a whole generation of flute players with his rendition of Bach's Bourree and "was widely recognized as the man who introduced the flute to rock music":



Geez, I feel old...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reverse 911 Works!

I got the call just after 8:30 this evening.

There had been a power outage in our neighborhood. We were without streetlights or residential power.

When I answered my ringing phone (okay, it wasn't ringing, exactly. It was making the sounds heard on the Starship Enterprise's bridge, but I digress) the recorded information from the Signal Hill Police Department gave a concise, detailed explanation of exactly what was going on including the perimeter of the power outage and the steps being taken by the Edison Company and the Signal Hill PD to insure our safety and security. I was assured that SHPD patrol cars were out on the street and available should any problems arise. The phone call included the number for the Signal Hill PD with the invitation to call should any assistance be required.

It was really cool.

The lights came on around 9pm.

I am grateful to report that Signal Hill's reverse 911 system works!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Coverage by beFrank

Photo by Ken Koeller


For "you are there" coverage of the Southern California fires, surf on over to beFrank's blog.

I have always been fascinated by behind-the-scenes action. You'll get all that and more at the home of the blogger who inspired my own efforts.

Oh, and beFrank? beSAFE!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fire


The Signal Hill/Long Beach area is about 30 miles northwest of the Santiago fire. One wouldn't know that from the pictures I just took from our driveway.


The sky is dark with smoke. The sunlight has the same quality as it does during a solar eclipse.

The Southland is on fire.

Please pray!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Your Opinion Wanted!



How many of you have cell phones that you love?

How many of you have cell phones that you hate?

How many of you have cell phones that you love/hate?

How many of you have cell phones that you hate/love?

I need your help. I have a cell phone that I mostly hate, the Morotorala RAZR V3c. I can upgrade to a new phone in January (with Verizon) and have started wondering which phone to go with next.

Here's what I love about my cell phone:

The ring tones (I really do love them!)

The size

The keypad

Here's what I hate about my cell phone:

Its complete flakiness - the first one I had completely crashed and burned after 3 months, taking all my information with it. The replacement phone (the old one was under warranty) has been okay. Just okay. Not great.

The camera is worthless, even as cell phone cameras go.

No removable memory card.

Can't sync to my computer.

Can't read the clock when the cover is closed. I liked the analogue clock on my old Samsung.

To summarize, my current phone is very high maintenance, very unreliable, not very practical, yet extremely stylish and attractive. I am uncomfortable around people with those characteristics, and find them extremely vexing in a phone.

Can you please help me out? Please let me know what you love/hate about your current phone and why. I am toying with the idea of a Blackberry/Smart Phone. Any opinions on those? All constructive input is welcome.

Thanks for your help. If you need me, I'll be listening to my cool ring tones...

Monday, October 15, 2007

You Might Want To Check First...

(Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryar.)

If you don't know the officiant you've chosen to preside over your wedding, you might want to check with them first to see what the subject of their wedding homily/message might be.

Take, for example, the message I recently witnessed being delivered to a radiant young bride and her handsome groom in front of a few hundred of their family and friends. Earlier in his message, the officiant had observed that Adam and Eve were "naked and unashamed" before God. So far, so good. Appropriate, even, to hear the story of the first man and woman at a wedding ceremony. Things took a turn for the uncomfortable when he made the observation, "Later tonight you will be on your honeymoon and you will be naked and unashamed."

What?

Frankly, that's not the sort of picture I'd like carry away with me from a wedding ceremony. Too much information!

I squirmed during another wedding when the officiant chose a solemn moment of the ceremony to draw attention to himself. He told the groom, "Repeat after me. I will..." The groom's name wasn't Will. Though he seemed startled, he repeated, "I will..." The officiant then intoned, "Take her shopping..." To his credit, the groom refused to repeat that particular line.

Or how about the officiant who (I am not making this up) included this story as his homily:

"There was a king who had a kingdom. Everyone loved the king. Every night he would chose a beautiful young maiden. Every morning she would be dead. The next night he would choose another beautiful young maiden. The next morning she would be dead. Then one morning the young maiden he chose was alive. She went back into her village and everyone asked her why she was still alive. She said that as she went to bed with the king she told him a story that was to be continued. That is why she didn't die."

End of story.

What?

Was he suggesting to the bride that, unless she told good bed time stories, she would be dead in the morning? Was he suggesting that the groom was a serial killer and she'd better think twice? Was he serious?

I want to assure you that I am not making this up. I wish I was.

So my advice to all of you is, KNOW YOUR OFFICIANTS.

Then again, with messages like these your guests probably won't soon forget your wedding ceremony...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Chocolate Campaign




A few weeks ago, as I was waiting in the check out line at Trader Joe's, the selection of chocolate bars conveniently placed for impulse buying caught my eye (big surprise!). Since my cholesterol is a little high, I began perusing the dark chocolate.

I noticed a bar labeled "Trader Joe's Swiss 71% Dark Chocolate" and picked it up for a closer look.

The small print talked about "intense, full bodied dark chocolate made from fairly traded cocoa beans."

Intrigued, I turned the bar over and read, "Fair chocolate helps contribute to a better way of life for farmers and their families. This method of buying cocoa beans offers small-scale growers a fair price for their harvest. It's a win-win situation. You get the flavor of high quality Swiss chocolate, and you also get the confidence of knowing the ingredients were purchased in a socially responsible manner. How sweet it is."

Cool, I thought, and purchased two bars "for medicinal purposes".

I was blissfully ignorant of the human traffikking in the chocolate industry.

Thankfully, I received an email yesterday explaining that an Azusa Pacific University chapel speaker had challenged the student body to look at their chocolate consumption habits and consider the source of said chocolate. I was directed to http://www.stopthetraffik.org/chocolatecampaign/. Here is an excerpt from the site:

"Diabate and TraorĂ© had left their village in Mali to go to Ivory Coast looking for enough money to afford a bicycle, but they were sold to a man who had paid 50,000 West African Francs (about £50) for the two boys and he wanted the money back—in labour. The boys from Sirkasso met about twenty others in the same predicament and learned that no one was ever paid. They slept in a rectangle-shaped mud hut that initially had windows but when some boys found they could escape during the night, the windows were sealed shut. Diabate and TraorĂ© remember eating mostly bananas, though they would gobble up the cocoa beans, as others did, whenever they got the chance. Many months passed, and the boys forgot what the purpose had once been for this adventure. Life became a struggle to exist, then hardened to despair.

They gave up thinking of escape. They were under constant threat of beatings if they were caught trying to flee—and they had seen several boys treated savagely—they were actually spooked by a belief that they were under a spell. Read more in Carol Off's book 'Bitter Chocolate'. "

After reading this, I felt utterly ashamed of my complete lack of awareness of this situation. The slave trade is alive and well, and I personally have contributed to it.

No more.

I am grateful to Trader Joe's for stocking free trade chocolate. I will be buying my "cholesterol medicine" from them exclusively until the big chocolate companies clean up their acts.

Will you join me?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Playing with Nancy



Okay, I confess.

I've been playing with Nancy instead of blogging.

I received the latest Nancy Drew game, "The Legend of the Crystal Skull", last week.

Bob was out of town for 3 nights, so I was grateful for the company.

I just completed the game. On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd give it an 8.

Why an 8?

It receives an 8 because the majority of people working on this project were guys, and it showed.

Hello! There are enough computer games out there for guys. Let's not impose male slants on games written for females. They're just not going to understand what tickles the fairer gamer's fancy. Can we say "King's Quest"?

So now that Nancy is safely through her latest adventure, I can get back to real work in the real world.

My flute is calling.

Wait!

It's saying...

"Write more computer games for women..."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rust Around The Corner

This beautifully illustrates why I will not wear items emblazoned with phrases in languages I do not understand:


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Chance Encounter



It seems every time Bob and I visit the Mouse House we have a chance encounter.

Sometimes we see our Muni Band colleagues with the Disneyland Band.


Sometimes we run into old friends.

It's always a welcome surprise.

We had a totally unexpected treat on Monday.

We were just leaving the lockers on Main Street when we literally bumped into Melissa, a colleague of Bob's. She was there with her young charge, riding as many rides and seeing as many sights as possible.




Although I'd never met Melissa before, I had seen this:


I was glad to finally meet her, not because I'd ever seen her on TV, but because she lent me a new Pride and Prejudice book.

She has excellent taste!

So next time you go to Mickey's Kingdom, keep your eyes peeled.

You never know who you might encounter!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bob's Birthday Blast



Bob and I had a blast celebrating his birthday at Disneyland earlier this week.

We arrived at our favorite hotel late Sunday.

We spent Monday and Tuesday meandering from one ride to another.

It was lovely.

Bob's actual birthday is tomorrow.

He's out of town.

He left rose petals and a love note on our bed.

He is my dream come true!