B A R R Y L A N D .



things i did in 2000.
a moustache-twisting journal of the few things in my life worth mentioning

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heil america.
what's wrong with the pledge of allegiance

meet rucker.
a song from a brand-new american opera

keeping the cart before the horse.
a provocative lesson on the heart and the wallet

memoirs of an amnesiac.
delightful musings from an off-the-wall composer

a musical offering.
the strange recipe for a sunday morning instrumental

killer music.
my score for sea world's shamu show, and the story behind it

some clips from my first solo CD


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got pleurisy again

a year to the date after the first onset. One thing they told me was that I'd be forever more susceptible to pleurisy once I'd gotten it, and sure enough. Ouch! But this time I recognized the symptoms the moment they cropped up, and the doctor gave me a supershot to fix it, thus displacing the pain to a spot a bit south of my lungs. Pleurisy. Do you know anyone else who's had it?


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switched to butter

I've always believed that it's better to have the right amount of real things like sugar and oil than to ingest some chemical invented by a guy in a white lab coat. But my use of margarine went unexamined. Why? Maybe because it was so much a part of my childhood. This year, though, I examined it, and decided in favor of butter. The texture is so much different, and it's great in cooking. Makes all the difference.


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went to south america

My first time below the equator was a delicious adventure in three countries: Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. It was a spur-of-the-moment trip. One day my fun-loving college roommate Jeff Walker called me up and said, "We're goin' to Uruguay!" And that was that. A drastically different night sky, beautiful weather, beautiful food, and hospitable people. (Read all about it.) And, while I was there.....


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lived my 12,000th day

One wants these landmark days to be somehow emblematic, and I couldn't have fared better. Bleary travel to a far land, trouble with the authorities, the hugs and laughter of a dear old friend, the hearty hospitality of new friends, exotic food grilled just for us by a jolly uncle, an outdoor concert under a clear southern sky, prayer with a wizened old missionary, and — the cherry on top — fireworks! Ahhhh, for my life to live up to that day.


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read the harry potter books

The best light reading I've done in years. J.K. Rowling has a dickensian love for quirky onomastics, a decidedly non-dickensian flair for plot twists, and the rare gift of capturing the true sentiments of life without ever being sentimental. She deserves every penny she's getting. Can't wait to see how it turns out.


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went to the dentist

for the first time in years. You keep getting those little postcards, but they go (along with your good intentions) the way of all dental floss. Not this time around! And this time I promise to keep it up.


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played the bass more

For a while (during high school and part of college) the string bass was my main instrument. I've always kept it up a bit, but this summer our Wednesday night music at church seemed to call for that unique sound, so I got it out and woodshed a bit. Classical musicians think of the bass as comical, but everyone else knows the truth: there's something that's just *cool* about a string bass. It's such a sensual instrument, vibrating right up against your body as you finger and pluck the strings directly — a far cry from the well-tempered polyphonic levers of a piano.


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planned the big game

Every year at our church's summer camp, we have something called the 'big game' — an overarching, multi-day contest that involves clues, mysteries, maps, wild goose chases, and, naturally, a spiritual point. This year I had the pleasure of planning it myself, and the extreme pleasure of watching 200 teenagers go bonkers at my whim.


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Somewhere around early summer, our jazz trio hit a wide, deep groove and have stayed there ever since. It's one of those musical mysteries: what exactly *is* a groove? But whatever it is, we hit it hard. What a pleasure music is! Who is man, that this almost-nothing, this nothing-but-tones, could become one of his most significant experiences?


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celebrated 10 years with the protagonists

Maybe that's the key to our groove: we've been a group now for an entire decade. On Thanksgiving Eve of 1990, we got a panicked call from clubowner Stefania Baldessarelli, wondering if we could gig at her hip place on the St Mary's strip. We did, and she booked us on the spot for a 6-week engagement that turned into a few years. So, on Thanksgiving Eve of 2000, we had a standing-room-only shindig at her new place on the riverwalk, Dolores del Rio. 10 years. A decade! Darren Kuper and I were already a team before that, and Greg Norris has been with us for over half that decade. There's a communal level that can only be reached with time and shared experience; and the passing in-jokes, the laughter, the swinging conversations, are a constant pleasure to me. It's been great, guys.


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went to my 10 year college homecoming

When I graduated from Baylor in 1990, we laughed about the possibility that there would be a year 2000. It came quick. Since then, I've gotten a real education, the one that my Baylor education prepared me for. After all the tests are over, and the greek system no longer subsidizes my t-shirt collection, and I've forgotten what a scantron smells like, what's left is a sweet memory of five years spent in the roil of academia: the professors both insipid and inspiring, the dates both awkward and thrilling, the friends who now belong to my life or only belong to that time, the perfect blue-sky-and-green-grass weather in spring, the feeling of endless possibility, the hours of happy obsession in music, the after-midnight philosophizing, the solidifying realization that the examined life is infinitely worth living.


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got my painting back

Six years ago I painted a huge, beautiful 12 sq ft painting to go on permanent loan to the refurbished home of our church interns. It hung there in glory and ignominy until this year, when new interns took over the house and we danced a delicate dance of "do you still want this" — ahhh, but they gave it back, and now it hangs above my couch where I can smile at it every day. Like it?


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took hannah to her first opera

In my family, you get to go to your first opera when you're 9. Mine was 'Cosi,' and I remember it well. This year it was my niece's turn, and we saw 'Aida,' a great first opera. In a new black velvet dress and a heart of the ocean necklace, she played her own role beautifully. Of course, this is the kid who, at the age of 3, asked at dinnertime if afterward we could watch 'Lohengrin.' muhahahahaaaa!


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mourned a good friend

For years, Mitchell Markham was the dean of recording in San Antonio. He had a legendary set of ears and a spirit that gives the music business a good name. I cut my teeth on studio work in his presence and with his guidance, and will always be thankful for getting to work with him. A true christian gentleman, the head of a family that became dear to me. I'll miss him.


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met les paul

The guy who invented electric guitar. Not metaphorically: he really invented it. I spent a week in New York in September, going to shows and concerts and spending time with dear friends, and meeting Les was merely one highlight. He's 80-ish now, and ailing, but still chipper and kind in the casual, colloquial way of midwesterners.


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read 'the lord of the rings'

I read 'the Hobbit' in 5th grade or so, and was enchanted, but LOTR was a bit dense for me at the time. A few times since then I've tried to get through the first chapters to no avail. In December, though, I returned to it freshly, and was delighted by Tolkien's storytelling gift. He was a big Wagner fan (as were all of that circle), and it was striking to me how he not only retooled the classic elements (dwarfs, rings, grey wanderers, swords, questing heroes) and themes (power, love, destiny), but also captured a Wagnerian *feel*: the intangibly powerful cadences that conjure up lush greenery, stormy skies, dense forests, and unreachable longing. Beautiful writing, thoroughly imagined and fleshed out.


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got a palm pilot

courtesy of my brother Rich. He got a new spiffy one and gave me the old one. The calendar and alarms are nice, but what I really like is the ability to download long articles and take them with me to read in waiting rooms.


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ate truffles

I've always been intrigued by the idea of truffles but never had the chance to try them. And then on Christmas Day Dad announced that he'd brought some back from France and that we'd be having them for breakfast, in our omelettes. A compelling experience! Unlike anything I've tasted or smelled. One can see how they're reviled and loved and rhapsodized over, and the most expensive vegetable in the world.


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what a year. dedicated to the glory of God.


so, what did you do?



12  |  11  |  10  |  09  |  08  |  07  |  06  |  05  |  04  |  03  |  02  |  01  |  2000  |  99  |  98  |  97