New look!

I'm pleased to announce that this site has a brand-new look and feel! It's been several years since I've had a truly custom design on the site; the last time, I was running a homemade blogging engine I lovingly referred to as "Blahg," and had no choice but to custom-build the theme. I liked the result, which despite my being a trombonist was heavily piano-themed. But, when I switched off of Blahg to Octopress, I didn't really have time to take the same amount of care with the design —I pretty much just used the standard template with a couple of color changes:

Breaking the silence

You may have noticed quite a few changes to the website recently —what you haven't seen, however, is any new content from me. For some reason, I've been having trouble with words over the past few years. I find myself becoming significantly more introverted with each passing year, and I think that's caused me to be a lot more reserved about public introspection —which is sort of sad, because I've always enjoyed sharing my work with people through this and other mediums.


Tonight as we were getting ready to start our first kindegarten choir rehearsal at church, one of the kids took some building blocks and created his own replica of the NYC World Trade Center towers. No doubt he'd been learning about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at school, what with this being the tenth anniversary and all. It was sort of odd to think of the perspective from which he saw those events; for him, 9/11 is just something out of a history book, albeit a very serious something. For those of us who watched it all unfold on TV, it's something quite more than that.


Baby's First Education

My daughter Ellie is now ten months old, and due to the fact that her mother and I both work full time, we recently enrolled her in a local day care program. It wasn't the easiest decision to make, as we'd both love to be able to stay home and take care of her ourselves; however, the experience has not been without its own unique joys. To help myself remember, I thought I'd share a few.


Flood Relief: An Appeal

As you may have seen in the news recently, the state of North Dakota has been experiencing record flooding over the past several weeks. In Minot, my hometown, nearly a fourth of the city's population has been evacuated (twice, actually); the Souris River, which runs through the center of town, has risen to nearly 13 feet above flood stage, nearly 4 feet higher than the worst flood the city had ever seen before. The indundation zone covers almost a fourth of the city.

The last reports I heard indicated that more than 4000 homes were affected, 100 of which were flooded up to roof level. Unfortunately, in recent years most residents were told they didn't need flood insurance; as a result, there were only 476 active flood insurance policies in the city this year.

My parents' neighborhood is in pretty bad shape; fortunately, they were able to move with many of their belongings out to the family farm north of town. Not everyone was that fortunate. From what I've read, FEMA has approved a certain amount of individual assistance for those affected, but that'll only go so far.

I'm sure you can appreciate the dire need these people are experiencing as a result of this catastrophe. In order to assist with the relief effort, several organizations have set up donation websites; a good list is available at If you can spare some money to help out the victims of this disaster, I know they would appreciate it; so would I.

Additional information and pictures covering the situation can be found by visiting the KX News Minot Facebook page.


Of practice recordings and data storage

Those who know me well know that I really, really hate to throw away data. I have all kinds of stuff sitting around on my home server, some of it dating all the way back to middle school, and most of it of very little interest to anyone today (even me). Well, the other day I stumbled across something that was sort of interesting: trombone practice recordings I'd made early on in college.