Saturday, March 22, 2014

Who's the freak show? + FFAQ poll UPDATED WITH PHOTO

When I was in college, I played in an orchestra concert, and afterwards a friend of mine in the viola section came up to me and said "My girlfriend was in the audience. She noticed you playing." I was all flattered for a second, and then he broke the news. "She was like 'who's the freak show?'"

It took me a moment to realize what he was saying. 

It was me. I was the freak show. 

I hadn't realized it, but when I play, I look freaking weird. 

Just try this mental image on for size. This is what that girl must have seen. Imagine an overweight guy with a white-man fro in a disheveled tuxedo. He is playing the violin madly and he has a crazy-looking lazy eye that wanders wherever it wants. And then, to top it all off he plays with his mouth open.

Seriously. I do. It's weird. I can't explain it.

And yes, that's what she saw. 

I wish with all my heart I had a picture.

Instead, I have footage of me playing a few weeks ago. The angle doesn't show my open mouth as blatantly, so you don't see my "freak show" face in all it's glory, but there are a few moments where you get the picture. Also, I weigh a lot less now. And you can't see my crazy eye. But it's still kinda fun. Plus, this is the fourth movement from the symphony I talked about in this post, so now you have a visual. Killing multiple birds with one stone. It's what I'm all about.

Enjoy:


(Decent open-mouth points: 2:14, 3:44 (kinda), 4:38--these are all okay. The best open mouth sequence starts at 5:09ish, plus there's a glasses adjustment that makes me miss a note. LOVE IT.)

I should probably look up how to link those. 

TOO LAZY.

Item #2 on the agenda: 

See how on top of things I am? Logo at the beginning of the sequence. BAM.

Okay, so it's Saturday, which is admittedly a weird time to do a Friday's Frequently Asked Question poll, but I'm a rebel who plays the violin with his mouth wide open, so what did you expect?

You know the drill. Ask questions (about anything). Do dittoes on questions you like. Question with the most dittoes wins. Voting's open for 24 hours (which means halfway through Sunday. Weird.) I've loved the last few winning questions. Thanks for your creativity and ingenuity. Don't be afraid. Ask! That's the run down on how this whole thing works.

Any questions? 

(See what I did there?)

Bye.

UPDATE:

I feel the need to provide a picture of me earlier in life so you can see the mental picture necessary for the "freak show" comment.

I found a winner:

Well, hello there.

That's me on the left. Dressed in a plaid shirt (which I wore every single day no matter what even at the beach, apparently). Check the white-man fro. Check the face. Now, imagine that face playing a violin, mouth agape, weird eye blowing in the breeze in a frumpy tuxedo.

That should give a better picture.



Friday, March 14, 2014

Dear Anna (Letter #1)

I have no idea when you'll read this.

There are some things you need to know about me.

Right now I want to tell you about our latest attempt to talk to you about my sexual orientation. I want to record this so that you never feel like we were keeping secrets from you or hiding anything from you. I know you, sweet girl, and your personality is so curious, so filled with inquisitive energy, and your trust in us so implicit, that if we wait too long to tell you about the fact that I'm gay--or if you feel like we didn't try--you will feel very betrayed. You will feel like we hid an important truth about you from you, and you would be right. Because for as much as my sexual orientation is about me and my life, my sexual orientation, and the decisions I have made around it, is also about you. Your life literally hinged on the choices and decisions I made around my sexual orientation. Ergo, it is not my truth alone; it is also your truth and your reality. It is as much your story as it is my story, as much your legacy as my own.

That's how families work.

We've always known the importance of this. That's one of the many reasons I decided to come out in the first place. So that, when the time was right, we could talk about my sexual orientation openly, in a context that didn't feel shaming or shrouded in secrecy.

Right now, though, we find ourselves in a space where you aren't developmentally ready to know this very important detail about me and our family.

We've been laying the groundwork.

Friday, March 7, 2014

FFAQ attack!

It's already that time again.

Time for more questiones (pronounced "queschiones"). But before we get to that I wanted to share these pictures from a birthday party Tessa went to. Our friend Katie hosted a Ninja party for her daughter, Macie, and Tessa was invited.

We didn't really have a Ninja costume. So we improvised. We dressed her in black, and then we put a headband on her head. A pirate headband.

Given this post, I bet you can guess what happened when it was time to take pictures:


She is now officially a pirate.
(Our friend Jennifer who took the photo said she realized too late that she wasn't supposed to tell Tessa to smile for the camera… and I'm glad, because this is awesome.)

Pirates love cake. Arggggh!

All right, and now it's time to get FFAQing. 

You know the drill now, yes? 

Rundown: ask questions in the comments (about anything) for today's Friday's Frequently Asked Question. Ditto questions you like. The question with the most dittoes is the one I answer next Friday. And so and so forth, into perpetuity. You have 24 hours to vote, after which comment moderation will be activated and any questions or dittoes will not be published. Questions asked earlier fair better because they have more time, but we've had winners asked pretty late in the game. Don't be afraid to throw a question out there--few dittoes doesn't mean it wasn't a good question. I've had questions not get attention one week, only to win another week. Be brave and curious.

Ready, set, GO!

Oh wait, I always forget to make this official. 

There. Much better.

All right. NOW.

Friday, February 28, 2014

My response to Well Behaved Mormon Woman

Dear Cora,

I'm not sure if your name is actually Cora. I'm just imagining it's Cora, and I want to call you by your imagined first name because I know that you're not just some pixelated words on a computer screen. You are a real person with real feelings. I'm a blogger myself, and I know how hard it is to have people talk about something you have put out into the world with good intentions and in good faith in a negative or controversy-filled way. I want you to know that I am writing you this open letter from a place of respect and understanding.

The reason I don't know your first name is because I haven't read your blog post yet. Honestly, I've been avoiding it. I saw a lot of the ruckus online, and read a couple of indirect responses to your post by friends of mine (like this one and this one). I also saw the response your daughter wrote because it was posted in some online forum that I'm magically a part of on Facebook even though I never signed up for it (thankyouverymuch Facebook). I know the post's general premise, but I haven't read the actual post. I've been scared to. I'm scared it will hurt me and make me feel sad and frustrated. I'm scared of the feelings it will evoke in me, and I'm scared of the helplessness I might experience knowing that whatever it is you said is probably emblematic of how many people think about me and people like me.

As it turns out,

Friday, February 21, 2014

FFAQ poll + I think I'm back?

Hi!!!

So, today is FFAQ (which stands for "Friday's Frequently Asked Question."



The fact that I'm doing FFAQ today says a couple of things.

First, I am happy to report that I am truly feeling more comfortable in my skin. As you could probably imagine, based on the threat to my family I shared in this post, I was seriously contemplating whether or not blogging in a public forum is worth it--if it can come to a threat to my family, is this a risk I'm willing to take? Before posting that horrific exchange, I didn't know what to think. I was confused, in some denial, and frustrated. Once I hit "publish" though and got that man's words out there for all the world to see, I immediately felt more powerful and in control. And then the comments started flooding in and when so many of you came (as has happened in the past) to support me and my family, I was buoyed up. It helped me see that even though there are very real risks and consequences to putting one's voice out there, there is also great value in doing so. There is so much that is beautiful in this community and so much support here, for myself and for others. I find myself saying thank you a lot on this blog, and I really mean it. It was very, very helpful to see so much support and so much appalled horror at what happened to me and my family because of this blog. Thanks for helping me remember why I'm doing this.

Second, alongside all of that, the last month saw an interesting thing happen with my coming out post. It somehow went viral again (on a smaller scale) and was read by thousands upon thousands of new people. I have no idea how this happened--like seriously, it felt totally and completely random and I couldn't identify a source other than Facebook (thank you Facebook!)--but this means that there are a lot of new people here that might have questions.

And that's what FFAQ is for, friends old and new!

So here's how this thing goes down.

If you have a question--about anything at all, could be gay-related or just about my life or perhaps about quantum physics--leave it in the comments. If you see a question that you like, reply to that question with a comment that says "ditto." The question with the most dittoes at the end of the day is the one I answer the next Friday, and so on and so forth, into perpetuity. Please only one ditto per question (you can ditto more than once). Please don't cheat. It's not a sophisticated or complex process, but it has worked well.

Tips: questions asked earlier in the day have a better chance at winning (for obvious reasons). Also, questions that win tend to be focused, pretty concise, and genuine.

Are you ready for this?

All righty then.

GO!




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tessa's smile

I'd like to show you a recent picture of Tessa, our three-year-old.

I know, let's make this into a guessing game!

What is wrong with Tessa's face?

Monday, February 3, 2014

The trauma of cyberbullying

Guys, I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I've been struggling as a blogger. I've been erratic in my responses to comments--hyper sensitive and strange. Very defensive. I've also felt afraid to post. I avoid coming here. It fills me with anxiety.  I feel fear posting even the most innocuous of posts.

I realized yesterday what is actually going on, like a photograph coming into sharp focus.

I'm having a trauma response to something horrible that happened a couple of months ago. I'll tell you more about it below.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Winners! + Go Hawks!

All right, I just got an email from Sally DeFord, and I'm ready to announce the competition winners. I was really sad when the online poll didn't work out last week, but the truth is, I think it made the selection of winners cleaner and more fair. I had a panel of judges with many music degrees and tens of thousands of hours of musical experience between them. They judged the contestants based on five criteria (pitch, tone quality, expression/style, uniqueness of voice, and overall performance/effort). I did not participate in the judging. Sally's deliberations ended up dovetailing exactly with the final judging outcome after all the marks were added up, which I think means we have some very solid results.

So, without further ado, here are the winners:

First Place: Joshua Watson

Second Place: Cecily Jorgensen

Third Place: Franchesca Retford

Congratulations to all three who placed! I will contact you directly to get your address so I can send your prize.

And thank you to all who submitted and made this song their own. I will be featuring each contestant (winners and non-winners alike) in an interview along with their version of the song once a month during the year 2014.

________________________________________________________________________________

In other news, I'm not sure if you heard, but there's this thing happening tomorrow. Like, a sports game. Two teams are playing football. It's kind of a big deal, especially since I live in Seattle where the entire city is covered in blue and green.

So, I'm not really into sports. BUT, I have kind of felt swept up in the momentum of this one. I was really, really proud last night when we were out with some friends and I knew more about what is happening tomorrow than Lolly. This was a triumph for me.

Lolly: So, wait, who is #12? Why do I keep seeing his jersey everywhere?

Josh: Sweetie, the #12 is not for a player, it refers to us as fans. Like, something about if a player got injured, we would join in? *voice trails off in insecurity*

Friend: That's right Josh! Good work! You knew a thing about sports!

Lolly: Oh, that's funny! I thought it was one of the players. I thought it might be that Crabtree guy.

Josh: ...Oh, I know all about this because I am obsessed with reading news on the internet! Lolly, Crabtree is not a Seahawk. He's... on that other team that they played recently. And that Sherman guy had all the drama with him when he disrespected him in an interview or something, and then he spent the week going on shows using big words to show he went to Stanford and knows how to speak proper English. See how I know things? I know about sports! It's like I'm a real sports fan or something!

Lolly: I've never been more turned on by you.

Josh and Lolly start making out.

Friend: You guys are gross.

In conclusion:

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

Photo credit here




Friday, January 24, 2014

Hey hot mama! Let me empty your bucket!

At the beginning of the school year, Anna, our 2nd grader, started coming home with all of these little notes in her folder.





As a mom who is constantly cleaning out papers from her backpack, I didn't think much of them.  Then one day Anna mentioned the notes in her bucket.

"Your bucket?" I asked.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

COMPETITION (Only Love Vocal Competition) --UPDATED--

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

The voting on this public opinion poll was compromised severely, blatantly and verifiably. I have discontinued this portion of the competition. The contestants have been notified that the winners of the "Only Love" Vocal Competition will be chosen based on the judges' markings (already rendered) as well as any input Sally might have. Those results will, as stated below, be available by the end of this month. The public opinion portion of the competition will not be used in the final tally, and--for anybody playing along at home--was not in any way an accurate reflection of ability or like-ability of the contestants.

Needless to say, I'm pretty disappointed. And, frankly, offended. For me, and for the participants in this contest. I apologize to anyone else who is disappointed, or who feels that someone they love and support was poorly represented in this part of the contest.

I was probably naive to assume that a public opinion poll about a song of this nature could be approached with integrity and honesty.

Lesson learned.

(PS--thanks to so many people that came, listened, and voted in a genuine way. It is much appreciated.)

________________________________________________________________________________

So, remember last year when Sally DeFord visited my blog and encountered this video of me singing Trololo, which somehow led to her deciding to write a song with me, and then it turned into a competition where people submitted their own versions of the song, and it was really, really awesome?

Well, I have the finalists, and it's time to vote on the version of the song you like best. (Voting will take place on the sidebar to your right, below the ad and above the "followers" box.)

These finalists were chosen by a panel of judges who have extensive musical training. I'm proud of all of these finalists and their work and talent.

Online voting can be an interesting thing. While I don't want this to become a "who has more friends on Facebook" contest, there's really not much one can do to prevent people from trying to drive random people they know to get to a page, not listen to the entries, and just vote for the person that sent them.

I hope that if you are here as prompted by someone's (understandable) self-publicity, you will take the time to listen to at least 20 seconds of each entry and truly vote for the one that sounds best to you. These guys really poured their hearts into this, and each person deserves a running chance.

The online voting will only be one component of the final tally, and the winner, first and second runner up will be determined based on various factors. Online voting will close at midnight on Sunday, January 19th. Winners will be announced by January 31st.

Here are the finalists, in alphabetical order by first name. Again, please listen to at least 20 seconds of each entry (which will take two minutes) before making a choice. Also remember that the name of the person singing is above the embedded video, not below.

All right. Go for it. (Remember voting takes place to your right on the side-bar, below the ad and above the "followers" box):

Amiee Erickson



Andrea Reynolds



Cecily Jorgensen



Franchesca Retford



Joshua Watson



Robyn Paskett