Friday, March 07, 2014


There are many words that I can use to describe a relationship I've had for over 80% of my life. The picture above does a very good job though, without uttering a syllable.

Two boys sit in kayaks under a bluebird sky in the chill August waters of Lake Huron. One is yellow, bright as a banana and similar in shape. The other is bathed in blue, green and yellow, fading twice in a continuum of color.

We constructed sails from a dutch golf set and broom with garbage bags. Matching the creativity in games imagined and played over the years is the competitiveness with which we play them. It's funny how important it becomes to win a game that was conceived of mere seconds ago, but it's been foundational to our friendship over the years. I used to get truly mad at him in middle school.

Never content to just make something, we use our new "sailboats" for sport. Paddling out past the breakers, we align our vessels for shore and pick a large rock as the finish line. The no-paddle rule is in effect as we let the wind carry us and cleverly "steer" with our paddles to arrive on shore first. We're more pushed by the waves than any effect the wind may have had, but it's a clear and definitive victory for one of us. Our sailing prowess is unmatched by the other and to the victor belong the spoils. And the next day comes with seven more invented games with seven more victors. [Note to the reader: the last two sentences are best read dripping in sarcasm.]

As we've grown older our competitive streaks have subsided...somewhat. They'll never be gone completely though, as board games continue to show. I can't stay mad long though. Since we're still friends I presume the same goes for Brü.

Every time we get back together, after being separated by hundreds of miles and hours of interstate, we can pick up right where we left off from. Just writing this makes me yearn to mosey back to Hudsonville and sit in a basement to play games with Brian, Scott and Jeff. Ah well, you can't always get what you want.
“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Those who ride pandas

For those who ride pandas to battle,
harness something fierce 'neath the saddle.
The black and the white,
they cause such a fright.
Because sometimes you need to kick a pack of wolves to death.

Only seeming to live on bamboo,
whose G.I. tracts are talented: poo.
They might be a blight,
people flee on sight.
Because pandas will knife you to death if you're not careful.

A general once said to his captains,
"A panda did make me these napkins."
His stitches were tight;
they came out just right.
But it turns out that now he just sells refrigerators.

But this poem doesn't make any sense,
pandas aren't even very intense.
Don't bring them to fight,
just buy them a kite.
But they can totally only barely throw a frisbee.

Inspiration credit to Luc LaFreniere

Saturday, March 01, 2014

0.6 Yparticles

A mole once emerged from her hole.

She rolled out to go on the dole.

Though fat as a slug, she outweighed the bug,

and never got any money from the government.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

German reggae: Seeed

I've listened to a few of the songs off Seeed's most recent album, but finally came across this gem a few days ago, a full year after its release. Augenbling. The song jumped into my bones the first time I heard it and I had to immediately buy a physical copy of the music! Gotta support those that make the good stuff :)
I'll be bumping to work with Seeed for the foreseeable future.

It took but a day or so to notice that there is also an English version called "Blink blink". I was pretty impressed to hear how fluid the lyrics are in both versions. The French singer/rapper from Niger, Féfé, is featured on the English version.

Long story short: Seeed is bringing reggae/dancehall to the next level. To be fair, I don't know enough about reggae/dancehall to know what the current level is...but I'm fairly sure this is a paradigm shift.

The English version for those interested:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sloats and Frains: Genesis

I wake up in my one room apartment with the sun drenching my face, prying my eyelids open. Yesterday was a whirlwind of miles in cars and planes, across timezones and an ocean.

My supervisor, Dr. Heckmann, came by in the evening to make sure that I had arrived and was settled. We went for a bit of a walk, and found a payphone for me to call my family and reassure myself with their voices. I went to sleep feeling more comfortable with the that it was a little more known. And Nutella. They bought me some food for the weekend, giving me my first experience with the rich, creamy, chocolatey, smooth Haselnuss perfection that is Nutella. In fact, supper on jam and Nutella sandwiches was not uncommon...

The morning was warm, bright and sunshiny. I leave the apartment a few minutes after 9, to do some of the exploring I had been too tired for the night before. I walk along a stream, over a bridge, along a meadow bursting with yellow wildflowers and past some barns. The path goes over the road into town and is paved with cobblestones, trimmed with cement. The Selz burbles along joyfully before breaking from the path that opens into green, scrubby fields mottled with fluffy, sheepy shapes. The picturesque path will later accompany me on many a run during warm summer nights to Groß-Winternheim and back.

As I walk back into town, St. Remigius' bell tower rings loud and bold, imploring, beseeching and celebrating with parishioners arriving for Pfingsten Mass. The bright, cheery mood fills me too, as I begin to decompress from the terror of exams and the immediacy and rush of a good friend's wedding just days before. There is no rush here. We are on holiday, and I am becoming part of this quiet town, if only for the summer. I glory in my status as local-wannabe.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Song writing/recording

I've been putting together a recording for a little ditty about camping in Mackinaw during years past, that I composed during last summer and fall. I put it together on the ukulele and have the chords figured out as well as most of the lyrics. Some of them need a little polishing and fixing of course. I have the piano chords and inversions figured out and in the computer, so it's just a matter of making sure that I like the tempo, and how the chord progressions sound. I'm getting pretty excited about this "UntitledMackinac" project.

In the last couple days I've also decided to work on a little hiphop/rap project too. Last fall my friend Jenny received a ridiculous voicemail from her dad, caused by a butt dial. The text was pretty funny to read, so I want to set it to a sick (hopefully) beat that I've been working on, and record it as a short rap. I love working on both projects, and I'm ready to be underwhelmed by what I produce...but hey, I've got to start somewhere. It's just hard to find the time to work on them. School is a black hole :)

I received a Behringer UMX-610" midi controller for my birthday, which has been helping, and I've been putting the tracks together using LMMS, the Linux MultiMedia Studio. I may move to a different product in the future, but for now, I'm pretty happy with this setup.