Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shame in Victory

“This is the one”, I thought to myself. We’d been at it two hours. It was raining hard now and the sun was dipping further and further behind the mountains to the west. My shoes were soaked. My knees were scraped and bleeding. I analyzed my surroundings and stared hard into the eyes of my opponent. My Goliath. He towered over me, even as he crouched at the ready. “He’ll be expecting a juke”, I mused, “and this time I’ll take it right at him.” I smirked as I ran through the process in my head. This was the one. It had to be the one. I don’t think I could take much more abuse and failure. My body and spirit couldn’t handle it. My muscles tensed as I prepared my assault. I was David. My stone, a soccer ball. And Goliath was going down.

I sprang. My heart pounded as I dribbled the ball ever nearer to my nemesis. He deftly bounced from side to side as I approached, chest heaving, lips curled into a snarl. I faked a juke to the left. He took the bait. I instantly popped the ball back to the right with the outside of my foot and barreled straight into Goliath’s former position. “Hahaha!” I shouted, “I got y-UGH! My entire body was suddenly thrown from its feet and flung into the chain link fence to my right, sending shocks of pain through my right shoulder. Goliath was big, but he was nimble. He had caught my left hip just as I was passing and drove me into the fence. The ball lay motionless on the grass.

Goliath casually picked the ball up and rolled it back to its starting spot. “You were saying?” he said flatly. Emotionless and cool. I began to sob. The rainwater on my cheeks gave way to saline tears. I wanted to go home. I wanted this to end. I wanted nothing more than to get past my enemy so I could finally go in the house and get dry. Goliath must have sensed my despair and somehow found compassion in its monstrous black heart. “That’s probably good for tonight. Your mother has times table flash cards for you still. This is 3rd grade now…math can be a bugger.” “Ok dad”, I whimpered. He put his arm around me as we walked toward the house. “I thought you had me on that last one buddy. Good move.” He tousled my hair. I smiled through my tear-filled eyes. I was happy.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have never ever, in the history of my life, beaten my father at any reasonable sport. I have no memory of my dad taking it easy on me. None. Even at basketball, my strongest sport, my old man found ways to win. He has had multiple knee surgeries and enough ankle sprains to turn his tendons into snot inside his shoe, but the man is a competitor. He is a beast. Since I was old enough to touch a ball or hold a racket, my father has not once allowed me to win. And I’ve tried every avenue imaginable to beat him.

Our last tennis match was in 1996. I was 19 and about to leave for Europe for 2 years. Somehow, deep inside, I knew this would be the last time we would face each other. Dad was 51 years old and was running out of cartilage. I’d planned the match for weeks. I knew his weaknesses were his knees and I planned to exploit my advantage to its fullest. I ran him like a dog. Up to the net, back to the base line, side to side. Cut shots, lobs, dink serves, overheads. Somehow the bulldog managed to chase most of them down. His plan was simple…just hit the ball back to me and eventually I’d break down mentally and beat myself. His plan worked of course. He took me 4-6 7-5 6-4 in the most grueling, filthy tennis match ever played. When we were done his knees were swollen to the size of cantaloupes and I had a blister on my thumb larger than a quarter. We barely made it out of the building, but we hobbled out smiling.

Oddly enough I’m grateful for it. I am grateful that I was taught to compete. I was taught to apply myself 100% in every contest, whether it be a championship basketball game or a contest to see how many ping-pong balls I could consecutively throw into a glass jar. I am by no means as competitive as my father. I’m not sure anyone is. But I am grateful for the example I was shown. But even my father, as rabid a competitor as he is, would think that the story linked here is atrocious and foul.

A high school girl’s basketball team beat their opponent 100-0 last week. If you are thinking this happens all the time, you are wrong. NFL teams running up the score can’t be compared. The U of U doing onside kicks in the 4th quarter of play while already destroying its opponent isn’t remotely the same. These were not two teams on a level playing field. These were not two teams that belonged in the same sporting universe. The victim here has a grand total of 20 girls in its school…not necessarily a large pool to select talent from. This school is specifically for kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD. The offending school deployed a full-court press for all but the final 4 minutes of play, essentially rocking a 45-minute layup drill. The victim school got a grand total of seven shots off. TOTAL.

The coach responsible for the blowout was almost immediately fired and the small Christian high school issued a formal apology and forfeit of the game. I think that is fair and appropriate. The coach, however, defends his decision and says the game was played with honor. I couldn’t disagree more. There is nothing honorable in blowing out a team of disabled girls by a score of 100-0. It is shameful and should be an embarrassment that follows him the rest of his life.

I hope the young ladies involved have learned a valuable lesson. There is a time for competition and there is a time for compassion, and they CAN coexist in the same contest. It is why 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stringers are brought into games. There is an aspect of sportsmanship that has nothing to do with aggressiveness and tenacity. It involves respect and fairness. I will always be grateful to my philistine father. He taught me to be a badass AND a gentleman on the court. Sometimes the gentleman surfaces slowly, or not at all, but I know he’s lurking and he’s always there to make me feel stupid when I act like an idiot.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Would You Have Invested?

No, it’s not The Allman Brothers Band. No, it’s not a collective mug shot of convicted pedophiles and sex offenders. No, it’s not the Kentucky State House of Representatives. This is a group photo of Microsoft Corporation taken December 1978. There were 11 members. You’ll likely recognize the squirrely kid on the bottom left. This was taken just prior to its first ever $1 million sales year. Not long before this photo was taken, the corporation was faced with a difficult dilemma…find a way to scrape together $7,000 to cover pay some outstanding notes or go belly up and close its doors. They borrowed the money. Within months after taking this photo, all 11 members moved to Washington State to launch their new office campus where they would eventually change the world, one PC at a time.

So now the question: If this misfit brigade had marched into your company’s conference room looking like Jim Henson and Charlie Manson and had given a 15-minute pitch via overhead projector about personal computers shaping the future, looking for venture capitalists, would you have invested? I think not. You’d have covered your groin with one hand and called security with the other. But can you imagine what your life would be like now if you HAD invested?

The Facts: Microsoft went public in 1986. Initial Public Offering (IPO) shares went for $21.00 per share. Since its IPO, Microsoft stock has split 9 times. If you had bought ONE share on March 13, 1986, you would now have 288 split-adjusted shares. ONE share bought in 1986 would be worth $4,976.64 today. ONE share bought in 1986 and sold in 2000 when Microsoft stock was at its peak would have been worth $17,280.00. Just imagine if you had invested $10,000 at IPO. Sold today you would have $2.4 million and sold in 2000 you would have $8.2 million. InFREAKINGsane.

How many times have we made decisions related to business, education, investments, purchases, trust, or confidence based on the messenger’s appearance? If Microsoft had entered the building in nicely pressed suits, beardless and well groomed, would they have attracted more investors? YES. The instant I have to board a plane for a food show or client meeting, you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll be clean-shaven and fauxhawkless. But is that fair? Does my hair, scruffy beard, hoodie, and flip-flops make me a less effective salesman and communicator? Two quick stories…

One early-marriage anniversary I booked a room at Little America for Sherri and myself. I’d heard it was a very nice hotel, but I quite frankly didn’t think much of it from the outside. This is not the GRAND America mind you, but the old Little America. Part of the anniversary included a dinner at the Little America restaurant. This was clearly fine dining, even if the building didn’t suggest it. The house salad was an entire, uncut wedge of lettuce with a variety of odd trimmings and foofery. I’d never had to cut a salad with a knife before. While we ate I noticed an old man going from table to table speaking with the patrons, apparently panhandling. He was wearing a bizarre combination of clothing. Blue polyester pants…the kind that has no belt loops, just the button strap across the front. Terribly battered old-man pleather shoes that neither laced nor latched. And a lime green sweater that was so thin at the elbows and shoulders you could see his yellowing white shirt underneath. Eventually he got to our table…

Transient: What a lovely couple. How are you young folks doing tonight?
Me: Fine, thanks.
Transient: Enjoying your meal?
Me: Yeah it’s pretty good
My Head: This old freaker smells like rotting flesh and mothballs.
Transient: That’s wonderful. Well, my name is Earl Holding and I own this hotel. Please enjoy your stay and your dinner and feel free to notify me should you need anything at all.
Me: Um, ok.
My Head: Impossible.

For the love of all things pure and holy in the world, that was Earl HOLDING. The man that owns ski resorts, hotels, and SINCLAIR OIL. He’s the 59th richest man in the world according to Forbes, clocking in at just over $4.2 billion in net worth. And I thought he was a homeless man begging for spare change or a bite of my lettuce wedge? Earl Holding looked like a bum but lives like a king.

I did college the hard way. Instead of hammering it out when I was young I decided to play computer games ‘til 2:00 a.m. then sleep in my car instead of going to class. After many years of anguish and regret I finally got it done at age 29 courtesy of University of Phoenix. I unfortunately needed a humanities credit and settled for a Western Religions class. “Oh great”, I thought, “another godless philosophy nut to tell me my entire belief system is a farce.” My fears were confirmed the first night of class when I walked in and saw the instructor for the first time, sprawled on one chair with his feet kicked up on another. He was wearing very old corduroy pants and an olive green/burgundy plaid shirt. He had wavy parted hair down to his shoulders and a fairly rad Jesus beard. His style was actually fine by me, but the dude was wearing a Dallas Cowboys coat…so I knew he was pure evil.

The department head visited our class that night and welcomed us all. He issued a challenge. At the end of the five-week course we were to place our bets as to what religion the instructor actually was. Early on I thought it would be some Zen like eastern religion like Baha’i or Buddhist. Maybe Sai Baba. But as the class progressed I realized he was probably Christian and my mind finally settled on “non-denominational Christian.” It’s free, it’s easy, it’s positive, and it’s Christian. Two things were certain about this guy…all faiths were fair game. He respected and poked fun at all churches equally. And he was a fabulous teacher. Besides teaching he also worked as the chaplain to hospice and the draper prison, working specifically with death row and gang unit inmates. His stories were fascinating.

When the big final night arrived we were all anxious to get through our final exam and presentations so we could finally learn the identity of our unmasked but bearded stranger. People started randomly shouting out religions, “Methodist! Lutheran! Jewish! Atheist! Christian! Buddhist!” etc. He chuckled with each one and wrote them all on the board. After about 60 seconds of wrong guesses, someone in a back corner snickered and yelled out, “LDS!” “Ahhhhhhh”, the instructor replied, and wrote the letters L – D – S in big block letters on the board and circled it. He confirmed that he is indeed LDS and gave us a quick 60-second reason, essentially a testimony, of why he belongs to this church. Several mouths were agape. Here is a man that has dedicated his entire life to the study of Theology and Ethics in Theology. He studied in the Middle East, Cambridge, and exclusive US universities. And after twelve years of academic scrutiny this man had come to the same conclusion about faith that I had…minus all the study and dissection. This bearded hippie Cowboy fan was a dedicated and loving member of one of the most conservative, strict organized religions in the world. His name is Matt Fellows and he bore a strong, educated, enlightened witness to the truth of things that fellow academics routinely tear apart and curse as false.

I learned two interesting things from those experiences:

1) Books can’t be judged by their covers. As cliché as that may sound, it is completely true. A faded sweater doth not a pauper make, nor a Cowboys Coat a villain.
2) Books are judged by their covers. Everyone does it. It’s not fair. It’s ignorant and narrow-minded. But it’s true.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and first impressions are sometimes all it takes in a professional environment to make or break you. Earl Holding can afford to look like the Fisher King. I can’t. As sad as it may be, I need to keep up pretenses. I need to look like a million bucks until I MAKE my million bucks so I can finally dress and groom how I want to.

And what of the Microsoft Misfits? Collectively they built a $279 billion empire and changed the world.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ryan Seacrest - 100 Million Percent Suspect

American Idol is a guilty pleasure. I’m a self-admitted music snob, but there’s something about Idol that draws me in. I’ve loved watching young passionate people from all different walks of life put their lives on hold and risk public scrutiny and nationally televised rejection for a shot at the top. I love me some Idol.

I’ve been extremely entertained so far with the new season. The added judge, Kara, is a welcome change. Paula isn’t lit out of her gourd on muscle relaxers…yet. And the editing has been brilliant. By far the best use of humor, effects, and music out of all AI seasons to date. But what the hell is the deal with Seacrest?

Stuff Magazine calls Seacrest “the American poster boy for metrosexuality.” So how then do we explain the outfit featured Tuesday night? If that is the future of fashion then I’m resigning myself to full frumptitude here and now. Dude looked like every IT guy I’ve ever worked with, plaid green shirt tucked into very ill-fitting blue jeans.

There’s always been media speculation as to whether or not Ryan Seacrest is gay. For some that may be as silly a question as whether or not Richard Simmons putts from the rough. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. But I think Seacrest fears what an outing would do to his career. He has never publicly said that he is gay. But I don’t think he has to. Bikini Girl spared him that effort on Tuesday night when she stalked and kissed him.

Let’s be honest…bikini girl isn’t ugly. I’m a happily married man with an eye single to the glory of my smokin’ hot bride, but bikini girl isn’t exactly impossible to look at. Judging by Seacrest’s face, however, you’d think that a leprous boil-covered three-eyed alien life-sucker was stalking his way to wrap its tentacles around his grill and impregnate him with an evil seed that would result in the destruction of humankind. The dude actually back-peddled. The actual kiss was incredibly awkward. In fact, the only more awkward kiss caught on film was between Michael Scott and Oscar in accounting. Memo to Seacrest: I fully understand that you may be gay. I fully understand that you may be acting like a metrosexual man that still digs chicks, and that act may be hard. But you’ve got to sell it better than that my man! When a hot chick in a small bikini wants to kiss you on national television, sack up and pretend you enjoy it. Imagine it’s Rupert Everett or Daniel Craig or Brian Dunkelman’s lips you are sucking on.

There is one other thing that has always driven me nuts on American Idol. These judges have no understanding of math and the practical application of percentages. You just can’t have more than 100% of something. If you put a strawberry rhubarb pie (my favorite) in front of my face and tell me to eat it, the absolute best I can manage is to eat every single atom of the pie, or 100%. I can’t manage 120% of the pie. I can’t magically conjure more pie than what is in front of me, no matter how badly I want to. And trust me….I want to. So when big dawg Randy Jackson says, “duuuude dawg, you can blow! Absolutely on this guy, 100 million percent. Good lookin’ out dude, welcome to Hollywoooood!” he’s really just showing that he’s an idiot. If you absolutely loved dawg and dawg had zero room to impress you further, then you could only be 100% in favor of the guy moving to the next round of competition. Not 200%. Not 6000%. And certainly not "a hundred million %." To illustrate my point, here are two of my favorite first auditions of all time on Idol. I’m a sucker for hippie blues:

Bad Randy (@3:00)

Good Randy (@1:37)

Sorry to disappoint you coach, but you can stop flipping out and chewing on my bleeding ass. I can’t give you the 150% you’re screaming for. There is no such thing as >100%. End of discussion, period. Laws of potential and kinetic energy dictate that my potential energy and motion will eventually translate to a measurement that equals 100%. It is physically freaking impossible for me to give you more than that potential when converted to action. It’s time for a new phraseology here…one that doesn’t involve math. Let’s use quantities of fruit.

*AI contestant auditions and kills it*
Randy: Wow, I didn’t expect that.
Paula: Yeah, that was really *twitch* awesome.
Simon: I thought it was really ratha’ karaoke if I’m being ‘onest.
Paula: Simon, you’re such a *twitch* rude jerk.
Simon: Enough, let’s get on with it shall we, I’m going to ‘ave to say no.
Paula: Whatever, I think you’ve got talent and a really nice tone to your voice. And I like you. You have a very *twitch* special aura. I say yes. Randy?
Randy: I say absolutely, 100 million satchels of bananas baby, welcome to Hollywooood!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Two Thoughts at 4:20

Facebook has murdered the exclamation point. How many of those buggers do you think you need to slap onto the end of a sentence to make us understand that you REALLY mean what you are saying? Half the time it looks like a freaking bar code and I half expect to see a price at the end, i.e. “Josephine McSquiggly is having a super fun day!!!!iii!!!III!!!!!iiiI!, $19.95.” Sometimes there are several sentences on the wall post or status update that all end with an exclamation point. “Hey Tyler! Great to see you! You look so svelte!!! Are you working out?!!! Wicked beard! Facebook is so sweet!! Well, busy day! Gotta run!!! YAY!!!!” When I read that I picture that little squirrel from Over the Hedge that is so full of energy or caffeine that he can’t control himself. I see someone physically shaking and cutting himself, crying and laughing hysterically while he attempts to get his emotion onto the screen. Memo to Facebookers everywhere: There is no need to go postal with punctuation. Periods are fine. Commas are good. And a SINGLE exclamation point lets me know that your sentence means business.


I saw Gran Torino with a very good friend. It was likely one of the best 5 movies I’ve ever seen…lifetime, but that’s not really what I want to talk about. Nearly 1 minute before show time, a man and his wife quickly walk into the theater and sit down to watch the show. Incidentally this man is a public figure, an acquaintance of my friend, and holds a leadership position in their mutual LDS ward. Additionally this person is allegedly “preachy” and not terribly friendly. Big deal? No, not really. But the following day at the beginning of Sunday’s priesthood section, the guy stands up and says, “My wife and I went to a movie last night. We saw 'Marley and Me.' Pretty sad…the dog dies. But I’d recommend it.” Then sits down. Doubleyou-Tea-EFF.

To be fair I’ll list out the possibilities as I see them, followed with my own opinion:

1) Dude and wife go to Gran Torino. It’s not important whether they did or didn’t expect standard Clint Eastwood profanity and brilliance. At some point they walk out of the theater due to content and see Marley and Me instead.
2) Dude and wife go to Gran Torino. Even though we don’t notice it, they recognize my friend. They walk out of the picture at some point and see Marley and Me. Dude decides to make it known in church so my friend knows he didn’t sit through the entire picture and left on principle.
3) Dude and wife go to Gran Torino. They did or did not like it, but watched the whole thing. They never see my friend. Afterward, they decide to also see Marley and Me. Dude announces it in church because he genuinely enjoyed it and is recommending it.
4) Dude and wife go to Gran Torino, fully understanding what they were getting into. They never see my friend but possibly bump into other members of the flock. Or perhaps he makes a blanket statement in church because he doesn’t want anyone that may have seen him at Gateway to know he’d just seen a flawlessly awesome Eastwood movie replete with language and racial slurs.

My friend has his own opinion but also insists that I consider all possibilities. However, I heavily lean toward #4 due to the fact that Dude is “preachy”, unfriendly, and never ever talks about unchurchy things in church. The announcement was completely bizarre and totally out of his character. So why the lie? The encounter sparked a fascinating debate that I would like to touch on here and now.

Question: Why do people do the things they do in our local society/culture, and why do they feel they need to hide or lie about their behaviors or unpopular decisions? Does it come down to the individual’s choice, character, behavior, and history? Or is it a general societal pressure and guilt engrained by the culture itself?

Let’s take Dude as an example. He is married with a family. He is a public figure, easily recognizable by many people. He holds a leadership position in a religious organization that openly frowns on many activities and behaviors, including watching Gran Torino.

Assuming the worst for Dude, why does he feel that he needs to lie about going to the movie? Is it because as a public figure he feels that he needs to maintain a certain persona? Is it in his character to do one thing, and then hide it out of shame? Does the shame come from something particular within his self? Is dishonesty and sneakiness just part of his persona? Or was all of that learned and influenced by our strict, conservative, social system?

Let’s face it…there are many people in our Utah communities that are held to very specific and aggressive standards that, to the majority of the civilized world, are ridiculous and unreasonable. From very young ages we are taught to not do X X X X X and Y and Z and if any of those things are done then there is a very specific acknowledgment and penance process. The intent is to shape people to become obedient, worthy people full of principle and character. But once those people become adults, and start to make decisions as responsible grown-ups, shouldn’t the stigma surrounding choices and consequences change? Ultimately there is really only ONE person to answer to when all decisions are made and all is said and done. The judgments and opinions of others really don’t mean anything.

I don’t necessarily think those two options are mutually exclusive. But I can honestly say that I am so grateful to be comfortable in my skin and open with my decisions and actions. I am who I am. I do what I do and watch what I watch. I would have ZERO issue discussing Gran Torino with the bishop and I’d happily burn him my favorite Phish songs or pirated copy of Twilight. SHOULD I have watched the movie? Perhaps not. But it was an adult decision that I own and don’t hide from. I have no problem with folks telling me I shouldn’t have seen it…that’s their decision and their perspective and I highly respect it. I would hope for mutual acceptance and respect, but I don’t necessarily need it.

I can’t imagine living a life of lingering shame and constant secrecy.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Finally Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up. Clive J. Romney.

“All I wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing... and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn't want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent?“

Remember those aptitude tests you take in junior high and high school? You’re given an extensive set of multiple-choice questions that address how you handle certain situations:

“When working in a team setting, do you:”
A) Insist on leading
B) Prefer leading
C) Avoid leadership
D) Tell the team to “get bent” and hit Hardees.

We were always instructed to take these tests seriously and to answer honestly. And I did. I really applied myself to the test and made sure I didn’t mark answers for the kind of person I WANTED to be, but the kind of person that I WAS. Little wonder why, after completing the test, out of all of the possible careers to suggest, I was to consider a profession as a Circus Performer or Professional Athlete. Not a lot of money in the carnie game and I hear the field for pro athletes is pretty small.

Point of fact, there are two things that I really wanted to be when I grew up, regardless of what any aptitude test might say. A musician or a history teacher. Unfortunately I never saw either of them through, but I’m lucky enough to still dabble in music as a hobby and I still get to teach on Sundays. And I teach my kids. Like last week I got to teach Talmage that dwarves are real and they are grown in farms and plucked out of the earth by their beards like carrots. I’m fairly content in my professional life, but I still secretly envy those that had the courage to be teachers or the crazed will and determination to pursue music.

I had the absolute joy and privilege of meeting one Clive J. Romney last week at a “wrap” party for a Christmas production Sherri was involved in called “Echoes of Christmas.” I was sitting at a table going Doberman on a bowl of tasty ribs when Mr. Romney came over and said hello to Sherri and we were introduced. I already knew about Clive. I knew he had written all the original music for the production. I knew he was originally from Hunter and that he had a studio in his home. After a brief introduction and exchange of pleasantries I smile at him and said, “Mr. Romney, sir, you are living my dream.” Instead of politely nodding and saying something like “well, it’s been a great profession and I’m fortunate to do something I love”, he smiled right back at me, sat himself down next to my sauce-covered space and said “tell me about that!” I was totally off guard. He didn’t make the conversation about him; he wanted to make it about me, notwithstanding the half rib hanging from my mouth and barbeque sauce all over my paws.

So I dove in. I told him how music is the driving force in my life. How my mind goes blank when music is absent. If I’m in a car, there has to be music on or I get terribly uncomfortable. “That’s lovely dear, but could you please shut up…Jim Croce is on.” I told him how I studied piano as a lad and how I had many opportunities to use it and love it, and how I’d always wanted to play drums and guitar but never really had that option due to my mother…The Piano Nazi. I told him about my love of old jazz and improvisational barrier-breaking musical art.

His story was very similar to mine. He started playing stringed instruments and some keyboard as a young man and enjoyed it, but didn’t quite LIVE for it yet, until he and some others performed at a church function and heard a sound that forever changed him…applause. For me it was the attention from sweet hot chicks, but in both cases it was a manifestation of approval and appreciation for what we had created and shared.

I made the mistake of calling folk music “minimalist” and basic. He retorted by escorting my wife and me into a side room and demonstrating on his guitar how a simple folk melody can be transformed into a lovely and intricate piece of music.

We talked about music theory and basics of composition. We discussed boundaries and tendencies of scales and how our expectation allows for incredible improvisation, tempting the human ear with one expectation then taking the piece in an entirely different direction, “cheating” the ear. We talked about the depth, warmth, color, and emotion of music. I had rarely been given an opportunity to talk about something so important to me on such a deep level. I had found a kindred spirit.

Clive played in folk groups. He is proficient at guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and holds his own at the keyboard. He played the drums all through school. And he is now a highly regarded and phenomenally talented arranger and composer of music.

I learned some brilliant things from our conversation:

A) You don’t need to be a prophet or an idiot savant to compose music. There isn’t necessarily “dictation from God.” Sometimes it just takes work and time. And there is nothing wrong with taking the ideas of others and applying them to your own work.
B) I’m not too old to make myself a musician.
C) Just because I’ve chosen a different path in life does not mean that I can’t still apply serious musical work to my path. A musician doesn’t have to work on music for music’s sake. I can create music and apply it to the life that I have. I can write songs about cookies, kids, or dwarf farms.
D) My obsessive passion for music is ok. I’m not alone.

My conversation with Clive Romney was one of those defining moments in life. Call it epiphanic. Awesome…I just invented another word. Clive gave me some names of brilliant musicians that teach music composition privately. I think I’m going to give it a go.

No more Salieri for me. I am Mozart.