The Bass Project

July 11th, 2010

Update on The Sax Project. I’m playing sax still but the project itself is on hold. I started playing with the worship team at church, but switched to bass guitar about a year ago, and now I’m pretty much entrenched as their bass player. Bass presents none of the issues that sax does, so it’s been easy to contribute to the worship environment in an effective way.

In the time I played sax with the worship team, it was much as I thought it would be and expressed here in the blog. Perhaps the only thing different was how often I subbed for other instruments we didn’t have – usually strings. We didn’t have a lead electric guitar during that time, so I played a few guitar intros and bridge leads. The band now has an electric guitar and a second keyboard to play synth strings.

As for sax itself, I’ve moved off the alto in favor of soprano and tenor. Due to some health issues, I knocked off sax altogether for a few months last year, though I could still play bass. Played soprano in the Christmas concert in 2009 after a hurried attempt to revive the embouchure. Not sure about 2010′s concert. So in the short term, I don’t know what I’ll be doing with sax on the worship front. My current effort is aimed at developing a set list for a new cover band (secular).

Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, by Joel Richardson

June 10th, 2009

One thing that makes interpretation of apocalyptic Bible prophecy difficult is the many disparate passages in scripture, so that the task of tying them together into a coherent and comprehensible, end-time narrative is daunting. Authors and teachers who attempt to do this very thing ironically often exacerbate this problem by injecting their own notions, arising from speculation on how the prophecies might play out, or through attempting to impose current political alignments onto prophetic passages. The result is that the body of thought in the Christian world on end-time prophecy is muddled, and Christians inadvertently present an uncertain message to non-Christians.

Occasionally, a work arises that brings clarity rather than confusion to our understanding. Such is the case with the opening chapters of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, where author Joel Richardson compares three principle characters of Islamic eschatology – the Mahdi, the returned prophet Isa (Jesus), and the Islamic antichrist Dijjal – with the three principals of Biblical eschatology – the Antichrist, False Prophet, and Messiah Jesus. Though characterized from opposing perspectives, the parallels between these persons is uncanny and immediately recognizable to anyone who has devoted time to reading and understanding Bible prophecy. Read the rest of this entry »

America Alone, by Mark Steyn

January 19th, 2009

In America Alone, Mark Steyn (of National Review, talk radio, and occasionally Fox News) cites various worldwide demographic trends to extrapolate a view of the future geopolitical landscape, particularly with respect to the growth of Islam. Some claims in the book I found notable are -

  • World population will stabilize in 30 years.
  • US population will remain stable as immigration compensates for low birth rate.
  • Russia will cease to exist in a generation, if its population trend continues.
  • Europe is turning Islam.

Read the rest of this entry »

Days Ahead

January 19th, 2009

Back at last. One thing I’ve done since the last post is read (or listen to) several books, including three that built upon each other topically (by accident – I didn’t chose them for that reason), and which I will review here in upcoming days.

  • America Alone, by Mark Steyn
  • Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, by Joel Richardson
  • Epicenter, by Joel C. Rosenberg

Given that this blog is entitled On Second Look, I can evade (quite conveniently) comprehensive summaries of the text, assuming the reader has already seen reviews such as those at amazon.com, and instead focus on offering my appraisal.

Still At It

October 10th, 2008

Been awhile. But there’s been progress on the music front.

Since August I’ve been practicing with the church worship team. They like my sound OK, so it remains for me to get the material down. Most of them are participating in the Pastor’s December 7 concert, but I’m not, so I have to time work on the main stuff until then.

I’ve made an upgrade to the student model alto (Yamaha YAS-23) by replacing the neck with Yamaha’s G1 neck, which is what they put on higher end saxes. Basically, I upgraded the tone of the YAS-23 for $300, without having to cough up the cash for the next-level model. I played a YAS-475 (intermediate model) in the music store, but didn’t notice any tone improvement, though the key action was clearly better.

I am considering getting another Vandoren V16 mouthpiece for the alto, this time an A6S to complement the A7M I currently have. The A7M gave me the tone I wanted, but practicing with electronically amplified instruments, I find the need to cut a bit more, not in volume, but with more character from overtones that I would get from a smaller chamber. I will also try out other makes as I get the opportunity.

There’s more to tell, but why do it all in one post?

Why I Believe In God

June 18th, 2008

I could give reasons why I should believe in God, with the obvious implication that you should, too. For example, I could say that I contemplated the physics of the universe and concluded that it must be made by design, and so it must have an ingenious, powerful and benevolent creator. But in my case, that is not so. I considered God’s works only after I believed.

I could say my life was messed up and I needed divine help to straighten it out. While I did need to clean up my act, that was not the reason either.

I could say that I have witnessed miracles that undermined all contrary argument and persuaded me beyond doubt that God is. But not until I believed did I ever see a miracle.

You see, I don’t accept God as a proposition, or concept, or personification of a creed or hope. God himself drew me, so I sought him out in turn. I love who he is, and desire his friendship. Therefore, I choose to follow him.

As Jesus said to his disciples, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” and “No man can come to me, unless my Father draws him;”.

So it remains for each of us to, as the psalmist put it, “hear his voice and not harden your heart”.

Prince Caspian

May 19th, 2008

This past weekend I saw the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I’ll say up front that it’s worth seeing, though there were a few things I wish had been done better. Be warned that there are spoilers in this review, and it assumes you are familiar with the first movie (or book) in the series – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Read the rest of this entry »

I guess it doesn’t stay in Vegas…

May 6th, 2008

Well Norm’s gonna send the guys from Vegas after me if I don’t start blogging again.

My favorite gaming board – Consimworld – has recently launched a social network. I’ve registered there, so I’ll post wargaming stuff on that site, although sporadically. Consimworld Expo is coming up soon (week after Memorial Day), so hopefully I’ve have material to post about.

On the music front, I’m undergoing an intense 3-month preparation for a do-or-die audition for the church worship team come August. If successful, I intend to spin amateur musicianship off into its own blog, making this a God-blog only. For God-blogging I have a couple of topics in mind.

WFB, RIP

March 3rd, 2008

Last week, William F. Buckley Jr. passed away at age 82. I decided to wait to post my tribute until after taking in the media’s presentations of theirs. The fascinating Feb 27 transcript from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show I think was the best.

I had lunch with a friend last Thursday who said that he couldn’t recall an instance of Buckley influencing him on any issue. Come to think of it, neither can I, other than the first time I ever paid attention to WFB when he debated Ronald Reagan on the Panama Canal and won me over to his position. It remains my only recollection of the former president losing a debate. By the time I started reading National Review in the late 1980s, I was firmly in the conservative camp, and inclined to hold similar views to Buckley’s.

Perhaps Buckley wasn’t widely read, at least by most Americans. But what he did was influence the influencers, including the one who had the most influence on my political thinking – Ronald Reagan.  His writing and television appearances revealed an interesting fellow that I would like to have known, though in a way, I did, through his work at which he was so prolific. And that’s another fascinating aspect of Buckley – for a man who didn’t have to work, he was so highly prolific, reminiscent of Isaac Newton, though even Newton tailed off in the second half of life. Buckley’s book Windfall : The End of the Affair, recounting his last trans-Atlantic sailing excursion, remains one of my favorite reads.

It is sad to see him go, even more so in that, like so many great ones who have passed in the last few years, there has not as yet emerged anyone in the next generation who can replace his value to America and to freedom.

Rest in peace, WFB. In days ahead, we shall meet after all.

And That’s a Fact

January 6th, 2008

Over “the Holidays” ;) we played the game Fact or Crap with some friends from church.

Read the rest of this entry »