Sorrowful Loneliness

I stand here wondering when my lonely days will come to an end. I have been blessed with so many gifts: music, art, the ability to write stories; Yet I remain bereft of someone special in my life. I give thanks to God for my mother, my family and my friends, but then I have to ask “What sins have I committed that warrants spending every waking moment alone?” I have so much love, so much to give and it remains unclaimed. Oh God, please bless me with relief from this loneliness. So many times have I cried myself to sleep as I wonder if I shall ever know the loving touch of someone special. My heart sighs with sorrowful loneliness.

Knight of Death

Introducing my latest World of Warcraft movie: Knight of Death. My Night Elf Death Knight hit level 85 (the max for now) last week. She is now doing nothing but Player vs Player (PvP).

FM Transmitter Quest (Completed)

For years now I have been a big fan of Griffin Technologies. I have purchased a lot of their products over the years. But that all changed as of last year. I spent $100 on a really cool looking FM transmitter for iPhone/iPod. It was called RoadTrip. As soon as I tried it out, things went wrong. There was so much static you couldn’t hear the music – I would have to turn up the volume of my radio to maximum to hear the slightest sound. But of course, when you increase the volume, the static gets louder too. I was seriously disappointed. So I called Griffin and complained. They told me “Oh there shouldn’t be that much static. We’ll send you a replacement free of charge.” So a few days later, I get the replacement. And guess what…same thing – nothing but static.

So I took the replacement and chucked it in the trash. I wasn’t happy. Apparently Griffin’s popularity had impacted the quality of their products. Now I began my quest for a suitable replacement.

I spent about a month looking through a variety of reviews on a number of alternatives. It soon became apparent that the ALLKIT FM transmitter had the largest fan base and the best reviews. So I was like okay, I guess it’s time to spend another $100 or thereabouts. I went to my usual place for buying such things: amazon.com. When I found the transmitter I nearly fell out of my chair.

It was $11.

Surely that must be a typo. $11????

So I bought it and it arrived this morning. I rushed out to the car, plugged it in, attached my iPod and with great doubt in my mind, tuned in the radio frequency that sounded to be the clearest of transmissions. I chose Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 on my iPod and hit play.

I nearly fell out of the car!

The sound was loud, relatively clear and absolutely no static to speak of. While there is a slight background hiss, it’s not loud enough to impact the music. I was so happy and so impressed.

So in summary, an $11.52 FM Transmitter absolutely destroyed a $100 FM Transmitter.

Wow.

 

Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0035R8TV2

 

 

My Love Affair with Beethoven

When I was seven years old I was listening to music like Fats Domino, Elvis, KISS, etc. Oldies but goodies today. It would be in my seventh year that I would begin taking piano lessons. It would also be this year that I would be introduced to classical music. I had no idea who Beethoven was, let alone Mozart or Vivaldi. I would soon get to know them, as well as Chopin, Schubert, Brahms, etc. But the knowledge would fade away and the memory of them would fade when I ceased taking lessons when I was eleven. It wouldn’t be until I was 22 that I would rediscover the composer with whom I would end up having a brotherly love affair with. I decided rather than listening to the total trash music I was into at that time, I would switch to classical. I went to the local record store (the LP was still very much alive and kicking at this time – CDs were still 4-5 years away) and decided I would buy Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Of course, I didn’t know the difference between a symphony and a concerto or a string quartet for that matter. I grabbed the first LP that had the number 5 on it and rushed home to listen to my new album. With great anticipation I loaded it onto my turntable and gently placed the needle upon the record. I waited anxiously for those infamous four notes to explode from my speakers.

But instead, this is what I heard…

http://www.hypoxicstudios.com/ext/stuff/emperor.mp3

Now wait a minute…

That’s not what I wanted. But rather than take the LP off the turntable and return to the record store, I sat and listened. I sat and listened to the most incredible music my ears had ever heard. For this was something I had never in my life heard. It was the Piano Concerto No. 5 by Beethoven. It was beautiful, powerful. Tears erupted from my eyes as I was overwhelmed by the incredible majesty of this piece of music – let alone the tender and yearning sound of the second movement. Surely someone had intended me to hear this rather than the usual Beethoven everyone knew. From that moment on, I was a die hard…hard core…Beethoven fanatic.

I started buying up anything and everything by Beethoven. I couldn’t stop listening to his works, every single new piece (to me that is) would bring me such immense feelings of happiness. I began buying books on the master, scores of his music, a marble bust from Italy that cost me a pretty penny. Then in 2002 something amazing came my way. An artist had been granted exclusive access to Beethoven’s 1812 life mask. The Beethoven Society granted this artist permission to make a casting of the mask. He was then permitted to make a limited number of authentic copies of the mask. I found out about it I was all over it. $1500 later I had one of these rare masks in my hands. It was eery holding the head of the master. But it also brought him closer to me, that he truly was someone I could see rather than just a painting. Sadly photography hadn’t been invented before Beethoven’s death in 1827, so this mask was the only true representation of what he looked like.

People think I am nuts or biased. But for some reason I feel a connection with Beethoven that runs deep into my soul. No other composer can get me going crazy over music as Beethoven can. Eventually I became the proud owner of the Complete Beethoven Edition by Deutsche-Grammophon. Every note that exists in a huge CD set.

It was Beethoven that inspired me to become a composer myself. It is Beethoven that makes my bad days better. I give thanks to God that He created such a magnificent man and graced him with the gift to compose the most incredible music ever written. The man himself may be lost to eternity, but his music – a part of his very soul – still resides here and fills our ears and our hearts with his very being.

Beethoven is my immortal beloved.

One year

It’s hard to believe that it was one year ago today that my father lost his battle to cancer. It has been a year of firsts: first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first birthdays. I would be lying if I said that the past year has wiped away the pain of losing the man who taught me everything I needed to know to become a man myself. I have had to figure out a lot of things in the past year. A lot of changes have come into my life as well. Before my father died, I never liked to go outside, let alone go out on our deck and grill food. After he died I purchased a power washer and power washed our deck (it hadn’t ever been cleaned since it was first installed 10 years ago). After power washing the deck, I purchased a modest grill and some deck furniture. All summer long I was outside grilling and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of our backyard. That alone is very unlike me. Then as if that wasn’t enough, I started taking to tools and fixing things around the house. I am a geek, not a jock who gets excited about the latest ratchet set or power drill.

Needless to say, I changed a great deal after my father passed away. I’d like to think it’s all for the best. I have done my best to care for my Mom over the past year. She needs me as much as I need her. Losing one parent was enough for me, losing both will eventually be a lot for me to handle. I pray that she will be with me for a long time to come.

I cannot help but shed tears sometimes. I miss my Dad. He was a remarkable man. He served his country for 24 years, a proud graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was in Vietnam at the beginning of the war, thankfully he never saw combat. He raised my sister and I and was an incredible Dad. He was hard on us when we were young, but for a very good reason. To make a fine sword, it must be tempered and hammered. LOL! Not to say he hammered us, but he did whip our butts a few times. I look back at those punishments with the knowledge that they made me into the man I am today. I learned the rights and wrongs and became a good person thanks to my Mom and Dad.

I pray that my father is enjoying the fruits of Heaven and that someday I will see him again and never endure the pain of loss again.