guest post #1: walking on stilts

so, i recently had a first. and i am not, in fact, emily—by the way. i am chad. emily and jeff’s neighbor, and a part of the acting program with jeff. 

so, let me give you a bit of background. i decide to use my mfa in acting training by puppetering (my favorite term for it) a pre-recorded, 15 minute long puppet show on the beachfront. that’s enough background.

well, i was scheduled to work on monday, so off i went. i pull into the parking lot and find out we’re on hold due to weather. so, what do entertainers do when they’re told to hold? entertain themselves. in between the monsoons, we would hang out and talk, then as it would start raining again, we’d all scurry to our cars. 

well, during one such hang-out session, i noticed that the entrance to the parking lot had flooded. and i cracked a dad joke—emily will tell you that this is a normal occurrence. i don’t remember exactly what i said, but it was something about how only the stilt-walkers would be able to ford the river to get out—yeah, i know. and the conversation kept going and next thing i know, there are stilts and—well, let me show you:

so yeah! i walked on stilts! ...and yes, those are TOMS, thank you for asking. i don’t know how they do it. the funniest thing that happened was when the stilts were being put on my feet, i saw a group of street entertainers watching and they started running over. i hear the german juggler shout, “oh, this is going to be good.” it was very inspiring... anyway, i get up on the stilts and, well, it is a miracle from God that i didn’t fall. i nervously explained to the surrounding entertainers that i had never done this before to which they reply: “we can see.” again, inspiring. even further, they debated for a while whether they were on correctly...so much more inspiring. well, i stayed up there for about five minutes just, you know, hanging out...on stilts...during a lightning storm...like you do. then i got a little over-zealous and took a step, where i lost my balance and luckily was caught by one of the professionals. another guy (who was not a stilt-walker—actually, i have no idea what he does...) shouted, “you have to lift your leg and walk heel-to-toe.” his advice was manna from heaven. ...i could only get so far as the end of the tailgate...and then i freaked out about turning around...but i did and continued walking a bit. i then wanted to get down. but i had a lot of fun!

in conclusion, i hope for more rainy days to learn stilt-walking. it was...awesome. but not fazawesome. back to you, emily.


#22 going to a greek festival

this happened over a month ago, but i somehow didn't write about it. maybe because, due to my mild claustrophobia, it wasn't that eventful for jeff and me. 

we went to a greek festival - in fact, we went to "tidewater area's oldest and largest ethnic festival." impressive, right? riiight. i wanted to see some dancing and try a new kind of food. this greek festival was at a greek orthodox church, and when we arrived, i was mildly shocked to see the entire place filled to busting with people smoking and drinking. i'm not morally opposed to either (though i do think smoking is icky), but i was still surprised to see it all happening on church grounds. jeff and i wove through the crowd in a daze, distracted by the amount of people, the noise, and the group of dancers on stage, which was comprised of a couple of portly greek men and a slew of drunk, middle aged white women. eventually we snaked back to a dessert stand. we waited in a long line and bought two small orders of loukoumades, which are basically big, airy donut holes covered in honey and sesame seeds. 

that is a small order. they were delicious, but i could feel my arteries clogging with each little bite. 

after we ate, we watched the drunken dancers for a bit longer. they were not drunk enough to be interesting though, so we ventured into the hellenic center's marketplace. we glanced at some jewelry, paintings, and the greek flag emblazoned on shirts, aprons, onesies, etc. again - bored. 

so then we left. 



ukulele update

apparently the marriage uke isn't just for decoration - it just needs new strings! in the meantime, i am enjoying learning little ditties and ignoring the fact that it's wildly out of tune. 

here's a snippet for you to enjoy...or mock. i'm really cool with either.


#21 playing the ukulele

my father has played guitar my whole life. often i found him reclined in his chair, eyes glazed over, strumming the guitar while he watched tv. weekly, he led worship on the guitar at church. yearly, he led a Christmas caroling assembly for his elementary school on the guitar. once, he ran through the house to rescue his guitar during an earthquake (don't worry, it survived). his deep affinity for guitars was contagious, and to this day, i try to figure out what kind of guitar artists use when i go to concerts or church. and i prefer takamines and taylors, thank you for asking.

one day i decided it would be fun to learn to play guitar. i had my own free teacher, after all. so daddy and i sat down, guitars in hand, and he taught me a chord. i don't recall which chord it was, but i do distinctly remember not being able to properly hold the strings down with my sad, weak little fingers. after five minutes of trying, i gave up my guitar playing dream. 

fast forward to present time. my favorite musician is ingrid michaelson. she plays a plethora of instruments, and some of my favorite songs of hers feature the uke (check out you and i or her cover of creep). my uncle dan works in a ukulele shop and adores the instrument, and he has invited my parents into the ukulele circle as well. dan even personalized a ukulele for jeff and i when we got married - our picture is inside the sound hole, and a hawaiian marriage song is written on the back. 

here in virginia beach, my friend katie fridsma plays the ukulele. in fact, just last week we had a power outage, and katie's roommate returned home to find katie perched on her bed, surrounded by candles, playing the uke. such is katie's passion for the instrument - it's reached heights of romantic love. so i asked katie to teach me to play. i figured my sad, weak little fingers could handle this instrument. it's like guitar: lite!

katie brought over her uke, and i dusted off my marriage uke, and away we went. we started with G. next i learned B. then i learned C. then C minor. BAM! radiohead's creep! next i learned what's up by 4 non blondes (trust me, you know this song) and finally dark blue by jack's mannequin. 

by the end of the hour, my fingers looked like this, my instructor looked like that, and the marriage uke was deemed only functional as a decoration because of its inexplicable ability to fall out of tune within seconds of being tuned. 

in conclusion, i loved this hour and want my own ukulele even though the tip of my index finger is still numb today.