Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’


Well folks, it’s official. I am now 33 years-old.

My birthday weekend was a great one, spent with new and old friends in Austin, alongside my beautiful and sweet girlfriend. We did not go for a run, nor did I grade papers, instead we spent the long weekend doing the things we wanted to do.

Some of the events include:

  • Eating enough Tex-Mex to (almost) officially make me a Texas citizen.
  • Finishing up “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I enjoyed it.
  • Touring the Texas state capital. LBJ painting was AWESOME!
  • Listening to an old school (as in 1950’s) country band while chowing down on some ribs.
  • Hanging with my old buddy Steve Davis, and catching up on all things post-Knoxville.
  • Eating with my family at the CB Lounge (our name for Cracker Barrel) for my birthday dinner.
  • And finally, constantly stretching, because my back is somewhat on the brink. Although I am starting to think that it might have to do with my core turning into the same consistency of the banana pudding I keep eating.


Now I am back in Nashville, grading quizzes and essays…and still stretching.

I have always dreamed of this 33rd year of my life, or my Larry Bird year as I have come to think about it. Last year was the Karl Malone year (who played as #32 for the Utah Jazz…who I loathe!) I hope that this year is a good one. I hope that I move forward in all things, deepen friendships, keep in touch with old friends, connect with new people, stay in shape, laugh more often, teach my students well, and perhaps a few adventures and surprises as well.

I hope that I also remember to occasionally visit this blog and let everyone who reads it know what I have been up to.

Until the next time, hope everyone is well.


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Let me be honest, the first way that I ever learned about the genius of Ludwig van Beethoven (also known as “Beef Oven”) was when I first watched the following clip from the epic film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.*

But of course, there is more to the story than what Hollywood’s silver screen has to offer. Beethoven’s life and career is fascinating and filled with events that go as far as being raised by an abusive father to meeting with Mozart in Vienna. Some of his life has become the stuff of lore and myth, while other aspects of his life, such as continuing to compose music while being 100% deaf, are completely true.

I read a biography on Beethoven’s life sometime in college. The line that I remember the author writing, more than anything else about the musician’s life, was something to the gist of “Beethoven teaches us that the wrong notes can also be right.” I remember even then thinking what a profound statement that was about both music and life.

Now Beethoven life does not go unscathed. Like most people you read about in history, the more you get to know them, the more they let you down.** . Some of his biographers write about his ill-temper and distaste for authority, and there were also problems within how he dealt with his family. But in the end, I am writing about Beethoven because of his music and nothing more.

What Beethoven did was nothing short of completely altering the direction of music forever. Before him, music stayed in its traditional forms and rarely (if ever) branched outside to encompass new ideas. It is hard, however, to pinpoint exactly why Beethoven is so important not only to just classical music, but all music in general. Perhaps the best answer though comes from his 9th Symphony. After working on bits and pieces of it for over 30 years, he finally debuted his masterpiece in 1824. To the shock of his audience, the final movement included words, an idea that had never been used before by a major composer. He set to music a German poem from the Enlightenment entitled “Ode to Joy,” which focuses on the ideals of unity, brotherhood, and…well…joy! Also, just a little trivia for you, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony had major influence over the creation of compact discs. You have Beethoven to thank for making a piece of music that lasted almost 80 minutes, and therefore the regular length of a CD for audio files is 80 minutes.

So why bring all of this up? Well today is Beethoven’s birthday, and in honor of him I think you should watch this clip from the film Immortal Beloved. The piece you hear in the background is Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and the montage that you are watching covers both Beethoven’s youth (escaping his alcoholic father) and a true occurrence of him conducting his symphony and not being able to hear the burst of applause from behind him. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

If you want something to add to your bucket list, everyone should see a performance of this piece in person sometime in your life.

*Truthfully this legendary mall scene is actually the band Extreme playing their face melting metal song “Play With Me, ” which is actually a guitar solo of Mozart. But regardless, getting to watch this cast of characters explore the San Dimas Mall, especially the part where “Bob” Genghis Khan totally ravaged Oshman’s Sporting Goods, is solid GOLD!!!

**The exception of this rule is Abraham Lincoln

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