I See Beyond the Road I'm Driving

2012 in Review

January 31st, 2013 Posted in Headlights | No Comments »

Even though it seems like I could say it every year, 2012 was my best year yet! As usual, 2012 consisted of many places visited, old and new. If you are not sure why exactly this past year was my best one yet, give me a call or send me an email and I’ll tell you about it (hint: it has to do with an extremely special person and a life-changing event that is coming very soon!). While I understand that in life it isn’t likely that every single year will be better than the previous, I can at least say with much confidence that 2013 is going to be the best yet.

To my friends and family, Godspeed in 2013.

2012 in Review: January 1, 2012 – January 31, 2012

Map Updates

July 25th, 2012 Posted in Atlas | No Comments »

2012 in Review: January 1, 2012 – Present

Transtec 2012 Part 2: July 16, 2012 – Present

Transtec 2012 Part 1: May 29, 2012 – June 23, 2012

Nepal Destination Featured on the BBC

February 8th, 2012 Posted in Headlights | No Comments »

Gharial Breeding CenterIn 2009 I visited the Gharial Breeding Center while in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park; this post from 2010 discusses my experience there. Today the same Center was featured on BBC World News, which is exciting because the report means that the very animals we saw there were finally released into the wild. It seems that years of work by the folks at Chitwan are paying off and that the gharial population there will be greatly improved.

BBC article/video:
Nepal National Park Breeds Crocs

2011 in Review

January 10th, 2012 Posted in Headlights | No Comments »

What a year 2011 has been! As in years passed many places were visited, whether new or familiar. I went to many States and even managed to see a few countries. Some highlights included traveling to China and Taiwan with my friends Evan and Parker to celebrate the wedding of Brian and Becky; exploring Argentina with my great friend, Derek, and visiting his hometown in Florida earlier in the year; making multiple trips to the Texas coast with dear Austin friends; sharing in the South By Southwest festival experience with old college buddies; visiting family and friends on multiple occasions back home in the Midwest; spending weeks working in various towns in my favorite U.S. state (Colorado); and of course spending time with wonderful people in the exciting city of Austin.

To all of my friends and family, may you have a blessed 2012.

2011 in Review: January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011

Argentina 2011: November 5, 2011 – November 21, 2011

Taiwan 2011: May 5, 2011 – May 14, 2011

Anchor for the Soul: the Hank Drum Experiment

December 21st, 2011 Posted in Headlights | 6 Comments »

In the last couple of years I have learned a great deal about the musical subculture surrounding steel hand pan drums. My coworker, RP, and the many friends he has made in this subculture are to thank for the knowledge I have acquired. While professionally-made hand pan drums exist and can now be purchased from artists in several countries, many people have learned to construct and tune their own homemade “hank” drums in which the shell of a propane tank is used as the resonator. One could think of these drums as an inverted version of the steel pans that originate in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, but their deeper tone and use of a (typically) single scale make them sound a lot more like wind chimes (at least to my ears).

RP has built such hank drums, and earlier this year he lent me one to use in experimental recordings:

Hank DrumHank Drum

Since that time I have actually acquired my own hank drum that was custom-built and painted for me by a friend in Fort Collins, Colorado. You can expect some recordings to be made with this instrument in the future:

XP Drum and HaloXP Drum

If you would like more information on drums like the one I own, please visit the Xplosive Percussion website.

I was inspired to name the song “Anchor for the Soul” after reading verses from the book of Hebrews in the Bible and realizing that the structure of the song could be interpreted as a metaphor for the concepts discussed in the verses. Hebrews 6:18-19 says, “These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when He makes a promise, and He cannot lie when He makes an oath. These things encourage us who come to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong.”

The hank drum pattern is consistent; it is simultaneously the melody and the rhythmic backbone of the song. The same single note, a low E from the hank drum, both begins and ends the song. Throughout the composition instruments come and go and the musical layers intertwine, but the hank drum never falters. In this regard, it represents the concept of the anchor for the soul — a hope that is sure and strong.

“Anchor for the Soul” can be streamed below and from the Original music playlist on the Music page.

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