Billy Joel the Opera Ghost

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Hey guys,

The other day I was listening to Billy Joel and the song “Pressure” came on, in which he sings about how not having scars on your face means you can’t really handle life (paraphrase).

Immediately, my mind went to Phantom of the Opera, and then naturally things spiraled out of control. What follows is a somewhat ridiculous pitch (though I would DEFINITELY pay to see it) about what would happen if the Phantom of the Opera were actually Billy Joel, and if the Broadway show were rewritten as such.

  • Open relatively the same, but with “We Didn’t Start the Fire” playing as the chandelier lights up, as much of the show is about communal responsibility/the shirking thereof and results.
  • Christine becomes popular singing “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,”
  • Raoul comes to visit Christine and the Phantom is naturally upset, singing “Everybody Loves You Now.”
  • Christine agrees to go through the mirror, and Phantom sings “The Longest Time” to talk about their love.
  • Replace “Music of the Night” with “River of Dreams.”
  • Christine passes out, and on waking hears the piano part of “Piano Man” as Billy plays at the organ.
  • Christine wants to know who he is, and after ripping off his mask, she pursues knowing his story. He sings “The Entertainer” by way of explanation of his being an incredible musician struggling for recognition from unsympathetic humans/the struggle of his creative genius vs. human ideals of beauty.
  • Christine returns, and after performing in “Uptown Girl” on stage, retreats to the roof with Raoul.
  • Raoul sings “An Innocent Man” to try to convince her to love him.
  • The Phantom is crushed by Christine’s betrayal, but still loves her, singing “She’s Always a Woman.”
  • As the Phantom’s grief turns to anger, end the first act with “Pressure.”
  • Instead of Masquerade, start with “Why Should I Worry” medley and transition into “You May Be Right/Pressure” when the Phantom returns.
  • Replace “Don Juan” with “I Go to Extremes,” as the Phantom tries to convey his roller coaster existence.
  • Replace “Point of No Return” with “Just the Way You Are.”
  • As Raoul chases them down, the Phantom tries to convince Christine one last time that their love can make it with “A Matter of Trust.”
  • When Christine kisses the Phantom, have some kind of reprise, possibly of “Just the Way You Are” or “Always a Woman.”
  • When the Phantom decides to let them go, he sings “Tell Her About It” to make sure Raoul takes his new love seriously/treats Christine right.
  • End with bits and pieces “Piano Man” as he disappears.

Anyway, I know some of the songs would have to be tweaked some or shuffled around, and that ultimately the whole thing is a little silly, but hopefully next time you hear a song from either, you can get a smile.

Oh, and I definitely created the playlist on Spotify (listen here), if you want to think about it some more. Let me know what you think, folks. Songs you would add, change, shuffle or move? Tell me in the comments!

My finest February

This post is dedicated to wide open spaces, to shores of trees, to sunsets of neon gold. This post is for movies with family, for walks to the library, for scrambling under the “stairway closed” sign to reach it at the top of a hill. This is for sunshine, the birth of new grass, the squelching sounds of a nectarine. This is for books, for podcasts, for Jesus, and the glory of coming home.

16730123_10209514049543021_9095031325224924475_n-croppedLiving in Wisconsin, where the winters can sometimes last for nearly half of the year, I’ve traditionally said that if you can make it past February, then you’ve survived through the worst of  it. It’s not as common to see massive blizzards much past that point, and if you do, the coming warmth of spring usually melts them come March and April. If you can just make it through that dreary landscape of half-melted snow and ice, the gray skies, the impetuous weather, then you’ve made it, you’ve survived.

This year, things have been different, and I honestly think it’s been the best February I can remember.

To say little of the beautiful weather (I’m writing this with the windows open at a balmy 53 F) and some of the most radiant sunsets I’ve ever seen–though the magenta and liquid gold hues I’ve seen are most certainly worth mentioning–I think, generally, the reason is gratitude.

Every day, I get to drive to and from work through beautiful countryside dotted with cows and horses, tall, bare-branched trees streaking the sun in my eyes. I currently work with my father at a company that has always treated me with great kindness and affection, and will soon be starting a new job with a company that I can already tell I will like, with a giant tank full of local fish at the front desk and a CEO who brings in her dogs. It will be a job in my desired field, helping other writers and learning and growing myself.

I have a clearer vision of my future too, a new commitment to the work I feel God has called me to, the very work I’ve always desired. I’m gathering resources, finding new friends, finally chasing my dreams not with half-expressed desires or dreams of grandeur, but with hard work, greater humility, and a deep set desire to see others succeed. I will work mere minutes from the library, and live minutes from another.

Life is good, God even greater. I live every day with a fullness in my heart, an irrepressible gratitude for the little things here that God knows I love, for the things He’s blessed me with and the reasons He’s called me home, my family, my friends, my work. And while life is not without trouble (whose is?), it is amazing, not because of me or what I’ve done, but because of Him, because all of these things, all of the things I have to be grateful for, have come from above, like all good gifts, and I am so incredibly grateful to know that my heavenly Father loves me, that he provides for me, and that He is guiding me on the way.

Thank you, God. You’re the best.

P.S. What do you have to be grateful for? What’s going on with you? How is your February? Tell me below!

That’s my jam: February 2017

Hey all,

We’re nearly halfway through February, and I have been a bit busy and sick for hardcore processing/thinking (though I will say I just got a new job, yay! Thanks Jesus!), but I have also been enjoying a lot of other things, so why don’t we talk about them, because they’re great!

  1. The Expanse: This epic sci-fi series comes both in book form and the TV variety. I just started the first book a bit ago, and have really been enjoying it (warning, neither is for kiddies). I’ve also seen the first season three times, twice in London and once back home. It’s about the political turmoil between Earth, Mars and “Belters” (from the Asteroid belt), a missing girl, and a mysterious war-threatening scheme involving something called a protomolecule, and it is really, really good. Also, the character design, world-building and production quality are all pretty high too, so all in all it’s one of my new favorite series (likely one of my favorites of all time if they keep it up). The second season just started on SyFy, which I don’t currently have access too, but hopes are high. Also, for the record, Miller is the best.

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    Miller, also known as “the best.” Not shown, his awesome noir-ish detective hat. Shown, his awesome cheekbones, which I’m pretty sure could cut glass.
  2. Critical Hit: I’ve mentioned this one before, but I just want to say it again, this podcast is hilarious. It comes from the Major Spoilers podcast family, and follows several guys and a lady as they play D&D. The characters are laugh out loud funny (actually, I’ve had to stifle myself several times at work), and the adventures creative and engaging. Rodrigo Lopez, the GM (he also wrote a book called The Tale of Tallest Rabbit. It’s cute.), does a great job leading, and also does super great voice work for NPCs, some of my favorites of which are Malfrond the crocodile, Stagsy the Tiefling, and Poke the hedgehog. Rob, DnD Brian, Steven (Stephen?), Matthew and Adrianna voice the characters of Ket (and Smith), Randus (crowd favorite, also my favorite), Orem, Torq and Trelle. There are other characters I have yet to meet, being a over halfway through the series myself, and several others I haven’t mentioned, but it’s good. Also probably not for kiddies in general, but also a lot less explicit than several other real play podcasts I’ve tried, and with the longest ongoing story I’ve seen from them.
  3. Death by Living: Life is Meant to be Spent: N.D. Wilson is the author of the 100 Cupboards series and several other books for middle grade readers, but he’s also written a couple of books about Christian living (as well as The River Thief, which is a movie on Netflix, I believe), and this is one of them. Part Memoir, part theological essay, the writing is poetic and visual, and I’ve really been enjoying it so far. If anyone else has read it, I’d love to hear their thoughts.
  4. Artemis Fowl: A middle grade book about a twelve year old kid who kidnaps a fairy, though the humor can be a little crude and there’s more cursing than I’d expect for a middle grade, the writing is smart and the main character fascinating. I’ve been eyeing this series for about a decade, and I’m pleased to say I’ve finally been able to start it.
  5. Amos Lee: One of my favorite singer/songwriters out there, Amos Lee just released his album Spirit last year, and it’s gorgeous. My favorites are “New Love” Running out of Time” and “Spirit.” Check it out (and his other music of course) on Spotify.
  6. John Williams: I know we know him from his film scores, but he’s also been featured on Spotify’s Composer Weekly playlist for some of his non-film scores, and not surprisingly, they’re just as awesome. Check them out on Spotify.
  7. Sawbones: A marital tour of misguided medicine, this podcast is all about how we’ve tried to cure various medical conditions through history, and besides being interesting, it’s also pretty funny. Hosted by Justin and Dr. Sydnee McElroy, they cover everything from chapped lips to tea, hysteria to cranberries and more.

Anyway, that’s some of what I’ve been listening to, reading, watching, etc., lately. So check it out, and if you have any suggestions for things for me to check out, or whatnot, lemme know!