My friend Angela, whom you may recognize as she who painted the Good Gravy drumhead, moved to Bellevue WA in 2012. She found me through this website, which makes this website golden. We've made a very good life, together. We are lucky to live with our 6 kids, 5 of whom are reasonable teenagers (knock on wood for continued goodluck). We've actually siezed upon a lot of good luck since Angela arrived. Last month, after our kids had been getting to know each other by demaning 2 years of multiple weekly sleep overs, and weekly family home evenings, we finally moved into a new house, together, fulltime. Luckily, it's roomy enough that we're not tripping over each other. Luckily, our kids like having family home evenings once a week with fun activities, games, etc. Luckily, we're in the Somerset neighborhood of Bellevue Washington which has some of the best schools in the nation. And, we don't ever discount the fact that we are crazy lucky to have such great kids, who are superlatively lucky to all finally be in schools that each of them love. If you're reading this, and you have kids, or you've ever experienced a difficult school situation, you know how incredibly fortunate we are at this moment in time. Angela and I have each known years of heartache when certain of our kids were not happy in school. I have personally experienced great schools for me and awful schools for someone like me. Angela and I also feel crazy lucky to finally be together. My mother, and my brother lined us up for our fist date decades, ago, knowing we were extremely compatible. And we were instantly ourselves, together. But, we were bound for opposite coasts. She worked as an interior and furniture designer in Beverly Hills, and then as a mom and Lego rep in Dallas. When in Dallas, Angela earned dual masters degrees in Business Administration and Marketing Research at UT Arlington. In Bellevue, she does market research to help large and small manufactures, grocery chains and startups, restaurants, etc, to move us toward whole foods that are safer for human consumption. She loves it, and it's very close to our house! Lucky, right? My immediate and extended family is crazy about Angela, and crazy about our blended family. And my kids and I really like Angela's immediate and extrended family, too. Her dad, like my father, was a band teacher, and like my dad, plays flute and piano. So we have a lot of sympatico understanding, because we've all been a part of the music and theater life, as performers and teachers. We got engaged on Valentine's Day, in front of the kids, who were chiding us with, "Geeze, it's about times," etc, and who had each made hilarious and heartfelt Valentine cards for each member of our blending family, and were taking turns reading them to each other, when I got to my card for Angela.
Our various blending kids play drums, program computers, draw cool things, dance, do acting improv, Kendo, wrestling, their actual homework, sing, play in bands, play soccer, and of course play computer games, text, and use social networking apps I do not want to learn. 🙂
On the software side of things, in 2014, I got to work on my security product, "StopWatch Privacy" for 3.5 months. And in 2015 I got to work on it in April, May and June. It's very stable in in Win 7, 8.0, and 8.1. Unfortunately, it doesn't run correctly in Windows 10. That will take a lot of money and work resolve. But hey, if you don't have Windows 10, I'd love it if you'd please download it from its incomplete website (LOL) StopWatch Privacy. Please send me an email about how it went, or call me! Ange and I are thinking that we should just finish it for Win 7 and 8, and start trying to sell and improve the core product with customer feedback, rather than put a ton of money into making it compatible with Windows 10. Angela is encouraging me to find out if it's something that people want, or if they'd want it if certain changes were made instead of me trying to finish it without feedback. Sounds smart, right? Sort of like I'm marrying a market researcher? Lucky!!!
Here's some other fun software news. At my father's encouragement I also created an innovative new kind of online metronome, that I named the Nedtronome. You can try it at www.nedtronome.com. A lot of musicians like it and have given me constructive feedback that I will implement. I have plans for 3 other products. I'm planning on making another online metrononome called the Steady Neddy that will cut in and out so you can see if you're slowing down or speeding up when it's not playing. And, maybe, an online drum machine called the Nedtronomicon, which would be a drum machine with the twist that it uses Nedtronome and Steady Neddy innovations. Wouldn't it be great if naming a non-exsitent product would automatically conjure that product in it's ultimate-best form? 🙂
But here's what I'm currently doing, because I am very excited about it, and because it doesn't cost me any money to do, which is very LUCKY!!!! I'm currently working hard on writing drumbook content for a new computer game that a former student, Steve, is coding up. He's building it so that it can be run and sold from Steam. As you've probably intuited, our goal is for this game to be an extremely engaging, addictive drum teacher. Easy peasy, right? Gulp. You know what's cool about teaching software? I can write exersizes for the game, test them on my students, realize there is a better way, or there is a sticking point certain or all students. I can fix that sticking point on the spot. Watch my student play it. If helps them, we can send out the update so everyone gets it. No more "How To Do Everything Right On the First Try--REVISED EDITION".
If you've made it this far into my biography, I just want to thank you for your interest in another human being, and tell you how much I appreciate you for reading about me. The average male lives to be 76. I'm 55. So, in 21 years I'll be 76. Angela and I look at these next 2 decades as our era to use all our good and bad experiences for the benefit of our kids, your kids, you. We're not sure how we'll contribute that experience, but we're excited to have one another's encouragement and partnership in that effort. I know that a game that actually teaches someone how to play drums would bring a lot of joy to people. Drums are an irresistable type of earthy magic. While it's true that a drummer, can move people to dance, and contibutes a lot to toward sweeping them away from their troubles and into a celebration of living, there's something in it for the drummer, too. Learning to move your left foot at the same time that you're moving your right arm, and all the different iterations of that serves to build the partnership betweeen the right and left hemisphere's of our brain. This means it helps us to not only come up with creative ideas, but it helps us figure out how to implement them in a practical way. But, that's not even the half of it. Once, after my interview at Evergreen Investments, I thought I'd done terribly, and that I'd never get the job. I went downstairs at my house, sat at my drums, and played in the style of Elvin Jones for an hour. During that time, as I just let it all flow out of me, the interviews played back like I was watching them on Netflix. Every word. Every facial expression. Unfolding for an hour. I forgot I was even playing drums. And I saw that, in fact, the interviews had gone incredibly well. But, there's more. Drumming helped me overcome serious shyness. Drumming swept me away as I saw my friends hit the dancefloor and felt my groove suddently relaxe and realized that dancers make drummers, and drummers make dancers. But there's more. Having the drums provide a primal place that you can return to, for an entire lifetime, bridges all the lives a person can live in the modern world. Ned the shy grade and jr highschooler. Ned riding to gigs with his parents and Mike Christiansen all over Northern Utah and Southern Idaho, and playing the gigs, and feeling the closeness to the others in the band that could not be achieved with conversation alone. Ned the awkward over the top high shooler. Ned the Cache County Weed Sprayer. Ned the cow killing butcher. Ned the farmer. Ned the missionary. Ned the dishwasher, the pizza employee, the pizza owner, the gig animal, the recording studio musician, the family band member, the Jr High band drummer, the High School drummer, the USU student, the USU drummer, the Tufts Student, the brother, the son, the father, the metal drummer, the funk drummer, the zeideco drummer, the swing drummer, the bop drummer, the pop drummer, the latin drummer, the African drummer, the actor-drummer, the actor, the showoff, the hot rodder, the mechanic student, the door to door salesman of pantyhose, urinometers, folding scissors, buying service memberships, and religion, the unpublished writer, the wantrepreneur trying to breakout into becoming a entrepreneur with real sales, the would be club owner, all of these things have only a few constants: My parents and sister standing by me no matter what. A few friends standing by me no matter what. And the constant companionship of interacting with drums. It connects all the way back to age 9, through all my iterations. Through all this, I remained a drummer, inching forward my skills, sharing them help audiences, dancers, and the comraderie with all those people in all those bands. And... knowing that feeling I felt when I sat down at a drumset for the first time. I still get it. I also get it when I see students feeling it. I see when they get that first shock of producing something bigger than them. The power they feel. I think they all feel it in their own way. For me, it feels like that gig my dad took me to when I was 9, and that wind I felt coursing through us. The badd-ass-ed-ness of groove. When I see that look in my students' eyes, I sometimes find myself fighting back tears. What is it about feeling that first live groove? It feels so imortal. Gargantuan. Like we've accidentally released a tiny bengal tiger from the prison bars of our rib cage. And once that cat is out. Yikes. It's huge. Dangerous. Gorgeous. Wild. We're shocked. Embarassed, even. I caused all that?