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    23rd January 2020

    Finals week at Poly…

    This week is finals week for Long Beach schools, which means that I’ve been doing a lot of grading. Unfortunately I don’t always keep up with grading during the school year. As a writing teacher, I always want to give students feedback on how to improve their writing, which takes time. It would be easy to just give completion grades for writing assignments, but that would teach students that I’m not going to read what they write – and that would be tragic.

    I would say more but I’m exhausted and my ability to stay awake is quickly fading!

    Update: No update on my Martin guitar, it is still MIA, but if you see it or think you might have seen it let me know!

    17th January 2020

    2020 Resolutions…

    I was talking with someone about New Year’s Resolutions recently, and I said that I don’t normally make Resolutions because it seems kind of arbitrary and fake to come up with something just because it’s a new year. I explained that I’m always setting goals, working towards them, and then evaluating progress, setting new goals, working towards them, and so on.

    I’ve always been motivated by completing challenges, whether it was reading books above grade level in elementary school (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are a few I remember reading in 4th grade), setting a goal of running under 5 minutes for the 1600m in 7th grade (I ran a 4:59 in the final race of the season, but it was a Pyrrhic victory in that an 8th grader from a different school beat me to the finish line by a split second), other running goals in high school and college, climbing fourteeners, going back to college after my accident, or doing my masters in teaching at USC.

    There area a few things that I started that I never finished, and though I don’t think about them often, when I do, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and my stomach sinks. One is the masters program I started at Denver Seminary in 2006. I did all the coursework, passed comprehensive exams, and started working on my thesis… but then I never finished because I started substitute teaching, discovered I like that more, and ended up going after my credential and now here I am, nearly 12 years after I began working in schools as a sub. But I still had a little hope that I might finish the MA in Biblical Studies. Unfortunately, a couple years ago I timed out on the program, meaning my original credits were too old to count towards a degree.

    I have some goals in my heart currently, and I don’t want to miss out and look back on them the way I do my DenSem days – I learned a lot and nobody can take that away from me, but there was unfinished business.

    To the end of knowing that spoken dreams are harder to let go of, I’m going to put a few goals I have for myself out there into the universe:

    1. Swim a 10k open water swim.

    I’ve done the 3 mile Naples Island Swim, and the 2.4 mile Waikiki Roughwater swim, but I want to do the distance that’s often called the swim marathon. I wanted to do one last year, but didn’t end up training consistently enough to do it. I think this year is the year. Edit: Resolution 1A is to do a 100 mile handcycle ride, but that doesn’t need to be in a race or organized event – I’d just like to do it. I never actually did a century ride before my accident, my longest ride ever was 93 miles and I was totally done at that point and couldn’t make it to 100 miles.

    2. Write more music and record songs that I’ve written both new and old.

    I’ve been telling myself and other people I would do this for years… but haven’t done anything about it.

    3. Write down more of my ideas for stories and essays.

    I’ve been teaching writing to students at Poly for four and a half years, and in that time I have hardly written anything besides emails and text messages. I have creative ideas all the time, and think, “I should write that down…” and then I get busy doing something else, or distract myself with the infinite world of digital entertainment. Can I be more than just a consumer of content?

    4. Read some of the books that I have piled beside my bed. No further explanation necessary.

    5. Keep in touch with friends. I started writing an explanation for this but I don’t think I need to explain this one either.

    Ok, that’s it for now. Who knows if I’ll do any of the things listed above this year, but they aren’t New Year’s Resolutions, anyway, they’re just goals.

    15th January 2020

    Stolen Guitar: My Martin HD-28 LSV

    I’m putting this out on the web in case someone comes across it somewhere and somehow also sees this post, but about a month ago my guitar was stolen.

    It isn’t just that it’s a valuable guitar – it would probably take ~$3500 to replace it – but that I’ve had it since I was 18. I used the last $2000 from savings bonds my grandparents gave me (a link to my beloved grandma and late grandfather) for college and bought it on consignment at a little shop that used to be in Old Town Fort Collins on Walnut (what was that place called?). I played a Taylor but it felt thin and lacking in substance. I played a Seagull and it was bright, but didn’t have the full tone I was looking for.

    I didn’t think the Martin was as pretty, and it didn’t have to cool, trendy neck cut for all those high solos I’m always (never) trying to play. But when I strummed that thing, it was meat and potatoes vs soup and salad, Shakespeare vs Shel Silverstein (who I love of course!), Aretha vs Amy Grant (who I also love!). The wood in that Martin vibrated with substance and soul; it was a meal in itself, not just an appetizer. If there’s such a thing as love and first jam session, that was it.

    And that Martin was well-loved, well-used, and well-traveled. I played it for chapel and LOFT services and Calvin College (now Calvin University in a name change that destroys the alliteration that was the best part of the name!), at Third Day Victory Church, and for the last 7+ years at Fountain of Life Covenant Church in Long Beach. I played it at small groups and worship nights at Calvin, at the Bakers’ house, the Stovers’ house, for a prayer group in Long Beach, for the FOL Spanish-speakers ministries, for worship at Camp Isaiah, on the Lighthouse Dance mission trip to Ireland and England, as a guest at a handful of other churches in a variety of locations. I played it alone and with others on the street in Boulder on Pearl Street, at farmers markets in Fort Collins and Loveland, and at open mics in Michigan and Colorado. I played it at the weddings of numerous family members, friends, and friends of friends. I played it with Sauni’s Big Jump and we had some of the best jam sessions of my life, many in my mom’s living room but some in Boulder, and more on stage around Northern Colorado.

    It was actually stolen once before, while playing at an Open Mic at Everyday Joe’s in Fort Collins. It was in the backroom while I was waiting to perform and when I went to get it, the case was there but the guitar was gone, pawned (as I later found out) by a known individual with an addiction-fueled habit of thievery. I met a FCPD officer at an RTD parking lot off I-25 at 6 a.m. to pick out a suspicious individual from a photo line-up. I picked a mug shot that looked like a guy that I had seen wandering around Joe’s that night and the officer informed me that he was the one who pawned my guitar. A month or so later (and an email to the district attorney’s office asking about it) and I had my guitar back, with one or two more scratches than it had before.

    It was in the trunk of the car during my car accident in November of 2004. It was in my trunk when I was rear-ended by a drunk driver while at a stoplight in Grand Rapids (fortunately there was also a truck behind me that softened the blow). Thank goodness I paid the $200 extra for the original Martin hardshell case (which most recently had a Macbook cord used as a makeshift replacement handle after the original handle broke off). for the past 16 years, my Martin has been there to celebrate a great many joyous moments, and it’s also been there as a catharsis and opportunity to blow off steam. I’ve used it to (attempt to) woe potential romantic interests – and to get over a few heartbreakers.

    I have other guitars, but this one is the one that has been my daily use guitar for the longest time, and my guitar style was undoubtedly developed in a symbiotic relationship with my guitar – I learned to take advantage of the symphony of tones my Martin could create. If I have to move on, I will, and I’m sure it will be exciting to go play some other guitars, finding a new partner for the next phase of my life – but I’ll never forget my first Martin.


    For those of you who might be interested in how my guitar was stolen and how to identify it, my guitar was stolen – along with a black Yamaha bass in a black gig bag – out of the back of my car in front of Temple Beth Shalom just south of 37th street in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. I was visiting a friend after playing music at a Holiday Event at Poly, the school where I work.

    Description: My guitar is a limited edition model with some distinctive features. It has Adirondack spruce top and Indian rosewood back, sides, and neck. There is a pearly inlay trimming the neck, headstock, and where the sides meet the top and bottom, but there are no inlay dots on the fretboard. It has a larger soundhole than normal, and also a wider neck and the neck is more v-shaped than normal. There is some wear and tear on the the end of the headstock, and the sides have had small cracks repaired in recent years so there are small wooden braces on the inside of the sidewall in 1 or 2 places. It’s equipped with a Fishman Rare Earth soundhole pickup. The guitar was made between 1998 and 2000, and the Adirondack Spruce also gives a clue about the serial number, which I believe is between 668000 and 737277, but I haven’t been able to find my records with those details.

    The report # with the Long Beach Police is 191001905 and the phone number I was given to follow up on it was 562-570-7362 (auto break-ins), but you can also add information about cases online.

    There were cameras by Temple Beth Shalom, but they didn’t see anything as my car was just out of frame, and no other businesses in the area caught anyone walking with guitars. So… that’s where I am right now, with nothing more than a hope and a prayer to the rulers of the internet that the right person might see my post and send my Martin back my way…


    If you DO happen to see my guitar, please email me – my address is my firstnamelastname at gmail.

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.