Saturday, 29 September 2012

Marc Scibilia

I came across Marc Scibilia's music one day while rummaging through the bits and bobs of Youtube, and I liked it, which is saying quite a bit as I generally live a tuneless life. I promptly emailed him to see if he would be interested in an interview (why shouldn't I, a complete stranger?), and a bit to my surprise, he accepted just as promptly. From our exchange thus far, I have gathered he is a very nice person, but even more so, I have recently discovered that we are, rather strangely so, connected across time and space by one startling fact: he just happens to be cousin to my old high school Bible teacher who taught for a few years here in Singapore. Small world.

What is your name?  Marc Scibilia

Where are you from? Buffalo, NY

You're currently on tour. How are things going?

I have been touring around the country the last couple of months and am continuing on a fall tour that covers as low as Texas and up to NYC. I haven't played a show in the last four months where someone didn't drive from at least four hours away to see me. So that's really exciting!

How long have you been writing and recording your own music?
Since I was a kid, it's most of what I remember about my childhood, playing at least. I didn't think I'd ever want to get into recording, it seemed too technical. But I realized pretty early that for me, I could actually enjoy it if I approached it from the standpoint of emotion and feel. Now I own a great studio in Nashville with 3 friends. I guess I'm into it.  :) ha 

What's the best part of making your own music? The worst part?

I make a living putting my thoughts and ideas out into the open. Some people live their whole lives and no one ever knows what they think about anything. I would say that's the best and the worst part. People want to you be open, but being open is risky. 


 What artists inspire you? 

Father John Misty is a guy I'm really into right now. I think he is amazing. I love Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill. I grew up listening to a lot of rap. I hope to add a little more low end to my future recordings. 

Are you the type to wait for inspiration or to buckle down and work hard before inspiration shows up?

I used to buckle down and write, all day sometimes. Now I wait for inspiration for the most part but I think I'm going to buckle down over the next couple months. It's a seasonal thing. 

I see that Julian Smith has been following you around the country and shooting videos of you. How did that come together?

Julian and I met when we were both about 18/19... He is my best friend; I was the best man in his wedding. Working with him is very natural, which I think is why those performances feel like they do. There's no faking it with someone you know so well.

Where are you hoping your career will take you? Hawaii
Any advice for the struggling musician? Remember your sound guy's name.

 By the way, Marc Scibilia's single "How Bad We Need Each Other" was recently featured on the hit series Bones. If you like what you hear, check out Marc's Youtube channel marcscibilia, buy his music on iTunes, or if you happen to be in the vicinity, catch one of his live shows on any of the stops on his tour. (For tour dates, click here.)  I think Marc would be most happy if you did all three.

Thank you, Marc, and good luck! May the road always rise up to meet you and the wind be always at your back. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Grammar, Among Other Things

I was grading grammar sentences for my eighth grade class when I came across this series of sentences in Viktor's notebook.

1. Several of these cookies are missing.

2. All of us suspected Miss Gabriel.

3. Everyone knows that when she sees cheese, she has no choice but to take it because of a Swedish tradition.

4. Few people know about it, but it is an ancient Swedish custom to eat all the cheese cookies in any gathering.

5. Suddenly, however, no one could see her anymore because she had put on her Swedish invisibility cloak.

6. Most of the guests began to sing Finnish opera to uncover the elusive Swede.

7. Others began punching thin air in hopes of catching her. 

8. Somebody must have been a good singer because Ms. Gabriel’s invisibility cloak shattered from the Finnish war song.

It must be said aloud: Teaching is a wonderful business.

Thursday, 20 September 2012


Fellow soldiers,

Today I took up the heavy mantle of commander of the Seventh Legion. To explain my promotion, I must start at the beginning. In seventh grade, we had just finished Three Skeleton Key, a horror story by George G. Toudouze, about a lighthouse overrun with deadly Dutch rats, and as I love analysis, we analyzed the depiction of the rats, who were described among other things as being wise, brave, strong, fierce, vengeful, clannish rats, soldiers even, "besiegers" who threw themselves into the "breach," who divided and conquered, whose leader was appropriately named Nero.

The word "phalanx" came up, which tipped off a long-winded explanation of military strategy and for homework they had independently to research phalanx formations throughout the ages. They did, of course, (my students are nothing if not brilliant) and they presented their information in class, after which I armed them with sword and shield and led them stalwartly down four flights of stairs to the football field to have them march in tight testudo formation. Their pattern was not particularly successful, and my legion went every which way, not listening to their commander, wielding their swords about and shouting at unsuspecting birds. I heard later that we had been watched from the offices, and I can imagine that our audiences must have been deeply appreciative to view the splendor of our fine swordsmanship and steady march.

What did we accomplish this class period?

Absolutely nothing.

But does it really matter?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Blue Skies of Sweden

You may recall my grandparents came by for Midsummer, and we all drove to Ratan, their old summer haunt before they moved to the south. It was a beautiful day, full of sunshine and family.

Sea Captain A.O. Röse
Family Grave 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Little Things

There are three things in life I appreciate: 
kaya toast, morning Milo,
and high ceilings in my classroom.

Confidence is Key

Apologies, apologies, a thousand apologies! I have been meaning to write again, but every time I arrive back at home I am absolutely knackered. For the past few days I have been powering through a cold, and I am unusually winded in the mornings climbing the four flights of stairs to my classroom. Nevertheless, I shall prevail against this too. My mind is currently being pushed back by the pressure in my sinus cavities, so you will forgive me if my train of thought derails from time to time.

I have been, as you know, dreadfully busy, though things are more or less beginning to fall into a rhythm, and lesson planning isn't quite as staccato or frenetic. Still I cannot honestly say I have moved past the point of lesson planning in the shower. I wonder if that ever goes away.

I enjoy teaching, but not the technicalities of it. I feel my best ideas come naturally before class. The best ones so far include using the Avengers to teach plot diagramming, Fantasia 2000 for internal/external conflict; having the seventh graders rewrite a fight scene in Rikki Tikki Tavi from another character's perspective, comparing and contrasting fonts and templates in Newspaper, bringing in Scot Byrd, school IT support cum American football aficionado extraordinaire, to explain American football to my mostly ignorant-of-the-sport sixth graders. The hands flew up for question time. "How many penalties are there? Can you punch the other players?" I have enjoyed abusing the mass emailing system of the school's internet, moving Master Kelley's vuvuzela around his office when he is away, and reading the answers to the personal questionnaire I had the students fill out in their thin, enthusiastic handwriting.

What is your name?

What do you want to be called?
Awesome kid

And, of course, I enjoy the happy "Good morning, Ms. Gabriel!" that students are wont to offer on Mondays through Fridays, excepting Wednesdays.