Saturday, June 30, 2007


I’m gonna start by talking a bit about the way that I make my music.

I start by writing the song. I come up with the lyrics, the chords, and the melody. It’s all just in my mind. The only thing I really write down is the lyrics, and sometimes the chords. I usually have an idea of what I want the recording to sound like.

When the time comes to do the recording, I start off with a program called a “sequencer”. I start by laying down the drums (using my keyboard) and a scratch bass line. I might also block out some chords on a piano or organ sound. All these notes that I’m playing are all stored on the computer. Later, I’ll replace a lot of these parts with more live sorts of playing.

While I’m putting down the basic drums, bass, and keys, I’m all using a keyboard, and playing the parts. I’m not exactly the best of players, so often my timing is off a little. Sequencers, however, have a function called “Quantizing”. It takes all the notes I’ve played and it shifts them to the nearest beat or half-beat. It basically takes my playing and locks it right into place.

But what I really wanted to talk about was prayer.

See, when I’m praying regularly, my life is a lot like that song in the sequencer. It’s like the praying tightens up my life and locks it into place. I feel the Spirit during the day, when I’m not even thinking about spiritual things. Suddenly, I’ll realize that the reason I’m smiling is that the Spirit is there. And that drives the direction of my life.

When I’m praying regularly and with Spirit, I find myself wanting to read my scriptures more. Not because I have a goal to finish by the end of the year, nor because someone said I had to, but because the thought crosses my mind, and I feel like I want to.

When I’m praying regularly, I start to notice things happening with my family, friends, and co-workers. I notice when they need help, or how I can move to make their lives easier. I can see what they need more, intuitively.

When I’m praying regularly, I get answers. And not so much miraculous voices in my head, but just clarity.

When I’m praying regularly, I understand how the Lord’s yoke could be easy. I understand how to have his image in my countenance. I understand what it means to wish you were an angel and could speak with the sound of a trump.

Even if all I do is blog about it.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Five Keys

A long time ago, I was sitting in Elder’s Quorum class, barely staying awake, when the teacher diverged from his lesson plan to elaborate on something of his own gospel. I say, “his own gospel” not because it was false doctrine (far from it, in fact), but because it was his own thoughts and observations, that he had formulated over years of trying to live the gospel.

My ears instantly went up.

He was an older guy, and I recognized this as one of those moments where someone with some real age-seasoned wisdom was about to lay it on me. I took notes.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve seen the value in the things he said.

He said that the five keys to personal spirituality are:

  1. Prayer
  2. Scripture study
  3. Fasting
  4. Tithing


  1. Service

In the last year or so, I’ve watched a number of people I know fall away or weaken in their faith. I don’t want that to happen to me. I have, at times, in my life, been more (and less) in tune with my Father in Heaven than I am now. And I want to strengthen that. Especially in the last six months, I’ve made some good efforts in these areas.

Anyway, I thought I’d add my own thoughts in a series of blog postings about these five things. Come along for the ride.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, June 07, 2007

And in the Right-Hand Corner...

I watched a big chunk of the Republican debates the other night. I felt a little like an interloper from the other side of the street.

Still there were some cool things said. I was a bit put off at first by Ron Paul. He just came across and angry and ornery. And, frankly, the things he was suggesting overall weren’t very republican! The next day, and the suggestion of a friend here at work, I checked out his website. It’s interesting, because he seems to be the only candidate that really “gets” why the rest of the world seems to hate us. Very interesting, but my money says he hasn’t got a prayer.

Rudy did pretty well. He came off as authoritative and knowledgeable. I honestly think McCain did well, too. As much as I wanted him to do well, I wasn’t that impressed with Mitt’s performance. I guess it seemed a bit too much like a performance, and not so substantial as a few of the others. That was a bit of a bummer. I kinda felt like I’d come to the game to root for my home team, but they just didn’t play that well. When he was asked about some of his flip-flop policies, he handles it by saying, “I was wrong back then”. It’s nice that he steps up to that, but it does make me wonder if he will sometime say the same thing about his promises now…

Oh, well…

Then there were a lot of other comments by a lot of other people in suits that were pretty much optional and inconsequential.

One moment that was kind of interesting was when someone asked about gays in the military. Some said, “Don’t ask, don’t tell is working now, let’s not change it in the middle of a war.” Others just sort of avoided the issue. After all that, the moderator/questioner asked, “Is there anyone on among the candidates that would support those that are openly gay serving in the armed forces?”

Dead silence.

I mean, you could hear the crickets chirping and see the tumbleweeds roll across the stage.

Another thing that was interesting is that there were lots of questions about the state of the Republican Party. What made me chuckle is the way those questions were phrased. There were no questions like, “What is the future of the GOP?” or “How would you lead the party into the next four years?” Oh, no. The questions were more like, “What would you do to salvage the party?” and “Why is the party in such disarray?” or “Are we seeing the end of the Republicans?” It’s like it was a given that it’s broken, so let’s not ask if you feel that way, just cut to the chase and ask if you think you can fix it.

And everyone was trying to distance themselves from Dubya. It’s like he’s poison right now. Kinda makes me chuckle.

Anyway, I love watching the political game. It really is the best show in town.

Mark Hansen


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