Ray  Rider   Hat   Rodeo   Dan   Roping   Livestock   cowboy

Singing and Other Interests

Country music - This has become such a broad term and now seems to encompass so many different styles.  Traditional, New Country, Country Rock and a few that just don't fit into any category.  I personally am a fan of Traditional and New Country, everything from Loretta Lynn to Tim McGraw.  If I had to describe the style I lean towards, it's New Country with a traditional twist.  A classic example is Brad Paisley who seems to hit a stride right in the middle.

I started singing lessons in the summer of 99 with the crazy notion that I wanted to sing country. I did a few other courses, sang in a couple of small events and in 2000 started to learn guitar.  Worst thing though was and is finding time.  Kinda hard to keep a good bread and butter career going while trying to focus on this sort of thing so unfortunately it's taken a back seat to the rest of life lately.

When I still lived in Vancouver, I managed to go into a music studio and we cut a couple of tracks to previously recorded songs, more for myself than anything else.  Download a Brief (13 second) MP3 of my own singing - 130KB.  This is a very brief, pretty much raw sample of myself (Ray) singing "South of Santa Fe". Ultimately, I would like to burn a CD at some indefinite point in the future but that may have to take a backseat to many other projects that I have in the works.

Story Writing - I began writing years ago and enjoy the outcome but it's the process I have a hard time sticking with. For the same reasons as singing, I often find I am bereft of time during the course of the week. Mostly I enjoy writing fantasy and have a partially completed novel on my computer. Then I started to get an idea for another one and now that is a project in waiting. Also, I plan to collaborate with my mother on a piece of humourous non-fiction about life in the arctic.

Photography - I decided this topic needed a photo page of it's own since almost all the pictures on the site have been taken by me. It's an old hobby 20 years old that has finally come back to start nipping me in the heels. Go to the photo page here.

Web design - well, I'm hardly a professional in that area although I do work witth web technologies. This site has been a good opportunity for me to learn HTML along with other related languages that in turn help me do my job better. Thus in a way, this site helps me with my work! Nice rationalization I guess for spending so much time building the site over the years...

Fitness and mountain biking - I've been working out for at least 16 years and the gym is a defacto part of my life. No, I'm not super-buff or anything but I'm in decent shape and plan to stay that way. I've tried rock climbing, kayaking, white water rafting and some other pursuits but if I'm outdoors, I usually like to hike or mountain bike.

Orchid growing and Astronomy - These 2 hobbies used to be big for me in my teen years however lately I perk my ears up when I hear information about them. Astronomy may be out for me after my laser eye surgery of 2001 since now, fine points of light have a little star bursting around them. It makes it a bit difficult to see in a telescope as a result. As for orchids, I used to have 70 or so at the high point but haven't grown them in decades. Lately though, I'm finding myself more interested again. Hmmm. Perhaps once I'm travelling less I might re-ignite the interest again.

Shamanism - I'm a spiritual person and always willing to experience new things from a spiritual growth standpoint. I did my first course with the Institute for Shamanic Studies a number of years ago and still practice it every once in a while. Essentially, via drumming you alter your state of consciousness slightly in order to ask questions of the animal spirits. A great book regarding this is "The Way of the Shaman" by Michael Harner.

Landmark Education and transformational work - I was introduced to the work of Landmark Education and The Forum in 1994 and it forever altered the way I percieve the world. Aside from opening my eyes to the possiblities of life, it allowed me to effectively direct my life towards the goals I set for myself. While I haven't done any of that work for some years now, it still is a powerful factor in my every-day life.

Aside from the above and all of my western interests outlined elsewhere on the site, there is so much more that I am interested in but will likely never have the time to do. Sculpting, leather work, metal work, videography, acting, alpaca farming etc. The world is such a large place and such a fascinating one that my list of interests is practically endless, above all it is people that make all these pursuits ultimately worth while. To be able to share the wonders of the natural and man-made world with others is what gives all of the above meaning for me. One thing is for certain, it's unlikely I'll ever be bored...

Additional Links

Lyricist.com   - A great songwriters resource site, lot's of information and some great articles
Songwriters Guild of America
- Popular professional songwriters organization and resource
CCMA - Canadian Country Music Association
- Canadian Professional organization for country music
CMA - Country Music Association
- American professional organization for country music

HTMLgoodies Web design site - A fantastic first starting point, I cut my teeth on and still refer to this site occasionaly
Milonic menu system - A great menu system that I used for this this site

Sky & Telescope Beginners Page - A great resource from this magazine for those contemplating this incredible hobby
Writers Digest Magazine - A good resource for writers starting out and those already well on their way

American Orchid Society - An organization to promote Orchid culture, hybridizing and species conservation
Institue for Shamanic Studies - An institute founded to preserve and teach the shamanic tradition
Landmark Education - The Forum, Advanced Course & Self Expression Leadership Program amongst others