The Life of Duncan

"Personal Purity, Family Unity, Selfless Service"

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Project X Parties Targeted at High School-Aged Kids

Last week I was shown this flier that some of my friends (high schoolers) had received, and I learned they had paid $10 each to go to this “party”, I felt sick. Look here and tell me what you think/feel when you see it (I had their mom txt me the picture):


Victoria’s Secret Giveaway?! So then I got online and did some research about this “party” to confirm my suspicions. Here’s what I found:

“Midnight Kiss and Project X – 2013”

I am enraged at the blatant frontal assault made on high school students (or others of that age range…)! As if they don’t already have enough to worry about and clog their minds with.

I encourage all to read this article on the dangers of these “Project X” type parties, modeled after the 2012 movie “Project X”. Coincidentally rated R! (no surprise there…)

Beware Of ‘Project X’ Parties

This is not just child’s play. This is serious stuff, and extremely dangerous – and it’s happening right here in Happy Valley – our beautiful city of Provo.

Just check out this article: Teen Killed at “Project-X” Inspired Party

We CAN overcome. We can stand as witnesses as the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I stand as a witness that men can change. I stand armed and ready to battle the evil one, because it hurts to be caught in Satan’s web. It hurts! And I will fight and I will testify until the fight is over however long that may be.

This licentious sleeze can so easily pull us in if we are not aware. As I am speaking from personal experience I can say I know. Satan wants us. He is gathering his forces just as Christ is gathering His. The time is NOW (and every moment is NOW) to decide who’s side we’re on. Who’s on the Lord’s side? I AM. Gina is. Are you?

(p.s. Please pardon if there are any ads below…they sometimes appear unintentionally…love to get rid of them…)


Spinet Elbows Replacement

Spinet pianos, which were built between 1929 (The beginning of the Great Depression) and the 1970s, are the shortest pianos and were typically built with less expensive materials so that piano players during the post-Depression era could still enjoy music on a budget.

Here I’ll go into some detail about replacing what are called “elbows”, which, having been made with an early form a plastic, over time begin to disintegrate, crack and fall apart, rendering the keys un-playable. In some cases the entire set of elbows should be replaced, as was the case on this Mehlin & Sons spinet.

It is a multiple step process including over 800 individual adjustments.

First, the elbows on the left (originals) are in tact. The ones on the left I have already broken on purpose in order to remove.


As you can see all the action is below the back of the keys:


This is the action outside of the piano so that I can more easily remove all of the original plastic elbows.


This is a picture of the new poly carbonate elbows installed onto the stickers:


Picture of the spinet piano without the action and it:


And finally this gives you an idea of the new elbows installed into the piano:


Before the processes through individual adjustments (regulation) must be done to each key to ensure that it plays properly, or has the right “touch”. All in all this process takes about 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Is it worth it? In some cases it is, and in other cases it may not be. Make sure and consult with a qualified field technician to decide if this process is worth it on your piano.

Late Autumn

Had lunch today with my friend, Ben Fisher, as is our every other week custom. Also had a bunch more response regarding my post on 10/27. Here’s a message I got on Facebook from a friend in our Orem ward:

“Duncan, I’ve followed your blog for a while, since you are my FB friend. I want to reply to your post from Sunday. I am so glad that you do not bury your past. We need more people who are willing to show real life examples of how the Atonement works. In all aspects, including addiction. In the church, we tend to speak in broad and general terms, and by doing so, it is difficult to see the practical applications of the Atonement. I am grateful to you for your courage and honesty. I hope you keep up the good work, and I hope that you will come and speak to our ward. We miss you, and your keyboarding skills.”

I’ve left out her name in order to maintain confidentiality, but I dearly appreciate this feedback. I too hope I get a chance to speak in their ward, particularly since Gina and I have such warm and fond memories. (I’m feeling love right now…) 🙂

Here a few fun pics from today:
Pajama day at school for Chloe (left):


I thought this was a pretty cool photo of a missing grand piano lid hinge pin:


Take a look at these most amazing and beautiful colors that are holding out here in our neighborhood, Marrcrest:




Invitation to speak to another group

I had the opportunity to speak with Robert Cummings, the coordinator for the new BYU addiction recovery 12 step meetings, over the phone for about 25 minutes today. I shared my story with him and I told him about my presentation to Bishop Smith’s elders quorum. It was very inspiring. I also asked him for his input on the feedback that I received on Sunday. His response was, “There would be no 12-Step meetings if that were true.” And then he proceeded to ask me if he were to line up an opportunity for me to speak to a combined Elders Quorum/Relief Society at BYU would I be willing to come in and share the same things I did in my first presentation. I answered with a resounding yes!

Throughout the day I performed to in-home piano tunings, then had an appointment at the chiropractor, Dr. Lowry.

In the evening time we had dinner together as a family, then we had family home evening, then the girls got ready for bed, we prayed, then watched a Kid History and one rainbow cake video :-). (The girls just love watching those videos.)

p.s. Here’s a cute video from the other day when Charlotte wanted to show me her “Super duper game

Feedback About My Music and Addiction Recovery

Today I had a well-meaning member of our LDS community (ward) give me some (unsolicited) feedback about (1) my organ playing in church and (2) my openness about my pornography addiction and subsequent recovery, two topics which are near and dear to my heart.

We spoke for about an hour, so I won’t recap the entire conversation, but this is the essence of the feedback he gave me:

#1 – RE: My Music – I play too loud (he couldn’t even hear himself singing), use too many shrill tones and play too ornately adding extra notes, interludes etc. He referred to this as “priestcraft”. “They can get away with this kind of playing at General Conference” (fancy arrangements, interludes, etc) but, according to him, it’s not appropriate for Sacrament Meeting.


#2 – RE: My Addiction Recovery – He said, “If I were you I would bury your past deep and leave it far behind you. Don’t discuss it with your kids. Don’t share it or talk about it. Bury it and move forward. It’s not who you are.”


To start with, I believe he shared this with all the love of which he was capable.  I’m sure he has the best of intentions. and it certainly has given me some things to think about.  I’ve given both of these questions much thought, even before he spoke with me, for many years.  He did said that this was simply his opinion and that I should ask others what they think after telling them that it was him that told me, and just see what they say.

So I did. I took his feedback seriously, and I asked around.

Regarding my music; after speaking to a fellow musician/composer/arranger in the ward (Christian Hansen), I came to the conclusion that older ears (this man is a very successful financial planner in his 70s) are most likely more sensitive to the higher pitches and louder tones.  I will take this Into consideration as I’m accompanying the singing.  Point well taken.

Regarding my openness in sharing my path to recovery, however, I told him that I completely disagree (which I do).  Actually quite the contrary I have been told by many many people that my sharing has opened them up and changed their lives.  I asked Dave & Laurel Smith (neighbors to the north) what they thought, and their feedback was that after I spoke in their ward the response was EXTREMELY positive and that they received this feedback from MANY individuals in their ward who have commented since I spoke.  Dave actually wants me to come back next year to speak with their new group of students.

I spoke with another individual in our bishopric, Andrew Clark, about both questions, and his feedback was that he feels like we need MORE openness like that, more sharing, more discussion and specifics…and coincidentally that he wouldn’t change anything about my playing.

Lastly I spoke with two other people and got the same feedback regarding openness with my path to recovering from addiction.  It’s faith-promoting and inspiring to them and to Gina and I, to see the change that has taken over my life (our lives) as well as those whom we interact with and testify to.

I mean, maybe I’m off my rocker.  Maybe I should “bury my past” and “never talk about it with my kids or anyone else.”….

For those of you who read this I’d welcome your feedback and input on the subject matter as well.  Do I bury it or share it?  And what should others do who either have success in breaking free from the cycle of addiction, or are currently struggling in addiction of any type?  To bury it, or to talk about it?  That is the question.  🙂  Thanks for your input.

p.s. We had a fun dinner tonight: popcorn and smoothies (green smoothies, like the Blendtec kind :))

photo 1

photo 2

Doesn’t she just have kind eyes? And a kind countenance? Love this woman

Tuning Class, Badminton and Gardening

I had #2 of 6 piano tuning classes this morning from 8-10 with Keith Kopp.  After 10 years of doing this I feel like I am really beginning to get it!  Yay.  It was fun to come home and practice my aural tuning lesson on our Yamaha console:

See the rather complex instructions on the paper (intervals and their checks)

See the rather complex instructions on the paper (intervals and their checks)

Gina sure takes beautiful pictures :)

Gina sure takes beautiful pictures 🙂

The girls were playing with Addy so Gina and I took advantage of the time together and…played badminton.  Yep.  And gardened.  That’s it.  🙂

Gina 1

GIna 2

We found this beautiful shrivelled up tomato as we were cleaning out the garden:

gina 1 tomato

(Can you tell the pics that Gina takes from the ones that I took?  Yeah, she’s good!)

Tonight Gina and I went to the operetta Die Fledermaus @ BYU.  Now that I know the story a little better I think the next time around would be even more enjoyable.  Very nice work by Lawerence Vincent, Kory Katseanes and the whole cast and crew.

It was pretty funny, and well done (in spite of the fact that I slept through about 30 minutes of the 3 hrs show…hey I went to bed at 2 am yesterday!)

Thanks Morgan (Clark) for watching the girls tonight!

Dr. Lowry, DC and Tuning

I’m feeling blessed. I got to go to the chiropractor this morning. It was the first time I had been to this particular chiropractor. His name is Dr. Bruce Lowry in American Fork. When I got to his office I saw a sign in his front lawn and I recognize the name on it:

Ha! That’s pretty cool that my friend, and piano mover Bill Thresher is running for mayor of American Fork!

Tuned 2 pianos today in the afternoon – I really love the work that I do. I feel so blessed to be able to provide a good living and enjoy my work.

We got to go to Grammy’s house tonight and watch the BYU/Boise game on TV. The girls love having fun playing with cousin Molly!



Beautiful sunset…


Feeling peaceful and blessed…

Another car crash?!

You gotta be kidding me? Yeah, but this time it wasn’t my fault…really! Read the report:


And here are the pics of the car that hit me. It turned out to be a Nissan Pathfinder, the same car that I had noticed driving too slow and drifting earlier:


And my car (The trunk doesn’t latch anymore, and that’s where I keep all of my piano tuning tools.)


Dropping it off at the shop ($1,516 repair estimate!) (We’ll see if it’s a total loss or not…hope not):


My rental car (Ford Escape) after transferring all my tools for work:


The I went to Vinny’s to work on the New England piano:

(Then the head on my tuning lever stripped!… So I went ahead and order new one ($50+) but I’ll have to figure out what to do about my 3 private tunings tomorrow….maybe hopefully borrow or rent a tuning lever from BYU Piano Shop…)

Evening time drive over the Alpine Loop:




And dinner at Cafe Rio (we still had about $100 left in our food budget and it’s already the 24th! Cool.
Nick Hanks, my home teaching companion, and I had a visit with the Delgadillo’s tonight.

Then afterwords Gina and I received a phone call from someone from Dave Smith’s ward, who had some questions about my recovery from from my addiction to pornography. It was really neat because Gina and I got to talk together and both share our points of view with this wonderful young man. We spent about an hour and 20 minutes answering his questions and sharing our stories. It was really cool! Afterwords Gina said that we should going to public speaking circuit sharing our message of hope and recovery! Good stuff!

Jack O Lanterns and More

I feel blessed! Tuned 6 pianos today at the MTC and came across one more broken string #13 on a Yamaha P22:


That’s cool. I just call up Mapes and they ship them to me. So simple now that I’ve done it a handful of times.

I placed an order from Schaff for a Mannino String Hook (on Russell Sorensen’s recommendation) along with another handful of supplies that I’ve been needing. Yay feels good!


I also had lunch with the Managing Director of the MTC, Richard Heaton. When I asked him his advice on being successful he said:
“Smile, don’t sweat the small stuff, and live so that you always have the Holy Ghost, cause if you don’t have the Holy Ghost I don’t know what to tell ya.” Really neat guy!

Lastly, I went to Mutual tonight (YM/YW combined). We carved pumpkins and brought them to about 11 families that live in our neighborhood. It was fun!



Lastly Gina texted me this saying and said, “Love it!”


Texted it to mom and she said based on their experience at Pine Knoll and contrastingly at The Bungalow it is true.

String Tying

Had quite a successful and fulfilling day today work-wise. Started out by doing a bass string splice on a 1978 Kimball console (buying a new string would have been twice the price). And it turned out sounding nice without any buzzing, even though the splice is in the speaking length of the string.

Check it out:


Then I went to Dr. Irene-Peery Fox’s house to tune her Steinway D (the newer one) and fix a string on her Steinway B. I consulted with Russell Sorensen and ended up splicing that string as well, even though it was a treble string. It ended up turning out really nice.

My knot is on the left, and one that Russell did a few months ago is on the right:


This shows the tuning pins, paying particular attention to get them back to the original height. Turn both pins out 1 full turn, take out the becket of the longer string, turn that pin back in one 1/2 turn, put becket back in:


Basically you’re taking string length from the longer string and pulling it around the hitch pin so that your splice ends up in the non-speaking length if the v-bar. Straighten the section of string out that was around the hitch pin, splice the strings together (on the far side of the piano) .


Slip the coil back under the v-bar, attach to the tuning pin and carefully pull up to pitch making sure the splice is on the non-speaking side if the v-bar.

Anyway, the tutorial might be incomplete but the end result was nearly perfect (except it forgot to lift the string to mate it to the hammer on the speaking length of the string (next time I go ill do that :)). Thanks for the help Russell!

The last 2 1/2 hrs of my day were spent with Keith Kopp installing a spider dolly to a Hailun 6′ grand piano at BYU. It normally wouldn’t take that long except we had a devil of a time getting out one of the casters…(poor engineering in that regard)

Here’s Keith as we figured out how to get our tote cart back to the HFAC in my Camry. Good thing we weren’t traveling too far. Job done! 🙂


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