Saturday, December 29, 2007

Top 5 Favorite Guitarists

OK... for all you music geeks out there. It's your chance to list your top 5 favorite guitarists. First of all, let me say that my choices are probably not the "traditional" favorites. I don't particularly enjoy blues or straight-up rock, so you won't find any Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn on this list. My "sound" is more along the lines of alternative guiatar, with plenty of atmospherics; I appreciate the guys who can create a tone. Here are mine, with expanded notes and ruminations.


1. The Edge from U2

Otherwise known as Dave Evans, this guy is my favorite, hands-down. He took what had been done before him and created his own sound. Using plenty of effects, no doubt, The Edge has created some of the most beautiful soundscapes on record. He uses tons of pedals. His sound is huge, with effective use of echo. I'm sure most of you have heard U2 (!!), but if not, be sure to listen to their work on headphones. My favorite album of theirs to hear Edge's work is 1984's "The Unforgettable Fire."


2. Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead

I first noticed JG as a guitarist on his own after listening to "The Bends" in my college apartment in 1995. It was an awesome album and still stands as my favorite of theirs today. Greenwood can make some amazing sounds come out of his guitar. His work is complex and fits in nicely with Radiohead's experimental nature. Listen to "Just" from "The Bends" to hear this guy's chops. J. Greenwood is sure to be a legend.


3. Johnny Marr from The Smiths

Yet another Johnny on the list. This guy is an icon. He has created some of the classics of late 80's/early 90's British alternative music. His sound is highly melodic. Marr pioneered much of the "alternative" sound of his era, using effects to make new sounds. His guitar work is sometimes referred to as "jangly." One of the best examples of his unique sound is the song "How Soon is Now?" Johnny Marr is currently playing in the band, Modest Mouse.


4. Brian Futter from Catherine Wheel

Brian Futter is one amazing guitarist. His style is sometimes called "shoegazing." Using large amounts of distortion, reverb, and echo, his work can make it seem like a "wall of sound" is being created. CW has a brutal sound, at times, and Futter's work shines through. Their most well-known song is "Black Metallic." If you want to hear a showcase of the guitarwork, I would recommend the song, "Strange Fruit," or "Crank."


5. Julian Swales from Kitchens of Distinction (he's on the right)

Probably the least-known of all the guitarists listed here, Julian Swales deserves some recognition, nonetheless. His sound is characterized by a swirling, chiming, echo-laden vibe. He was also grouped into the "shoegazing" class of music. Extremely atmospheric, Swales sounded like several guitarists layered over each other, even though it was just his one-man show. Many of his songs have such a chaotic, blisteringly beautiful sound, especially on headphones, where you can hear all the little details. Check out the songs, "When in Heaven," "Sand on Fire," and "Mad as Snow."

***** Honorable Mention: Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine; John Squire from The Stone Roses; Dean Garcia from Curve; Jez Williams from Doves; Graham Coxon from Blur; John McCollum from The Afghan Whigs; Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth; Andy Dunlop from Travis; Cammy from The La's; Joey Santiago from The Pixies ******

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Morbid Marketing

I was driving past Kennesaw Memorial Park & Mausoleums today and couldn't help but notice the phrase posted below their road sign.

"2008 Calendars are here."

I blinked and smiled. Similar in odd nature to the puzzling phrase on Marietta Middle School's road sign (blogged about by KTB awhile back), this is one that'll make you wonder. I could only imagine what some of that calendar's pages would look like:



I mean, I know they're a business and probably trying to just raise some funds, but I can't imagine this one jumping to the top of the NYT BestSellers List.

Apologies to all who have this heartwarming item hanging in their home or office.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

B2FII: The Poster



Yes, another post. And I'm really not trying to kiss up for B2FII. Really.

The Battle in our Hearts


I wanted to squeeze in one more post before B2FII. Do I qualify?? Kidding.

In our small group, we often are discussing something where the root cause of the problem is discovered to be: CONTROL. This really is the underlying root cause of everything in our lives --- who is in control? Ironically enough, Janet Jackson might've been a genius by naming her first album this very thing.

I was watching something on the History Channel last night (I never thought I'd end up watching this channel, but here I am in 2007, doing just that. I'm an old man) about time travel. It was documenting humankind's fascination with going forward or backward in time. There was some juicy stuff about Einstein's theories and the nature of wormholes (I never though I'd be interested in this subject in high school, but here I am in 2007, doing just that. I'm a nerd). All very interesting. Toward the end, they started talking about the possibility of going back in time to change the future. "Would it ever be possible," they said. "What would the consequences be for tweaking with past events," they inquired. Very, very intriguing stuff, indeed.

So, this made me think about our current status in the world's history. We live in the age where we've discovered so many things that once were mysteries to peoples of the past. Cures to diseases. The ability to predict weather systems with a fair amount of accuracy. Why things act the way they do. Of course, there are still some things out of our reach. The cure to the common cold. The ability to travel back in time to change our past.

These things are out of our control. Especially with time travel, I strongly believe we'll never gain that ability. This is one of those things that fall in the category of "out of reach." There are things that are God-abilities and things that are human-abilities. God controls time and space. Einstein might have discovered more than any other person in this area. We gained insight that is astounding. But we are limited to the knowing of it; we aren't allowed access to the altering of it.

On the History Channel show, there were so many scientists and professors brimming with excitement and hope at the possibility of time travel. There would be so much that could be controlled if this came to pass. We could be in charge of our destinies, both then, now. and later. We would essentially be our own gods.

However, with the way things are created, we are subject to the Lordship of Jesus. We either reject God as God or we accept God as God. This is the battle we face, day to day, in our own hearts. Who is in control? Who are we trusting? We either accept God and rely on his timetable, his will, his way or we rely on our own way. This is the way the world is running, headlong. Humanism has great belief in itself. Arrogance is at an all time high, in terms of what humans can accomplish. I believe we keep seeing little cracks in the wall, little mistakes, fallacies, that humans create, because of our choices. We continue, as a planet, to hurtle through history with the belief that we can make things right, we can find perfection on our own. I don't think so.

We must accept who we are and who God is. The miracle is that by doing this (admitting our shortcomings and our weaknesses), we begin a transformation. We don't end the process by accepting who we are as fallen humans. God begins to weave in his mercy to create a new person, one that becomes a renewed image of God's redemptive perfection. I know I have to choose God's way with each new dawn. Easier said than done, though. The battle rages on for each of our lives.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Novel Update

Word count: 5136. I sit 11 days until the end of the month. I'm a hair past the 1/10th mark. I know I should be just past 25000 to be "on track." Oh well. I'm happy with the small progress. This thing is a jump-start on more to come. If I'm this far by month's end, it's more than I had at the beginning.

Writing is taking one step at a time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Recapturing the Wonder

The title of this blog is such a cliche. You've heard it countless times, used in different ways, for different reasons. It can be cheesy and overly sentimental. However, I thought of these exact words this morning when I realized something.

Laura was reading to me. It was the lesson she had prepared for the Garden at church (our children's ministry). She was talking about how there are many good people in our lives, but that Jesus was different, in that he was more than a merely good person. She spoke of the Transfiguration. I remembered hearing about that when I was young. Who knows when I first heard it (probably in Sunday school in elementary school)? She spoke of Jesus being the Son of God. She spoke of how we are invited into a friendship with Jesus and how special that is.

And I just felt normal. "Yeah, yeah, that's true," I thought to myself.

I told her it was good and well-done (which it was). But I was sitting there thinking about how nonchalant I had become. Yes, I know all these things and I believe them. But, I sit there hearing all the facts and it doesn't move my heart. All these magnificent things don't cause my heart and imagination to soar. It worries me.

Is it because I've heard it since I was a kid, surrounded by it at home and once a week at church (or more if there was VBS [Vacation Bible School; I don't want to assume everyone knows] going on that week)? Is it because I'm not connecting to God through the Holy Spirit as often as I should? There's nothing major in my life that has disappointed me recently. There's nothing I'm bitter at God about that I can put a finger on. Is it just a collective bum-out at life, in general?

I don't know.

I want to recapture that sense of realizing who God is, day to day. Sure, I know it's like any relationship, to a degree. You don't live in a constant state of high. But, I remember a time when I was young (junior high) and there was a girl who I noticed. I remember knowing about her and wanting to meet her. I remember finally forging a relationship, to the point where if we saw each other in passing, she would say 'hello.' I remember the thrill of realizing that I had come from a place of not being in relationship at all with this girl to being in a place where she actually knew who I was. It made my spirit leap. My head was dizzy. It was the greatest thing in the world.

If I can just have that light dawn on my heart again, I know a revitalization will take place. It's not all about feelings or living on mountaintops, but these things are an integral part of a vibrant walk with Christ through life.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Novel Progress

2060 words. That's where I sit early Monday morning. It feels great to be writing. Words are flowing and characters are becoming more concrete, through words and actions. Mr. Thelonious Monk and Mr. John Coltrane have provided the sweet background music tonight. Things are good.

Although I'm behind on my word count (should be up to 6670 by now), I'm happy. Coming off a busy weekend of coffee shop work and helping around the house with a not-feeling-so-good wife, this is what accomplishment against the odds is all about.

Bottom line is I'm writing a story, finally. The pressure of deadlines and word counts is an awesome motivator. This story and these characters have been rolling around the landscape of my mind for a decade now and they're starting to get bored in there. I'm glad to assist their escape.

This week, we enter into "Holiday Time" at work. Things will become busier and busier. God preserve my mind.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Listen Up

So, in the spirit of NaBloPoMo, I'm writing a post today. Thank the Lord I didn't sign up for it! However, several of my friends and fellow blogmies (surely some of which are reading this now) have taken this challenge, for better or worse. I have, for some crazy reason, decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo (see post below). I'm excited and encouraged because I did start off the month-long challenge with a bang, by writing 1303 words of the novel last night. I would love to keep up the pace each day, but that will take a miracle. It was thrilling to see the words coming from the tapping on the keyboard and characters coming to life on the page. Even if I don't write the full 50,000 (!!) words by month's end, I'll have more than I ever would without the deadline setting.

As I was thinking about writing a book, an image of Barnes and Noble came into my mind. I love the place. I could camp out there all day and read stuff (I actually used to camp out there for 8 hour blocks at a time...but I was employed by the company and had to curb my reading on the job. But I digress..). I'm amazed when I go there at all the books which keep coming out. Even more astounding is the website. Millions of books. When you look at media, in general, there is a gluttony of words and information. With iTunes, cable TV, bookstores, the internet, TiVo, Netflix..... we are gorged with talking from all sides. I think, if all these people are talkng, who's listening? Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame" theory plays some part in this seemingly massive quest for significance that all these authors/artists are pursuing. But, hey, I'm in the race, as well. Trying to write a novel. Switchfoot has a song, "Adding to the Noise." It seems like I'm doing just that. I hope, like all these other writers, that what I have to say will make some difference or have some effect on people.

Since we, collectively, are "the audience" for all this media, then we are the listeners. So, yes, there are those that talk (so many) and those that listen. But we that listen have so much to listen to. It can seem like we're just trying to keep up with all the important things that we should know. How often does God get drowned out in all this ocean of sound? I need to stop and listen to the still, small Voice.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stunner: U2 Live, 2001, Boston

This is what I'm talkin' about. This band is the one to see live before you pass from the Earth.

John Mark & Bekah, it's on your list. You betta.

Here is just a reminder of why they're still the best around. The song is somewhat of an intercession/prayer for a friend they knew growing up in Ireland, who was addicted to heroin. A beautiful song. It gives me chills. Note: this song came out 23 years ago!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just Do It.


I don't know if this will be a total disaster or not, but I've signed on.  You see, I started writing a screenplay back in 1997.  I had about 1/3 of it finished, but it just fizzled.  Dialogue was problematic.  I recently (honestly, about 2 years ago) decided to give this story a "go!" in the form of a novel, instead.  I have 2 (that's right: TWO) paragraphs of a rough draft done.  Yikes.  I know, I could pass blame on the fact that I have a pretty busy, demanding job, an amazing wife, and 2 great kids.  Who has time to write?  Well, I just don't want to go the excuse route.  This little venture seems a great Focus/Motivation technique.  We shall see.  

It's right at the beginning of Holiday season at work (read: I work in a retail environment), which can be creeping insanity.  However, I've survived this time period 4 previous years, including 1 as a manager.  

To say it might be a challenge is an understatement.  Let the games begin!  

"Once upon a time....."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Real-Life Far Side Comic













Time: 10:50pm, 10.20.07

I was driving back from work last night.  Not quite into my neighborhood, I was weaving through the streets toward Lee's Crossing.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see something quickly moving in the dimness.  I put on slight brakes.  Then I notice it's a bunch of deer.  Pretty cool.  I slow down and 3 of them dart across the road. 

I was about to go forward when I noticed there was 1 deer left.  He was hesitant of the car, I'm sure.  Without fully thinking my actions through (and probably because I had just been at work for 9 hours), I gave this animal a quick flash of my bright headlights.  You know, like a signal you give to some other driver that it's OK to go?  Problem is, I was dealing with a deer.  It's like I was saying, "Hey, you go ahead, buddy.  Catch up with your four-legged hoofed brethren."  He waited a second, then trotted across the road.  I put my foot on the gas.  I then realized I had given a deer my brights.  Sad thing is:  I used a modern method of automobile communication with an animal.  Cool thing is:  The deer understood it.  


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

'Stache


Ladies, I'm sorry for being a bit biased, but I have to say to all the men:
"Begin the lip rugs now - let the revolution begin!"
Get those things growing.  Who's with me? 

Thoughts on Apologetics

I was thinking today about a conversation I was having with a somewhat new friend.  Granted, it was a "cyber conversation" (blogmies, you'll understand..... we don't talk in "real life," we're just shy hermits who shimmy 'round the 'Net too much.  please no) but it's a topic that led me into further thought on my own.  I always tend to come back to the subject of free will (see archived posts for several more on that one).  It's fascinating and the root cause of so much of who we are in relation to God.  It's central to our identity.  


I was saying in the conversation that I was glad God looked at the inside of our hearts instead of how we physically appear.  Particularly, I was speaking in reference to how we have a "casual" look at Riverstone, for the most part.  We don't have to put on a suit on Sundays to look "approved" for church.  Or smile a white smile to everyone to assure them that "we're ok!"  God doesn't judge by those standards and essentially looks right through the facade.  


However, I was thinking that I don't like leaving the impression that God just looks at our hearts and that's the end-all.  If we just have "good" hearts and we're not particularly "bad" people (I really do love using those quotation marks.  Sorry, I like 'em) that's what really matters. We just need to have that human goodness and we'll get by. Right?

It struck me then that the main thing God is looking for is the spirit of Jesus in our hearts. Without Jesus, God cannot look at us and have relationship. Our sin makes it impossible for Him. Impossible for God? Ridiculous, you think. Nothing is impossible with God, I thought. It's that holiness factor, though. This is something that can be difficult to explain when having conversation with people. God, in His holiness, cannot abide by sin. Therefore, we are out of relationship from the get-go. Does this mean that His heart isn't for us or that He doesn't yearn for us? NO. God most certainly, and with a deeper love that I can fathom, does desire for us to come to Him and be made one.  That's the whole reason God sent Jesus to die in our place so salvation could be available to us.  Jesus is the bridge of holiness for us;  He satisfies our debt by death and He satisfies the "holiness" factor that we can never attain.  Therefore, God sees Jesus (who He is head over heels about) in our place when He looks at us.  

The usual next step in a conversation would be about God allowing sin in the first place. Why would He even let it get to this point that we would be separated? And there we travel back in a circle to the first thing I mentioned about free will. God has to give us free will or we would be automatons. Does a man who keeps a woman locked in his basement, handcuffed, and still calls her his "wife" really love her? Obvious no. Yet that is what we would be if we had no free will. Would we really love God if we had to? That would be unfair to us and God would be fooling Himself. So, no, free will has to be the standard. God risks enough for us to be capable of the highest good or the lowest, most despicable evil. That's the gamble. He respects us enough to let that be an option so we can choose.

I know much of this will be stuff you might already know or agree with. Maybe so. But, if not, maybe it will stir some new questions or thoughts in your heart. I know it was reinvigorating for me to connect these dots once again. It makes it fresh.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kid Update 2007



OK, kids are the ones that keep us fresh, right? I can vote for that with an emphatic YES.

We seem to have a daughter with an emerging case of OCD on our hands. Zoe is persistent, at times, in how things should be....as she believes they should be. The following picture makes wonderful sense after you know what she's saying. Here's how it went:

Zoe: These pacies don't match!

Me: It's ok, though. They're alright.

Zoe: I just don't understand..... (said with a very dramatic, depressive tone)

*******

Earlier today, as I was home watching the kids, Henry was exploring our living room when I was heating up my lunch in the kitchen. I took a glance across the room to make sure he was OK. I saw something dark green-colored below his lip. A bit panicked, I ran over and looked at him. Was it a pen he chewed? No. A crayon? Nope. Then I saw it....... a roach was lying beneath the TV. Something was missing on this little bug..... Henry started his journey toward Survivor Man today. [Laura, I'm so sorry, but I couldn't help but share our joy... :)]

Kids: A sure-fire antidote to apathy and boredom.

p.s.  It is Henry's 1st B-day today!  Hey oh!
p.s.s.  Someone with more Blogger Skillz can show me how to position the pictures where I want them.  They always go wherever they wish.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Comic Gold



Although I've missed the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release date by 6 months & 13 days, there is no better time to sing the praises of RAISING ARIZONA. If you have not seen this, it must be included in a future installment of B2F. Quirky and comic book-like, you will have trouble not quoting the genius dialogue. I have seen this more than any other movie and when asked what my favorite movie is, I'm hard pressed to top this gem. Nicholas Cage's hair is mind-blowing.

The line about Yoda pajamas is amazing.

If that intrigues you, more power to you - go rent it. If that revolts you, I don't what else we have to talk about.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Where idea becomes reality: B2F




Just a sketch. I cannot capture the feel of the evening. We ate chips until the dip turned into a form of plastic.
We laughed at old memories. We didn't communicate like we do on our blogs - sometimes there were uncomfortable silences. We made geekball references to the frustrations of word verification. We enjoyed those that attended and mourned those who couldn't make it (for various reasons). Fear not - this was but the first B2F.

If this was any measure, there will surely be more to follow. Here, here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

New favorite website: ListVerse

www.listverse.com
This site is awesome.  You can find out all kinds of information to tickle the brain.  
This takes Top Ten lists to another level.  

Phrase of our Times


I can't get this out of my head.  Laura and I laugh when we say this to each other.  

The situation that birthed this phrase is strange, and this is a winner in my book.  The tazed guy should copyright it.  And I have to get one of these bumper stickers.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Avoiding the Black Hole

One of the things that blows my mind when I think about it is the eternal nature of God. Our society grows more fast-paced and temporary, day by day. So much is disposable. While we live on this spinning planet, working out the victories and frustrations of life, God sits above it all, in a wholly different time-space. Here, from God's P.O.V., He sees it ALL. He not only sees everything in my life --- what's been and what will be --- but He sees every single human being's life, from beginning to end. He sees the beginning of human time and the end of it. To stretch farther, He sees before human time began and afterwards throughout eternity. It is truly mind-blowing.

I believe people sense the emptiness of much of our modern times. The "malaise," so to speak. When so much of the media is focused on celebrities, you can see where things are headed. They are our modern "gods," when we remove God from our lives. These people are built up into ideals which they cannot fulfill. I'm sure, in their heart of hearts, they sense how utterly silly it is when someone screams or faints in their presence. They must think, "What? It's just me. I know who I am and there's no use for that type of amazement." What's even more sad and dangerous is when a celebrity actually buys into the fantasy and believes themselves to be of such importance. This is when the ugly face of humanism shows itself naked; the behavior is linked in similarity to that of Lucifer, when that beautiful being decided that he wanted some of the glory due to God.  I hate to "go there," but look at the case of Paris Hilton. I'm not one to really follow her life, but it was hard to avoid when she was put in jail. Every form of media had something to say. Now, as for who Paris Hilton is and what she's famous for, that's where we find ourselves dumbfounded. She is not famous for anything, in particular, except that she's a celebrity. She's just famous. She, I believe, is the ultimate in emptiness. Her image is everything, she apparently has a very high opinion of herself and her opinion obviously is important, at least in her mind. She is a vacuous black hole of an ego.

Now I circle back around to make this point: God is all-consuming and eternal. God exists outside of our time and space, although He also interacts on our playing field, which is double amazing. God is WORTHY. We are not worthy of that sort of praise. Celebrities are not worthy of that sort of praise. We, as a people, are built to worship....something. When God is not on the radar, other things, people, and obsessions fill that space. It's a travesty. When the true identity of that object is revealed, the charade is up and we see it for what it is - not worthy. Not worthy of the time and energy we invested. I remember one girl growing up who loved the band, The Cure. I used to listen to them a good bit, too, back in the day. When I spoke to her years later, I asked if she still liked them. She commented that, no, she really didn't like them too much anymore and she had moved on to other music. She said that it was a sort of "high school" crush she had on them, but now it was gone. It's so funny to me to see how I can observe that pattern in my life. I have "crushes" on certain things, things that capture my attention for a brief spell then go out like a candle.

I am asking God that, by His grace, I will be able to focus my attention, my time, my energy on this earth toward eternal things. With the recent loss of Laura's sister, Bekah, it has forced me to put the brakes on life and examine what's important. Our lives here are out of our hands; we don't hold much control, if any. I want to discard the illusion that I call the shots. I want to embrace the reality that God is the Alpha and the Omega and I am a slight blip on the timeline of this earth's history. May I act and live wisely.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

...and now for something completely different....

....get your mind in the right place....early/mid-80's....prepare to have your jaw drop to the floor....

Hannibal would be chomping his cigar with satisfaction right about now.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Light in the Dark

There can be hope that, even in the darkest times (and usually even moreso), God is at work.

We have seen that this weekend. Laura's younger sister, Bekah, was in a terrible auto accident Saturday evening. Her car went off the road and in an attempt to correct this, she overcompensated and the car flipped. She suffered multiple broken bones (in the face, her ribs, and her arm),and her lungs were badly injured. She was airlifted from St. Simons/Brunswick to Savannah for their trauma unit's help.

We were in Athens, visiting my brother and his wife, when we heard the news. We left there and arrived in Savannah around 3 am. Laura went to the ER and I took the kids' to Laura's aunt's house.

We have been in and out of the hospital. The doctors tried to perform some surgery for a dissected aortic valve early Sunday morning. They stopped when Bekah's lungs weren't strong enough to handle it. She actually died and was revived with the shock paddles. When she was brought back to the ICU area, she once again flatlined but was brought back to life.

She is now on life support and her lungs are gaining strength. Her brain suffered some bruising, but no damage that can be detected. Her liver and spleen have stopped bleeding.

There has been a massive amount of prayer going up to the throne of God on Bekah's behalf. It is an amazing miracle so far to see her life sustained.

Please continue praying if you are reading this. We pray for her continued healing and for the glory of God Almighty to show through in Bekah's life. The Spirit of Jesus is mighty to save.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Henry: Walker in Training

Here is yet another video clip (can you tell this is kinda fun?) of our other superstar, Henry Taylor. He's up-and-coming and, by the looks of these moves, will not grow up in the shadows of his older sister.


video

Zoe as a cartoon character

My best friend and I had a ridiculous language we spoke with in junior high. Zoe has absorbed this native tongue and is in the fetal stages of speaking it fluently. A bit of silliness between Dad and daughter.

video

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Live Music: History

I was thinking about being a music lover..... and how many of my good friends (and fellow bloggers) are, as well. Thinking back on the concerts I've seen in the past, I was amazed at how many shows I've been to. I've decided to try and give a comprehensive list of who I've seen and where, in no particular chronological order. Here goes.... I might have to come back and update this post as I remember shows:

U2 - Georgia Dome (w/Public Enemy & B.A.D.II) , Death Valley (Clemson University; w/ Rage Against the Machine), Phillips Arena (2x, once w/ Institute)
MuteMath - JackRabbit Slims, 40 Watt (w/ The Working Title), The Loft, Variety Playhouse
Travis - The Tabernacle
Radiohead - The Masquerade
Afghan Whigs - Bowery Ballroom, Masquerade
The Sundays (w/ Luna) - Variety Playhouse
Sebadoh - 40 Watt
Yo La Tengo - Variety Playhouse, 40 Watt
Luna - 40 Watt
Third Day - Lakewood (I mean, HiFi Buys...)
The Cure - Lakewood
Coldplay - The Tabernacle
Catherine Wheel - Cotton Club
Moby - Bowery Ballroom
Blur - Roseland Ballroom
Jars of Clay - somewhere in NYC (can't remember), The Roxy
Massive Attack - The Roxy
Portishead - The Roxy
Joseph Arthur - Smith's Olde Bar
POD - some festival in Tennessee
Curve - The Masquerade
Delirious? - The Roxy
doves - The Roxy
Everyone - Trinity Vineyard Church
Amy Grant (1st concert ever) - Omni (R.I.P.)
Nirvana - Tallahassee Civic Center
Iona - that same festival in Tennessee
James - The Roxy
REM - some amphitheater in New Jersey
Sonic Youth - Legion Field (Athens)
Live - Legion Field, Athens (Athens)
Ten Shekel Shirt - Atlanta Vineyard, some warehouse in Athens
The Violet Burning - Atlanta Vineyard
Drivin' n' Cryin' - 40 Watt (I helped run the visual hoopla that looped on screens in the background)
The Flaming Lips - 40 Watt
Sting/Natalie Merchant - Lakewood
Brian Setzer Orchestra - Chastain Park Amphitheater
Weezer - Athens (Classic Center)
Cowboy Junkies - Georgia Theater
Luxury - some little place that used to be in Atlanta ("lizard"-something??)
Jets to Brazil - The Earl
DJ Logic - Georgia Theater

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Real Life certainly stranger than fiction...



Although I didn't personally witness this event, it takes the cake for surrealist piece of the day:

Giant Lego man found in Dutch sea
Tue Aug 7, 2007 4:56PM BST

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A giant, smiling Lego man was fished out of the sea in the Dutch resort of Zandvoort on Tuesday.
Workers at a drinks stall rescued the 2.5-metre (8-foot) tall model with a yellow head and blue torso.
"We saw something bobbing about in the sea and we decided to take it out of the water," said a stall worker. "It was a life-sized Lego toy."

A woman nearby added: "I saw the Lego toy floating towards the beach from the direction of England."
The toy was later placed in front of the drinks stall.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Classic Real-life Comedy

I was in line at Publix the other night. Grabbing some chicken tenders at their deli, I needed to pay for the poultry and get back to work. The kid in the checkout was helping the customer in front of me, and in the back of my mind, I'm sure I noticed the sweet track of music playing over the speaker system in the grocery: Seal's "Kiss From a Rose." What I then noticed was that as he was transitioning from ringing up the previous customer to ringing up my meal, he was mouthing words, while looking down. I thought, "what is he saying?" and "who is he talking to?" Then, to my horror and delight, I put 2 and 2 together. This young buck had Seal in his soul. The part of the song that he was so synched up to was (courtesy of www.lyricsmania.com):

"My power, my pleasure, my pain!!"

I moved to type the info into the debit card reader and my inner smile was lit up. Not only did the kid have a thin, gold chain around his neck, but I believe he had no clue that I saw his hidden drama. Was he up on a stage in his mind, wowing the crowd? Who knows. But I witnessed the awesomeness of that moment and it made me smile. It had a surreal, Napoleon Dynamite-feel to it. And knowing how those in-store music systems work, I'm sure at least 5-6 more fortunate customers had the odd pleasure of seeing the same thing.....probably that same day.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Concerts coming to ATL

Wow.... 3 great bands coming to ATL in the near future.....

Travis: July 29th - Tabernacle
Interpol: September 21st - Tabernacle
(show recently added to their tour...Atlanta wasn't on the original list I saw)

*new addition, as of 8.6.07* Mute Math - November 3rd - Tabernacle again!

Looks like I might be visiting the 'nacle.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

MiddleMeet

Is there any way to reconcile
heaven and earth?
Spirit realm exists apart
yet interacts with life on earth

Our spirits locked up in bodies
minds as battlefields
mix and mingle
they do

Jesus, can you bridge us
to the great Other?

Teach us to speak
Teach us to listen

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Simplicity

In lack of motion
verbosity
comes to a halt

peace found in
utter security

stillness
silence

God resides
deep inside

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Perfect Plot

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Observing the world around us today, I would say we are living in what's known as "the last days." I won't try to put any type of timetable on it, but it seems like we are on the precipice of those turbulent times. Reading the news or watching TV, there are "wars and rumors of wars." Our weather systems are in flux and we can't go too long without seeing some kind of storm that wreaks havoc. Lawlessness is most certainly the rule of the day. It appears many items on the "Book of Revelation checklist" will be checked, if they haven't already.

In church today, our pastor was talking about healing and how Jesus responds to faith. When someone is at the end of their rope and they are desperate for healing, they long for the release of healing. When that person puts full faith in Jesus, He responds with healing power. Today, so many are dealing with countless sicknesses, hurts, and diseases. Our world is ripe for healing. We are so close to being at the end of our collective rope.

Satan only wants to "kill, steal, and destroy." He is unleashing his greatest assault on the human race at this time. This is where we can go two different ways in how we respond. One path to take is the one of intimidation, fear, and hopelessness. This is the ultimate path that Satan wants us to go. At the end of this road is a lack of faith. We are left with frustration, anger, and emptiness. The other path is one of hope and faith. It's where we place our full faith in Jesus and we see the release of heaven on earth.

C.S. Lewis has said that because we can fathom the idea of heaven, this proves the existence of such a place. We can imagine many things in our minds and hearts. We can visualize a world where disease no longer takes a toll on the lives of those around us. We can imagine how wonderful that can be. However, in the day-to-day battle of reality, these dreams of perfection can fade. We can become saddled down with the slow drain of doubt and depression. This is our fight.

This is also where the beauty of God's perfect plot comes shining through. If Satan is intent on beating us up and destroying us, there will be no end to his pursuit. He will keep pushing it. Indeed, he will raise up an "antichrist," one who will appear to make everything well and good, one who will create a peaceful planet and the appearance of heaven. This antichrist will draw many away from their faith in Christ. However, many more will be drawn to the true power of Jesus as they see the facade of Satan's plan. As things continue to worsen, people will be drawn to the light of Jesus and his healing, where they will find rest and renewal.

Satan ultimately plays into God's hands with each turn. He keeps pushing people into hopeless corners, only for God to be waiting there for the weary soul with compassion and restoration. God cannot lose. Although we are living in intense times, we can believe that God has everything under control and that He is always working things out for good. We close our eyes and look into the future, imagining the day when the reality of heaven can be grasped.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

One little thing

Whoever makes children's clothes with those little snap buttons either hasn't actually had to dress their own child before or is just looking to add an unnecessary challenge into the lives of those who are already challenged with the task of child-rearing.

Zippers are so much better.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Humanness, Free Will, Blade Runner, and A Clockwork Orange

A conversation I had this past weekend has spurred my thoughts around what it is to be a human with free will. We are autonomous beings, given the right to make choices and decisions. It seems that God, far from being an overbearing control freak, respects us enough to give us freedom of choice. Instead of making us robots, God allows us the ability to choose what is right or what is wrong. We have the capacity for darkness, no doubt. It seems this is absurd, for God to allow the option of evil. However, the other option is for us to only be able to choose the good and that does not make for a legitimate, autonomous being.

God wants us to choose Him, just the same as if we are seriously smitten over another person and we want that person to love us back, by their own heart's choice. The majority of people want someone to love them back, but they don't want someone who has no choice but to love them. It seems cheap that way, for some reason, whereas if the person honestly loves us back, it's a wonderful, satisfying thing of beauty.

I'm reminded of two films, both of which are classics in the sci-fi realm (both of these films are based on classic novels, I might add). I love works of art that delve into themes of identity and the human dilemma. Often times, these are dark works, but by looking at the darkness, we can see our need for the light. One of these films, Blade Runner (which has a mention in a previous post on this blog.... see "Memories and the word, 'Buddy'"), is a foreboding drama, examining the world of androids and their struggle to find identity. The androids have implanted memories, but they believe themselves to be real people. One of the main characters revolts against his creator and murders him for not making him a human. I believe this film explores the real need we have, as humans, to make decisions and to be a unique person. We see the sadness of beings who are all set to "die" after a fixed lifespan and have no real life of their own. The film begs the question, "What does it mean to be human?"

The other film I mentioned was A Clockwork Orange. Ever the controversial movie, this is nonetheless a classic, challenging look into the nature of morality and free will. Upon its initial release, this film generated much public backlash for its gruesome and extreme violence, as well as its unconventional ending. There were some "copycat crimes," based on the movie, that caused the director (the late Stanley Kubrick) to regret having made the film and to stop its re-release in theaters. This is unfortunate, because it's actually an amazing study on the way we are created. This film, more than anything else, illustrates why we are given the right to choose, even if our choices are evil ones that cause harm to others.

At one point in the film, the main character, Alex, is given over to scientists who are trying an experimental way to curb bad behavior. They are forcing Alex to watch, on film, scenes of violence, over and over. Alex is then programmed to have a physical reaction of nausea when he sees these actions. When he is released back into society, he can't even function. When he sees violence, he vomits. Instead of making him a reformed human being capable of functioning in society, he is programmed to be sick and can't even choose otherwise. Is he now a better person? Is Alex now a "good" person? No, he is essentially a robot. In the end, when Alex's treatment is reversed, he is capable of once again inflicting evil on others. As a viewer, I felt that this was better than the other way, although the capacity for evil was present again.

I think we can have profound insight into God's point-of-view on this subject. God, too, could have made us to only choose good. However, in His wisdom, which we will never fully understand this side of heaven, He created us with the capacity to choose good or evil. It's a risk, no doubt, but it's one that God sees fit to sustain. I believe the reward God receives when we choose for His Kingdom is much greater and sweeter than if we had no choice in the matter at all.