Friday, February 28, 2003

Additions, subtractions, revisions, and reimaginations...

I threw in the last one in case i felt a little Tim Burton-y. (If you didn't get that, don't worry about it.)

So yeah, upon review of the "Overlooked Album list" I have to make some changes. The extensive noteriety of Kevin Max and Jars of Clay disqualifies them from the list, and the following are their replacements.

5) Model Engine, "The Lean Years Tradition": This is a fantastic album from a consistently good band. Back when they were Black Eyed Sceva (one of my fave Christian band names), they were rad, and this ablum continues the trend. Songs like "Hang you Upside Down" and "Anonymous F" are great, as well as "Reeperbahn" and its use of the phrase "there's a cigarette stuck in the mouth of an overpainted whore." My current favorite track, however, is "Scarred but Smarter", a song that hits closer to home as time goes by.... So yeah. Give this one a spin.

4) Guardian, "Buzz": When it comes right down to it, you just have to give props to big hair rock. This is my favorite overall record by this blue-collar rock band. When you listen to early Guardian, it's like the reincarnation of Stryper, but this album individualizes the band, and gives it a sound similar, but distinct. And really, "Lead the Way" is just a great rock song.

So there you go. Revision.

On the topic of music, I recently cleaned up at Grapevine, purchasing seven cassettes for fifty cents each. My new acquisitions, with commentary:
"No Place Like Home", Scarecrow and Tinmen--it's growing on me
"Livin it up Till I Die", The Electrics--if it's not scottish it's crap, laddie!
"American Standard", EDL--um, yeah... i'm not into screaming as much as I thought
"The Emperors New Band", This Train--outside of the title track and a cover or two, this should be considered a trainwreck
"Star-studded Super Step", Poor Old Lu--I tried, Trev, but I just can't connect with this band
Chris Taylor--the album with his chin on the cover; i like this guy, saw him in concert with Waterdeep at OBU a few years back
...and I can't remember the last one. sorry.


Hey, if you haven't already, check out Will Ledesma's Livejournal site. He's pretty funny. I enjoy him. And again, props for the use of the song "Let it be Enough" by Switchfoot. I love that song.

Oh, by the way, for those who haven't seen, Trev and I are starting our long-awaited Movie Review Site, called Better Than Critics. We will be covering both video and theatrical releases. My first reviews should be up as soon as I finish this post.

Any other news? Oh, yes. Big congrats and fanfare for Josh Cain, getting the lead in The Adding Machine. Much-deserved, bro. "Oh-pah!!!"

Okay, that's all.


What are you still doing here? The post is over... Go home... Go home. *walking away*

Monday, February 24, 2003

Another fun list...

Hey kids, just a quick hi, and another fun list to debate.

Oh, for the record, Will, you're the only person I gave a hard time to about the last one. Consider it a compliment.

Okay, here we go:


I came up with this yesterday while listening to some of these.

5) "Much Afraid", Jars of Clay--I know, I know, this shouldn't really be on the list, but compared to the success of the first JoC album, this one pretty much went by without a whimper. Correct me if I'm wrong (but have proof). However, this is possibly one of the most perfect albums in Christian music. As far as I'm concerned, there are few albums that, taken as a whole, can beat this one. However, because of the noteriety of the band, I had to knock it back to number five.

4) "Stereotype Be", Kevin Max--again, same issue; famous band or artist puts out a commercially disappointing disc. But you must listen to this one. After two or three times, you'll love it desperately. Kevin said once he was the John Lennon of DCTalk. An interesting thought, even though judging from the cover art, you'd guess David Bowie. But his work on this album is so much more than everyone gave him credit for.

3) "The Consolation of Pianissimo", Dear Ephesus--this is one of the truly great rock-emo albums of Christian music. Lyrically outstanding, musically strong. Even the design of the liner notes kicks tail. If you've really listened to this album, you'd know what I mean. If you haven't, you'll just have to go find it. But good luck.

2) It's a tie:
"Love is against the Grain", Dime-store Prophets: I recently rediscovered this gem, and was blown away by the power and relevance of the songs. Songs dealing with suicide, homelessness, depression, redemption, and guilt--meat and potatoes in a musical world full of junk food. There are a few weak spots on this album, but the standout tracks "Baby's Got a New Dress" (think Black Crowes rock-ballad) and the mind-blowing "Hitler's Girlfriend" make up for them by far. Stellar album.

"Sink or Swim", Waterdeep; "Live at the New Earth", Waterdeep: Okay, so it's a three-way tie. These two independently produced Waterdeep albums capture the early greatness of a truly great band. You're lucky to find either of these at your local record store, but if you do, buy them immediately. You will never regret that. There's too much to say, and too little time to say it. So just trust me. Wow.

And finally...

1) "Red Revolution", Shaded Red: This is probably one of the most underappreciated bands in Christian music history, and their talent deserved more recognition than they ever received. After their catastrophic car accident on a concert tour, and the loss of their drummer, they came back with one of the most perfectly fun rock albums i can remember. I listened to this album literally forty or fifty times before listening to anything else. Sadly, I let a friend borrow it and never saw it again. So now, it's legendary, in my mind. Every song incorporated horns without being ska (not that anything's wrong with that, Will, calm down), and carried a passion and urgency rarely seen in music, period. I wish we could have seen more from this band, but from what i can tell, they've fallen off the face of the earth. Alas.
You may have heard the title track, which begins, "This is a revolution/It starts with me and ends at the back of the church..." YEAH. That band. They're incredible.

There you go, kids. Your turn. My predictions? Trevor's list will have Poor Old Lu as three of the albums, at least, even though he's appreciated and praised them enough to make up for the rest of the world. Will's list? Five Iron, Brave Saint Saturn, any other side band involving Reese Roper, and The W's. Just kidding. Will has pretty good taste. Except for the W's. I'll never let him live that down.

Well, I have to go hunt for my own meat, so I'll see ya later.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The great big Daredevil Post

Why would I give a whole post to this movie? Because I can, folks. Just because I can.


So, to begin. Basic plot summary: Matt Murdock is a lawyer, who was blinded in childhood by a freak accident involving a forklift, conveniently placed barrels of highly toxic liquid, and lots of screaming. But there was an upside: this injury magically gave him a bat-like kind of vision using sound waves (did he say bat-like?). So he really can see, just not with his eyes. In fact, his vision looks an awful lot like the scene from X-men where Professor X searches for Rogue using the big round room. But we're not supposed to remember that. So yes, he can "see", he can hear, he can smell, all with super-sensitive abilities. Oh yeah, and he can sort of fly. Why? Who cares! Pass the popcorn.
So Murdock's a lawyer, assisted by Jon Favreau, who is not a moron, he just plays one in this movie. When a bad guy gets acquitted thanks to the influence of the MAIN BAD GUY Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan, why? Why?!?), then Murdock gets mean and angry and kills the guy in a bar. Along with everyone else in the bar. Single-handedly. (See: "Desperado") So Kingpin decides the only way to kill this vigilante Daredevil is to hire an equally over-the-top SECONDARY BAD GUY, a hit man called Bullseye, who has upon his forehead (gasp) a bullseye. This fella (Colin Farrell, why? WHY?!?) is a breath of hammy air in an already over-wrought picture, but we don't question that, because also introduced to the movie is the FEMALE LEAD. Fanboys worldwide, put your hands together for Jennifer Garner. Yowsa. Okay, so she's hot and athletic and everything. But after the blossoming romance, and obligatory love scene, her father is killed by (gasp) Bullseye, who uses (double gasp) Daredevil's weapon, thus framing him and making Elecktra (students of Freud, pay attention) vow to avenge her father's death by becoming Evil Elecktra. Or at least, Vicious, Hell-bent-on-revenge-but-still-super-hot Elecktra. Oh, and apparently, she can fly too.
So Elecktra fights Daredevil, stabs him in the upper chest, but he shakes it off because he's the HERO. Then Bullseye kills her, which makes Big Ben very VERY upset, so he kills Bullseye by throwing him through a stained-glass church bell tower window, onto an approaching vehicle (driven by Cipher of "Matrix" fame, who plays a newshound as paper thin as the rest of the characters). Then our hero says through gritted teeth, "Bullseye." I swear I'm not making this up.
Finally, we get to the last act of the movie, in which Daredevil charges up to the penthouse office of Kingpin and fights him. But of course, not until the dapperly dressed Duncan takes off his shirt and tie, and fights him in his Sonny Corleone wife-beater-and-suspenders ensemble, which is supposed to be cooler cuz it shows off his muscles. Then Daredevil breaks the mobster's knees (which is actually both cheesy and kinda cool at the same time), but doesn't kill him cuz "he's not the bad guy." After that, he makes his face look as hard-core as the music swells, before finally saying the ridiculous "Justice is served."
I don't know what happened after that, because at that point, I walked out of the theatre, thoroughly disgusted.

Well, that being done, here's what I actually liked about the movie:


Just kidding. Here we go:
--There was a lot of time spent on backstory, which is a staple in most comic based movies, but it's still sorta interesting. Of course the fact that Bullseye killed Daredevil's father was a little too Batman for me.
--The tone of the movie was a lot darker. A lot darker. The problem became that the movie tried to be so heavy and filled with pathos and darkness that it cracked under the weight and became foolish. But the first half of the movie really delivered the "tortured hero" bit pretty well.
--People died in this one. I know, I sound like a boy. But still. It moves the movie away from cartoon into more serious territory.
--Jennifer Garner. No, not for the obvious reason. But because she's a very strong female character who proves herself equal (if not superior) to the hero in abilities and devotion of purpose. This is no Lois Lane or Vicki Vale. She's more like Catwoman, but I think stronger and more impressive.
--The story structure was slightly better than average. Slightly. Okay, I take it back.

Here's the problems with the movie. In no particular order.

--Character development was poor. They set up Murdock okay, they did a decent job for Elecktra, but we get nothing on Kingpin, Bullseye, or any other supporting character. And those two especially are great actors given paper thin roles. We're just supposed to accept that they're both bad and not care why. The movie sets itself up as a psychological drama when it comes to the heroes, but ends up being a soap opera when it comes to the villains. And villains are SO much more interesting.
--The flying. Come on, kids. No one in this movie is supposed to fly. Okay, I know, it's not actually flying. But every fight scene is equipped with a Peter Pan-style gliding jump by one or all of its participants. There were too many wire-stunts in this movie, so many that it looked like the director just wanted to play with the equipment as much as possible.
--The pacing. To be consistent, the movie should have been two to two and a quarter hours long. But because it's a popcorn movie, it's totally jerky, taking perhaps too long with the relationship of the two leads, and not long enough with, um, the end. Screen-time of good Elecktra: thirty minutes or so; screen-time of Bad Elecktra: not even ten. As soon as she starts fighting, she gets herself killed. That was kinda anticlimactic. And there was no more buildup to the last battle than an 8-bit NES video game. Killed Bullseye? Then proceed to next boss.
--The dialogue. The first half of the movie was interesting without been too cheesy. But the second half of the film is just a cheesefest. With lines like "Bullseye" and "Justice is served", how can it not be? Really, it was the dialogue that finally drove me out of the theater shaking my head. I refused to sit and be patronized by an action movie. That's why I hated the last James Bond movie I saw. I felt talked down to the entire time. I'll put up with a lot, but I won't put up with that.

Overall, the last half of the movie sucked. To help you see this with me, the first half was "Batman", the second half was "Batman and Robin". Does that sum it up enough for ya?

So don't see it kids. If you must, make sure someone else is paying. And not someone you like.

Guess that's it. My big movie rant.


Screw the french.
Has it been eight days already?

Wowsa. Sorry kids.

Here I am in the public library, because their computers are infinitely faster than mine. How sad is that. But yes. So much easier to type here than at home also.

How is everybody? Good? That's good.

I need a job, folks. Any suggestions as to a career I should pursue? Lemme know.

I've gotten a few top fives or tens back already from y'all. Gimme more. In fact, email me any top five you like. I'll post my "top five" of them. Anything you got. And if you want your song list to be included, just lemme know.

So.... yah.... how's it going...

I'm working my way through Black House right now. For those of you who are not "in the know", it's Stephen King's follow-up to The Talisman. So far it's pretty good. No "Dark Tower", but solid King material.

Currently in the boombox: "Collaborations" by KJ-52. I've been spinning this disc most frequently. Good little album. Fun stuff. Yesterday, I listened to Steve Taylor's "Squint", PFR's best-of "The Late Great PFR", Seven Day Jesus' self-titled debut, Model Engine's "The Lean Years Tradition", and Jars of Clay's "If I Left The Zoo". I was on a domestic chore rampage. Actually made my bed and everything. So I had time for some tunes.

A Hard Day's Night is a good movie. Watch it.

The Ring is evil in its purest form. Don't watch it.

The Sorprano's is a wicked and vile television show. I just finished watching the second season DVD's. What does that say about me? I don't know. That I was influenced by bad people at OBU. But then again, I'll take one "bad" person over a dozen "good" people just about any day of the week.

OH. I need to make a correction to something I told someone recently. I was discussing the band Evanescence with my good friend and fellow blogger Manders, and I mentioned that a guy I sorta knew at OBU was in the band. That's only partly true. After a little research, I have found that the afore-mentioned acquaintance, David Hodges, is no longer part of the band. Also, I know that before all of the recent "Daredevil" hullabaloo, the band was clearly a Christian band. I make no claim of and take no responsibility for anything the band does from this point on that may be offensive.

So there ya go. I think my lawyers will be happy with that.

My feelings for the movie Daredevil will receive a separate post. yes.

Speaking of fellow bloggers, you all should keep an eye on my good buddy and former roommate Trevor Taylor, who has recently joined the ranks of the blogging underground. He's a sharp dude, a good friend, and the only person I know who's every been to the national Star Wars Celebration convention (twice). I have spent a lot of time talking LOTR with this guy, so if you wanna get into that with him, I'm sure he's up for it. And he's from Kansas City (or thereabouts) so he'll no doubt bring that up too. But anyway, just the heads up. Oh, and ask him about Turtle Power. He likes that.

Well, as the DCT boys used to say, "time is tick-tick-tickin away." I have six minutes left on the comp. Before I have to re-login. So I guess we'll just close up the ol' "ATDTT" mailbag and say thanks and have a good day.

Goodbye, good luck, and screw the french.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Crisis Moment...

My favorite television sitcom of all time is Boy Meets World. Yeah, scoff, but there are those of you who are right with me on this.

On a whim I searched the web for video copies of the show, and found that there is an entire set (all 12 seasons--156 episodes!!!) on sale on Ebay. The current bid is 52 bucks plus shipping. And the sale ends Wednesday!!!

What do I do, guys???? THIS IS THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME!!!

Grr. I hate not having a job. If I had a steady job, I would totally go for this. Seriously, I'm goofy when it comes to the show. I watch the reruns religiously.

So what do you think??? Should I do it? Email me!

And if anyone is feeling philanthropic... I'd sing your praises on this site for years. Just a thought.

"Mellow greetings, ookey-dookey..."

Confused? The quote's from an old Cary Grant flick, "The Bachelor and the Bobby-soxer." He of course is the bachelor, and the bobbysoxer is played by none other than a teenage (and kinda cute) Shirley Temple. But yeah, that's the quote's origin.

There's no over-riding theme of this post. Just a general hiya.


Movie Recommendation: "The Philadelphia Story"
Yes indeed. This is an American Film Institute "Top 100 of All Time" selection. And deservedly so. This became one of my favorite old movies ever. It involves my three favorite actors from classic Hollywood (Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart) and contains one of the most satisfying storylines I've seen in a WWII-era movie, outside of Citizen Kane or Casablanca. But really kids, this movie is hysterically funny. I actually literally slapped my knee, something I never ever do. I felt foolish after doing it, frankly. So go go go rent this wonderful, wonderful movie. For all you folks who demand more detail, it's a romantic comedy that involves a love triangle, which evolves into a love pentagon. I kid you not. Good stuff. Plus a rousing rendition of "Lydia the Tatooed Lady." What more do i need to say.

So go.


Oh, hey, I'm at the library. Did you know the library lets you borrow books??? Isn't that the absolute coolest thing??? Seriously, it had been seven or eight years since i borrowed a library book that wasn't for research. I came here last week, got a book, read it that night.

Which reminds me. I'm keeping a list of the books I finish in 2003. I say "finish" cuz i'm going through the novels that I put down and am picking them up again. Sounds like cheating, I know, but I'm counting it. So I'm issuing the challenge to all you rabid-readers out there to do the same. I'm up to five completed books this year, three from start to finish.

I'm about to check out "On the Road" from the library. Much thanks to David Shook for reminding me that this gem was still out there in the world. Also going home with me is "The Bell Jar", so I guess I'll give a shout-out to all my ragin feminists. You know who you are. Or you know which ones I'm talking about, at any rate.


One final note. Yes, I know, I still don't have anything substantial up on Still Searching for Thomas. But as I discussed with miss Manders last night, I haven't really been in a place to write anything spiritual lately. But finally, I am leaving the valley. And God is faithful. So look for a couple posts this week.

Much love my friends. Until then, remember: he who laughs last, was the slowest to get the joke.

I leave you with the wise words of Woody Guthrie:
"It takes a worried man, to sing a worried song... I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long."

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Shameless self-promoton
For those of you who might be concerned, my Bible study site is up now. Thanks to Manders in a Box for the link. The site is called Still Searching for Thomas . Explanation within. The intro post is up now. Once I finish working on Post One, I'll put it up too. Your prayers and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Something Everyone Will Contradict...

I was listening to Jars of Clay's "Much Afraid" the other day. It is definitely one of my favorite Christian albums, as a whole. I could listen to it repeatedly for extended periods. So choice.

That got me thinking. What are the top five best rock/alternative Christian songs of, say, the past 10-13 years? And here's what I came up with:


***All Star United, "Bright Red Carpet": I love ASU, and this song really captured the band's (early) greatness. There is some dispute over whether their second album killed that greatness (I disagree) but this song was awesome... By the way, the new album's good too.
***Guardian, "Lead the Way": Okay, I was a huge Christian rock fan in the middle-school, early-HS days, and this song was as close to hair-band arena rock as the christian kids could get. Guardian was like the illegitimate child of Stryper, and I loved them for it. Plus it has the lyrics, "I've got a psychic advisor that says get a lifeguard/I've got bad vibes off of your Deal-a-Meal Card". How can you not love that?
***P.O.D., "Southtown": I can hear the shouts of "Sellout" now, but it's not true. This band has stayed true to its message and style. And the song rocks, people. Some will argue "Rock the Party" is better, but "Southtown" really outshines it.
***Plumb, "Late Great Planet Earth": the least recognizable so far, but this song is a great car song, with a driving beat and a killer chorus. Plus, I have always been a sucker for girl-fronted bands. Female lead-singers...yowsa.
***Miss Angie, "Lift My Eyes Up": Again, great beat, and female lead. What else can I say?



5) Newsboys, "Shine": As much as I hate this song from overplay and overkill, it's still a great tune, catchy and upbeat. For that, I give it a place here. Someone please tell me I'm wrong.

4) Jars of Clay, "Flood": Any song made into three versions can't be that bad. This classic from the self-titled disc is one of JoC's best, and always a crowd-pleaser. Good video, too.

3) Third Day, "Consuming Fire": I put this one down, because it is one of the most moving songs I can think of. The swell of guitars as each verse leads into the chorus gives me chills every time (I've got chills right now, actually). And I think the song really strives to communicate the magnitude and majesty of God. And succeeds.

2) Audio Adrenaline, "Scum Sweetheart": this will probably be my most-contested selection, but c'mon, if you know the song, you love the song. The best metaphor for our struggle with sin I've ever heard, put to a groove that is so cool. And the live version's awesome. I love this tune.


Do I even have to put it down? Oh, okay, okay...

1) DC Talk, "Jesus Freak": Yes of course, it's number one. This ubiquitous song, more predictably played than "Friends" at a Michael W. Smith concert, is the rallying cry of all the Christian kids of my generation. The first time I heard it was before a basketball game against Faith West, and I loved it ever since. I just hope it hasn't become hollow words for us. Because the time may come when we'll have to die for believing it.

So there you go. My list. Why did I do this? Because I want mail. I'm curious to see how many people actually read this. So, dear reader, send me your list, or just blast mine. Either works for me. My email is . I'll post the results at a later date. Thanks.
"Promises, promises..."

Yeah, I know, I know, I always say, 'oh in the next day or so, I'll..." I know. I'm a big fat liar. But I'm a well-intentioned big fat liar, for what it's worth.

So here we are, at 1:42 a.m. 2/5/03. Let's get busy


The reason why I post so little is that the job search is intensifying. I'm online daily, but I'm on the big jobsites, uploading my resume and emailing companies, and so forth. By the way, kudos and "way big ups" to for making one of my favorite super bowl commercials (the montage of various professionals dreamily singing "The Rainbow Connection" from the Muppet Movie). So yeah. Everytime I sit down to the computer, I feel guilty if I'm not jobhunting. I haven't been able to write creatively in a long time, and those who know me can imagine how I feel about this. So obviously my time to post is limited. There you go--obligatory explanation.


In other news, unemployment (or I should say, under employment) has provided a few small blessings, one of which is more time to read. I'm telling you what folks, I had forgotten how nice a day off can be. I'm on the last of three days in a row, and I'm doing great. I've finished two books that I had put on hold, and am about to start working on a third. I love reading. One of my favorite things.

I'm also returning to the childhood joy of video games. Go ahead, roll your eyes, but everyonce in a while, it's just what I need to unwind. Ten minutes of gaming is a beautiful thing. I'm working on Castlevania 64, ridding the world of the evil vampire menace. Okay, roll your eyes again. But I love this stuff.


I have profitted from others' loss, and I have no shame. Those of you in Houston may know that CD Warehouse is bankrupt and have closed all of their Houston locations. Well, before the whole thing went down, I bought a truckload of CD's, some of which I had sold copies of in the past, in the Great CD Liquidation of my junior year. Cuz you gotta do laundry, you know? So yes. I purchased two Jars of Clay, one Michael W. Smith, two PFR, two Grammatrain, and a host of other Christian goodies from the mid-nineties. Ah yes. I also got an REM, a Robbie Williams, and two by The Josh Joplin Group, which is suprisingly superior. So go me. Oh, and Aimee Mann's newest.

Musical Recommendations of the Month:

Josh Joplin Group, "The Future That Was"--fantastic, guitar driven folk-rock; parental note--there is one pretty-jaw-dropping profanity in the second track, so if that's a problem, act accordingly

Aimee Mann, "Lost in Space"--one of the most beautiful voices in music...yowsa; parental note--drug references, possible mild profanity (I'm not sure, actually)

Norah Jones, "Come Away with Me"--though I hate to sound like "that guy", I figured out that this girl was good before she went to number one on the billboard chart; but wow, what a voice; the blues never sounded so good

Don Chaffer, "What You Don't Know"--yes, this is the first Christian artist so far (my statement on the quality of Christian music, perhaps), but yeah, this is one of the best musicians in CM in my opinion; everything he does is great; parental note--mild profanity (believe it or not)

Radiohead, "OK Computer"--Rediscovered this gem; just a brilliant album; "Paranoid Android" and "Karma Police" are my favorite tracks

So there you go, kiddies, run off to your local record store and pick these beauties up before all your friends do.

OH, by the way, the new Juliana Theory album came out today. Yes, the rumors are true, Target is selling it this week for 5.99. TOTALLY WORTH EVERY PENNY. Go get it. I'll have an honest to goodness, newspaper-style review next time.

This is a long post, isn't it... I'll give the computer a breather...