Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Random Wednesday

1. It seems George Clooney doesn't like the idea of Lake Como being more heavily developed. He's spearheading a protest by area residents against the development plans. Two years ago, he even tried to buy the public beach by his vacation home, to make it a private beach that couldn't be turned into a parking lot.

As much as I may disagree with Clooney about a myriad of topics, I have to stand behind him on this. I've been to Lake Como, and more development would only spoil the sense of Old World beauty and simplicity that pervades so much of the town. More developments to "cope with the growing number of visitors" would only deaden and destroy the very essence of what is bringing the crowds.

2. Here is a New York Post writer's critique on elements of Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko." It goes to show that you don't need name-calling and mockery to make your point, when you've got facts.

And I'm not saying that the health care industry is running fine, and that insurance is working the way it should. But pointing to Communist dictatorships and socialized-medicine nightmares for staged examples of well-run health care doesn't prove anything. The problem with Moore is that he's a first-class provocateur, but a lousy documentarian. His works are strictly Op-Ed, not News. [h-t: Say Anything]

3. Zach Braff is telling anyone who'll listen that he's not a jerk--honest. Well, he may try to ditch the "cad" label as much as he wants, and maybe I believe him. But it won't do you any good, Mister Braff; once delinked, always delinked. Good day. ...I said good day! [h-t: PC]

4. If you can't appreciate the coolness of this, I'm sorry, I just don't know you. [h-t: PC]

5. And finally, a video series. Believe me, there is a sense of logic to it. And it all begins very dramatically. (Trust me, even if you think you've seen it, go ahead and clickety anyway.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Rules of Attraction

Without giving too much away, I have to admit that this article and its corresponding blog post and meta conversation has come along at an eerily appropriate time. (So soon after this one, too. Someone's trying to tell me something.)

In the last few days, I have had to ask myself some tough questions about what I want and why. What I expect. How I define things. I'm not proud of what I've found.

In part, here's what I'm starting to understand (and I'm going to speak to this issue from a guy's perspective only, because, well, that's what I am):

Our expectations, desires, and standards are shaped by outside forces. This is often true in the area of relationships. What we read, what we watch, what we listen to--left uncontested--will undoubtedly shape what we hope for, look for, and wait for in a mate. We let pop songs and romantic comedies and books and magazines and television shows teach us what is beautiful and handsome and important in a mate, what is valuable and praiseworthy. We accept the litmus test of "hot" and "sexy" as the eternal and unattainable goal. We want to find these elusive qualities. We want to be them. We value them. We measure up other people against their cruel rule.

We are programmed to value the wrong things. I'm going to address this issue specifically as a guy, and I ask that you ladies extend me a little grace as I work through this. Men, we are taught each day, through each magazine cover and television commercial, that what matters in a woman--what is praiseworthy and deserving of pursuit--is a toned and shapely figure, large breasts, shining and full hair, perfect skin, and any number of other manufactured physical qualities. We learn, whether we realize it or not, that a "beautiful" woman, a woman who is "sexually appealing," is defined by these qualities. We are given "examples" of this, as a sort of exaggerated measuring stick by which to compare the women around us. I think most guys have one or two celebrities or other well-known "beauties" they've picked out as "ultimates." I admit that I have. A website I frequent (a news and entertainment site, mind you) recently had a blog entry advertising images from a magazine photo spread with this woman, and a tagline promising she looks "as hot as ever." I started to click on it, curious and enticed, before catching myself. With all these ideas from the aforementioned articles about what constitutes true beauty, I had to stop and ask myself, "Why do I want to look at this?" And I knew that those pictures, even fully-clothed, still lead me to mentally create unrealistic and unbiblical standards. (Yes, I said "unbiblical." We're totally going there.)

We don't often value what the Bible tells us to value. While there are passages in the Scripture that talk about a woman's beauty, the key passages that tell God-fearing guys what to look for in a wife talk about something completely different. Proverbs 31:10-31, the passage describing the qualities of a godly wife and mother, has nothing to do with what she looks like, and everything to do what what she does and the quality of her character. Peter's first letter talks about a godly woman having "the imperishible beauty of a quite and gentle spirit." How often to a group of guys talk about how attractive the gentleness and honesty of a woman is? Why not? These are the things that we are told matter to God. So often we focus on things that will fade, and we ignore the things that God values in ourselves and in others.

This doesn't mean physical beauty is totally irrelevant. And I'm not swearing off physical attraction. It just means that the definition of beauty is shaky, at best. Now, I'm afraid a few of you reading this are convinced that I'm over-reacting or that i'm swearing off looking for someone who doesn't make me cringe in disgust. You may assume that I'm going to purposefully seek out an ugly woman in an effort to be more "spiritual." That's not what I'm talking about at all. I am still hoping for someone whom I can be passionate about in every way.

But the point is, I have to realize that I've been running around with the wrong expectations. And those expectations may have kept me from opening up my heart to some awesome people. I have been guilty of disregarding women who didn't meet my preference list, and I justified it by saying that everyone has their own particular preferences, so there's nothing wrong with that. People in Christian circles talk about "tearing up their wish list" of what they expect in a mate, and I've even on some level agreed with this idea. Yet I still look at pictures of the same celebrity women, and I still take in the same messages through the art and media I consume, which only reinforce those false standards. I've got to now realize that a consistent diet of images that meet my expectations for what female beauty is will not make me value Godly traits more, but less.

I confess that I have undervalued godliness, integrity, and character. I have called "beautiful" what is temporary, and withheld the term from qualities that most deserve it, like purity of heart and devotion to Christ. What's worse is that I have also undervalued these characteristics in my own life, and haven't pursued them as passionately as I should have. Worse still, I've compared myself to a culturally-manufactured physical standard as well, and let my self-perceived lack of "sex appeal" cripple how I see myself and my worth.

So where do we go from here? I'm not sure. And I'm sleepy. So don't expect answers or a five-point plan. I know it will take prayer. I know it will take choosing not to check out the magazine cover with my favorite starlet. I know it will take immersing myself in the Word of God to rediscover His beauty, so I can better recognize that beauty in others. And I know it will take a while.

But this is "where I'm at right now": trying to re-learn what "beauty" is, and praying for the wisdom to recognize it when I find it. And when I have found it, praying for the courage to act, and the discernment to know how to act rightly and with love.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Stuff I Want to Blog About in the Next Week
--The End of "Studio 60" and my guarded ambivalence for Aaron Sorkin
--Tony Blair's Assessment of the Devolution of News Media
--Other TV junk, some movie junk, a little Netflix/DVD junk
--Things I'm doing lately to try to improve myself
--What I'm Reading Lately, and the Awkwardness of Taking Certain Books Out in Public

Links You Should Click
--Laura's Blog. The latest post on "Inertia" is choice.
--Chris' blog. He writes with a brainy poetry that shames me.
--The website to this fantastically geeky-looking movie. Awesome.
--I'm pretty much willing to pay a small fortune to see the touring production of this show.

Things That Are in My Head
--Thankfully, *not* "Rock Lobster"
--This song, instead.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Open Thread

What would you like to talk about? What are you interested in? What's driving you? What's haunting you? What's making life beautiful for you today?

Comment below. (And play nice.)

Monday, June 18, 2007


Well, it sort-of "lives" in a quasi-Frankenstein's-monster-like existence.

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett (the last iteration of "Crow T. Robot") have begun "The Film Crew," a video series in which they provide a running commentary for movies that don't have them already. Basically, MST without the docs, the bots, or the "we've got movie sign!" door sequences. I know, it's quite a loss, but we'll survive.

The first Film Crew vid is released next month. I'm pretty psyched.

Here's the series trailer, for your viewing pleasure:

Thankfully, it looks like more of the same. Welcome back, Mike Nelson and crew. We've missed you.

(Check out clips of the first few selections here, here, here, and here.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday "Video View"

(With or without the misplaced coffee cup.)**

"Storm Warning" by Red Umbrella

"Awakening" by Switchfoot

Timely and amusing:

I can't get this song out of my head, so I'm going to share it with you fine folks:

**And if you caught that movie reference, you can have a complimentary (work-subsidized) Snickers .

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If a few pictures means several comments...

...Then lots of pictures means tons of comments!

Here's the pictoral recap of my Memorial Day Corpus Christi excursion. It's especially interesting if you like beaches and/or WWII aircraft carriers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Very Important Question: Reader Assistance Needed!!!

To beard? Or not to beard?

I leave it to you, gentle reader.

Ten-Link Tuesday

Here's a big ol' batch of awesome for your evening:

1. The Seattle Mariners baseball club is coming to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field for the first time, tonight. This Seattle sportswriter gives you a glimpse of what makes that park so special. He's absolutely right on.

2. This is just plain cool-looking:

3. Something for my knitting readers: I don't know what this knit-graffiti is a bigger indictment of--the exorbitant amount of time on some people's hands, or the complete and utter apathy of Swedish law enforcement.

4. For some reason, I've only just started reading the Boundless Webzine's blog. But it's interesting. You should check it out.

5. Here's the personal site of one of my favorite political cartoonists, John Cox of "Cox and Forkum."

6. Hollywood insiders talk about "pre-production limbo," the state in which a movie never makes it past the "neat idea, let's work-up a script" phase. Premiere Magazine tackles twenty such films-that-may-never-be.

7. Wanna hear the new White Stripes album that comes out in a week? Of course you do!

8. Maybe it's a little too early to endorse a presidential candidate (especially one who hasn't technically announced), but, well, there you go.

9. You "Heroes" fans may enjoy this: a blog by Jason Badower, one of the artists of the "Heroes" online graphic novel. In it, he details his process for creating the images used. Kind of entertaining in an "Inside-Baseball" sort of way. [h-t: 10th Wonder]

10. Before you go to the new Transformers movie, you should go out and rent the original Transformers movie. Here's the original trailer:

And here's some clips of the new movie, with the brand-new version of the theme song, performed by MuteMath:

Funny how this happens.

Regarding the most-discussed element of my last post: In one of those divine "coincidences" that I so often stumble over in the course of my fumbling Christian walk, I have thrice come across this article from the highly-recommended Boundless website. I can't help but chuckle at my own expense.

Here's to realigning my thinking.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Shuffleblog 3.0 (Late-night Edition)

Don't know what this is? Read up, bub.

(And this is a different playlist than my work compy, so maybe every other song won't be the Beatles. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)


1) "Dig A Pony" by The Beatles.

Spoke too soon. I really don't get this song. I mean, on the surface it's obvious enough, but I keep looking deeper for something. I don't know. To loosely paraphrase Freud, sometimes a pop song is just a pop song. "All I want is you." It's such an oft-repeated sentiment in pop music, isn't it? But is that really true? Is the other person really all anyone REALLY wants? Or is it their perception, their image or expectation of that person, that they want? It seems to me (as an admitted outsider to this game of love for some time now) that so often our expectations get in the way of how things really are. And that infects our relationships with others. And we're frustrated when we tell people to "be who they are," and then somehow who they are doesn't correspond with who we expect them to be. And that's double-true of how we see ourselves. Sometimes when we try to "be ourselves," we find that our selves aren't all they're cracked up to be, either. In fact, sometimes it's our selves who disappoint us the most.

2) "Platform" by Kevin Max.

"Why'd you choose me if you knew I wasn't tough enough?" So often I question what the will of God is. Rather, I second-guess. I ask why things didn't work out. I ask why He led me (or at least I thought He did) into situations that I couldn't and didn't handle well. During the more frustrating weeks and months of Sunday School ministry, I asked why He put me in a position to fail, like other "employers" seem to have done. It was a hard thing, teaching week after week for an ever-shrinking crowd. Feeling like a failure on so many facets of my life. But what I'm learning is that what God asks for is faithfulness. Faithfulness grows us more than success does. And I grew. I griped about as much as I grew. But I grew. Now the Bible study class has grown to about quadruple the size it was last year, and I have a leadership "team" instead of just me to count on. And now, the next lesson is before me: how to trust others, how to let go of control, how to allow for imperfection, how to be led. These are hard lessons. I don't feel up to the task. But I know that when I am weak, He is strong.

3) "MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack" by Beck.

I am officially DONE with the non-stop news coverage of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and these stupid starlet types. I've reached my absolute tolerance limit. There is SO MUCH going on in the world, so much just in this country, that there is no rational, mature justification for why we care so friggin' much about someone like this. (I won't call names. I want to, but I won't. Call that sanctification.) We have a war on. There is continuing genocide in Darfur. Hugo Chavez is creating what can only be called a totalitarian police state in Venezuela. Christian missionaries are being martyred in Asia. AIDS is still killing by the thousands in Africa. The Russian government is looking longingly back at the glory days of the Cold War. These are things worthy of time and contemplation and discussion. Why is it that Paris Hilton is on EVERY MAJOR NEWS CHANNEL??????? So, I'm done. Done with the watered-down soundbite-driven "edutainment" passed off as network news. I was angry enough to spit tonight, as channel after channel could only talk about how celebrities never face punishment. YOU CREATE "CELEBRITIES," YOU FOOLS. YOU FRANKENSTEINS. YOU PANDERERS. Rant over. Carry on.

4) "Beautiful Girl" by Pete Droge and the Sinners (from the "Beautiful Girls" soundtrack).

It's been a long time since I've been interested in someone I could actually feasibly pursue a relationship with. So when I started asking myself "What about her?" recently, I wasn't quite sure what to do with that thought. Truth be told, I'm not even confident that I'm truly interested in this girl for her own sake. It may be nothing but a case of an attractive, godly, interesting, unattached woman being in my circle of friends at a time when I'm thinking about the future and whom I want to spend it with. It's weird that I don't even trust my own feelings anymore. I second-guess why I'm even considering asking out this person. Part of it may be because I don't have those heart-in-the-throat feelings about her that I have had in the past about girls. Those goose-bumpy Hollywood tingles. You adults: are those visceral reactions to the object of your affections rooted in your sillier youth? I'm not asking if the ooey-gooey feelings prove anything, nor even if they're real. I just wonder if the absence of such feelings MEANS anything.

5) "You Always Say Goodnight" by The Juliana Theory.

Yes I do. Goodnight.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

"Hey Joe, where you goin' with that blog in your hand?"

Something semi-political for your Thursday morning. I found this to be terribly amusing.

Journalist Joe Klein is an outspoken Democrat, a critic of the Bush Administration and the war, and classically liberal. As such, you'd expect that I disagree with most, if not all, of his perspectives. And you'd be right.

Recently, Klein wrote a Time editorial about the vicious outpouring of bile that is the liberal political blogosphere. He describes how if you don't push the envelope of extreme rhetoric, your status as a "true believer" is instantly attacked. (He then makes the hilarious attempt to blame Rush Limbaugh for that, as a sort of bombastic "First Cause.")

In a recent "Huffington Post" dispatch, he tries to justify to the left-leaning swamp of readers that his recent remarks regarding the difference between fair-minded "liberals" and radical "leftists" were misquoted. The response, in the nine pages of often-profanity-laced comments, was overwhelmingly furious. Most, if not all, accused him in some way of being part of the "Republithug machine."

Uh, Joe? I believe the word you're looking for is "Q. E. D."

[Here's a fun drinking game, for those of you that imbibe: Take a shot--shoot, take a swig of your favorite brew--every time you read the words "Rove," "Chimpy," "propaganda," or "military industrial complex." If you can make it past page 2 of 9, I'd be totally impressed.]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Never Forget.

Certain dates linger as touchstones in American history. July 4. September 11. December 7.

Today's another, and I nearly forgot about it.

Today, June 6, is the 63rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

On a single day, American forces suffered 1465 dead, 3184 wounded, 1928 missing and 26 captured. Numbers that would cause a total meltdown in the news these days.

Read the stories. Look at the pictures. Remember.

I thought this was interesting: how the Normandy invasion might be reported today. (h-t: Malkin)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Welcome to our big rock show.

[Subtitled: "The older I get / Will I get over it?"]

I forced myself to stop being a boring loser for a day, and made the drive up to Humble, Texas (that's "umble" because for some reason the "H" isn't pronounced), to see two rock bands perform at a church that looked like it was made of a commercial/industrial building. Which was cool in a way, because the "sanctuary/concert venue" area had a wide-open feel to it, with high ceilings. (I went by myself. I didn't think too much of it, because I do lots of things by myself. Though, in hindsight, events like this are just not as much fun alone. But it worked out all the same.)

The crowd was about 89% high school students. The rest was comprised of somewhat-aging hipsters and pseudo-hipsters (including yours truly) and the adult-aged "student-wranglers"--parents or youth ministers, I'm assuming.

I walked in and bought a ticket. Take that, ticket company with your stupid "service charge." Service, DENIED. I strolled over to the merch table and picked up some swag, and then made my way into the venue.

The filler music was loud. I was about ten minutes early, so I mingled silently with the crowd gathering. There were chairs lining the walls, but the audience area was clear of obstacles. A great mass of awkward, self-conscious pubescence hovered around the stage. I stood at a distance and observed. Girls screaming. Guys trying to look cool. Guys trying to make girls scream. Ah, youth.

A guy in a crazy quasi-leopard-print sport coat took the stage. He looked like the lost Stray Cat, Brian Setzer's little brother who got left behind at a Nascar race. (No slam on him, I'm just telling like it is.) He stepped up to the mike and said, "I'm Dr. Sean Riley, pastor here at Faith Center." Oh. Wow. How about that. Good on ya, bud. He welcomed us and introduced the first act.

Opening: The opening band, Laden, began playing. (Don't let the Myspace music fool you; they're a LOT louder and crazier than that.) Young guys, great showmen. The lead singer strutted around the stage like a younger, nicer Brandon Flowers (of The Killers). One of the guitarists was all smiles, and didn't move much. The other, who looked like a slimmer, pre-rehab Jack Osbourne (with a mop of curly hair) was slinging his guitar back and forth, absolutely consumed by the music. The drummer performed like Animal from the Muppets--arms flailing, head thrown forward and back, wide and maniacal grin across his face, hair flying. The expression on his face sold it for me; here was a guy who just friggin' loved playing music. They all did. Their unbridled joy was infectious. Thank God for young, unjaded bands.

Laden was really good, but I reached my first moment of crisis of the evening. From the first notes of the first song, my ears started buzzing, to the point where I couldn't hear or enjoy the music. And here, my friends, is where I made one of the more difficult music-related decisions of my young life. I walked back to the merch table (with the pretense of making a phone call; I actually had phone in hand, making it look like I was really getting a call). I leaned forward and half-yelled to the girl behind the table, "Wanna sell me some earplugs?" I handed her a dollar and shrugged, saying, "This is kind of a big deal for me; I didn't think I'd be this guy so soon."

She smiled and said chipperly, "Don't worry, you don't look that old!"

...Gee, thank you, girl-who-looks-younger-than-my-kid-sister.

I returned to my spot, earplugs in place, and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of Laden's set. They played their last song and went offstage, and then someone came to the mike and called for Debra ___ to come to the stage. She stepped onstage from one of the wings, and the drummer came back out. He tells us that it's been a blessing playing for us tonight. Then he turns to Debra, and tells her she's been a huge blessing in his life, and would she bless him even more by--you guessed it--agreeing to marry him. Down he goes to one knee, ring in hand, with this really odd expression on his face, similar to the afore-mentioned crazy grin, something like "Ain't I a sneaky little devil." She accepts, natch, and they hug and kiss and yada yada yada. Rock on. True love. Rah rah.

Intermission: Thus began the seemingly interminable set-change/intermission time. It was only 20-25 minutes, but it seemed longer, especially since I tried to tough it out and not go sit down with the other old fogies. The Saturday night rock DJ from the local Christian station, Kent Matthews from "LightForce Radio," got up and said hi and tossed free stuff into the crowd. No slam on Kent Matthews, but you know how radio personalities often look MUCH different than how you expect, based on how they sound? Not so with Kent. He looked just as dorky as I expected him to. But whatever. He's on the radio and I'm not. Good for him. (And if you see this, Kent, no offense and let's still be MySpace friends, mkay?)

Amid the (muffled) roar of the impatient and excitable crowd, I had some time to reflect on the earplug issue and its implications. The ramifications of this sudden facet of adulthood. How I could have gotten to this place already, from my days of youthful concertgoing and standing next to the wall of speakers at various shows. I reflected on how much I've changed.

The results of that reflection, presented here, in point/counterpoint format:

Teenage RockerDave: Dressing up in my coolest concert/band shirt and jeans, making sure my hair was perfectly combed. There's gonna be girls there, after all.
AdultDave: Barely had time after work to throw on a non-descript pocket-tee and jeans. Too tired to change socks, I slipped my black-business-sock'd feet into my sneakers. (Kid you not, I didn't even think twice about it.)

RockerDave: Riding with friends to the show in their parent's car, not paying attention to our surroundings, just jamming out to some music and cracking jokes about the day's activities.
AdultDave: Over an hour of rush-hour traffic, listening to talk radio. A wrong turn that took me 5 miles in the wrong direction. A wolfed-down fast-food dinner that didn't sit well. Stressful searching for the venue.

RockerDave: Says "Hey, check out the crowd full of youth groups and stuff!"
AdultDave: Thinks "Ugh. Teenagers. Crap."

RockerDave: Says "I gotta get a tee-shirt!"
AdultDave: Thinks "Forty bucks for a hoodie? Seriously?"

RockerDave: "Awesome, they moved all the chairs out of the way. Time to jump around!"
AdultDave: *shifts from foot to foot, only comfortable to do the "rockshow head-bob" from the back of the room*

RockerDave: "The closer to the speakers, the better."
AdultDave: *begrudgingly puts in earplugs*

RockerDave: Says "Wouldn't it be cool if they played for, like, three hours or something?"
AdultDave: Thinks "I hope they don't go too much past 10, because it's a long drive back, and I need to go to the grocery store on the way home. And considering how wiped I was today, I probably shouldn't stay up too late for three nights in a row."

Okay, maybe that list was slightly exaggerated. But I wasn't kidding about the black socks thing.

The Main Event: FINALLY, the lights dimmed, and Skillet took the stage to rock our faces clean off. I had never seen them perform live before, but it was worth the wait. It's been a while since I've seen a band absolutely leave it all out on stage. After a while, I felt exhausted for them.

The crowd was so into the music, and sang along to almost every word.

Some highlights:

--John Cooper is a great, energetic frontman. Blistering bass riffs. He did this power-stance, throwing-his-head-around thing that made me (as a sufferer of chronic head and neck pain) wince a little. (For those of you who have seen Trevor's hardcore air-guitar technique, it's what I like to call "The Trevor move.") Cooper's tee-shirt was totally soaked after the first few songs. When he'd throw his head back, sometimes you'd see a spray of sweat fly back toward the drummer. I'm sure she appreciated that.

--Guitarist Ben Kasica is all smooth and collected, black button-down shirt, black pants, black-and-white checkered tie tucked in the shirt half-way. Great guitar player. At one point in between songs, he started riffing, with the drummer Lori Peters backing him up. The red, yellow, and white stage lights took turns flashing, the fog machines were going strong, and the stage was backlit by some spots. It gave the appearance of the Rattle and Hum cover.

--Lori Peters was a wild drummer, long mane of blond hair swinging wildly around. Pretty easy to make the Meg White comparison, maybe, but (without having seen Meg play) I'd say Lori's pretty safe atop the heap.

--Korey Cooper, John's wife, played guitar and keyboars. She looked like your archtypical "rocker chick" with the shaggy black hair with red and pink streaks, the tee-shirt, the armbands and bracelets, and the swagger of total confidence that she kicked butt. You could almost hear the disappointed sigh of the teenage boys across the room when John introduced her as his wife. There's something about a girl in a band, man.

--During the second song, about eight beachballs (ranging from normal size to "friggin' huge") appeared and bounced around the crowd. Sometimes they'd end up on stage and be kicked back by crew members. Then one of the enormous ones hit the mike stand, which caused the mike to pop John in the mouth, mid-line. He looked alarmed and a little annoyed, but kept it together. At the end of the song, he walked over and said a few words to the security guy to his left. That was the end of the beach balls. Each one was captured and put backstage, immediately. One kid tried to wrestle it away from the security guard who looked like a former bodybuilder. Silly rabbit. (That's another thing; RockerDave might have enjoyed the beach-ball frivolity, but I found it distracting and annoying. After John got popped in the mouth, I kept worrying whenever one would get close to the stage. I didn't want the sillyness and stupidity of a few to cause him injury that would stop the show. Same thing with the crowd-surfers. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm old.)

--A few members of the bands, and several folks in the room, were wearing a shirt with the message "To Write Love On Her Arms." I wondered what that meant. Turns out, it has a meaning and a story worth reading. Please read it.

--John liked to tell jokes, that usually fell flat. So he would comment on how poorly they were received. I thought that was funny. Mainly, because I do that too. And he also made about five Napoleon Dynamite references. I don't do that as much. ("Idiot!")

--Memorable between-song patter from John: "I have two kids. My kids are way cuter than any of you!"

--Also memorable: "This next song was written to inspire emotion... like the desire to buy two copies of the album... That was a joke. Nevermind."

--At one point, Cooper slung his bass guitar around his body like the 80's never died and Cinderella still rocked the radio. I think it caught Ben offguard; he looked a little shocked.

Skillet's Set List: In no particular order, included but not limited to (these are the ones I remember):
From "Invincible" (2000)--Invincible
From "Collide" (2004)--Forsaken, Savior, My Obsession
From "Comatose" (2006)--Rebirthing, The Last Night, Yours to Hold, Better than Drugs, Comatose, Whispers in the Dark

The Finale: They closed out the show with "Savior," complete with extended instrumental rockage before the "thank you, goodnight." The crowd dutifully demanded one more song, and John came out and talked for a while. Pretty good little sermonette about the album's title ("Comatose") and how too many Christians are still asleep. He challenged the teenaged audience to "wake up from the American Dream" of affluence and comfort, and live for something outside of themselves. He talked about how his generation was Generation X, and this generation is Generation Me. He described how teenagers are showing higher rates of drug abuse, suicide, cutting, depression, and all manner of other maladies, and how this is related to a generation raised by shallow, selfish parents who taught their kids that the only goals worth chasing are material wealth, fame, power, and attention. The guy really got passionate at the end. Pretty moving stuff. He challenged the crowd to live out their Christianity by serving others instead of themselves.

Then he calls the band out and introduces each of them, and then says they are going to close the show with something "old school." I suddenly got very excited. It had to be "Gasoline," right? That was their first big hit, back in the mid-90's. Had to be. I got psyched as the intro riff sliced through the air.

...Until I realized that the song was "Best Kept Secret," off the "Invincible" album. THAT's "old school" Skillet? I still dug the song, but I was a little disappointed. If that's old school, than the first song I loved by the band is WAY old school. Awesome.

On the way out of the venue, I heard a man and woman talking next to me, and one of them said they didn't think "Best Kept Secret" was old-school enough. I turned and said, "Tell me about it, I was expecting something older like 'Gasoline' or 'More Faithful'."

The couple agreed, and then I noticed they were probably in their early-to-mid-30's, leading along a kid of about 5 or 6. And I could only see this and think, "Of course they are. These are my people now."

There was a Starbucks on the other end of the parking lot, but I resisted the temptation to grab a coffee on the way home. What I told myself was that I didn't feel like waiting in line, but I'm afraid that, somehow, the subconscious "old fogie" was against it because it would keep me up late. Who's to say what's going on in my head anymore.

All told, a great night, and a good show, despite my age-related over-reaction. It sure as heck beat sitting at home watching TV again. But I think, for next time, the strategy will be "more friends, fewer decibels."

[And a final, condemning fact: I started writing this post last night as soon as I got home from the grocery store and put my stuff away, and got tired and couldn't finish. Yeah, exactly.]

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Something else to tide you over.

Yes, I'm up way too late and I have to teach tomorrow morning. But this music video was amazing, so I wanted to share. The band is Edison Glass, the song is called "This House."

I thought that was awesome. Feel free to discuss. If you've heard the band's music before, does the rest of it sound like this? If so, I think I may become a fan.