Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Filmstrip

Another music video, this time from a young man who I'll be seeing perform with the Houston Symphony on November 1. Can't tell you how excited I am about this!

This is one of my favorite songs of his:

Want one more? Okay, here's a fun one that features Weird Al himself. The video has, thankfully, been bleeped and blurred as necessary. This is a family site, after all. Heh.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Iconography 101

Yesterday, I was feeling a little like this:

Today, I'm feeling a little more like this:

Which, I think, is an improvement.

Have a good Thursday.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"...cuz I need a friend now."

Inspired by Mike's comment in the previous post:

Monday, September 25, 2006


I started writing the religion/politics post. Really, I did. I have it saved in "draft" form in the vast server-filled brain of Blogger. But I started getting into the background and the arguments and I just...stopped. I couldn't continue at that moment. Truth be told, my heart wasn't in it.

That phrase has been hanging around my head for a while now, a few months at least. "My heart isn't in it." I had to stop today and ask myself, "What is there in my life that my heart's really 'in'? What stirs me?"

It's a short list.

--I like reading. I really do. It's one of my favorite things. There are times when all I want to do is sit in a comfy chair and read all day long. I commented to Jess earlier today that I wish that were my job. That would make me happy.

--I like baseball. The Cubbies make me sad, but aside from that, I get a lot of enjoyment out of baseball. It thrills my heart. I love going to the ballpark, and would do so every day if possible. There's something special about the crisp lines of the diamond, the green of the grass, the crack of the bat hitting a line drive, and the crowd's roar chasing it.

--I like sitting outside in the shade on a day like today, and feeling the cool breeze sweep over me. The simple pleasure of sunshine and blue skies. The restfulness of natural sounds, without the blare of car horns or squeal of cell phones.

--I like hearing complicated stories. Seeing plots unfold, characters revealed and peeled like onions. I have been watching a lot of "Lost" lately. I'm enjoying that quite a bit.

...Like I said, it's a short list.

What bothers me a bit, though, is what's not on that list. Work. Family. Faith.

I don't think it's that I don't care about these things. That's not the case. It's just that these things aren't providing me a pure joy, because they're too heavily tinged with duty. Work is an obvious duty. I wouldn't edit documents all day for fun--at least, not these kinds of documents. (Not that I expect my job to be playtime, or that I'm shocked that it's not.)

As for family, I have to confess that I worry more about how to schedule enough time with them so that they don't feel slighted, than I do about enjoying the time I do have with them. I worry about making other plans, because I don't want to upset my mother or make my sister cry. And when I do spend the whole weekend doing something else, I feel guilty.

The worst of it is, I feel like my faith has become duty-bound. My relationship with God has drifted for a while, without a clear direction or course being steered (at least not by my reckoning). And lately, practically all of my spiritual thoughts and reading and study has to do with what I can give to the Bible study I teach. It's all focused on them (as it should be, to some extent). But I feel like I'm starting to reduce my faith to a job I prepare for and perform every Sunday morning. I put on the Sunday School teacher face and say the Sunday School teacher words. I listen attentively. I sympathize. I hear prayer requests. I "be an example." And once I walk away on Sunday evening, well, 'mission accomplished.' In some way, I feel my relationship with God slipping into some form of proxy faith, something I maintain in order to function the way I need to in order to meet my Sunday responsibilities. It's not my faith anymore. It feels like my faith "for the sake of" these others.

And, like these other things, my heart's just not in it lately.

I used to be a man of grand emotions and deep feeling. I used to be so affected by everything. I could express myself better, could write better, could allow myself to feel. But I don't know. I'm getting emotionally numb. I've shut down the better parts of myself in order to function in the day-to-day, and I think I'm starting to get brittle around the edges. Dried out.

My heart's feeling stony these days.

Look, I'm not looking for a life full of rockin' good times and no responsibility. Give me a little credit for being sensible enough to know that work is work, and it is rarely if ever fun. That having and taking care of responsibility is part of maturity, and that it should be pursued instead of avoided.

But there's gotta be something more going on in my life. I can't spend my life in such a way where the highlight of my week is some stupid hour-long TV show on a Thursday night.

I want my heart back. I don't know what happened to it, what I did to it. But I want this to stop. I want it back. I'm more than willing to let it be wrenched sometimes, to let it bend and break, to let it be bruised and scarred, but it's got to feel something sometime. That's what I want for myself--to really feel something.

Lately, the most I've been feeling is an evasive sense of loss. And what I've lost may simply be myself.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Friday... er--THURSDAY Filmstrip

Tomorrow's posts are going to deal with the topics mentioned yesterday, so I thought I'd get the filmstrip out of the way today.

So here's something of a more serious note than last week's Al-a-thon: a clip from Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in the Seattle area.

Watch and discuss.

(More videos from Driscoll here.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A few quotes to distract you from the fact that my attempt to post substantial topics has stalled due to work responsibilities and general difficulty.


"When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story." --"Barney" (Neil Patrick Harris) from "How I Met Your Mother"

"No, no, I'm not a psycho killer; I'm a med school geek." --Guy talking on his cell phone as he walked in behind me through the gate of my apartment complex. (Needless to say, I triple-checked the lock on my front door.)

"Aarrrrrgh!" --Real pirates, and those mimicking them, all day yesterday.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

[Brewing for tonight/tomorrow--an omnibus post about the "Jesus Camp" video, Christian militantism, secular fear of evangelical Christianity, Islamic violence, martyrdom vs. murder, and anything else of a socioreligious nature that floats into my head between now and then.]

Monday, September 18, 2006

On Turning 4 and 3 and 26

I'm a recorder, as you're aware. A documenter. The blogging cousin of 'J.S. Foer' in "Everything is Illuminated." The worst thing I can think of is being forgotten, whether you are a person, an object, or an event. Reminiscence is my stock-and-trade. Thus...


Sunday marks this blog's fourth birthday. Over the years, it has undergone a few changes in template and theme and focus. Overall, a good run. (Don't worry, the run's not ending.)

It's funny how the blog's constant need for and half-hearted attempts at change has in some ways reflected its author. In that first year, so full of hope, so eager to overstate, to jump the gun. A blog banking on the promise of an assumed success. Then, when unexpected and bad things happen, complacency and self-pity set in. Neglect. Silence. Non-productivity. Occassionally, some internal impetus jolts it from its lethargy, and it strives to be better than itself. On some level, it succeeds, but most often, that motivation to excel lasts only a little while before the blog starts tripping back into its old ways. It becomes cynical. Self-involved. Self-referential. Sure, there are brief glimpses of talent and promise, but they are buried in the maudlin haze of reflection. And lately, the blog has promised much in terms of depth and quality, but has only been about to maintain an utterly superficial level of content. Lots of disappointed expectations. Lots of lame excuses. Even that shallow content is becoming more sparse. And the poor blog, though it has a group of devoted friends, has started scaring away other occasional visitors because it has turned into a bit of a caricature of itself.

Yet, despite this grim and ironic description, there is always hope. There is always a chance for this blog, beloved by some of you as it inexplicably is, to become something better, brighter, and more worthy of praise. And your loyal support has been vitally important and appreciated. So thanks for four years, and here's to the next four or more.

I believe in this blog, in what it can do, what it can be. I believe the same of its author. It's never too late to change.


Friday marked 3 years of employment in my current job. Lately, I've been brooding over whether or not I need a change of scenery. And as much as I emotionally decide that I do (on a daily basis, it seems), I know in my head that this is a good place for me to stay for now. I'm well-compensated, and the job provides enough challenges without being too overwhelming. It has started to stretch me lately, which is certainly a good thing. Plus, I'm still feeling pretty solid about why this employer is a good one to work for. So yeah. Three years. Good for me. I probably won't spend my entire career here, but it wouldn't hurt to spend a decent chunk of it here.


I turn 26 next month. ("That's so young!" I can hear many of you say already. I understand that's true.) It's hard to think of myself as 26. It's not a student, or even a post-college age. It's an adult.

I'm an adult. I'm still not able to wrap my mind around this bare fact. Adulthood. I'm here. Adulthood has always been the other to me. A future that I acknowledged but never believed.

There used to be a theme park here in town. (You may have heard me tell this story already; if so, bear with me, please.) It was a place I went for the odd school event or a special summer treat with my family or friends. Roller coasters and stage shows and overpriced food stands and rigged carnival games. I loved it for the simple reason that it was so outside of my usual experience. Even the hard parts of each visit, the lines that stretched forever, or the oppressive summer heat, were acceptable costs for being there, walking around the pristine fakeness of the miniature city. When we went, I never drove, obviously. I'd sit in the back seat and talk to my friends or read or listen to music. And like Columbus crossing the blank space on the map's edge, we left my familiar suburban bliss and crossed the blank of highways and strange landmarks until we were "there."

The park was on the south side of town, while I grew up on the north side, in the suburbs. My understanding of city geography in high school essentially consisted of a few square miles of suburban sprawl that comprised my world. So anything outside of the few main thoroughfares I knew by heart was "out there," drawn like the Renaissance maps, just west of the sea monster and north of the mermaids singing, each to each.

Just over two years ago, I moved downtown to be closer to work. I ended up taking an apartement a scant three blocks from the site of the theme park, which has since been closed, dismantled, and replaced by a smaller-than-expected grassy field. The mythical place of my youth, a location I only visited a handful of times, is now just down the street. Practically (in context of the city as a whole) on my doorstep.

And now, when I go see my family or friends or church, I traverse the space between as if I'd grown up driving those streets and highways. The distance has grown much smaller. Everything is more clearly defined. I may not have it perfectly navigated, but I have a good idea of how to get my bearings.

And in a sense, that's how I'm starting to approach adulthood, this other that I couldn't comprehend before. It's now just down the block from me, and I almost don't believe that this was what I had expected. (Part of me keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop, as it were. That somehow the "real" adulthood has yet to begin. In one particular sense, that is obviously still true. Overall, though, I don't think I need to worry that much about it.) Not to say it's bad; just different. A little less intimidating. A little less impressive.

But you know what? I like living here. It's a good place. So I don't mind it.

Dislodging the Blogjam

I figure, this week, I'll try my hand at posting some substantive stuff. Things cooking in the ol' noggin. Or at least, writing something longer than three paragraphs that doesn't have graphics, bullet points, links, or 37 YouTube videos.

So maybe "substantive" is a more subjective term?

At any rate, you'll get less pop culture, and a little more Dave this week. No linky love or "on-notice" board or other goofy stuff. (Okay, I may still do a Filmstrip, but a very "serious" filmstrip of some kind.) Hopefully I can catch up on some subjects that I've been neglecting. That would be cool.

So, there's that. Much to do this morning, but look for something hopefully in the mid-afternoon.

Back to work, you monkeys.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Filmstrip

I couldn't decide between a few choice clips. So I'm dropping three on you.

Have a good weekend.

"Living with a Hernia"

"Bedrock Anthem"


I know someone famous.

Or at least, someone whose work is now famous.

Everyone needs to go congratulate Will, because his first full-length children's play, "The Hero Squad vs. The Princess Snatchers" is opening tonight at Great Bend High School, in Great Bend, KS.

I've read the script, and it's just great. Easily one of the best children's shows I've ever read.

So go over and congratulate him. That's so cool.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reason #423 why I need TiVo. Or a roommate. (UPDATED!)

So, considering yesterday's post, what's the worst (non-serious) thing that could have happened last night?

What's that? VCR malfunction? Timer spaz that prevented the machine from taping the final episode of the ONLY SHOW I'VE CARED ABOUT WATCHING THIS SUMMER?

Yeah. That.

Yesterday morning, I made double-sure the VCR was off, so that it would tape. And I worked late at the day job, and was looking forward to getting home, grilling some chicken for a nice garden salad, and sitting down with the TV. But when I came in, the wrong lights were lit on the front. But in the wrong order also, which confirms that I didn't leave it on accidentally; maybe it was a power surge or something. Bizarro.

So yeah. No viewing of my show. I had to wait until I got in this morning to find out who won, and still no one has video of the performances last night.

That's okay, Dave. Love not the world. Love not the world. Love not the world.

Update: Can I tell you how much I love YouTube? (No, not for that reason. Dirty.) Can I please? Because I love the YouTube. Why, you may ask? One YT user, "Craz1NF," has become my best-friend-for-the-day, for posting the entire episode in segments online. You rock, dude.

Now, if you all will excuse me...

Thursday Link-a-palooza

[Did I post earlier? Why, yes i did. But if you're not into the whole "RS:SN" thing, don't sweat that.]

Okay, lots of links for your edification and entertainment:
  • Glad to hear that "The Scream" is not lost forever.
  • This may be old news for some of you, but in case you're interested, here's a mock-up of Optimus Prime in the new "Transformers" movie. [Cartman voice] "Sweeeet." [/c.v.]
  • This is probably my favorite picture on the internets right now.
  • If you didn't see this video from Manders' site (or I haven't made you watch it yet), do so now. Hey ya.
  • More video fun--a guy takes a picture of himself every day for six years. The main comments online are that he has scary eyes. Maybe so, but the concept is cool. The music is very "Truman Show," too.
  • Okay, so you know that I like the TV show, "Boy Meets World," right? Well, there was one episode that I never saw, and that has almost never been aired in syndication. It was a "very special episode" involving teen drinking, so I guess ABC Family and Disney have never really shown it again. Well, I'd heard about it before, but thanks to the power of YouTube (and cheese), I can now see Cory and Shawn get smashed. Awesome.
  • Mana mana.
  • This movie looks very interesting. I'm thinking Trev might like it too.
  • Quote of the day: Houston Texans' defensive tackle Travis Johnson, talking about #1 pick Mario Williams: "The game is gong to slow down for Mario, and all of a sudden it's going to be like The Matrix... You're going to see Mario looking like the Super Freak real soon, and everybody else will look like little drones compared to him." Okay, seriously, who says stuff like this?
  • Joe Carter posts "Six Thoughts about Jesus." Good stuff, and I even got involved in the comment discussion for a little while.
There you go. Friday Filmstrip coming tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"RockStar: Supernova**" Pre-Finale Prediction Post!!!! (With Video!)

[**Apparently, they won't get to use that name anymore, thanks to a lawsuit from another band of the same name. If they pick former dinner-club-siren Dilana, maybe they can call themselves "Suppernova"?]

So here we are, friends and lovers. The finale of "RockStar: Supernova." To quote a long-overused line, "What a long, strange trip it's been."

We are down to the final four: two I expected, and two I did not. Lukas and Dilana, I called from the beginning. But I frankly figured that my dear sweet Stormy and the "Dark Horse," Ryan Star, would make it this far. However, Magni and Toby have clearly shown themselves to be worthy of the spotlight.

Rather than rehash all the drama of the past month, I will simply review last night's performance episode and make my prediction for tonight.

Last night's performance episode was a first for me, in that I enjoyed every single performance. I know, I'm shocked myself. Even Dramilana, who is the show's "villain," was good.

The show started out with the fan-favorite choice, Mr. Ryan Star, and his original track, "Back of Your Car." (Note: Mildly scandalous. FYI.) A good track, I think. I like his performance style.

Each of the four finalists performed their original again, along with a cover. Lukas was the only one who did something different with his. And the rock song actually got even better as an acoustic ballad.

The thing about Lukas is, either you love his style or you despise it. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. For some reason, it works for me.

He also did a cover of Coldplay's "Fix You" that gave me a chill or two.

Dilana's version of "Roxanne" was actually pretty good, and it was a nice touch to have the other finalists as her back-up singers. (Though I'm pretty sure she flashed the camera, which kinda grossed me out.)

Magni's version of "Hush" was really good. He's a really "magnetic" performer, when he digs the material. Sometimes, he tends to disappear, performance-wise. That could be a problem for him.

Okay, I'll take back the statement earlier. I didn't love Toby's cover of "Karma Police," really because I expected more from him than I got. However, since i'm such a sucker for his original track "Throw it Away," I'll let that go.

Okay, so there you go. The final four. Who will win tonight???

Well, the way it's going down is that the bottom two vote getters last night will face off, and one will go, and then the final three will perform (I guess) and the winner will be chosen by the band.

The first to go, if he's in the bottom two, will be Magni. And it sucks. Because he's a great performer, but for some reason, the band has turned on him. They've been really critical lately, Tommy in particular. He's done, but that's okay, because he can do better. (You're gonna hear this a lot from me.)

Next to go should/will be Dilana. She's talented, sure, but she's so overdramatic and narcissistic that the band would not pick her for anything. They already have a diva playing drums. They don't need one out front. (Sadly for Dilana, she probably can't do better.)

The final two are Toby and Lukas. As I've told some of you, from that point on, it's a "push" because it all depends on what the band wants. They should pick Toby if they want someone who'll just sing what they write and make the best of it. Very laid-back, and he'll probably get them more women, because the ladies love him. On the other hand, they should pick Lukas, because as moody as he can be, he'll still push them farther stylistically, and will keep their material fresh--something they desperately need.

(It's like the J.D./Marty showdown last year. What INXS needed was someone to sing their back catalogue well, not come up with a bunch of new material. Marty was much more creative that J.D., but J.D. sang INXS well. Thus, J.D. won.)

The fact is, the music that's been released so far from the new Supernova album, pretty much sucks. It's not going to be pretty. So, most of the final six or seven performers on the show can really do better on their own than with SN's weak material. Ryan and Storm and Patrice will all go on to better gigs with their own bands and music. If Lukas loses, he'll go back to Rise Electric, and they'll get a boost in popularity due to the exposure. Same thing with Toby and Juke Kartel.

But this is the gig they're fighting for, so whatever.

Final champion? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Lukas, even though Toby has just as much of a shot. The band has been slobbering all over Lukas for the past two weeks.

That's all, folks. Make sure to buy stock in sparkly eyeliner, because I have a feeling future sales are going to go through the roof.

The finale's at 7 p.m. CST on the CBS station near you. Check it out.

Rock horns up. [\m/]

Monday, September 11, 2006

1826 days later, give or take...

Today is a day of rememberance, as I'm sure you're aware. You may already be sick of the tributes, or think it's all just too maudlin.

Well, tough beans. Bear with me for a little while, yeah?

My best attempt at recounting the day is here. Nothing of that memory has changed.

But a lot has changed since that day. Some for the good, some for the bad.

Instead of falling into the muck of arguing over what we like or don't like about the day, the government, the military, the changes that have filled the last five years, and all of that, simply take some time and pay some honor in your own way to the fallen dead.

Don't politicize it. Don't blame. Not today. Let today be a day without politics. If you insist on making such statements in the comments, I will delete them.

Just for today. Let's try to be better than our normal selves. Those who died deserve that.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Filmstrip

Trevor brought up in the comments that the greatest show on TV is about to start, though he got his figures wrong. It's not a month from now--it's just a short 20 days.

So here you go, ladies and gents. Where the "greatest show on TV" left off at the end of last season, as a teaser for its September 28 return (and with apologies to Trev and Justin):

Rockstar post coming later this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Watch what you say around my mama..."

"...My mama raised me in the dirty south."

What up, readers. Good morning.

A few comments and quips to start your short week off right:

--I picked up the FF5 album at CD Warehouse for four bucks. Money well spent.

--The Crocodile hunter died. It's really kinda tragic, especially when you remember that he had a wife and two small kids. I've already started reading the snarky comments on the internets from jerks who relish the fact that he died from an animal attack. To these people I say: ... (Well, something I shouldn't and won't repeat here.) But believe me, it would be joined with physical violence. Steve Irwin was cool, and you gotta respect his absolute love for his life and the world around him. So, sit on it, haters.

--The Cubs. They suck. That's pretty much it. If they lose today, they are in the cellar of the NL Central and secure the second-worst record in baseball. Don't worry, Royals fans. There's still time for Chicago to actually suck worse than your team too. We don't want anyone to feel left out.

--Some movies that you remember liking when you were younger just don't stand the test of time. A word to the wise: When reminiscing, make sure to do it alone. Inflicting unintended psychological cinematic damage on friends is not nice. And no amount of escaping poultry can make up for it.

--I'm not going to make any promises about what I will or won't post this week. I'm tired of disappointing you. Or at least thinking I've disappointed you. For all I know, every promise of upcoming posts and stories is met with rolled eyes. Either way, no promises. We'll just see what the week brings, yeah? Good.

--Friday Filmstrip may become a regular feature, though. And I may resurrect Thursday Brown Bag Poetry. Or not. Something tells me most people skip over that kind of stuff. Are there any former PBB features that you'd like to see come back? Lemme know in the comments.

--It's September. The year is two-thirds over. What have you done with the time thus far? What can you do to use the last four months of 2006 the best way you can? Thoughts to ponder over your lunch break.

--I don't have a lot of groceries, and I didn't take the time to make something last night. SO my lunch consists of two packets of instant oatmeal. Hmm...

--You may have noticed a relative halt to "RockStar" discussion. This is not happenstance; you sounded like you needed a break from it. (Ahem.) That's fine. The finale's next week, and I may post something about it then. So, just prepare yourselves, I guess.

--Currently Reading: "The Idiot" by Doestoevsky; "Identity Crisis" by Mark Metzler; "Confessions of a Reformission Rev" by Mark Driscoll; and various and sundry other books for Sunday School prep.

That's it, gang. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Filmstrip

Something fun for your Friday. I promise, I'll get back to real blogging/writing next week.

Family Force 5 vs. Craig Ferguson's set.