Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I say this to supporters of both candidates: Don't put your trust in any human being to be the answer to all our problems.
There is only one Savior and Redeemer. His name is Jesus.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Long time coming, I know, but here ya go.
Three weeks ago, I left work a little early, and made my way up to the Woodlands Pavilion for the Counting Crows concert. I parked, and then hiked what seemed like miles to the venue. For those of you not from around here, the Woodlands Pavilion (or "Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion," as it's also known) is a huge outdoor amphitheater with covered seating (under what appeared to be a circus tent), uncovered seating, and an enormous lawn. I got lawn seats. I always enjoy the freedom of the lawn seats, but am never really prepared for the trek from the distant free parking lots to the venue.
I pass through the gates (with the weapons check that sadly has become a normal part of concertgoing), and checked out the first merch table, looking for a Crows tee-shirt. Now, I'm still a gigantic man, so I wasn't so much shopping for a shirt I can wear *now*, but something I can wear eventually. I'm gonna lose the weight. I promise you.
But no dice. They had a few XL's. That ain't gonna do it. I haven't worn XL shirts since middle school.
I climbed the three or four sets of stairs up to the lawn, and slowly made my way across the lawn to the other side of the venue and the "bigger" merchandise table. Sweat pouring, breathing laborious, I get to the other side to find that they only sent a few XL shirts, and nothing larger. Seriously? This is the South, man, home of fried EVERYTHING. You'd think these merchandisers would anticipate a chubbier crowd.
I settled for a tour poster and a keychain (which, incidentally, I can't find now; i need to clean my house). Then I grabbed a frozen lemonade (hey--I didn't have dinner, and they have Vitamin C, so it was okay; don't look at me like that!), and made my way back to the lawn.
I found a nice clear spot in the crowd, and plopped down just as Augustana was finishing their set. I heard their set while I was t-shirt hunting, and I liked it. I want to check out more of their stuff. Here's their big single, if you're not familiar.
I ate my frosty treat and waited for my friend Sara and her friends to arrive. Sara and her friend Katy arrived. I had a good time chatting with them while the stage crew changed out the instruments and set up the stage for the Crows.
Then, finally, their set began.
Now, i need to confess something: I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy the show. See, I have been listening to the hype. I read scathing reviews of their newest album "Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings," and I even said to Sara a few days before, "Yeah, I haven't really enjoyed their latest stuff as much. I'm really going for nostalgia as much as anything." I figured I should get a tee-shirt because I wouldn't be willing to shell out money to watch my once-favorite band phone it in anymore.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
They played with energy, with passion. Sure, their music hasn't really grown much lyrically, but you cannot fault them for lacking faith in their own music. Adam sang the songs as if he still really believed everything he was saying. And it was so much fun.
The stage set-up was cool, a faux-brick-building backdrop with a clock at the top (a la Back to the Future) and screen-windows with different things back-projected on them.
I wish i could say more. I wish I hadn't put this off for three weeks. (Stupid hurricane.) The show deserved a passionate post, like the last one I saw did.
But I was reminded of something important that night: Don't let critics in magazines, or nay-sayers on the radio, convince you that your favorite band isn't cool anymore. Because when those notes play, and your heart leaps, you regret doubting. Maybe they aren't the greatest band in the world, but their passion, combined with your passion for their music, makes their show the greatest show ever.
A few quick notes:
--It cracks me up that my boss knows the actress Monica Potter (the subject of the song "Mrs. Potter's Lullabye").
--Adam said he wrote the song "Washington Square" about when he had to move either to or from NYC (i forget which, now). And it was such a poignant performance. That song became my favorite from the new album, and probably part of my top-ten Crows songs ever.
--The song "Good Time" has an interesting story. Adam told about how "a famous actress" got divorced and soon the tabloids were saying that she and Adam were secretly dating. He saw a magazine cover with this splashed across it, and said, "wow, that would have been cool, had we ever actual met." He never said who the actress was, but my friends and I have figured it out, I think. One of the lines in the song is, "I really like those red-haired girls..." The song was written prior to 2002, when the album was released. After about 20 minutes of feverish googling, I uncovered that US Weekly actually printed a rumor about Adam and actress Nicole Kidman, then recently divorced from Tom Cruise. And Kidman naturally has red hair, IIRC. At any rate, she was sporting red hair for "Moulin Rouge," which was filmed/released in 2001. So I'm convinced it was her.
--The first encore was "Rain King," which they performed with Augustana, who came out and did this a capella bluegrass thing. They sang harmony on the chorus of Rain King.
--Adam tossed in some improv-sounding lyrics in "Miami"--a song I've never been hugely fond of. However, I liked what he did.
--"Walkaways" is just a phenomenal closer. So much longing in that track, so much emotion. And it's only a minute and a half long, so it leaves you wanting more, which is perfectly appropriate.
Here's the playlist, copied from LiveCountingCrows.com:
Mrs. Potter's Lullabye
Rain King (with Augustana, who sang a great a capella bluegrass intro)
I should probably comment on the rest of the show. The "headliner" was Maroon 5. I'm not a fan of Maroon 5.
I liked their first single "Harder to Breathe," and there are a couple of their tunes that get stuck in my head, but I'm not a fan, and their set reinforced it. Here's why:
1) Hello, oversexualized lyrics. I mean, dang, boy. And there were little girls at the show with their parents.
2) I'm convinced the lead singer/guitarist thinks he is Prince. He sings and moves like Prince. And the way he held his guitar gave me Super Bowl flashbacks. And the purple--everything was PURPLE. Lights, banners, everything. Purple.
3) The screaming girl factor. I've talked about this in the past regarding John Mayer (hey, remember him?), but it's even more in effect with this show. Especially with Mr. Sexy-sexy on stage.
4) The couple in front of me were dancing so close together they could have been wearing the same pair of pants. Gross. I know this isn't directly Maroon 5's fault (Budweiser had a hand in it too), but I'm blaming them anyway based on #1.
5) The fact that they're headlining ahead of Counting Crows. Yes, I'm petty like that. Jerks.
Thankfully I had Sara and Katy around to help me make fun of everything.
I will give the Maroon 5 guy credit (no, I'm not even gonna look up his name). He sang a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." Great song. Granted, he didn't hit the falsetto on the chorus, but he hung in there. So I'll (begrudgingly) give him props for that.
(BTW, if you don't grok "Wicked Game," you should check out the song on iTunes. However, the original Chris Isaak video is totally scandalous, so I can't in good conscience link it directly. Here's less scandalous but decidedly more frightening cover by a goth-rock band.)
Some Crows video. First, from the show I saw:
And then, from a week later on the tour:
Awesome. What a great show.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Well, guess what I'm watching right now???**
**And if you're one of my coworkers or my supervisor, by "right now," I mean "totally on my own time outside of work hours."
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
- I've told you about Cake Wrecks, right? Because it's brilliant.
- Steve McCoy (from the blog Reformissionary) is collaborating on The Subtext, a blog about spreading the gospel in the suburbs. I'm interested in see what he has to say.
- You guys playing the LOST online game? Sign up quickly; it's about to end. (BTW, if you need to catch up on Lost, G4TV is reairing the series in its entirety every weeknight.) If you don't want to rewatch all of it, just check out this list of the top 50 HOLY CRAP moments from the show.
- Brad Meltzer (one of the authors of the fascinating "Identity Crisis" Justice League graphic novel) wrote a novel that connects the murder of Mitchell Siegel (the father of one of Superman's creators) to the murder of Cain from Genesis. I'm curious to see how it turned out.
- I haven't watched this regularly, but I ought to catch up: Kyle Piccolo, Comic Shop Therapist.
- You've seen the new Microsoft ads with Jerry Seinfeld, right? I was totally gonna snark this up, saying that Microsoft was trying to win over the 20's hipster Mac market using a 50+ year old former stand-up comedian whose primetime sitcom ended almost ten years ago. But you know what? The spot's not half bad.
- Youtube links: Remy's really funny; Imogen's a genius; this is bizarre; The Shins will not change your life, but are not horrible; this was a pretty fascinating documentary about surviving cancer, and worth your time; remember "Roundhouse" and Crystal Lewis?
- Remember DARIA? I love this show. If you've never seen it before, watch these episodes (most on this YouTuber's account are divided into two or three parts). Great stuff.
- I'm actually voting for the Tigh/Roslin ticket. Because Laura Roslin is a babe.
- I love Superman. I love Superman movies. And while I wasn't too jazzed about the last one (starring Emo-Stalker Kal-El), this makes me hopeful.
- Do you want lists of artists covering Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson? Yes. Yes you do.
- Man, those evolutionists will fall for ANYTHING. Ahem.
- Serious Political linkage!!!--John McCain's RNC speech; Fred Thompson's RNC speech (he's such a stud, dude); a graphic of the words used at each convention.
- Funny Political Linkage!!!!--Palin dodges allegations of Alaska's nonexistence; Palin posts on her Vlog; hijinks at the RNC; the secret bar on Capitol Hill; little-known "Sarah Palin Facts"; and Al Gore's follow-up movie to Inconvenient Truth--"Supernova."
- A list of the crappiest video-game box-art??? Neato!
- Random/cool website: Totally Looks Like...
- Tim Hawkins is funny. I posted a video of his last week or so. Check out the "Smells Like Birthday Cake" video. Na-na-na-na-na-na-CAAAAKE.
- Having become totally fed up with constantly being eaten by Pacman, Blinky set off to New York to try a career in the fashion industry.
- I didn't even realize U2 had an album coming out this year! Oh well, I'll still have to wait until 2009!
- Did I consider, even for a moment, shelling out over seventy bucks for yet another re-release of the Godfather trilogy? Yes. Yes I did. And I'm ashamed of myself.
- "Synecdoche, New York" looks...weird.
- A verbal presentation of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"? Interesting.
- More Youtube--Jules Winfield from Pulp Fiction (Sam Jackson) as a hockey coach? Best. Coach. Ever.
- I've tried to hold off from excessive gloating about my NL Central Champion Chicago Cubs (*cough*YearOfDestiny!*cough*), but I can't help adding a few videos. Okay, maybe a few more videos.
Okay, with this done, expect three more posts this week: a concert review and accounts of the two storms I've weathered this month.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
It's other stuff, and I'll give you the skinny sometime. Just not yet.
Trev, you don't have to come down, and with the recovery effort here going slowly, I wouldn't recommend it at this point. But thanks for the offer. (You're still coming down for the BSG finale in June, right? I'm almost totally current on the episodes and can't wait for the new ones!)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
But it's been less than a week and the recovery from Ike is already off the national radar?
I mean, a hurricane devastates the Texas coast, and cuts off the power for the fourth largest city in the FREAKING NATION, and you've got nothing? CNN? Fox? MSNBC?
Here's a fun game, readers: find the references to Galveston, Houston, or Ike recovery on the front pages of those sites. Hint: You'll need a magnifying glass.
Didn't we see story after story about Katrina for WEEKS?!? What's the matter--not enough death or destruction to count? Too many--dare I say it--white-skinned red-staters involved?
That's pathetic, national media. Devastation, floods, 1.5 million people still without power and easily accessible supplies after almost a week--and it gets less play than Cindy Mccain lashing out at "The View." Thanks for frakking NOTHING.
I mean, at least Drudge gives us a frakking picture.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Okay, I'm safe and once again connected to the outside world. It's been an adventure. Details to follow. For now, the bulletin:
--Power has finally been restored to my apartment (but not my parents' house--GRRR.)
Because i'm an idiot, i left food in the fridge (thinking I'd only be gone a day or so), and it rotted. Worst offender? Bags o' chicken. So despite my best efforts to air it out and clean it out, the place still smells most foul/fowl.
--Back to work tomorrow, but I won't be logging on to AIM, because I have a beastly tasklist. I know, I know, you're going through Dave-withdrawals. Well, absence makes the heart grow fonder, so you'll REALLY love me when we can finally chat again.
--Please please pray for the folks here on the Texas coast--the devastated thousands in the communities in and around Galveston, as well as the heavily-taxed and frustrated folks up in Houston and its suburbs (like my folks) who are trying to make do without power, without consistent supply of food or gasoline, some without easily accessed water, and all without access to the outside world. The local stations are showing IKE-recovery 24/7, so we have no idea what else is going on.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Today is the seventh anniversary of the brutal attack on my country. I wish I could spend some time and give that rememberance its due, but there's a hurricane heading for me. So my thoughts are focused on preparation and family.
Everything else goes on hold until the storm passes. Memory, silence, grave and pressing thoughts. All tossed in the "to-be-completed" box and stowed for the next 72 hours.
Much to do, and little time to do it in.
Have a good day, friends. If it is your wont, say a prayer for the families of the fallen, and a prayer for those bracing for the coming storm. Relish your freedom, and take pride in the way tragedy somehow always brings people closer together.
Let today be a day without politics, a day without posturing.
Peace and grace.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month. He's never been through August in Houston.
Bring on the cold...er, cool... uh, mild temperatures!
That's CHANGE i can believe in. (Couldn't resist.)
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I was gonna do a linky love here, but I don't have enough links to really justify it.
Maybe a shuffleblog? Nah, Will did one this week too, and I don't know if I can do better than Carman rapping.
Not much to say. Busy at work. Trying to get all my wandering ducks in order, etc. etc.
I'm reading a surprisingly good book right now. "Riven" by Jerry Jenkins. It's been a while since a Christian novel grabbed me, but I like his characters and am interested in seeing this story develop.
Okay, mini film review: "The Mission"
Incredible film about the conflict between Jesuit priests ministering to South American tribes in the 1700's, and the Spanish and Portuguese slave traders trying to enslave the natives. Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro star. Stirring, exciting, heartbreaking film. Awesome. And you know it's a great movie when you know what's coming, and dread the conclusion, but are rivetted to your chair. You see the antagonists on screen and shake your head, muttering, "You miserable b*****ds. You miserable, rotten b*****ds."
Here's the trailer.
Guess that's it. Feel free to comment on anything you want in the com-box below--as long as it's not politics.
P.S. Anarchists in masks are still friggin' cowards. (That ain't political--it's just true.)
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Funniest blog comment of a political nature that I've read all day (and I've read many):
I want her to prove that she can be POTUS if the Old Man kicks the bucket. (Which given that he's 72 and already had one bout with melanoma, he just might.) I think foreign policy is 100% more important than what kind of mother she is. I'm not voting for the country's best mother. I'm voting for the leader of my country.
That being said, I'm not voting for McCain and Miss Congeniality. I will be voting for Obama.
Okay, okay. Let's slow that down and take a look at it.
The commenter's concern is that Palin, governor of an entire state for almost two years, doesn't have enough experience--particularly foreign policy experience--on the off-chance a 72-year-old cancer survivor and military veteran up's and dies suddenly. They believe foreign policy is 100% more important than the candidate's personal life--so they're voting for Obama, a <1-term senator who, over the last two years, has been campaigning for president more than he's been acting as the elected representative of the people of Illinois.
*head-desk, head-desk, head-desk*
Look folks, I'm not arguing that Palin has more foreign-policy experience than Obama; my contention is that she has virtually the same amount--that is, virtually as little experience as he does. And she's not the one at the top of the ticket.
Com-box is open below; feel free to let slip the dogs of war-like rhetoric.