Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a suggestion to music blogs

The albums above are current (and older) favorites of mine. On all of them, there are catchy melodies and interesting lyrics. Not world-/life-changing stuff, but enjoyable music that makes me happy. All (in some form or another) harshly criticized.

I'm not so happy when I read certain music blogs. I was angered recently by a review of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals new album "Cardinology" when a reviewer panned a few songs for being "radio-friendly". Okay, what's wrong with writing a song that doesn't alienate people? One song in question is called "Magick" and it's a pretty good song. It has chord changes and a catchy chorus. I tend to think that if you can write a song that will make people happy, then you've done something kind of good.

Not so with music sites such as Pitchfork (who overanalyze everything) and It's Hard to Find a Friend (who I generally love...save for this ignorant statement about Adams). IHTFAF even mentioned that Adams' album "Rock n Roll" was horrible. Not true. It was an artist who is normally in the alt-country genre branching out and making really good sounding classic rock. What's wrong with that picture? Nothing, except for the reviewer's inability to listen to these songs while at a stop light with his windows down and be seen by others as so much "cooler" and "different" for not liking what they like.

Am I saying that I don't want to be different? No. I'm not saying I do, either. I just want to like what I like. Why do we have to harshly criticize music (or anything personal) just because it is or isn't the way we see that it should be? In the case of music, let's just let it be. If you like it, good. If not, that's fine. But please stop being so pretentious. It's not cool. It's annoying.

Friday, November 21, 2008

week in review

Wow, didn't mean to go so long with a basically negative post greeting anyone stumbling onto this page. Guess I should update.

I've become a morning coffee drinker. All day long I'm guzzling this huge water bottle, so I don't get my caffiene during the day anymore like I did when I was a Coke drinker. This had led to headaches and a bad temper. My co-workers have even referred to my attitude as "doo-doo on a stick". So coffee has helped temper my...um...temper.

This past Wednesday I had to go back to the doctor to check on my stone. For the first time in my life, I had a good looking nurse. Wait, scratch that. TWO good looking nurses. They were really nice and smelled amazing. That was great, because next I got to see the X-Ray of my stone. It's friggin' HUGE! I shuddered when I thought of having to pass this thing. Still do.

The wedding last weekend was actually not that bad. I got to see some old friends and make new ones. My only complaint was...get this...the kidney stone. I was so high on painkillers during the wedding that I thought I was going to pass out. I was seriously shuffling and blinking a lot. Thankfully no one seemed to notice and the wedding was a success.

And Thanksgiving is here next week, which is great for two reasons. One, I love the food. Two, I can get into the Christmas spirit. My work has been playing Christmas music already and I'm sort of a Scrooge about that. I want Thanksgiving out of the way first. Then we can celebrate.

On a different note, I have been reading a book that has been pretty hard to put down. I started it yesterday on lunch break/before Oxygen/before bed and got about halfway through it. It's called Pathways to Abandon by Nathan Schnackenburg, and it's about a guy who grew up a missionary kid in Japan, moved back to America, and went a little crazy. It's basically a testimony, but it's been pretty entertaining. I like to hear stories of where people have been and what shapes them into who they are now. So if you need something to read in this cold weather, this is a pretty good choice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a complaint-filled post

Money. What a concept. We need it but don't want to be consumed by it.

I have a couple things to vent about. For my own personal safety, I'll be vague about one of them but explicit about the other.

First of all, I'm finding myself to be running out of money fairly often these days. It seems like I'm having to coast the last half of the month. Granted I took a vacation last month which was a drain financially (but good for me otherwise), but something pops up all the time. Like this month I have to go to a wedding (more on that later) and of course next month is Christmas. My ski trip is in March and I have to plop down $375 in a couple weeks for a ski pass. And today I found out that some much needed money I was expecting will not be coming to me after all. I had thought about getting a credit card for such emergencies (I know, I know, bad idea...I've read Dave Ramsey's books) but I get denied every time. Turns out that people my age are least eligible. Needless to say, I'm a little bummed about it all.

My other gripe is about this wedding. I'm really happy for my friend, whom I have had a tumultuous relationship with, but by God's grace I've been able to get past it all. I'm actually really excited to see him at this huge time of his life. The thing that bugs me is how much trouble the tuxedo situation has turned out to be. First off, Ben and I went to get fitted a few weeks ago and the store was supposed to call in our information to the Paris, TN (where my friend lives) tux place and we could just pick it up there. Good, sounds simple.

But it wasn't. And isn't. We got fitted by the worst fitter ever. She had to go back and do it again after someone told her she did it wrong. She tried fitting my pants by asking this question, "Where is your belly button?" Did she think I hiked my pants up that high?!? Ridiculous.

Anyway, after all of that, we paid a deposit only to have them return the deposit to us the next day. Apparently we had to pay in Paris. Okay, fine. Then a week later I got a phone call from the store letting me know that my order had to be redone and I had to pay in Oxford. Okay, fine, I went and did all that. They informed us that we had to pick up the tuxes in Oxford now instead of Paris. Alright, can do.

Then this morning I got a phone call saying that I need to come try on the tux because they're afraid that the measurements were wrong. WHAT?!? So I have to go down there and try it on. I'm crossing my fingers that it's right because I have to leave town tomorrow afternoon for rehearsal. I don't think the couple will be too happy if we show up tux-less.

Yeah, it's a frustrating day. And I have to pay for the tuxes today, too. Not to mention the gas to get up to Paris (a 3 hour drive).

As of this point, I'm taking donations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

adam is dum

I know I just posted earlier today, but I had to put this up. This past Sunday night, one of my youth told me to come into our room because this little girl named Kristin had drawn a picture for me. I went in expecting something heartwarming...but I got something much better. If nothing else, self-depreciating humor is one of my favorite things. So to be immortalized on a dry-erase board, frowning, with a message beside me claiming that I am "dum"...well...let's just say it made my night. Thanks Kristin!

(Click the pic to make it larger)

going fast when i should wait

I went to the doctor yesterday about my kidney stones. I never like going to the doctor. I sat in his office for a few hours on painkillers. I fell asleep a few times...and reportedly was a certifiable jerk on occasion. Those pills do that to me. Anyway, I got checked out and now I know that I have a 3mm stone on the outside of my kidney that gets stuck in my tubes and makes me act like a baby. I have a 60-70% chance of passing it.

So even though I have been slowing things down a little bit, I have to slow it even more. Doctor's orders. Also lots of water. And maybe lots of Drank, too.

But at least I'm off work today. Veteran's Day! I've been able to clean up a little around the house and play some Gears of War 2. I'm a 25 year old kid. But I love my multimedia.

And speaking of which, I am ready for this album later on this month. Check that hair.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

an early November update

It has been quite a week so far. New president-elect, and because of that there's nothing to watch on TV. But I'm wondering...when are all these people moving to Canada/Australia?

And I really don't want to get into the election stuff. I could talk about it all day, but for what purpose? Speculation? I don't know what the next 4-8 years will bring. I will just say that regardless of our leader, we need to pray for God's will to be done. Same for Obama as it would have been for McCain. And let's stop with the hate speech, Christians. Some of you are so worried about the anti-Christ...well the Bible speaks of many anti-Christs. Think of what that means. Against Christ. The opposite of Christ. And who exactly does that apply to? Everyone who says that Christ is not who He says He is. All liars and slanderers of His name. So...let's think, people. Don't become an anti-Christ. Pray, be diligent, and trust God. You know your Savior...let Him continue to be that.

On a lighter subject, I really got a kick out of this: an older man (83 years old) came in and did a loan today and I had the privilege of talking with him. This guy was hilarious. He wasn't the crotchety old man who's mad at the world, nor was he the super sweet old guy who all the women say "He's so cute" about...he was just an older guy who, while a little senile, has seemingly stayed relevant his whole life. Among his words of wisdom ("you shouldn't have kids if you're not willing to take care of them even when they're in their sixties...", "I think we should give Obama a fair chance before we throw him out..."), he also said lots of old guy stuff ("...it's really hard to write with this arthritis in my hands. It's also in my feet....blah blah blah...").

But one of the funniest things he said was when he was talking about his sons. He said, "I raised my sons right. I took them to church and made them sit beside me. I know they were saved. I lost one of my sons, too. He was about your age." At this point there was a long pause and I started feeling some sympathy for him. To lose a son at 25 had to be hard. Then he said, "Well, I don't know. He was 52. How old are you?" I almost laughed. I said, "25." Then we both laughed for a long time.

As far as my kidney stones, I think this round is over! I've passed 2 of them in the past 2 weeks. I'm still sore and I still haven't gotten into my routine of exercising again, but I'm positive that I can very soon.

Oh yeah...I'm exercising to get in better shape both for myself and for my upcoming ski trip in March. Speaking of which, my cousin backed out of the trip...so it will be me with my aunt and uncle and two family friends. All cool people, trust me, but still...it would have been nice to have another young person going. So if you want to go to beautiful Breckinridge/Keystone, Colorado in March (or know someone who does), please let me know! There's time to work out details. And it would be awesome.

To wrap up, I'm gonna post album covers of some of the most listened tunes on my iPod here lately. I encourage you to check them out. I'll write a little about them, and then it's back to work.

More brilliance from Adams and his full band. Alt-country with a contemplative swagger. My picks: "Go Easy", "Magick", "Let Us Down Easy", "Natural Ghost".

The Strokes' guitarist's second solo album, it's full of catchy riffs and songs that just stick in your head. My picks: "GfC", "Lisa", "You Won't Be Fooled By This".

Ex-Pedro the Lion frontman prepares for his full length solo album with an EP released last year ("Fewer Moving Parts") and this two-song single released this past Tuesday. Both songs are great. "American Flags" and "Please, Baby, Please (Demo)".