Category Archives: Music

Tom’s Shoes

One thing that sometimes turns me off to even the noblest of fundraising plans and charities and stuff is how complicated they can get. I mean, before you give to something, you should investigate it and find out where your money’s going. So when 55% goes here and 30% goes there and 84% is overhead, blah blah blah, I’m like, “Eh, it’s kinda complicated… Whatever…”

So what about a charity or service that has a 1 to 1 giving ratio? Pretty straightforward and real easy to give to.

Tom’s Shoes.

You buy a pair, another goes to one of 600,000 barefooted kids in Ethiopia. Easy.

On that note, here are some wise words about what we buy:

In simple English, this is truth
So see if this makes sense to you
Under the guise of Jesus Christ
Beneath the vibe and all the lights
They lie, these spies
Covered, your eyes
I never knew this was a contest
I guess we lost it long ago

Blue mixes
Kick us while we’re down, yeah
Fixing prices
Sure, you say one thing
But your actions tell the truth on you

So, blue mix means to weaken sound
Turns concert halls to battlegrounds
Make us pay to go on tour
Marked up t-shirts to match yours
Blind fans, gold mine
You are, dollar signs
And when did this become a contest?
I guess we lost it long ago

Blue mixes
Kick us while we’re down, yeah
Fixing prices
Sure, you say one thing
But your actions tell the truth on you

You are responsible
To watch what you buy
These bands that you love
Pull the wool over your eyes
So watch them
Watch us
Watch them

Five Iron Frenzy, “Blue Mix”

[FIF HT] : t.c.

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Taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

Windows Media Player allows me to bump up the playback speed of my music. LP players had this, so I don’t know why I never thought to look for it in my media software.

So… that being said…

A Fire Inside + Ctrl-Shift-G (Fast Playback Speed) = Great sermon-writing music.

(The taptaptaptaptap is my feet, btw…)

Checked out

Tuesday, August 7:

My brain has officially checked out for the next 6 days. :)

I’m done! I survived today, a day that spanned the gap between being out of town with work for 2 weeks and heading out to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara for a much-needed vacation.

As far as traveling for work the past couple weeks…

I’ve been to Indiana, for an event called the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, which entailed rushing 15 sr. high students through 2 different half-hour layovers in major airports, only to show up at Purdue University to be melded into and herded around in a crowd of 5000 people. (Maybe I’m using a bit of overstatement… overall, it was a great experience.) Stressful from a leader standpoint, but positive nonetheless.

Upon returning from Purdue, I had a couple days in the office to basically sit in meetings and hear about what I had missed. Not that I could do anything about it; there’s just a set of stuff that has to be covered. The couple days in the office were about catching up. Then I took a couple days off, for a combination of resting from what I just finished as well as preparing for what was coming up. So for Thursday and Friday, I was focusing on what lay ahead. For the upcoming week, I was headed off to speak at a great camp that the kids from our church go to (Sonlight Christian Camp). Thursday consisted of getting the thematic skeleton laid out for how to address the week’s big idea. Honestly, I had had this on the back burner since January, but it really never got much thought because all the day-to-day pragmatics took priority. On Friday, I got the chance to attach some specific ideas and references and whatnot to the skeleton.

An aside techie note: For this speaking engagement, I tried out a new idea-mapping program, Compendium Open Learn. I’d recommend it; Open Learn is a great hybrid between left-brain outlining and right-brain visualization.

Wednesday, August 8:

So when I showed up at camp, I had a basic idea of what each day should consist of. Each day entailed a couple hours of making speaking notes, putting together a powerpoint, double-checking scripture references, etc. The week turned out to be great. I left with the impression that the biggest ideas I wanted to drive home really stuck with them. Thanks be to God! The content of the talks merits its own post later.

Mentioning powerpoint made me think of a post I read recently over at Out of Ur. It’s well-written, and makes me double-check myself to make sure I’m not using technology in a manipulative fashion (which is especially easy to do with media-inundated sr. high students).

This morning we left the house at 5:00am, to fly out to Los Angeles. Got out of Durango pretty smoothly. Saw some friends from church on our flight out. I love small towns. 14k people and you’re almost guaranteed to see someone you know at 6:30 in the morning at the airport. Anyway, the flights were pretty uneventful, which I guess is the ideal. Sitting on the runway at Salt Lake City, there was some super weird new-agey music that it seemed only Anina and I could hear. I was listening everywhere to try to track down its source. But I just looked goofy standing up, or putting my ear against the window, or feeling the vents for vibrations, because no one else could hear it. Turns out that somehow my armrest headphone jack was specially equipped to become a speaker instead of a jack. My armrest was emitting the offending tunes! It was definitely funny to witness, but basically, you just had to be there.

On the bus leaving LAX, I couldn’t help but overhear a fellow passenger calling home to let someone know he landed safely: “Oh honey you wouldn’t believe how beautiful it is here… 70 degrees, clear blue skies…” If by blue you mean gray, yeah sure, I’ll buy that. I’m not bashing LA’s smog or that guy’s definition of blue, but it’s just funny… it’s muddy gray here overhead compared to places like Durango.

I love being on vacation!

Paper Skin – Kendall Payne

A new album just came out that I’m really excited for. Kendall Payne is a way talented artist who’s getting better and better with each release.

A little history: Kendall “left” a major CCM label a while back because what they wanted from her was too manufactured and trite. Ergo, one can safely assume she’s the opposite of manufactured and trite. Right up there with Dan Haseltine in terms of working profound lyrics about faith into her art while keeping it from becoming the dreck that annoyingly attracts oodles of head-in-the clouds christianizers. I heard her on a demo CD back in high school, and liked her 1 song on it. I kinda forgot about her music for a few years. Then I saw Kendall open for Bebo Norman at a show in Waco, and I was hooked. Bought the album, Grown (her sophomore release), that evening during intermission. So keep an eye out for any of her shows in your area… one of the best I’ve been to, especially if you luck out with an acoustic set. Now Kendall’s third album has come out, Paper Skin. And judging from the track samples, it’s absolutely a work of art.

It’ll be on iTunes in a short while, but according to Kendall, you should buy the album through digstation.com because it pays better per song, while costing you the same. Hard copies can be obtained through cdbaby.

Album Download: Paper Skin – Kendall Payne

Kendall’s blog post on the album release

Plan B

July 1st. Wheee! …right? Yeah, kinda cool that we’re over the hump. 6 out of 12 months have passed. I blinked a few seconds ago, I coulda sworn it was mid-April then. Oh well.

I’m not excited about Monday (technically today). Summer’s been fun, but I haven’t been paying attention to as much around me as I should have been. Or, maybe enough, but not the right things.

I (and many others around me) have been planning on me beginning my graduate work this Fall. The plan was to enroll at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, in Iowa. They have a great distance program that will allow me to keep my Durango life while I work on my M.Div. The thing is, since it is a distance program, it takes a bit longer. 5 years going full-steam every semester. And as much as I’m sure I’ll enjoy seminary just for all the great reading and discussion, earning my graduate degree holds significant practical importance. Down the road, formal ordination will allow a church to pay me a tax-exempt housing allowance on top of my salary. Now within the PC(USA), said ordination requires achievement of a Master’s degree. Moral of the story, ordination will make life a lot easier, in terms of raising a family and living expenses and all that.

Now, back to why the post is titled “Plan B.” I’ll know for sure in a few hours, but I have a hunch I may have missed the application deadline to enroll in Dubuque’s distance program for this Fall. If so, I’ll be kicking myself pretty hard. It was a simple date on the horizon, and I fill out applications well. I just would have had to make a note about July 2 sneaking up, and this would be a non-issue.

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King Without A Crown

So I’ve been listening to Matisyahu a lot recently. Amazing music. Here’s an excerpt from Pandora‘s mini-bio on him:

When Matisyahu emerged with his debut album, Shake Off the Dust…Arise, in 2004, his musical persona seemed to some a novelty. Here was a Hasidic Jew, dressed in a black suit with a broad-brimmed black hat worn over a yarmulke, and sporting a full, untrimmed beard, who nevertheless performed toasting raps about the glories of traditional Judaism over reggae beats in a dancehall style directly from Jamaica, punctuating his performances with stage diving. It may have seemed like a joke at first, but Matisyahu was serious, and he began to attract press notices to go with the enthusiastic audiences that packed his concerts.”

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SongSpot

The little widget on the left hand side of the page is my SongSpot, made possible by Sonific. I think it’s great. If you want to put popular music everyone’s heard of on your blog, find something besides Sonific. But if you want to discover all sorts of new artists and music, go there. Use it. Spread it. Fight cultural artistic ignorance.

I’m going to try to swap in a new song every week. So stay tuned, and be educated. :)