Saturday, November 29, 2008

Merry Christmas Baby

It's official . . . let it begin!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Buy Nothing Day 2008

Black Friday

Really loved the Op-Ed piece by Juliet Scher in the LA Times this morning. Titled "Bleak Friday," Scher writes:  "Scaling back on gifts and holiday spending this year suddenly seems like the socially acceptable thing to do. Spending liberally can feel unseemly. Even older children will recognize that these are unusual times." She also posits this question: "Facing such financial uncertainty, who would buy a new car, TV, stereo, or sofa?"

My favorite part though is this: "Don't feel guilty about it.  We can find better ways to support one another than funneling our money through giant multinationals in hopes that some trickles down to its employees . . . . I suggest more music, less wrapping paper."

Having just sent out an open letter to our families about no longer buying Christmas gifts, this article by Juliet Scher was received as a welcomed surprise this morning.

Thus, in honor (or in spite of) Black Friday, check out these sites:

Adbusters Buy Nothing Day
Advent Conspiracy
Rethinking Christmas
Debt-Proof Living/Cheapskate Monthly
Make Something Day
The Center for a New American Dream


Thursday, November 27, 2008


Running through the rain
I put my ear to my chest
and heard the righteous pounding
of the song to self
beating out an anthem of
the sideways torrent
unleashed an avalanche of
rather than dwell in these
"difficult times"
I found myself lost in the
miracle of my functional body
the glory of
every breath I drew
reminded me of
my escape from death's grip
sweet rain on my tongue
a refreshing reminder of
God's provision

Labels: ,

Turkey Trot

I ran the Dana Point 10K Turkey Trot this morning. I am quite pleased with my results. I ended up doing it in 43:20 which was a pace of 6:59. I was 19th out of 207 dudes in my age group, 35-39 years old. I had said I would run it with an eight minute mile pace so I am feeling good. Thankful today that God gave me two legs that are working okay at the moment.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Coldplay Concert

I just got home from the Coldplay concert and I am on another live music high. I must say the concert totally exceeded all my expectations. I was quite moved by the entire performance and I walked away from tonight a MUCH BIGGER admirer of Coldplay than before. I just "liked them" before tonight, but I am now a full-blown fan.

My sister Lori Ann won tickets to the show on the radio station 98.7 FM and the prize included the "Viva La Meeta and Greeta" with the band, we got a group photo, and we got to hear their soundcheck which was extremely cool! Can you believe she was nice enough to take me?! Wow! Even though all these band photos are from the soundcheck and not the actual show, I'm going to just write about the main show here.Here is the set list from tonight:

TALK (both techno style)
THE HARDEST PART (Chris/piano instrumental)
POSTCARDS FROM FAR AWAY (Chris/piano instrumental)
THE SCIENTIST (acoustic)
DEATH WILL NEVER CONQUER (Will singing acoustic)
VIVA LA VIDA (remix interlude)
I thought that was an amazing set list. I think LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR was such a strong opener. I adore that song and from the very first notes the vibe was upbeat and cheerful. Right off the bat, during the very first song, I loved how the guys joined together and played off each other. It's almost like they huddled, not too spread out. They did this frequently and Chris especially just seemed to be having fun and taking it all in and very appreciative that he could play to us. As a whole the music was quite beatific and it just made me feel jubilant.
I think my very favorite highlight of the night was FIX YOU. I know I tend to be emotional, but this one caught me by surprise as the lyrics just hit me and I found myself eyes closed praying to God and running through people I know by name, myself included, and asking God to fix them. By the time the song got to the musical high point and Chris was sing "Tears stream down your face" over and over, I actually had tears streaming down my face. It was surreal. It truly was a spiritual moment for me.
Honestly when they got to VIVA LA VIDA, that was such a show-stopper that I couldn't imagine that they weren't done. I thought they surely had to end the show after that. It was so fantastic, everybody dancing and singing. Such a great moment.The encore was amazing too. I thought POLITIK was awesome and LOVERS IN JAPAN just brought the house down. I was so joyful during LOVERS IN JAPAN and then they dropped thousands and thousands of colorful pieces of confetti and we were dancing, singing, and jumping and I looked over at my sister and honestly said, "This is as close to heaven on earth as it gets for me." YELLOW as the final encore was perfect. It was so perfect I knew that had to be the last song.It really is wrong to single out those songs because everything was so good.  CEMETERIES OF LONDON and LOST! laid me out and I was struck by the loveliness of STRAWBERRY SWING which hit me as a very Beatlesque song tonight. Chris had me cracking up laughing during THE HARDEST PART which he sang from the B-stage as he added a verse about how difficult it was to see The Jonas Brothers being so young while he is so old. Also during that song I noticed what a great job Will the drummer did singing back-up vocals. Beautiful really. I was also totally surprised that all four of the guys got down off the stage at the Honda Center and walked down the isles to the rear of the venue and then walked up stairs to the lodge area (200 level) and sang two acoustic songs from there.  I have never seen that in such a large arena before.  Totally cool thing.
The sound was amazing tonight and the lighting was cool. They had full on lasers on SPEED OF SOUND for example, really a first class production all the way around. I totally enjoyed myself. It was a treat to be with my sister and catch up and we both danced a lot. I think they played literally everything I really wanted to hear.
Another thing that made tonight cool was that I loved the first opening band.  It was a group of five young guys from Texas called Sleeper Car and I was totally into their music. They reminded me of a cross between Social Distortion, The Jayhawks, and The E Street Band. Very seldom have I enjoyed an opening act so much as these guys.
Now I am very tired, but I am thinking currently thinking about how Chis Martin embodies the saying, "Dance as if no one is watching" as he just skips around and has a grand time. I want to skip a bit more today for sure!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm running . . .

because I can

because I want to

because I'm made to


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Imagine my dismay
When I awoke today
To find that I had
Misplaced my passion

Trapped in my own desires
My childhood dreams
Had become my prison
I wanted escape
From it all . . .

Run from responsibilities
Hide from friends
Vacation from work
Give up the charity work
Abandon the "sacred union"
Even hide from God

It all seemed like such a burden
Blessings and all
Nowhere to run
Obligations burning
Bright as the sun

Where did it go
That fire in my soul?
Why do I feel so
Out of control?
Do I even believe
In a soul?

And, who is this stranger in the mirror?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008



Here's the official Travis video for CLOSER, one of the songs I wrote about in my previous post. I thought you might enjoy hearing the studio version. Like I wrote yesterday, when the song came out in 2007, I liked it, but I didn't love it. Now, I adore this song. It really touches me. It's from the album THE BOY WITH NO NAME. If the above video doesn't work just go strait here:  CLOSER.  This really is a simple song, but quite the lovely sentiment in my opinion. I do think this is a pretty cool video too. Also, here are the lyrics as well.


I've had enough
of this parade
I'm thinking of
the words to say
We open up
unfinished parts
Broken up
it's only love

And when I see you then I know
it will be next to me
And when I need you then I know
you will be there with me
I'll never leave you

Just need to get closer, closer
Lean on me now
Lean on me now
Closer, closer
Lean on me now
Lean on me now

Keep waking up (waking up)
without you here (without you here)
another day (another day)
another year (another year)
I seek the truth (seek the truth)
We set apart (we set apart)
Second dance
Second chance (a second chance)

And when I see you then I know
it will be next to me
And when I need you then I know
you will be there with me
I'll never leave you

Just need to get closer, closer
Lean on me now
Lean on me now
Closer, closer
Lean on me now
Lean on me now
Lean on me now

And when I see you then I know
it will be next to me
And when I need you then I know
you will be there with me
I'll never leave you

Just need to get closer, closer
Lean on me now
Lean on me now
Closer, closer
Lean on me now
Lean on me now
Lean on me now

Closer, closer
Closer, closer


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Travis Euphoria

Guitarist Andy Dunlop climbs the scaffolding
(photo by Timothy Norris of LA Weekly)

Okay, so it was one week ago tonight I was at the Travis show. Yes, I used the word "euphoria" when I tried to explain that night's Travis concert. Euphoria is a noun that means "a feeling of general well-being" and that is exactly what I experienced at that concert at the Troubadour. I love this band. I have seen literally several hundred concerts in my life and I can honestly say that Travis lands somewhere in my top three shows. Of course, I consider Springsteen the greatest live experience ever and I would put U2 right up there because their live show also feels like a spiritual experience, but I had such a high last Tuesday that I honestly cannot even just say that Travis third. Wes has never seen U2, but he has seen Springsteen and, as we left last night he said, "That was the best concert I have ever seen. It was better than Bruce, it was better than David Crowder, it was better than all the others." Some of the others he had seen were John Densmore's band Tribal Jazz, Stray Cats, ZZ Top, Stevie Nicks, and The Pretenders. We both agreed that the best of those seemed like a joke in comparrison to what we saw last night at the very small club known as The Troubadour.
There is so much to say about the Travis show, but let me just go back to the spiritual aspect again and this concept of a feeling of general well-being. As good as the band is at playing their instruments, for as much as the boys rock, for as much joy as just fist pumping, jumping-up-and-down rock 'n' roll brings, I think what I adore the most about Travis is the wonderful, kind, soul-searching, "I want to be a better man" thread that runs through most of the music that Fran, the main songwriter, has blessed us with. What I realized even more as I stood there leaning against the stage last Tuesday night is that I love writers like Springsteen, Neil Finn, Bono, and Fran because, they connect to my heart, they want the same things I want. Their music actually makes the world a better place.
Bass player Dougie Payne
(this is a photo I took as nothing was between
Wes and I and the stage)
Let me give some specific examples from last night. First, Wes and I were literally pushing up against the stage so when the roadie came and taped the set list to the floor, I could see it. I was thinking I shouldn't look because it would take away the element of surprise. But, being a compulsive person, I had to look. As I ran down the songs there were, of course, songs I immediately thought, "Oh, I am looking forward to that one."
However, perhaps my favorite moment in the show came during a group of songs where I had not anticipated being blown away.
Neil Primrose pounding away on the drums
(Photo by Timothy Norris of LA Weekly)
The reason for this is that I was looking at songs thinking, "That is gonna rock" or "Andy will shred on that one" or "Neil is going to pound the heck out of the drums on that one" or "I can't wait to hear Dougie's baseline on that one" or "Frans vocals will just rule on that song" and all those things totally happened. However, the most important moment for me in the show came as a total EMOTIONAL response, it was an extended moment that laid this feeler out with a one-two-three sucker punch to the heart.
Lead singer Fran Healy comes off the stage to make an emotional
connection and sings among the audience during "Falling Down"
(photo by Timothy Norris of LA Weekly)
What I am talking about is what I now call the "trifecta of desire." I got blindsided by two unexpected selections and then reduced to jello by the triple-whammy of an old favorite that I had taken for granted. The first song that I was really surprised by my response on was a song called CLOSER off THE BOY WITH NO NAME ALBUM. I really really love that album from 2007, and I liked the song CLOSER, but I wasn't blown away by it . . . . until I was standing there and the lyrics blew threw me like a gentle breeze and I realized this was everything I wanted and I begin thinking about Chrisy and then I just felt tears streaming down my face as I watched in awe of the band. Consider a sampling of these lyrics from CLOSER:
"And when I see you then I know it will be next to me
And when I need you then
I know you will be there with me
I'll never leave you
Just need to get closer, closer
Lean on me new, lean on me now . . . . "
I know that chorus will not move you to where I was that night, but at the concert, the song hit me in a very powerful way, so powerful that I cannot put it into words. For me, that performance of CLOSER spoke to my desire to be even more at one with my wife.
Then came the big surprise off the new album ODE TO J. SMITH. Prior to that night I had told Wes that I loved the album so much I had a 7-way tie for my favorite song off the 11-song album: "I loved seven songs and just liked four songs." He asked which four I "only liked" and one of them was BEFORE YOU WERE YOUNG. That is the song that followed CLOSER at our concert and it was the perfect emotional follow-up and it was like I had never heard the song before. Check out this sampling of lyrics from BEFORE YOU WERE YOUNG:
"But even then we're never safe
From danger
And if you ever need me call
I will be there waiting
When you fall
You know I will
I'll love you forever
I'll never say never . . . ."
Wes and I right after the show right at the spot we were watching the show from
As this song was playing, in the way CLOSER had made me think of Chrisy, this song made me think of my children. At one point I even leaned over and kissed Wes on the head and gave him a pat on the back. In that moment the song spoke to my desire to be the best dad possible for my four children.
I was eating out of the band's hands. And, after that, came pure bliss, an old favorite TURN, but even that one seemed to hit me like never before. It was a song about spiritual longing and wrapped up all my desires. Here's a sampling of TURN:
"I want to feel like I felt before
I want to see the kingdom come
I want to feel forever young
I want to sing
To sing my song
I want to live in a world where I belong
I want to live
I will survive . . . . "
It was fantastic. This song was about the desire to truly live! TURN closed out the show on an emotional high as it was the end of the main set. It was pure . . . Euphoria!
During "Flowers in the Window" the whole band got together;
here Dougie is playing Fran's guitar while Fran sings
(I took this photo)
When the band came back for the encore, after two covers, Fran again turned to this type of song that simply makes me feel good. He brought all the band out to the edge of the stage and they sang FLOWERS IN THE WINDOW. One of their bigger hits, the song was written about his pregnant wife. It too filled me with love, peace, and joy. Here are some lyrics:
"When I first held you I was cold
A melting snowman I was told
But there was no-one there to hold
Before I swore that I would be alone forever more
Wow, look at you now
Flowers in the window
Its such a lovely day
And I'm glad you feel the same
Cos you stand up, out in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so
Let's watch the flowers grow . . . . "
Such a lovely day indeed.


I reached a running goal


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wes and Travis

I'm very tired from a very remarkable night at the Troubadour. Travis put on one amazing show.  All I can say right now is I am experiencing pure euphoria right now. Here's a photo of Wes and the band. We had such a great night. I will be back to write more about this show.  What a night! Got to go to sleep though.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 10, 2008

That overrated fiscal responsibility thing . . .

Just in case you wonder why I am not a Republican. Arnold is supposedly a Republican, right? Here is a quote from him just the other day:

"I think the important thing for the Republican Party is now to also look at other issues that are very important for this country and not to get stuck in ideology," the governor said in an interview broadcast on CNN. "Let's go and talk about healthcare reform. Let's go and . . . fund programs if they're necessary programs and not get stuck just on the fiscal responsibility."

Nice to know the governor things fiscal responsibility is a bad place to be stuck.

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Max barfing at the junior high all-nighter

This one speaks for itself.