December 30, 2006


i'm finding this whole Saddam Hussein hanging rather strange, and as is the case in most situations, i'm not exactly sure where i stand. on one hand i want to say, "yes. kill the man. he was a murderer in the 80's and deserves to be punished." but at the same time i sit and think, "since when was killing someone ever kosher?"

two wrongs don't make a right. thats what i was always taught, and as difficult as it is to apply such a childish lesson to such a not-so-childish event...why shouldn't it hold true? if the man deserves to be punished then he needs to be punished, but who besides God has the authority to say who deserves to die? how can someone justly kill another life. justice? sure. does he deserve it? i just don't know. i simply can't come to terms with the fact that a man was justly hanged. i dunno. maybe i'm just a pansy, but i'm not a fan of killing.

even if the man is responsible for x number of deaths - i'm not sure it is necessary.

i'm probably just naive.


December 25, 2006

mary, did you know?

I'll be honest, Christmas comes and Christmas goes and rarely do i sit back and consider Jesus' birth and its importance in my life. i guess it all seems a bit redundant for me. not that redundancy is a bad thing, but when it is your 20th Christmas as a Christian, the whole message of Jesus' birth becomes a little desensitized. wise men, shepherds, Virgin birth, frankincense, manger, no room in the inn...I've heard it.

but i realized something this evening at the Christmas Eve service at Hillcrest. the thought of Jesus' importance in my life? how selfish and egotistical of me. every year i seem to shrug my shoulders and nod my head during the Christmas season; i listen to the same story and then move on. but i realized for the first time tonight the implications Christ's birth had for the world.

there is no man who has ever shaken the world like Jesus did. in the course of 2000 years, more books have been written about Jesus than any other subject in history. this dude comes into the world and is such a big deal that they change time to be based around him. what would this earth look like without Jesus? drastically different that's for sure. Christ comes into the world and suddenly everything changes.

think about September 11. think about where you were and what you were doing. did you see the second plane fly in like i did? the greatest country on earth got sucker punched and we all felt its repercussions. just think about how that shattered our world and how it has changed each of our lives since. i watched "Sleepless in Seattle" the other night; it shows a glorious shot of the Twin Towers in NYC, and i couldn't help but let out a sigh. just the mention of the event changes the mood in a room. huge event.

now think about Christmas morning. how big of a deal is that? granted Sept. 11 brings about primarily negative connotations and Christmas tends to stimulate more positive feelings, but think about their magnitude of effect on the world comparatively. which one is the bigger deal? not to make light of the attacks, because they were enormously devastating to this country, but lets be honest here. Clearly, Jesus' birth has had an immeasurably greater effect on this planet, yet is that the attitude we give it? is that how we treat such a 'big deal' in our world? do we truly see Christmas as the number one most earth-shattering event in human history? i don't think so. yeah, we all get excited, and, yeah, it changes everyone's spirit for a month, but when it boils down to it do we really treat this holiday with the reverence and importance it deserves? September 11 at least is acknowledged with a moment of silence at basically every institution nationwide. i feel like Jesus fails to even get that. it is gifts and travel and sleigh bells and candy, but whats the point?

the point is that nothing has ever shaped anything as much as Christmas has shaped this planet. and you can take that to the bank.

may you have a merry, as well as meaningful, Christmas this year. and for something completely different, i just might do the same.


December 23, 2006


my family, being the anxious American family that we are, have actually succeeded in moving the gift unwrapping as far forward as Christmas Eve Eve. each year the Cooper family manages to play the "lets unwrap a gift the night before" game. its fun. it used to be my sisters and i pressuring to open a gift or two, but nowadays i feel like my parents are way too excited and end up offering the option instead of us pleading for such an opportunity.

usually i go for the cd-shaped ones when these opportunities present themselves because then it gives me a chance to listen to it before getting in the car for trips to visit relatives in nearby states. i guess i usually do get to listen to it in the car on the way. my family has this wonderful characteristic where we all like country music. all but me that is. i can handle Garth Brooks...but thats about it. they all dig the "pop country crap" (read Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney). so usually we get about 30 miles out of town and the radio/cd gets turned up, and, naturally, i open a book and pop in the earbuds. only tough part - i usually get multiple cds for christmas cause the list i provide my family with at the beginning of the holiday season always turns out to be about 90% music. so unless i jump on the music early i never give it the listening time it deserves.

the first cd in my holiday music staggering is John Legend's second cd "Once Again". i'm typing to it right now - i'm on track 5 of 13 and i'm lovin it. equally as great as his first cd thus far.

in probably more shocking and controversial news: i got a new hat a few days ago. for those that are familiar with me and my skinny punk style you are already aware of the magnatude of such news. for those not familiar: i will start by informing you that i have had the same st. louis cardinals baseball cap since Christmas 2002. not a day went by for about three and a half years that i didn't wear that hat. finally this past summer i won some new hats doing the speed pitch at Worlds of Fun. you get three pitches and on the third throw you have to guess your speed based on the speeds of the two proceding pitches. i used to pitch in high school, so i've got a pretty decent grasp on my abilities. turns out i'm a speed pitch natural and i've managed four hats in five attempts playing that game in my lifetime. chronologically: bluejays, royals, indians, orioles. i started rotating these hats into my daily routine throughout the summer, and i officially retired my old cardinals hat at the beginning of the fall semester. but then the cardinals won the World Series and i just have to rep my team, so it has been out of retirement for the couple of months.

so i'm trying out a new cards hat now. it is read and white with the old school emblem on teh front. and it says has a 1982 on the back. awesome. its different for me and i'm out on a limb even attempting such a feat. hopefully i'll grow an attachment.

ps. a buddy of mine tossed this video my way so i figured i'd pass it on. its kinda sorta maybe funny til about the 4 minute mark or so, then it gets really incredible/hilarious.

pss. i think this dude looks like Ryan on the Office. love that show.



right now i'm stuggling with a number of unsettled issues in my life. some big and some not-so-big, but they're unsetted nonetheless. i don't really want to dive into them now cause i don't necessarily want this blog to ever be an inlet to my personal life, but i will say that there are situations right now that i am so ready to have resolved. in the past i've been really good about not letting the future enter my thoughts. i haven't wanted to worry about it and i haven't really needed to worry, but recently i've been so nervous about my future for some reason. maybe it is a good thing? i guess the future can motivate you to succeed, but i'm so wary to get sucked into "future" mode. college. money. internships. career....and females. where am i going and how do i get there? what is my plan? if you dont have a plan then you're lost, or so it seems. these things are dominating my thoughts out of nowhere. they haven't ever seriously haunted me before and suddenly i'm obsessed. there is more to life than all of these. i know it.

lately i've been thinking a lot about anxiety/anxiousness in life. i've noticed lately that humans in general are very anxious people. i haven't yet decided whether or not it is an American thing or whether it is in the human condition to be so anxious about life. i suspect it is both, i'm just not sure of the quantity of each. could be 5 parts America 2 parts humans. could be 1 part America 10 parts humans.

it seems like we are always so ready for something else to happen. anxious for the next thing in our life to arrive so we aren't so bored with the uneventful status quo. i will concede that there are certain times in life where one can truly not be enjoying themselves and may be ready for a change of scenery and/or situation (take finals week for instance), but i do feel that there is a greater issue with our society. we seem to never be comfortable where we are; nah, never just can't be true (just like on multiple choice exams); i'll play it safe and go with rarely instead.

we seem to rarely be comfortable with where we are in life. we're always eager to tackle the next issue and conquer the next event. the phrase "stop to smell the roses" just popped into my head and i think it fits in this. i feel like we're determined to live life like we're climbing staircase after staircase as high up as we can go. we make it up one level and we're ready to go up the next one in pursuit of where ever each of our lives is leading us.

i guess i do feel like this is heightened in America quite a bit. i feel like here in the US people rarely (if ever) want to stop the climb up the stairs. take the next job, work for the pay raise, strive to make it as high up as you can in life. dave and i were talking today about how people (in the kc/johnson county area, at least) find it almost embarassing to admit that they're attending johnson county community college. JCCC is the number one junior college in the US and people all over would be thrilled to go there, but i always hear the phrases, "well, i'm at Juco right now," or, "i'm getting my Gen Eds taken care of at JCCC right now." people always add in the "right now" at the end so they can make sure that the person they're talking to knows that JCCC is NOT their ultimate goal. upon the use of "right now" the speaker immediately admits that they are looking to move on; they're anxious; they're ready to finish the 'Juco staircase' and move on to the 'State School staircase'. just an example.

i do feel like we're all in too much of a hurry to get somewhere. sometimes we dont even know where "somewhere" is. i feel like God has given everyone amazing situations every day, but i feel like we're so hell-bent on going up/forward that we fail to realize the moment we've got right in front of us. we need to 'stop and smell the roses' for a change, or at least stop and check out what is on the floors between each of the staircases. why doesn't it ever occur to us that the status quo is okay? maybe the better life we strive for isn't the next floor up, but maybe its just a different outlook of the floor you're currently on. maybe we need to change the present instead go streaking into the future.

i need to slow down. take a deep breath and just enjoy. i am now, and i'm going to take advantage of now. at least i'm going to try. i've been trying to shed this for a while though and it isnt so simple.

December 22, 2006

whoa. bald eagle.

this morning i helped my buddy dave move out of his apartment in lawrence. after we'd moved everything out, vaccuumed, Windexed and he'd checked out with his landlord, we started driving back to kc. when we were about 5 miles out of lawrence dave, in mid-sentence let go of the wheel and, nearly smacking me in the mouth, pointed out the passenger window and said something to the effect of, "oh my - are you serious - its a - what - no - was that a BALD EAGLE?"

my immediate thoughts were that he was trying to get me all worked up about something stupid, but when he pulled off at the next exit to turn around i started to get a bit excited too. sure enough, sitting in a tree about thirty feet from K-10 was a freaking bald eagle. we thought it might've been fake at first cause it was too amazing to be true. dave hit the hazards and i rolled down my window as we pulled over to watch it. it sat there surveying the area for about 10 seconds then (i think we might've startled it) it flew away.

i'd never seen a bald eagle somewhere other than a zoo before, and it blew me away. what an incredible creature. it sat about two feet high, but when it spread its wings...oh wow. probably a 5-6 foot wingspan. what a monster bird. we just watched in absolute wonder as the thing flapped away until we could no longer see it. seirously incredible.

as amazing the creature was, i think it was equally as strange to see the thing in KANSAS. dave and i figured it might be taking a winter vacation to lower elevations where it wouldn't have to exert itself as much. you know. thicker air. plus eagles build their nests on like 200 foot high cliffs and trees, so what a getaway to be able to live on the hills of kansas where he could relax and just glide along and never have to worry about working up the side of a mountain. talk about paradise.

we then proceded to take our inspiring day to Rosedale where we sucked enough at disc golf to make it an all around average morning.


and i was 1 minute off from writing this at 11:11. buzzkill? eh. i guess.

December 20, 2006

cnn: anderson cooper special

i just got done watching Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN. they ran a special called "What is a Christian?" basically a look at different Christians in different areas of the US and their varying views regarding politics. it was pretty legit i thought. they focused primarily on political issues and how they land with different Christian groups across the US. They mentioned a number of different Christian groups: a seemingly left-winged Oregonian church highly motivated to take care of the environment, a radical 'fire and brimstone' church in Ohio, an Evangelical/Jewish blend in Dallas called Christian Zionism driven to protect Israel from the 'end of days', capitalistic mega-churches in Houston and Atlanta, an all-faiths Unitarian Church in D.C., and the segment also mentioned the current youth movement that is emerging. They were all covered extremely well i thought and, if anything, brought some incredible insight to how drastically different Christians can be from Christian to Christian (such a nominalistic term nowadays, almost worthless really).

the Christian Zionist Church hosts a number of Jews in their congregation - possibly the majority. this one confused me. the CZ's are very certain that John's account of Revelation is going to come true and that an epic battle of Good vs Evil, God vs Satan is going to take place in Jerusalem, and that it is already beginning. however, the vast Jewish membership was what baffled me. they are still waiting on the Messiah and do not follow the New Testament...of which Revelation is a part of. strange. help me out if you can.

anyway. i agreed and disagreed with each one of them in different ways. I'm a pretty firm believer of what i've naively dubbed 'Middle Groundism'. (seeing that every other belief and/or stance must have its categorical ism i felt i should follow suit.) personally, i think extremes are ridiculous. i'm a political moderate due to both a disposition towards extremes and a lack of knowledge of politics in general; however, i feel rather confident that discretional open-mindedness is the best policy. i applied this belief while i watched each of these churches explain what they were about, and i was able to come away with yes's and no's on the theologies of each. except one troubled me more than the others:

both Joel Osteen's 'capitalistic' mega-church in Houston (the largest church in the nation) and Creflo Dollar's even more financially driven mega-church in Atlanta are preaching the so-called Prosperity Gospel. here's a YouTube video of the capitalistic churches section of the show:

it irks me every time. praying for benefits? bonuses? thats all well in good to some extent and one could present Matthew 7:7 where it says to "ask and it shall be given to you." again. discretional open-mindedness folks. but the section that truly - i'll be honest - pissed me off, was Dollar's quote in front of 29,000 people: "the Word of God is the gateway to the world of wealth." the poor are cursed and they will find riches if they believe. a terrific metaphor, yes, but literal? wow. during the discussion session later in the segment, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention, puts it nicely: "the idea that we can reduce God's blessings and define them as material things and as material well beings is blasphemous." prosperity is to be hoped for, but expected? that not only is Jim Wallis, author of the book God's Politics and founder of the Sojourners movement says in the same discussion that "God does not mind prosperity as long as it is shared, but inequality makes God mad."

the interview session brought me a little bit of comfort knowing that this wealth-driven 'Gospel' is refuted. if Wallis and Land let that go untouched it sends some seriously incorrect messages. God isn't sitting back letting the poorer get poorer and the richer get richer no matter if they're His people or not. storing 'treasures in Heaven' not treasures on earth. He's not hanging out up in Heaven making Non-Christians suffer in poverty nor has He any intent on showering Christians with material blessings. I'm glad that the subject of finances was addressed.

i dunno. just my thoughts on the program.

if you haven't watched the whole thing and you want to, it is on YouTube in eight parts:
(the segment above is part 5 and the interview i mentioned is part 7.)

parts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


lets face it...

Joe Posnanski wrote potentially the most depressing article Kansas Citians have ever read yesterday in the KC Star. It was on the cover of the sports page, directly under the article about LJ bashing (rightfully so, i think) the Chiefs' play calling. the article was entitled "let's face it -- Chiefs aren't that good." that enough is enough to get the entire midwest writhing with anger, the graphic pictured above it was even more shocking. it was a depressing shot of five nfl players from five different teams: the five teams that have only made the playoffs once in the last nine years (excluding expansion teams added since 1997). check out our company:

Detriot Lions.
Cleveland Browns.
Arizona Cardinals.
Cincinnatti Bengals.
and the Kansas City Chiefs.

i mean come on. thats pathetic. we're in with THEM? they're the bottomdwellers! they're the laughing stocks of the NFL (with the exception of the Bengals as of late, but how worthless were they before, huh?) what sad company. i could throw down every excuse there is about the Chiefs in their defense: the fact that they had the best defense in the league in the mid 90's with Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith which then morphed into the #1 offense in the league the last three years under Dick Vermeil, the fact that their overall record through those 9 years is over 20 wins better than any of those other four teams, the fact that they've dominated Pro Bowl selections throughout those years, but still one pathetic fact remains: the Kansas City hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. they beat the Houston Oilers (not even a team anymore) in AFC Divisional game that year. it has been twelve years since KC won a playoff game, yet still, somehow, Kansas City comes to a near stop between 12 and 3 on Sundays. Chiefs fans are as obsessed as ever about the home team. Arrowhead Stadium has sold out an NFL record 138 consecutive times (dating back to the beginning of the 1990 season). Kansas City simply has a Tomahawk aura about it that never goes away. Go into any resturaunt in KC and yell, "Go Broncos! or Go Raiders!" -- the record stops and if you're not unconscience in the next few seconds its either because you're Maurice Green or because the resturaunt was empty due to a shortage of bagels.

we've never had a pathetic season. look at the Chiefs' overall record in that span compared to the others. KC has had one 6-10 season. other than that they've been between 7-9 and 13-3 the last 9 seasons. and only one playoff game. back in the early 90s the Chiefs and Len Elliott used to just be a crappy playoff team. they'd dominate the regular season and then choke in the playoffs (much like the Colts today), but as of late the Chiefs had slipped to being a just-miss-the-playoffs team each year. i only hope they don't continue their slide.

but maybe they need to continue their slide. their consistant medicrity has landed them absolutely nothing in the Draft. when you have a draft choice in the 20s every year you're not going to be able to build a team. our overall morale is high since we've never had a 3-13, 4-12, 2-14 season, but where are we headed? not to the playoffs. that's for sure.

I love the Chiefs. They make or break my fall and winter weekends. They control my days on Sundays. They're half my motivation for waking up (the other half being Jesus). sacrilegious? probably. But that's another issue. i'm just tired of Monday Night Football being a reminder of how worthless the weekend was. cmon chiefs. man up. i'm sick of being frustrated. show up next year like you did in 2003.

and dante - please do something great.


December 19, 2006

panera "bread"

today i stopped by hillcrest covenant church and got caught up in my old job. after an hour of catching up with old co-workers (well. not all old...former would be a better word) i ended up tagging along to help lead a middle school after school bible study at the panera bread in corinth.

i got there and a middle schooler sat down in his typically lazy and unmotivated fashion and proceded to whine about the fact that they were out of bagels. now this student (who will remain nameless, but if you have been involved in one of these middle school studies before you may know what student i am talking about) is notorious for screwing around - his favorite game is the "high five, down low, too slow" game (which is fun for no one but himself), he constantly dabbles in other people's buisness solely to annoy you, and making up some story about panera being out of bagels would be a very typical maneuver on his part.

so, naturally, i called his bluff. i turned around and looked up at the bakery where they have their Wall o' Bagel Baskets and found that not only were every single one of the baskets empty, but that the remaining bread on the entire wall consisted of two loaves of rye, about 3 or 4 french baguettes, and a couple sourdough bread bowls.

i was pretty much in shock. thats like mcdonalds running out of fries. no, worse. thats like krispy kreme running out of donuts, or dairy queen running out of ice cream. ridiculous. the word "bread" is in your resturaunt name!

the smug middle schooler dropped a, "told you."


December 18, 2006

go buy some glittens.

one of the greatest things glittens (gloves/mittens) offers is the ability to type while keeping your hands warm, and since everyone else left for home i decided that i should probably drop the heat down for the next couple days since i was the only one using it (didnt want to screw over my roommates and make them pay for heat they weren't getting). so, since i turned down the heat, i am the one to blame for the sudden temperature drop from 60 degrees to 30 degrees in two days. or it could be because kansas is dumb. yeah. could be that.

anyways. i think today is my last day in manhattan for a while. i'm doing my laundry and getting ready to leave for kc sometime this afternoon. i'm pretty anxious to get home. then again, who wouldn't be excited to leave for kc? all i know is that i'm eating at oklahoma joe's and jack stack this week before i leave for christmas with the fam in iowa in oklahoma. (these glittens truly are incredible).

uhhhh. christmas is in a week. i'm spending it with like 20 family members. wicked.
thats all i have to say this morning. maybe i'll throw something down tonight from the City of Fountains.



December 16, 2006

pursuit of happyness.

yes. i know it's spelled with an i.
thats how they spell it. ok?

pursuit of happyness was incredible. i wouldn't usually rush on here and start typing away about a movie i just saw, but not only was this movie really really great, the majority of my friends have already left for home and i don't really have much to do for the next fifteen minutes until i have like 9 events happening (not true).

will smith plays a single father, chris gardner, in san francisco. long story short, he's broke and he has to resort to homeless shelters for he and his son in order for them to get by, all the while he is juggling floundering as a bone density scanner salesman, a 6 month hardcore broker internship, studying for exams, and he does all this without having a car or a place to live...and supporting his 5 year old son Christopher at the same time. it was based on a true story apparently.

seriously beautiful movie. heartwrenching at times, joyous at times, but also pretty darn funny still. its a really wonderful father/son story as well as an amazing personal achievement account too. i'll admit, my eyes swelled up a bit a couple times. will smith does a pretty incredible job. which, i personally think, isn't really a change from the norm. i've been pretty impressed with him a number of times...bagger vance...hitch...really, i think he just took some roles where it was near impossible to be considered a "good actor" afterward (MIB, ID4, I Robot)...much like Tim Allen in....all his movies. but anyway. he was pretty great in this one.

plus the kid is friggin awesome. someday i want my kid to have a lil fro when he's 5. (which only increases the love i expressed for alicia keys in my brief post from this afternoon.)

AND it is set in 1981 when the rubik's cube first hit the shelves, and everyone is perplexed by it and whatnot. will smith can do it cause he's a smart dude/its not really that difficult and i can do it too. i picked one up yesterday and my buddy taught me how to do it in about 5 minutes...all it is: memorizing "algorithms". which is a smart/fancy way of saying "it's science"....formulas basically.

wrap up: go see this movie. it was amazing. usually i regret spending 7 bucks for a movie (da vinci code), but this one was worth every penny.


ps: watch for the preview for "Dreamgirls"...more like the 'E! True Hollywood Story of Destiny's Child If They Hadn't Gotten Along The Whole Time". lame.

December 15, 2006

pump pump pump pump it up.

does anyone else get so into discovering new bands that you absent-mindedly forget about your true favorite artists?

that has been the case for me as of late. i, probably along with a lot of you as well, am the kind of guy who likes different sounds at different times. one week i'll feel acoustic, then some serious boybands, then rap, even garth brooks lands on my radar at times (garth is about the extent of the country i like, however; rascall flatts? no way. and dont even mention toby keith (we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the american way) what a moron).

but i have my all time favs which i tend to neglect slightly more than i should.

in the past two days i've re-discovered two long lost artists in my collection whom have been favorites of mine for quite a while. two bens: folds and harper. those two realizations got me thinking...what are my ALL TIME favorite bands? not just right now and not just as i was growing up, but combined. all time. these are in no particular order...except that i saved probably the best for last. ready set go.

ben folds. I first started listening to ben when he was still with Ben Folds Five. "Whtever and Ever, Amen" had just come out and i fell in love with it. "One Angry Dwarf..." is one of my all time favs. then i discovered their self titled debut album and i liked it even more. and then his solo stuff started coming out later in high school and he had reinvented his sound so wonderfully. ben can be loud, funny, soft, and super serious all in the same song. plus his talent! i dont think anyone has the talent that ben folds possesses. piano is my favorite musical instrument and no one (and i mean NO ONE) can play the piano like ben folds can play the piano. The man is an absolute freak and i love it. plus the guy is really smart and has come up with some incredibley meaningful lyrics as i explained here. ben folds has potential to be my favorite artist of all time. i can't necessarily claim a favorite, but ben folds would definitely be in the running for the spot.

ben harper. i discovered ben harper when i first heard the song "steal my kisses" on the radio early in high school. i went out and bought the cd and hated it all but that song...but then i accidently left the cd on in my room junior or senior year, and the more i listened the more i loved. ben harper was my first taste of 'chill' music and i absolutely loved it. his songs are simply beautiful. his voice is just the most soothing thing on earth. he now ranks as my favorite study artist. i've tried a number of times to make a "study" playlist, but it always turns out being dominated by ben harper so i just don't worry about the playlist and put him on instead, and now i have a large wall poster of his likeness looking over me while i sleep each night.
plus he has tight tattoos on his arms. awesome.

dispatch. i am a huge fan of words, harmonization, and quick difficult lyrics. and dispatch takes this and runs with it. "here we go", "railway station" and "the general" are my three distinct favorites. they take their unbelievable lyricism and add some amazing guitar mixed with some serious cleverness and they end up with an extremely unique sound. plus i pride myself in the fact that i know all the words to most of their songs and i can sing them successfully. not an easy feat, let me tell you. it is unfortunate, however, that dispatch ended their success just after i came to know their greatness. they're amazing live performers and i'd highly reccommend one of their live cds. "Bang Bang" is clearly their best album. great djimbe too.

guster. probably the best candidate for favorite artist of all time. guster has reinvented their sound like 4 different times and each one, though distinctly different, is no better than the one before it. all equally amazing. granted their debut album is a little bit weak, but they have 4 solid albums that i will never be able to rank. the greatest thing about guster: their drummer doesnt use sticks. he is 100% hands on drums/cymbals. it is phenominal to listen to as well as phenominal to watch. they also throw in some amazing random instruments. zippers. typewriters. a ping pong game is used as additional percussion in my favorite guster song - "Airport Song". its my favorite song probably. most played on my iTunes at least. 97 times. gnarls barkley's "Crazy" holds second at around 80. Airport Song is my favorite song to listen to when walking to class too. makes me walk fast and efficiently. I discovered guster at the same time i discovered dispatch late in my high school career, but i was so enamored with dispatch that guster got hte back burner and i didnt listen to them for a while. I can't get enough Guster now. plus they have two great holiday tracks (both of which were featured in The OC's Season 2 "Chrismakkuh" episode) "Carol of the Meows" and "Donde Esta Santa Clause?" amazing. go get as much guster as you can. "Goldfly", "Lost and Gone Forever", "Ganging up on the Sun", or "Keep it Together". it doesnt really matter too much. they're all incredible.

five iron frenzy. probably my favorite high school all time band. i hit them hard. i think the combination of reese roper's high obnoxious voice melding with my prepubescent voice so well and the fact that they were so stinkin clever. their lyrics, sure, but their second of like seven albums was called "Our Newest Album Ever". prossibly their best too. I still like five iron. i dont play them quite as often as i should probably. another lost artist amongst my unceasingly growing collection. plus they actually had some great Christian messages in their stuff too. plus they reference Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye in "Superpowers". love that book. hilariously depressing. "good ole Ackley-boy."

relient k. this one is embarassing to admit, but i, along with every other Christian high schooler, loved relient k. i'll put them on occasionally (maybe once every six months) but they're pretty much not a fav any longer, but i would be lying if i didnt include them. i wonder why they appeal to the high school crowd so much. i think its the fact that they've got fun happy Christ-centered lyrics...half the time...and the other half of the time they were screaming about nonsensical items. gibberish. thundercat. pink tuxedos. penny loafers. nancy drew. wonderful tracks for a high school Christian to listen to so as not to be embarassed in front of their friends for listening to a Christian artist. i'd say they cut about 30% Christian stuff, 40% nonsensical fun, and about 30% songs about their pathetic love lives.

n sync/justin timberlake. dirty pop anyone? it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that i truly love boy bands. as a middle schooler i used to try and hide it. i'd listen to Mix 93.3 and Z95.7 on my walkman (which i wasn't really allowed to do. my parents didnt quite like the "trash" on the radio. unless it was Oldies 95 between Thanksgiving and New Years.) i used to secretively listen to boy bands through high school. i slowly let a few people in the know that i was a boy band fan. since high school my love for boy bands has flourished (especially since learning that i have a gift for dancing/lip syncing. anyway. my favorite boy band is nsync, and lets be honest here. Justin Timberlake WAS 'n sync (the only other person that you could fight that for was Lance Bass, but he was only big because the ladies thought he was hot...but since People Magazine revealed the "I'm Gay!" issue with Lance on the cover...that ship has sailed). Anyway. Now that they're not around anymore, JT has continued the 'n sync sound into his solo stuff...which tends to be more socially accepted by both genders giving me yet another outlet for expressing my love for boy bands. the only other boy band that i think even rivals 'n sync is BBMack. But lets be honest here. 'n sync gets the gold here with their Most Valuable Artist, JT. Plus its just really fun to dance to. especially if you know all the choreographed dance moves (Bye Bye Bye style). err. not that i do...

kanye west. if there is one artist i want to put out another cd sometime soon it is kanye. his first cd "College Dropout" won like a million awards or something and it is a toss up as to whether i like it or "Late Registration" more. kanye's catchy songs makes him a shoe in for my one of my favorites. my LEAST favorite kanye song is that ridiculously popular song "Gold Digger" which was overplayed for no apparent reason other than that the American public likes songs that repeat the same catchy phrase over and over again. unfortunately i find that phrase annoying. Jamie Foxx does a good Ray Charles however, and the first time i heard that song i actually thought Ray Charles might've come back from the dead to help kanye on this track (not really. but i was rather confused as to how kanye got him to change the lyrics to Ray's old song to fit the theme of "Gold Digger". i initially decided that "Gold Digger" must've been Ray's last recorded item before he died. thats how good Jamie Foxx was). But the latter section of "College Dropout" is terrific as is "Never Let Me Down" with Jay-Z and its predecessor "Jesus Walks" (God show me the way cause the devil's tryin to bring me down). however, i have to say that overall, "Late Registration" takes it. I love that cd and basically put it in whenever i feel i need a pick-me-up. (either that or i pop in Gnarls). only thing i dont like about kanye is how he appears to be kind of a sellout and a little full of himself. he knows he's good and i think it has kinda gone to his head. oh well. his work still makes me jive in my car for sure.

all american rejects. i must admit that the only reason i started listening to AAR in the first place was cause someone told me i look like the lead singer. which is kinda true. its in the hair, but that inspired me to love them. and i do. i am especially fond of lip-syncing to them in front of the mirror. tons of fun. the one thing that i think i like the most about AAR is their use of strings in their music. their violin/viola/chello usage enhances their songs wonderfully and makes me like them exponentially more than just because of their fun lyrics and their lead singer and i's physical similarities. favorite track "Can't Take It" off their second album "Move Along". its a stringed filled break up song and i love to belt it. serious strain on my vocal chords too, which i absolutely love. high notes in songs = money for me.

jay-z. lets be honest here. "the black album" is the shizz. the entire thing gives me goosebumps at times. it has hit after hit after hit after hit. the entire line up is fantastic. the only understanding i had of jay-z before "the black album" was "Big Pimpin'", and i didnt like that song in high school. i think its because i couldn't imagine "cheese" as currency, but now that i'm familiar with the terminology - big fan. HOV's newest album "Kingdom Come" has a few serious winners, but this is a different Jay-Z than from before. this is a 30-something dating Beyonce Jay-Z. not good ole Dead Presidents II Jay-Z. but i still love it. I think my favorite Jay-Z is when he is featured for other artists though. kanye uses him especially well. pretty much the momemt you put Jay-Z in a song - its good.

jars of clay. probably the band i've gotten the most spiritual significance out of in my life. their first self titled cd was one of the first ones i ever owned and i hated it when i first got it. it sat on my shelf for years before i took a real appreciation for it. i was just young and stupid. love the strings and love the lyrics. i really took hold of them when they put out their third and fourth cds "if i left the zoo" and "who we are instead". two of my all time favorites for sure. i was probably also reluctant to start liking them because they're 100% spiritual. they dont have that ridiculous crap that relient k and five iron throw in to make their cds goofy. jars of clay is all buisness, and i like that now. i haven't listened to their newest cd "good monsters" nearly enough yet. maybe i'll put that on now and get acquainted. (this just in. i've been listening to "Good Monsters" for the last 20 minutes and JOC has catipulted to a new level of importance on my list. never ceases to put an amazing impression on me.)

david crowder* band. jars of clay might've had the most spiritual significance of my life. but dc*b holds firmly that title for the last two years, and at this rate will probably pass JOC in a year or so. i have never been interested in the "worship artists". not that i didnt like their music, but i hated how it would get over played in christian worship settings, so much that it started to lose its meaning. i always liked crowder's stuff, but i had never allowed myself to get attached to it. that is until "A Collision" came out and when i went to Passion. i not only connected with his songs like crazy (and i'm a firm believer that seeing an artist play live will almost always love that artist significantly more), but i also gained some insight into what an amazing artist he truly is. "A Collision" is unbelievably good. He breaches so many genres too. he works his acoustic magic, but he loves incorporating some digitalized techno into it, and then he comes out with "B Collision" which is probably what landed dc*b on this list. this bluegrass b-sides to "A" is phenominal. plus the two live tracks on the end of "B" were recorded live in kc...and i was there. serious hype. i would also like to include that my most played iTunes playlist is undoubtedly "A + B = Collision." i'm clever. admit it.

gnarls barkley. where on earth did cee-lo and danger mouse come from?! i mean that in both a "i'm shocked that these guys just randomly showed up and rocked the house (mine specifically" and in a "these fellas are truly strange and i really am uncertain of their backgrounds." love their stuff though. when i went out to buy the cd, i'll be honest, i bought it for "Crazy". which is almost always an enormous mistake, that is, buying a cd because of one song. but what a pleasant surprise this album has been. they're strange, thats for sure, but they're delightfully strange. i think my two favorite attributes: cee-lo's goofy whine of a voice and the fact that it makes me move my tukus something terrible. they're catchy tunes that (i think) don't get old. i've listened to "Crazy" 80-some times in the last 5 months. it gets the record for fastest rising tune probably. either that or MJ's "Billie Jean". Love the song. My favorite gnarls song though is "Smiley Face". Track 5 if you have a burned copy of the cd and you dont know the track names. though the cd starts off stong with "Go-Go Gadget Gospel", "Crazy" and such, i have to admit that their debut album, "St. Elsewhere", tends to lose some steam in the latter half of the album. but i've listened to them so much in the last 6 months that i can't help but add them to this list. i could probably sum it up the following way: catchy, fun, weird, and it makes me move my tukus. the end.

dc talk. the grand finale, indeed. my first cassette ever: dc talk "Free at Last". my first cd ever: dc talk, "Free at Last". I mean honestly. how can you go wrong with a christian rap trio of "two honks and a negro?" dont answer that actually, cause there are a lot of ways they could go wrong. but man oh man dc talk puts a smile on my face. probably because they have average rhyming and average rapping abilities, but man they wonderful (in kind of a laugh-while-you-rap-in-your-car sort of way). and as my buddy dan and i found out recently - dct kareoke is really great. i was kinda disappointed when they matured a little bit and slipped away from their rap roots. "Jesus Freak" just doesnt have the same feel as their previous stuff. granted it was their 4th of 5 albums so the majority of their stuff is still "rappish", but i'm a little bummed that "Jesus Freak" is when they hit big...cause "Free at Last" is where it's at: "Luv is a Verb", "That Kinda Girl", "Socially Acceptable", "Time is...", "Word 2 the Father" and they BEST EVER version of "Lean on Me" (props to my man Speedy). those are my top 5 dct songs probably. all off "F.A.L." there is no other cd that deserves to go in my number one all time slot. any time you still listen to your first cassette/cd/both ever sill as regularly as i do now - then it deserves the top spot.

so there you go. that was more work than i anticipated it to be, but well worth my time probably. plus a little insight into my world...what makes me tick if you will (tick tick tick tock tickinnnnnn).


December 14, 2006

wait for the piano.

this guy is pretty freaking awesome.
he doesnt know how to play the drums or the piano; he's just an editing genius
the drums part is kinda neat, but once he comes in with the piano part i pretty much freak out. both because i love piano and because i love video/audio editing, and when the two come together i go bizonkers.

donktastic? yes. very much so.


i was taking a leisurely walk across campus this afternoon listening to Ben Folds on my mini pink iPod. the song "Jesusland" came on, and I'd heard it a million times before, but it really hit home this time.

the song is about wealthy Christians basically. comfortable Christians who seemingly could care less about those less fortunate just down the street from their own home. some of his statements are generalized, however, the setting he describes in his lyrics doesn't appear to be too far off mark:

"take a walk/out the gate you go and never stop/past all the stores and wig shops/quarter in a cup for every block/and watch the buildings grow/smaller as you go...

"down the tracks...

"beautiful Mcmansions on a hill/that over look a highway/with riverboat casinos and you still/have yet to see a soul...


the music video features a ridiculous looking televangelist selling Miracle Water. "God wants U to live the GOOD life!" it also shows a serious difference in social class. Dozens of solemn faces are presented and they all appear to be hurting. in need of a miracle. there is one scene that truly breaks my heart. at the 2:38 mark, there is a woman dejectedly sitting on her bed and she has the wacko televangelist on behind her...and she never once looks at the screen. it shows her for about 10 seconds and she never glances at the screen. there is a man advertising "guaranteed miracles" in the name of God no more than 4 feet away from her, and she could care less.

granted this is an extreme and exaggerated (sort of) example, but what love are Christians truly bestowning upon the hurting? what picture do Christians paint to the masses about love? the similar Miracle Waters out there today may or may not be legit, but that's not the point. the point is that when push comes to shove, and the desperate and hurting need a place to go, does the church make their list of options?

i feel like sometimes Christians want to give someone a bible and then sit back and hope it works, or Christians tell someone that it will be okay and then hope they're right. is that compassion? is that love? the lady in her room on her bed. what does she need? she certainly doesn't need someone to tell her everything will be fine. she need someone to show her.

Christians should be in their communities and in the inner cities just....loving. just talking to someone, showing that they care and showing that Jesus is someone who loves. Jesus isn't someone who sits in his house and wishes them well. he goes to them and loves on them personally. that's what Christians need to be doing.

Ben Folds and i think so at least.


December 10, 2006

i dont want a lot this christmas....

my favorite christmas song is 'all i want for christmas' by mariah carey.

rather minty? yes. but it has all the makings of a song i love: stocattoed piano, gentlemenly ooh's and aah's, mass amounts of sleigh bells, and, of course, remarkably high notes that i can still match with my own slightly prepubescent voice.

i haven't listened to it nearly enough this christmas season (granted it is only the 9th of december and we still have plenty of christmastime ahead of us), but i usually take advantage of this season to play my favorite tune a plethora of times. it is unfortunate, however, that i have not been left with an abundance of seclusion since the lights went up on the houses...probably due to the fact that i've driven the focus like three times in the last two weeks.

living so close to campus and within walking distance of aggieville has its advantages, one of which is undoubtedly limited gas consumption. i walk everywhere and i love it. in fact, since thanksgiving break, i've ventured out in my vehicle three times: once to walmart because i felt it necessary to purchase lightbulbs, black cherry vanilla coke, and 2.5 pounds ofa bananas. the other two times were to drive over to bethany's house for one reason or another (one of the two reasons was to watch the second pirates of the carribean movie. sucked royally).

not venturing out in the focus has been infinitely easier for me to do since one of my friends (jessica greening) decided to write "HOTT :)" and "SEXY <3"

oh right. so since my most common moment of seclusion comes in my vehicle, i've borderline neglected my favorite christmas tune. sad times. i intend to resurrect mariah in the coming weeks. hopefully my voice can take it. i'm not too terribly worried about it. maybe if you're lucky you'll get a listen...but dont count on it. i dont just let anyone hear me belt it out.

that having been said i'm going to get back to studying for finals. yeah college.