Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pre-10am Music

My freshman year of college, I played Imogen Heap's "Hide & Seek" just about every morning. Perhaps that annoyed my roommates to no end even despite their complaints whenever I didn't play the song. Anyhow, that song now reminds me of my early colleges years and mornings (and, let's be honest, The OC).

My sophomore year, Damien Jurado's "And Now That I'm in Your Shadow" played most mornings.

Since then, I've found the value in a number of albums that sound great pre-10am. You know the albums I'm talking about. They're good independent of time of day. But they also capture that gentle rise to full consciousness.

This morning, Iron & Wine's collection of B-sides and rarities, "Around the Well," did the job quite well. More specifically, Beam's cover of "Love Vigilantes."

Any others to add to the list?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Gospel Starts as Silence

Before the Gospel is a word, it is silence. It is the silence of their own lives and of his life. It is life with the sound turned off so that for a moment or two you can experience it not in terms of the words you make it bearable by but for the unutterable mystery that it is. Let him say, 'Be silent and know that I am God, saith the Lord' (Ps. 46.10). Be silent and know that even by my silence and absence I am known. Be silent and listen to the stones cry out.
-Frederick Buechner, "Telling the truth: The Gospel as tragedy, comedy and fairy tale"

The chapter I'm reading from "The Rest of God" also focused on silence and listening. Perhaps I should be learning something here...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Best Tracks of 2011

The following are my fave tracks from 2011. I don't listen to nearly as much music as Dauthan so my list isn't going past 15 tracks but I still think it's a solid group. I like making this list in addition to my fave albums as there are a few tracks that stood out on albums that didn't quite make my albums list. Anyhow, lists, lists, lists.

The playlist can be found on Spotify.

15 | Cults | Abducted
14 | The Head and the Heart | Rivers and Roads
13 | Wye Oak | Holy Holy
12 | Tune-Yards | Bizness
11 | Lykke Li | Rich Kid Blues
10 | Bon Iver | Calgary
09 | Foster the People | Pumped Up Kicks
08 | Florence + the Machine | Shake it Out
07 | James Blake | Limit to Your Love
06 | My Brightest Diamond | Be Brave
05 | Givers | Up Up Up
04 | Youth Lagoon | Posters
03 | M83 | Midnight City
02 | Noah and the Whale | L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
01 | Fleet Foxes | Helplessness Blues

Friday, December 9, 2011

Best albums of 2011

Welp, time for end of the year lists! Here's my fave fifteen albums from the year. As always, I'll probably regret a decision made here within a week but such is life.

About as mainstream indie as you can get (maybe the Juno of the music world) but who can't resist the catchiness of just about every song?

Sweet vocals on top of poppy beats. And who doesn't love a twinge of throw-back thrown in?

Haunting and swirly and beautiful. A little bit of a Beach House vibe?

Perhaps not my favorite overall Noah and the Whale album but with tracks like L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. and Tonight's the Kind of Night, how could this album be left off?

Laid back but catchy at the same time. After looking up the lyrics, a lot of depth too. I wish the vocals were a little more accessible, no?

Sometimes you just need a good all-around band, you know?

These guys just have so much fun and energy. Have you not started singing along?

Man, Beam just keeps pulling out the stops with each release. What's coming next, a techno album, perhaps?

Probably the most listenable Decemberists album which has resulted in probably the most listened to Decemberists album that I own. Not too vanilla for ya, is it?

The whole album kind of makes me feel like I'm shopping in a store where I cannot afford the clothes. Other than that, I love the looping beats. And do they not have one of the most controversial/best album covers?

So much music on the double-album! And so much good music! Who doesn't love some French electro-pop?

This little known band played a fantastic show here at Taylor. Although their EP was originally self-released late in 2010, I'm going to count it as a 2011 release due to their new label re-releasing it this spring. While the beats lean on the silly side, the lyrics don't avoid weight. Have you seen their crrrazy music video?

Mm, mm, mm. I didn't know what to think about the new album. After a couple listens though, I was sold. And really, who wasn't?

That voice. And those beats. How can you argue with that?

Who would've thought they'd come back so strongly?

Who knew!?

Who knew Severus Snape and Hans from Die Hard were the same character? I sure didn't until watching half of Die Hard last night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Resty Rest

Timely reading: I started reading The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan recently. I’m usually pretty weary of Christian nonfiction (well, most current Christian literature) as it usually simplifies things a little too much. But I’ve been enjoying this one.

The book focuses on the need for Sabbath and rest (as implied by the title). The second chapter then focuses on our thoughts towards rest. While we often relegate our level of rest towards our present circumstances (summer, mid-semester, exam week, etc.), real change starts in the way we consider our time. We’re called to renew our minds (Rom 12:2), not necessarily avoid all responsibility.

This comes at a time when I’m excited to move into an academic break (until February, no less). My first thought is that my circumstances alone will give me rest. But, as I read and think about it, the way I view time are what’s actually going to give me rest. Well, perhaps better said: changing my view of time will allow God to give me rest.

So hey, as you persevere through exams, find times to rest when you can. And looking into break, take the time to actually take a Sabbath.

Rest up.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Fall

Just noticed I last blogged in July. A sad fact as I actually really enjoy blogging. With the onset of the semester and maintaining a few other blogs (acsd and ifc), my personal blog/self has suffered. In efforts to post something, perhaps I'll share what I'm recently, currently, and about to read and watch.


just started
crazy good and sad
maybe a little preachy... but also great

gotta catch it before the movie


just recently

they say it's this generation's mad max meets john hughes film
need me some jj action

I'm happy to report that I can still enjoy some movies/books among the crazy of grad school, etc.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spotify Yourself

Hey ya'll,

in case you're not up on the next big thing when it comes to music and internet and being cool, check out Spotify.

Download the little app and then play just about any music you can think of. I've only been using it for about 20 minutes but I've heard good things from others and everything I see is beautiful and what music should be in this day and age.

Oh, you may have to wait to be invited but my invite came fairly shortly... just sayin.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm Turning Into a Dad

I realize that with posting blogs that are primarily "update" oriented and are focused more on pictures than on posing ideas or thoughts, that I am 1. getting lazy / using Twitter too much and 2. turning into a Dad who's just filling the grandparents in on the new baby's latest quirk.

Anyways, Jorjette and I took a little trip to Hotlanta this past week to visit the Boyers/Renos/Rufenachts(who actually have a baby) and we carpooled with a certain Michael Goodrich as he was visiting his hardworking wife who had a tradeshow she was working.

Highlights of the week included seeing everyone, the Bodies exhibit (controversy and all), the High Museum of Art, drinks on the top floor of the Westin, the Renos' apartment complex's salt water pool, and driving through the night (the driving actually kind of sucked...).

I didn't exactly have my camera with me most of the time... but here are some pics.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sufjan and His Videos

Perhaps this is insulting to ask considering Sufjan made the rather extensive BQE audio/video project and I know his concerts are always visually stunning, but does the guy have music videos for any of his other songs? I feel like I should know this...

Anyways, here's the new video to his song "Get Real, Get Right" off of Age of Adz. A thing so bizarre and creative and fantastic that seems only fitting for Sufjan.

Oh, and the last lyrics of the song are pretty neat:
For you will not be distracted by the signs
Do not be distracted by them
Do yourself a favor and get real
Get right with the Lord
Get real, get right with the Lord

Sufjan Stevens, "Get Real, Get Right" Live Visual from Deborah Johnson, CandyStations on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Very Independent Concert Night

Jorje and I spent the 4th of July shopping at Edinburgh (too many sales...), scampering around Indy for the afternoon, and then seeing Florence + the Machine later in the evening. It was, as Jorje put it, one of the best concerts we've been to. Florence and the band sounded great, she had a fantastic wavy green dress on in which she loved to twirl around in, and fireworks finished the show off. Here are a few pics from the Touch ... I forgot my actual camera so these will have to do.
White River
Yours truly
Florence + Fireworks!
Dog Days

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wise Words

"We can't get wise all by ourselves"
David Dark

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In case it wasn't obvious...

I got married and it's beautiful and I love my [new] wife and we love that we have the summer to spend together in a nice place.

Slowin' Down

I added the following post to a little blog I created for the student leaders I work with. Have fun and happy summer.

The ideas of rest, of slowing down, of timelessness.

They aren’t new thoughts. Actually, just about everyone I talk to here in Upland comments on them. The nice-ness of summer. How it slows down and there really is time to just be. A few nights ago, Jorjette and I grabbed a couple books, walked over to those criminally underused tables between the Union and Metcalf, and read with a quiet and soft breeze surrounding us. The ability to get lost in a book, in the beauty of my new wife, in the evening cool of mid-June Indiana – not bad.

This didn’t make the reading list (I’m not sure why…) but Sheldon Vanauken (1980), in his book, A Severe Mercy, talks about how he and his wife “…longed for unpressured time – time-free existence – for thus we should find joy” (p. 207). Our enjoyment of timeless moments suggests that we may not always be “purely temporal creatures” (p. 203). So when I have moments like I described in the last paragraph, I like to think that I’m getting just a little taste of eternity.

Eugene Peterson, in his devotional-ish book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction(2000, another book not on the list… I promise I’m reading the reader, too) challenges the reader (me) to continue following Christ, even when there’s not a whole lot of excitement or hoopla involved. We are called to be disciples and pilgrims, “apprenticed to our master” and “going to God,” respectfully.

I like to think that the time-less moments that keep popping up this summer (which hint at something of the eternal) set me up nicely to continue in my feeble attempts to be a disciple and a pilgrim. I think, in a way, these two thoughts are connected.

I thank God for times like these and, while time-less moments and my roles of disciple and pilgrim do not end with the accompanying end of summer, it’s just a little easier to recognize when those moments happen and it’s just a little easier to assess how I’m doing in my various roles. Here’s to another month and a half of living slowly.


Peterson, E. H. (2000). A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Vanauken, S. (1980). A Severe Mercy. New York, NY: HarperOne.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Embarrassing Love Letter to Community/NBC

Thursday nights on NBC. In the 90's, Seinfeld, Friends, ER, and Frasier once made it "Must See TV" until all of those eventually died out. The last five years saw a revitalization with 30 Rock, The Office, Parks & Rec, and, most recently, Community. (I'm going to intentionally leave out Outsourced and a few other short lived duds.) The Office was certainly a favorite of mine early on - before it got all ridiculous. And 30 Rock may have some of the best dialogue and one-liners but rarely do I finish an episode completely satisfied. Parks & Rec may be my current favorite due to the incredible characters they've created (hilarious and I care about them) and some pretty stellar plot lines.

That leaves us with Community. I was skeptical at first. Yet once they found their footing, Community certainly discovered what they were good at. That is, they consistently have the best conceptualized and effective half hour of sitcom-ness on Thursday night. They revel in their spoofs on anything and everything from pop culture (Pulp Fiction, D&D, Claymation ... you name it) while maintaining likeable characters that form a sense of connectedness between each episode. Also, it seems like they work really hard.

Case in point: this past week's episode, "Paradigms of Human Memory" was a "recap" episode that pieced together clips from previous episodes - or so I thought! Recap episodes are, in my opinion, the laziest, cheesiest form of television. I'm annoyed with them being on the DVD extras. They provide no new content and only play to super-fans of shows that unhealthily revel in all the "memories" they've created with a television show. So Community did what it does best and made a recap show that had all new content yet successfully cited a ton of their past episodes while simultaneously integrating it all into a fantastic plotline. This taking of a specific genre, episode type, subject, etc and totally playing with it until it's some sort of 2.0 version of whatever it is is pretty fantastic.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Calvin - Festival of Faith and Music

Headed up to Calvin for their Festival of Faith and Music conference later today. Goes through Saturday. Artists such as Matisyahu, My Brightest Diamond, Jon Foreman, and the Civil Wars will all be there. There will also be some fantastic workshop and keynote addresses. Probably most excited to spend the weekend with my IFC cabinet. If all goes as planned, should be a fantastic weekend.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why I Do What I Do

While grad school includes long papers, group presentations, and a general malaise brought on by a variety of other stressful situations, there are reasons why I do what I do.

One important reason I do what I do is that I get to work with the Integration of Faith and Culture (IFC) cabinet. And IFC brings in bands like, Stepdad. And our media&marketing crew make posters like this one:
And, as you can see on the poster, the concert is a "masquerade extravaganza". And IFC is totally geeked about this show. And all this makes me love what I do.

And you should probably watch Stepdad's music vid:

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Again, a mega-tweet of links worth checking out:

  • The student cabinet that I advise has a website that's pretty legit. It'll be getting consistent updates here on out.
  • You definitely need to print out these Arrested Development paper dolls.
  • Please read this Taylor student's blog. His matter of fact posts are fantastic. (ps. I have zero connection to this student besides him once attending Taylor.)
  • Loved to see Arcade Fire win the best album Grammy. Might love this "hate blog" even more.
  • And everyone should listen to James Blake.

Class time!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Helpful Reminders

I began reading Madeleine l'Engle's Walking on Water. The book contains her thoughts on Christianity and art. While not a new subject to me, it serves as a helpful reminder that we are all artists (to one extent or another) and that adding to the culture of this world is something deeply Christian.
I learn that my feelings about art and my feelings about the Creator of the Universe are inseparable. To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory. -Madeleine L'Engle

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the proposal

I've been engaged for a month now. It's beautiful, difficult, annoying, and fantastic. When it comes to issues that I care about (my future wife), I don't necessarily like blogging about such things as I would prefer sharing in person. Yet I was filling in some of our "theknot" information (you know you're really planning a wedding when you actively seek out wedding websites) and just entered in our "engagement story". So for those of you I have yet to share with, here's my written account of the proposal:

Well, after purchasing an engagement ring on Etsy (per Jorjette's request) and receiving it on Friday, December 10th, I waited a total of one day to propose.

So, Friday evening (Silent Night for all you Taylor people), I dropped some flowers and a postcard (my preferred "note" medium) off at Jorjette's apartment, asking if she would spend the following day with me. She accepted.

Next, I picked Jorjette up and we headed down to Indy for the day. We began at Patachou, Jorjette's favorite diner spot in Indy. Lunch included French toast for Jorje and an omelette for myself. Despite being seated next to a group of late-20s aged women who enjoyed talking about babies rolling over and hair getting caught in vacuums, lunch was just perfect as we got to spend it together in one of our favorite spots.

After this, we took a little trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. We visited the Lily House first, enjoyed its Christmas decorations, avoided the tour groups, and talked to Jorje's middle school teacher who works the front desk. We then proceeded to the museum.

Now I must confess that I had little planned besides taking Jorjette to the museum and proposing. So in just about every room of the museum, I considered getting down on one knee and proposing ... only to awkwardly linger and wait for the perfect moment. The moment did not present itself very well. I decided that I would have to make the moment happen on my own.While exiting the museum, I detoured us around the fountain out front (amidst the ever increasing rain), told Jorjette I loved her about 4 times, said I was just going to "cut to the chase", got down on one knee, and proposed.

After Jorjette responded with an "of course" and I stated how much of a fool I am for botching up important things like proposals, we decided the proposal was just as awkward as we are and thus fit rather well.

The rest of the day was spent with Jorje's family, calling people on the ride back to Taylor, and spending the night with friends.

I am now engaged to marry the love of my life. Nothing could make me happier.

That's my version of the story...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What makes good television?

There's a show coming out on MTV called Skins (trailer below). It's been running for 3 or 4 years now in England so, obviously, the US has to try to improve upon it. From what I can tell, the show is about teenagers. And it's supposed to be edgy, gritty, real - drawing upon real, live teenagers for inspiration.

The New Yorker has a short piece about it here and Paste Magazine lists it as one of their ten TV premieres they're looking forward to this month.

My question is: what constitutes quality television? The moral effect shows like this have on the viewer aside, is being "true to life" enough to make a show "good"? The assumption seems to be that as long as it stems from true-life stories of teenage craziness, it should be good... or at least interesting. Or perhaps it is the moral boundaries that it will be pushing that's garnering the attention.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

For the fashion minded...

I suppose that if you cared, you'd probably already be following The Satorialist. The blog is simply shots of people on the street showing off their fashion. Below is a YouTube video documentary on the photographer that Intel put together for some sort of marketing campaign of theirs involving seeing the world differently.

Anyways, I enjoyed the 7-minute video and it serves nicely as a "moving-picture" accompaniment to the pictures typically on the blog. As the photographer says in the mini-doc, he's able to provide a "global park bench" for the viewer to people-watch.