Categories
Music

Soundtrack of the moment, part I

No, this isn’t that stupid random listing of songs that supposedly follows your life. These are some songs that have changed me, made me think, made me cry, and want me to become a better person. Enjoy.

“Candy Shop” – Andrew Bird – Oh! the Grandeur
So nostalgic. The groove makes you want to do the Charleston.

“Martha My Dear” – The Beatles – The White Album
There are so many Beatles song I could have chosen but this one is so catchy and my current favorite. Do yourself a favor and listen to this whole double album.

“Vienna” – Billy Joel – The Stranger
I recommend this entire album. I wish I could make music like Billy Joel.

“Love Affair” – Copeland – Eat, Sleep, Repeat
Ridiculously good song off of a ridiculously good album. Their musicianship and composition skills inspire me so much.

“Changes” – David Bowie – Hunky Dory
One of the catchiest songs you’ll ever hear.

“Time Bomb” – The Format – Dog Problems
This band is going to be huge. Such a great blend of acoustic pop, rock, and brilliance.

“Backyard” – Guster – Keep It Together
I just love the grooves they create. The chord progressions are so emotionally charged.

“The Mixed Tape” – Jack’s Mannequin – Everything In Transit
I didn’t know anything about this band before listening to this disc. So glad I did. The first time I heard this track it felt like music was completely new and uninhibited.

“At the Mercy” – Paul McCartney – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
I never listened to any Wings stuff, so that’s probably why I love this. Paul’s still got it.

“Bicycle Race” – Queen – Greatest Hits I
At a weird yet awesome song. You will not be able to forget it.

“Short People” – Randy Newman – Little Criminals
Most people probably know Randy Newman from the Toy Story soundtrack but his other stuff is piano pop at its best.

“Samson” – Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope
Brass + strings + inspiration = musical bliss. Such a heart throbbing song.

“I So Hate Consequences” – Relient K – mmHmm
Lyrically, this band is the greatest I’ve ever seen. Everyone can relate to these songs, and this is just a taste of the spiritual and emotional maturity that Matthew Thiessen brings.

“The Only Song” – Sherwood – Summer EP
Pop rock glory.

“The World” – The Starting Line – Based on a True Story
An solid, anthemic pop punk rock song.

“Come On! Feel the Illinoise!” – Sufjan Stevens – Come On Feel the Illinoise!
This man is truly gifted. Where he gets his inspiration/ideas is beyond me.

“Amateur Lovers” – Switchfoot – Oh! Gravity.
This album is so much better than Nothing Is Sound. Had to pick one song but listen to the whole album.

“View From Heaven” – Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
Such an emotional song from an unlikely source. A great summer record.

So there are just a few of the songs that fill my day. What are yours?

Categories
God Music Poetry

I fought you for so long…

Imagine: Darkness, accompanied by golden light from surrounding “Narnia” lamp posts. The snow slowly permeates everything in sight, including your face. The path you’re on shines like diamonds and swivels oh so gracefully alongside a sparkling river. Soft piano music dances into your ear, choreographed perfectly with the falling flakes. Now, tell me that God is not with you at that very moment.

Snow is commonly thought of as a metaphor for a sense of renewal or rebirth, but I see it as being able to see our worth. God drops this stuff down on us to show us that we can sparkle like diamonds and are so clean and new if we choose to be. Go outside the next time it is snowing at night and see what happens.

P.S. If you want to experience a living and breathing God, listen to Relient K’s album mmHmm. He is all over those lyrics.

Categories
God Life Poetry

Brightest

Walking back to my dorm from chapel last night, I saw the coolest image I’ve seen in a long time. A full moon against a dark sky with the slightest shade of the darkest blue you could imagine. Clouds shaped like cotton ball clusters slid by the moon so gracefully. Coincidentally, a Copeland song called “Brightest” was playing on my iPod as I looked up at the sky. The clean, crisp night air refreshed my senses and the whole experience broke through to my soul. The moon shone so brightly that all the beautiful buildings I passed were ever so tinted with a faint light, making the moment seem all the more surreal.

It’s moments like these that prove God’s existence. He is in the colors and the sounds and the smells that invigorate us everyday. These images are always out there waiting for someone to take the time to sit back and look at them. You don’t have to go to Hawaii or the Rocky Mountains to see something spectacular. Just open your eyes a little wider than they’ve been recently and wait to see what happens.

Categories
Etc. Life

you’re coming alive to me (part 2)

Nobody likes 8-hour shifts. Especially me. Especially Peter Gibbons. But since I have to work to get earn some money, I had no choice. But today’s 8-hour shift wasn’t that bad. In fact, I sort of enjoyed it. Not because of the work I have to do or the people I have to do it with, but because of what I thought about during the shift to make it go by faster. I thought about my awesome experience this summer as a camp counselor, I thought about the awesome times I had on tour with the band, I thought about how cool a girl I like is (no I’m not telling and no I’m not dating anyone). When I thought about stuff like that, I kept smiling and having a positive attitude throughout the day. That sounds so saccharine but it totally worked. The fact that my legs were killing me and the work I was doing truly sucked didn’t phase me because I was thinking about sliding through a tunnel lined with oatmeal, mud, and old milk surrounded by dozens of screaming elementary school kids.

The point is that if you try to find something positive in every thing you do, every thing you do will become positive. Whenever I think of it, I ask God to teach me something I need to learn whether it be small and subtle or huge and obvious. A lot of times I don’t figure out exactly what I’ve learned until way after the incident. It just smacks me in the back of the head saying “Listen up you oblivious buffoon!” The things I’ve learned from these very experiences have completely rocked my world and everything I know about it. I’d highly recommend it.

Categories
Poetry

Souvenirs

It’s fall outside, of orange and red
there’s a chill on the air
winter’s biting at my front door
and I’ve plunged into despair

The sun is setting, the wind’s suspending
on the golden horizon
the leaves crunch to my ears
the colors are souvenirs
and they’re saying ‘come home son’

This is the life
this is the listening
of words we miss
of songs we’re singing

Tonight’s the night
winter’s finally here
accompanied by the flakes of white
it’s a new beginning, a new song we’re singing
that’s better than before

Categories
Film Life Music

you’re coming alive to me

I love it when music and movies come alive. Recently I listened to Copeland’s new album, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. That album, as well as Jack’s Mannequin’s Everything In Transit, somehow opened up a new gateway into music and life for me. When I listened to them, everything else I had ever heard before that seemed stale. They completely revolutionized music for me, however hyperbolic that may sound. I was in just the right mood for the music to reach right into my soul and shake things up. I’m sure that if you are more than a casual listener to decent music you’ll know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve had a bad day, or bad month, and listening to a certain album just smashes a window open you didn’t know existed in your soul. I love it.

With Jack’s Mannequin, I remember my heart just throbbing and getting goosebumps while walking home from the public library. At that moment, God just came alive to me. It doesn’t even matter what kind of music you’re listening to. Each strum of the guitar was like a shock to my heart. Another time, I was listening to Sanctus Real’s The Face of Love. During that season of my life, I had been thinking a lot about love and what it really meant. Three different arenas of my life–classes, church, and music–all happened to focus specifically on this subject, which I know now wasn’t a coincidence. Listening to The Face of Love and thinking about the lyrics and how they applied to my life, it was like another jump start to my heart. My windshield had just been wiped clean and I could finally make sense of the stuff that was ahead of me.

This happens with movies as well. My sister could attest to this. In the months before our grandpa and grandma died, she was away at college and couldn’t be with them as much as she wanted. She had always been really close to them, so whenever she was getting down about it, she watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I cannot vouch for the quality of the movie, but that doesn’t matter. She is emotionally bound to that film and to this day she watches it whenever she is having a bad day. We all can be moved by certain movies, whether it be because of its sadness or uplifting message. I recently watched Casablanca. I’ve only met one person who does not like/love this movie, and for good reason. I love the romance, I love the stubbornness of Rick (which I can relate to), and I love how there are so many things I can learn from it. That movie, along with a few others, lifts itself off the screen and into my heart. And sometimes, with all the crap we carry with us, that is exactly what we need.

Categories
Love Poetry

for you, Blue, wherever you are…

Hidden smiles beneath furtive glances
a fluttering heart stops any advances
for fear of reveal

The world is small today
’cause you’re the center of mine
“beautiful” doesn’t do you justice
and that terrifies me
your soft eyes define mine

The world is yours today
’cause you have what I have
you are what I have

Your deft approach
shuts me down
sends my heart burning, head spinning
“act naturally” is not an option
fumbled words create the mood
the world is alive today
and my eyes can see that truth clearly

A laugh tears down the wall
all senses are a go, overwhelmed
a scent from heaven
the touch of an angel
my soul is at ease

The world is mine today
’cause you are my world

Categories
Film Review

The Prestige

The Prestige is a film about magicians and their illusions, but it is also an illusion itself.

In the film and in magic, we are first shown the Pledge; a seemingly ordinary scenario that we will assume is probably not so ordinary. Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) two rival magicians who see their friendship turn into a rivalry after an ill-fated illusion involving Angier’s wife. Each becomes obsessed with discovering the other’s secrets and becoming the greater magician. Next comes the Turn; the magician takes the ordinary thing and turns it into something you would never expect. Alfred performs “the Transported Man” trick and sends Rupert on a desperate quest to uncover the illusion and starts a deadly game of cat-and-mouse which soon involve the double-crossing assistant Olive (Scarlett Johansson) and Rupert’s manager Cutter (Michael Caine). The final part of the illusion, the Prestige, sends the audience’s minds into a flurry with twists and turns you never expected. I try hard not to concentrate too much on twists in a movie so I can more fully enjoy the experience, but I found myself burning for answers throughout, getting a few along the way then asking some more.

Like a good magician, director Christopher Nolan lures us in with intrigue and presentation, shows us something we didn’t expect, and then throws us into a spin. There are echoes of his previous works in The Prestige that are evident throughout the film, like Memento‘s non-linear storytelling and ambiguity, and the darkness of Batman Begins. Aside from being simply an enjoyable film to be completely immersed in, The Prestige is great to look at with its breathtaking scenery and costumes. The thing that stands out the most to me is the acting. Without Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in their top form, this film would have fallen short of its potential; something that happens all too often in movies. Michael Caine is always a delight to watch, while Scarlett Johansson’s performance seemed uninspired and unoriginal, leading me to think that she seems to be a little overrated and overexposed.

Above all, The Prestige is definitely one of the best films of the year. It could require multiple viewings in order to answer all your questions, but the beauty of the magic trick is not the illusion itself but the fact that we will never really know how the magician did it. You think you know what’s going on, but in the end you will find that you never really knew. Rarely do good acting, beautiful photography, and intelligent writing come together to form a film worth watching.

Categories
Television

Hey brother!

I just finished watching the final episodes of Arrested Development on DVD. If I haven’t told you before, please rent the DVDs. It is by far one of the best comedies and overall television shows I have ever seen. It is a unique kind of comedy, so be ready for fast moving storylines and a lot of subtle humor. I’ve never heard of anyone not loving this show once they’ve taken a little time to watch it. Just do it; it will be well worth your time.

Categories
Life Love

Desirable

This is the artistic version of the previous post. It’s a writing project I had to do for Creative Writing last year. The objective was to write a story/opinion piece/whatever in the perspective of the opposite sex. My attempt got the top prize for realism. See what you ladies think.

Sometimes I wish I were a guy. They don’t worry about their appearance as much as girls do. I hate myself for hating myself. I see the supermodels and hot actresses in perfect condition and wish I could be that attractive. It seems like I’m always too fat or too ugly to get any attention from guys. I want to be beautiful. When a guy does hit on me, even if I know it’s for the wrong reasons, I eat it up. It means he thinks I’m attractive enough, and I love that. I know it’s so shallow, but if there is one thing that can bring me out of the dumps, it’s a compliment. But sometimes I want something beyond the average compliment; I want to be called beautiful. Not ‘hot’, not ‘fine’, not even ‘sexy’. Beautiful. When you say that, you’re saying that I am desirable on a level beyond my weight, my bra size, or how good or bad I could ever perform in the bedroom. You’re saying that I am more attractive on so many more levels than any supermodel could seem to be. I want to feel desirable. I want to be the only thing you can’t stop thinking about throughout your day, the only thing in the world you want to be with.

A simple phrase can change everything. If you love me, say it. Tell me everything about me that you find desirable. As guys want to feel respected and admired, girls want to feel loved and adored. If you like the way my hair looks today, say it. Being told by a boyfriend or even a boy friend that there is something about me that he enjoys or adores lifts my self-esteem to unimaginable levels. People wonder why so many women suffer from eating disorders and the intense desire to be skinny, but I know it’s because they feel inadequate. You never know if I had just been cut down by a friend and so needed a compliment by someone who cares about me. If you love me, tell your friends about me, and do it when she’s not around. This shows that you aren’t being superficial when you’re around her and that you care for her enough to risk being sentimental around your macho buddies.

All in all I just want to be loved. I want to feel safe when I’m around you, knowing that you care enough about me to protect me. I want to be a woman worth fighting for, whose heart you are willing to risk all to defend. Your eyes should be the only mirror I will ever need.

I want to be desirable.