Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Caps are on TV, Tristeza is on my stereo and I've been doing a little thinking (YES! The Caps just scored!).

I've been going over a bunch of things in my head lately. I'm just really frustrated lately with my spiritual life. It's hard taking a look at things and asking if I was better a year ago then I am today. Or is it just that because life is different this year that the vantage point has shifted and it looks worse because things that seem bigger are right in my face? There's a general frustration with myself where my spiritual life is concerned. Paul's words in Romans ring true.

"So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it."

A large part of my frustration comes from my own lack of effort put into my personal relationship with God. And I know from personal experience that the more time I spend in prayer and in his words the more peace I feel. My stress and worry and feeling like of spiritual ineptitude fade. That part of the problem is fixed by me making time and putting forth the commitment.

The thing that most bugs me is this pattern of falling into familiar habits and sins and it makes me wonder if I'm just a terrible human being or if there are serious changes that need to made. Again, the answer goes back to spending more time with God, which I desperately need to do.

Speaking of which...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Of Flight and Failure

I went and saw the Wrestler after work. I don't know if I'd say I liked it, but I wouldn't say it's a bad movie. It's a downer for sure but there's something fascinating about it. Rourke gives a good performance. In my tiny opinion a movie to put on your netflix list when it hits dvd. But I'm probably wrong and will be told so.

Currently got the BCS Championship on. Hoping Florida wins, although not really sure why. I honestly don't care and I wish the Caps were playing tonight so I could watch something else.

Also listening to A Hope For Home's new album "The Everlasting Man". I'm digging it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Watching a little Man vs Food. Why are shows about food so awesome?

I've been learning over the past couple of months how it is that God loves me unconditionally, no matter what. Sometimes it takes some real life challenges to understand how the love of God works, only his love works on a much grander scale then mine does.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Watching the Capitals play the Philly Flyers. Currently up 1-0. Carolina over the past couple of years has been a good rivalry but the Flyers still hold my hockey hatred (and the Penguins).

Sad news in punk rock today; Ron Ashteon of the Stoogies died today. Here's "I Wanna Be Your Dog" live.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Mirror

Just a quick word on this Monday evening. Moment of clarity type thing. I now have a new goal for this year. To DO more. Just do. Spiritually minded doing and just regular doing. I think and analyze things to much and I believe it's hindered a lot of opportunities that might have come my way. So I want to just do this year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Look Back: The Year That Was

Welcome to 2009. I meant to post various things reflecting and looking back on 2008 over the course of the week but I didn't do it. So I have a lot of ground to cover. Put your reading glasses on. On the bottom of this post will be a link to download this year best of mix tape.

Music: Best of 08

2008 was a different year for music. This years mix tape and list will feature a more diverse selection of tunes then past years. A lot of good songs, some decent records but there were really only a handful to jump out at me. The top 10 is a list of albums that I couldn't stop listening to.

10. tie: Living Sacrifice - Death Machine/Austrian Death Machine - Total Brutal
Living Sacrifice is awesome. The Hammering Process is a great metal record. Conceived in Fire is a great metal record. The three songs on their retrospective are great metal songs. Death Machine is two songs released for download on their myspace page and they are two great metal songs. I can't wait for the new album in 09. Austrian Death Machine is Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying. Austrian Death Machine is his tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Great record.

9.M83 - Saturday=Youth
I've been of fan of M83 and this record continues that. It's hard for me not to just put Kim and Jessie on a loop because it might be one of my favorite songs I head all year. Good shoegazer album. Very good songs. It's worth it for Kim and Jessie alone.

8. Al Green - Lay It Down
What can I say about Al Green. Let's Stay Together. Awesome. Lay It Down was produced by ?uestlove and this is a fantasic piece of soul music. Laid back love songs. Good to hear Al Green make a great soul record again.

7. Nine Inch Nails - The Slip/Ghosts
I really only started listening to Nine Inch Nails last year. Year Zero was a good record. Plus being able to remix the songs was a great idea. Trent Reznor had an even better idea this year. To give his music away for free. The Slip was released with no real fanfare on the NIN site and a co-worker downloaded it and I grabbed it. Possibly the best songs Reznors written since the Fragile. That teamed with the release this year of the ambient Ghosts album it was a good year for Nine Inch Nails. Sounds thought like it might have been the last...

6. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
I liked Plans. I thought it was pop song writing at it's best. But Narrow Stairs gets back tot he sound of Death Cab that I love. The record songs like it's the follow up to The Photo Album. A great indie rock album.

5. Kaki King - Dreaming of Revenge
Kaki King is getting better with each record. The first two are great guitar playing records. And I loved Until We Felt Red. Dreaming of Revenge is a m ix of very well written songs and beautiful instrumentals.

4. Starflyer 59 - Dial M
You knew a Martin was going to make the list. Having heard the songs from this record via the Ghost in Box 7 inch series I knew it was more good song writing and rock songs but as an album Dial M is incredible. The songs remind of Jason's songs on the Brothers Martin album from last year and there is nothing wrong with that. With Steven Dail(Project 86) on bass and Trey Manny on drums Jason created a great record. There isn't enough good things to say about this record. I'm surprised every time he releases a new record at the progression Starflyer keeps taking. I hope Jason continues to make records for years and years to come. Each one is just as good as the last with new sounds, twist, stylings, but all the while 100% Starflyer 59. I wish he'd tour but if it takes going to Cornerstone to see Starflyer live, you might see me there this year.

3. Trenches - The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole
All it took was one song for me to go but the Trenches album. I heard Pathways on their myspace page and I was hooked and I bought the record. Good ambient hardcore. The swooping guitar leads interchanging with the heavy verses and Jimmy Ryan's scream. Start to finish a fantastic listen.

2. Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow
I got to see Hammock live this year. And seeing them live was an experience I hope not to forget. Listening to Hammock is always a spiritual experience for me anyway but being in the room and having the music envelop every inch of your being. To close your eyes and let the music do the work. Great stuff. All that to say the new album "Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow is more ambient pleasure from Hammock. More minimal then their previous efforts but every bit as enrapturing. I hope there's at least an ep in 09 from Hammock.

1. Norma Jean - The Anti-Mother
I love Norma Jean. I think they have gotten better with every record. And I was excited when the Anti-Mother recording sessions started. The in studio pictures with Page Hamilton(Helmet), the video with Chino Moreno(Deftones). I was excited. But when they first posted a song online (Robots 3, Humans 0) I was worried. This song sounded like Thrice, not Norma Jean. All my fears were quickly erased on the first listen through of the record though. The songs swoop from one to the next, from heavy, to groove, back to heavy, to straight forward rock. The record starts off with the rawest sounding drums of heard in a while on Vipers, Snakes, and Actors. My favorite song is Murphy Was an Optimist. Lyrically it's a great record. Corey Brandon continues to write great words. I've yet to tire of this album and I don't think I will anytime soon.

Honorable mentions:
Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
Children 18:3 - Children 18:3
The Cure - 4:13 Dream
Sharlok Poems - Blooming Sounds
P.O.D. - When Angels and Serpents Dance

I won't spend much time talking about my favorite films. I will only say that The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Wall-E were awesome and if you haven't them you should go and do so right now.

The election this year was very disheartening because I didn't really care about or fully support either candidate. We'll see what happens the next 4 years.

Looking at my goals for 2008 and seeing if I accomplished them or if I grew or what was up in 08. 2008 was a decent year for me. I met my girlfriend Carley, who is amazing and whom I love very much (which I think helped me to accomplish my goal of smiling more).

I think the biggest thing in 08 was just me more and more just being comfortable with myself and who I am. There was a lot of things I did and that happened and became last year that I'm happy with but that's life. I mess up. That happens. KNowing that God made me and loves me and forgives me is very comforting. Shit happens and I don't always deal with things the best way possible but I don't have to all the time. I think I've learned to live in more in forgiveness then guilt this year. That once I've repented and ask God to forgive me I can go forth and try to live as he wants me to.

I didn't really finish things I started. I more just didn't start new things. Which isn't really what I wanted to do.

Experiences of 08: Seeing the Cure, My Bloody Valentine, and Bad Brains live. Meeting Carley, Echo Broke Alone playing live, moving to Germantown.

Looking forward:

2009 should be an exciting year. I'm looking forward to it. I'm releasing an ep later this month under Echo Broke Alone called "Heart Condition". A mixture of spoken word and ambient sounds. I'm looking forward to that coming out. I'm also going to finally finish Something Beautiful, the Echo Broke Alone full length. I've said it before but this year it will come out. There's no reason for it not to. Something Beautiful will be out in 2009.

One of my goals is to read more this year. I'd like to read at least one book a month. At least. And it doesn't have to be anything meaningful or spiritual. Just a general read more campaign on my part.

I'd also like to swear less. Not stop swearing, just to swear less. Mostly at work. Not every sentence needs the same four letter adverb or adjective.

I'm going to try and get some poetry published this year. I think I'd like to do more with my poetry and photography. What I'm not sure but I want to. Maybe we'll even see some progress with Something Beautiful (community for creative peeps).

I'm looking forward to a great 2009 filled with music, food, and good times.

Here's this years mix tape.

Best of 2008:
01. Hello California
02. Death Machine - Living Sacrifice
03. Kim & Jessie - M83
04. Universal Mind Control - Common
05. All My Balloons - Children 18:3
06. Discipline - Nine Inch Nails
07. Cath - Death Cab for Cutie
08. Heart Art - Sharlok Poems
09. Lay It Down - Al Green
10. Underneath the Stars - The Cure
11. Montreal - Kaki King
12. Pathways - Trenches
13. Atlantic City - Tumbledown
14. Big Easy - Raphael Saadiq
15. M23 - Starflyer 59
16. Murphy Was an Optimist - Norma Jean
17. The Color Theft - Oh Sleeper
18. City In the Dust on MY Windowsill - Hammock
19. Shine With Me - P.O.D.


Happy new year