>Children of Men

>i saw Children of Men last night at the wonderful and regularly overpopulated Seth Childs Carmike Cinema last night. it was really interesting. the movie is set in the year 2027, and, apparently, women have been infertile since the year 2009. the movie starts out with a news program about how the youngest human on earth has died; he was 18 years and 4 months old.

this movie is the most intense film i’ve seen recently. it has a little saving-private-ryan-esque quality about it near the end. yes, i’m serious. thats how intense this movie gets. it seems ridiculous, but lets be honest, if our world all of a sudden couldn’t reproduce and the end of our civilization was inevitable i think things would get rather wild.

a war has broken out. the movie is set in England, but one must assume that the entire world is in utter chaos. England has closed its borders and the British government is attempting to wipe out all of the illegal immigrants in the country. the war is a civil one between the government and a group of “terrorists” in support of a thing called the Human Project. we never really find out what goes on in the Human Project, but we are led to believe that it is the hope of the world, yet there is curiosity as to whether or not it even exists.

Theo (Clive Owen) is called upon by the leader of the terrorist group Julian (Julianne Moore) to help transport an African American girl to the Human Project. initially the entire task seems confusing and overly dramatic to Theo until he finds out the urgency of the situation and the importance of this woman: she is pregnant. Theo takes on the task of transporting the girl himself. They can’t trust the government or the terrorist group, both of them will want to use the baby for political purposes.

this film is creepy, scary, intense, and amazing all at the same time. i’m trying to figure out whether or not i was a huge fan of it. a movie really has to be bad for me not to like it or for me not to at least come away with a slight sense of joy because of it. but i’d say on a scale from 1 to 10…probably a 7. it was really good but the action was over the top. it never stopped either, constant explosions/gunshots/deaths. a very graphic movie – apparently there are so many people dying that they dont give anyone proper burials anymore, so regularly throughout the movie you see huge piles of charred and burning bodies. pitch black arms and legs sticking out of the mangled mess of flesh. sick.

if you’re not a wiener and you can handle some serious intensity then i’d recommend seeing this movie at some point. its a really interesting idea in the least. at one point you see a curbside prophet on a pair of stilts screaming into a megaphone about how “God has taken his greatest gift from us.” a really cool line i think. in today’s society we have a tendency to view sex as a sinful act because of how inappropriately it is manifested in the lives of humanity, but in reality it is an amazing and beautiful thing, and without it we couldn’t survive as a people.

oh man. there is one part when Theo clocks a dude in the face with some 10 pound metal box of some sort and a collective “OHH!” resounded throughout the theater. it was awesome.

anyway, like i said, i give it a 7.


and since every post must have a “ps”, if you are in a movie with three punks from ft. riley three rows behind you talking constantly about how ‘f-ing gay this movie is’ and how it is ‘the worst f-ing movie [they’ve] ever seen’ then you should turn around and do something about it. throw a Jujube at them or something (but not a red one. those are the only flavor worth the trouble of tonguing out of your teeth). i didn’t do anything and it nearly ruined the movie for me.

>i dont know much about computers…

>a little background: if you haven’t seen/discovered/been told about the g.i. joe videos online then you should check them out. it will help you appreciate the the song/video i’m about to share with you. here is a link to an entire list of these types of videos…but if you’ve seen these please read on. actually, read on regardless, but if you don’t quite get the video, well, thats why.

what they’ve done is taken all the old public service announcements that used to air after the g.i. joe cartoons on tv and over-dubbed ridiculous things to the video. so when they used to say things like “dont talk to strange dogs” and teach little kiddos important messages, but now they say “stop all the downloading.”

anyways. my buddy, paul, and i got together and decided to remix the over dubbings and turn them into some sick beats. hopefully we’ll do a handful of them, but the first one we did was the don’t talk to stray dogs one. go here to watch it.

and now what i really am wanting to post on this site: the final product. the remix itself. the song took paul and i a couple nights to do. we took the tune the kid hums at the beginning and made it the melody. i think it turned out real great – my favorite part is definitely when we cut and spliced the tangent the kid goes on at the end of the video into a tight rap breakdown. let me know what you think. here it is:

props to ben hollon for putting the video together.


>Review/Top 10: Heavier Things

>if you’re someone who actually frequents my blog on a regular basis (might be three of you) you are already fully aware that i picked up “Heavier Things” over Christmas break. in this post i expressed my regret for not accepting John Mayer as an exceptional artist years ago. i stubbornly refused to like his stuff. i dissed on him childishly saying his vocals were too breathy and sensual. in retrospect i realize i was just too immature to appreciate him. (sounds like we’re in a relationship. eh. we kinda are.)

but anyways, that view has obviously changed in the last few weeks. so much, in fact, that i am prepared to do another lil review. i’m not going into detail about each track, but i think i’ll rank the songs in order of my likeness (either first to last or last to first – i haven’t decided how i’ll do it yet – probably last to first, more dramatic and i think it more successfully highlights songs individual songs). but i will refer to it as the “Top 10” because just because song number ten is song number ten doesnt make it the worst on the cd. it just makes it the 10th best. thats how i roll at least – optimism and positive vibes. ready break.

(10) 6. home life
(9) 7. split screen sadness
(8) 2. bigger than my body
(7) 3. something’s missing
(6) 4. new deep
(5) 9. only heart
(4) 10. wheel
(3) 1. clarity
(2) 8. daughters
(1) 5. come back to bed

granted this “top 10” might shift and adjust as i continue to live off this album, these are the current AP Rankings, though the Coaches’ Poll might read differently (i’m so clever).


ps: i’d also like to take this post to recommend The Beatles saucy remix cd “Love” it is the other musical masterpiece i’ve been thriving on as of late. apparently the dude that used to mix all the Beatles old stuff decided to break out all the master tapes and throw together some genius. i was skeptical when i first heard about it (“how many albums can they put out after they’re done?”) but this one is great and worth a listen. or even a lot of listens. so so great.

>alveolar osteitis.

>so i got my wisdom teeth pulled on friday morning, and so far i’ve had no problems whatsoever. no swelling, very minimal pain, and i quit bleeding after a couple hours. i am, however, unbelievably paranoid that something will start hurting/go wrong.

it is four days after surgery and my stitches have already dissolved/fallen out and i just have big holes in the back of my mouth now. everything is probably all kosher and good, but it is just such a strange feeling that i can’t help but wonder if everything is going according to plan. but i imagine that if something was wrong then i’d truly know it. so i’m safe to assume, for now, that there is nothing wrong.

i’m wary of these things called dry sockets (or for you dental freaks, alveolar osteitis). apparently they are an common post-surgery issue with wisdom teeth extraction. wikipedia says it “occurs when the blood clot at the site of a tooth extraction is disrupted prematurely.” i’m not sure what that looks like in my mouth though. i’ve just got a big hole back there and thats it, but wikipedia also says that it is “often extremely unpleasant for the patient, as symptoms include extreme pain (sometimes worse than the toothache that indicated the extraction), a foul taste, bad breath, and swelling in the infected area. There may be lymph-node involvement.” i have no pain. my mouth tastes of its usual lovliness, and i assure you, my lymph-nodes are in no way involved. and i’m not even on pain meds. i don’t need those. please. i’m a man.

i’ve been cautious and responsible about it though. jimmy eat world might say i’ve “done nothing wrong” and green day might ask “am i just paranoid, or am i just stoned?”

thanks guys, being stoned is of equal importance as lymph-nodes for me.


>Review: Jay-Z – Kingdom Come

>Jay-Z officially returned from retirement on November 21, 2006, which, coincidentally, was the first day of Thanksgiving Break for yours truly. So I woke up at 9 AM on the 21st and made my first purchase ever at the Best Buy in Manhattan, Kansas: Shawn Carter’s latest work, “Kingdom Come”. I had a 2 hour drive home to KC to allow Jay’s new work sink in (an amount of time i have discovered is necessary to allot if you are ever to truly appreciate and understand an artist. if you want to tackle a cd – drive to Manhattan – you’ll have nothing else to do but dwell on the tunes and make fun of Topeka.)

upon my first listen, i wasn’t terribly impressed. i think i came into it expecting “The Black Album” and that isn’t exactly what i got. “TBA” is clearly one of the best rap albums put out in recent years, and, lets be honest, is hard to top. Jay-Z doesn’t top it in this album, however, this turned out to be exceptional. its not wrong. just different.

1. The Prelude – this first track was shocking. strings and horns and not a lot of groove…on the first track! not gonna lie Jay, but this was a weak album opening. maybe he wanted to start it off on a slow note and work into track 2, but by the 1:15 mark i’m ready to move on to track 2, and about 95% of the time i don’t even listen to The Prelude anymore. i mean, its not a bad track, but it isn’t what i expect and love out of S. Carter.

2. Oh My God – this is more like the Jay i expect. lots of noise and lots of movement out of yours truly. i thought i was going to bust a hole in the dashboard the first time i heard this track. the cymbals go off and it pretty much forces me to do the same. Good Lord. some of the lyrics are weak, i think at least. He actually throws down some Kanye West rhyme early in the track. “if this is your first time hearing this, you’re ’bout to experience some(one) so cold” is the first phrase of the song “We Don’t Care” off “College Dropout”. fun fact for the moment. i like this song, for sure, one of my favorites on the album.

3. Kingdom Come – Jay throws down some serious Hammertime on this song. the keyboard during the verses is straight out of MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This”, it’s just spiced up a bit. okay, actually a lot. I’m a fan of this song too. Again, not the same as “TBA”, it’s a different Jay-Z but i do like it. i think he just puts down more beats and puts less emphasis on the lyrics. The chorus in this song leaves a bit to be desired as fas as i’m concerned, but the keyboard chords during the verses more than makes up for it – plus at 1:39ish he actually says “can’t touch this”. big fan. i did an audio doubletake the first time i heard it – i knew i could place the beat, but i couldn’t figure it out until then, but once i heard it i immediately rewound it 30 seconds and did it again.

4. Show Me What You Got – the single. this song probably got more media than any other this year. between the Budweiser commercials for it and the 9 million internet ads i’ve seen for it i’d say Jay’s gotten this track out to the public rather effectively. though i like the song, i’m not sure how i feel about the video. the video opens and features Danica Patrick racing Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jay-Z through Monaco (which is the second smallest nation on earth after the Vatican). the rest of the video is tight, but i’m not gonna lie, when i think about Jay-Z saying “show me what you got lil mama” i did not picture Danica Patrick (not that she isn’t beautiful, she is, i just more expected…i dunno…Beyonce) nor did i picture Dale Earnhardt Jr. anywhere in the mix (he and his lame-o Wrangler tight jeans commercials. not a huge fan.) but anyway speaking of tight, this song is. a terrific song for Jay-Z to announce his comeback with. love the “and wave” parts. the rest of the video is awesome. here it is: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qopwiGItevI

5. Lost One (feat. Chrisette Michele) – there are a couple songs on this album that are surprisingly low key and are flirting with rhythm and blues. the next two tracks are both examples of this. i especially like the end of the first verse – Shawn starts talking about how “fame is the worst drug known to man”. it is encouraging to hear things like that from a wealthy entrepreneur like Jay-Z. if i were Jay-Z i’d be so full of myself, thats for sure. This song is a winner though.

6. Do You Wanna Ride (feat. John Legend) – John Legend can give any song some serious soul, and this song is no exception. This is a song, much like track 5, that rides the rap/r&b fence for sure. Man. John Legend is just so great. thats all i have to say about this song. just sit back and enjoy the ride cause it is smooooth.

7. 30 Something – this song makes me laugh. Jay-Z is trying to convince everyone that he’s still awesome even though he’s in his 30’s. I find this funny for a number of reasons: first, what is it with rappers and having to explain themselves? eminem is the worst about it. i think he’s great, but half his songs are all about the fact that he’s controversial and why. i dont get it, but Jay-Z decided to do that here. I’m thirty and a millionaire and grown up and mature, basically. he goes on and on about how he used to be versus how he is now. he’s still Shawn. he’s got “good credit and such.” oh, and secondly, i just think its funny that Jay-Z has to let people know he’s awesome. i mean c’mon. Jay-Z will be awesome til he dies, he doesn’t need to prove himself.

8. I Made It – just in case we weren’t aware, Jay-Z made it big. his mom should be proud of him because he’s from Brooklyn and he made something great of himself. it’s a decent song, but it’s got the same message as a bunch of his songs: even a poor kid from NYC can make it big – a good message, but seriously Jay, get some more material. that harsh, but i kinda feel that way. a typical number 8 track – weak and unconnected to the beginning or the end. the mid/late tracks fall off sharply.

9. Anything (feat. Usher & Pharrell) – this is just too much usher and pharrell – this is not the Shawn Carter of old. this song is more like “Usher and Pharrell featuring Jay-Z. Again though, these aren’t necessarily bad tracks, just not what i expected.

10. Hollywood (feat. Beyonce Knowles) – i must admit, i really like this song. probably because i honestly like Beyonce’s sound, but i really like the beat too. There’s this part at the beginning when Beyonce sings something and then Jay-Z repeats it in his own tighter-sounding words: “come to my place (come to the crib) and we’ll discuss it (lets chop it up)”. haha. lovin it. the chorus makes me feel like i just hopped out of a limo onto the red carpet. lights. camera. hollywood. i’m a fan of this track.

11. Trouble – what a club beat this little diddy is. grind on folks.

12. Dig a Hole (feat. Sterling Simms) – go ‘head, bury yourself. this song and the one preceding it land in the roll-up-in-an-escalade-with-spinners category.

13. Minority Report (feat. Ne-Yo) – this song is devastating. it’s about Hurricane Katrina’s effect on the slums in the Gulf Area. it is a cry out from Jay-Z regarding how poorly the situation was handled in New Orleans, it is critical of the government and leaves off with Kanye West’s rather controversial comment to the press saying that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” hopefully and most likely that is not the case, however, the argument is sung beautifully and forcefully: it seems like no one even cares about the many people (predominantly black) in our very own country left homeless in the aftermath of Katrina. many audio clips of the refugees are used and it really hurts to hear. our government ought to be able to help save those in need in the South. this song tugs at my heartstrings terribly and it is one of the best songs on the album and possibly my favorite.

14. Beach Chair (feat. Chris Martin) – the album closes with this harpsichord track. it’s a slow song about life and how S.C. lives his. “life is but a beach chair.” from what i’ve gathered, Jay-Z is playing off the “life’s a beach” phrase and turning it around to a positive and optimistic view. life is but a relaxing day in the sun. fulfill your dreams and do what you want. life isn’t a beach – its a beach chair. its a nice closing song, i think. kinda eerie in parts even, i like it.

a large portion of the cd doesnt excite me too terribly much, but there are a handful of songs that get me going bigtime. tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, and 13, are all terrific – and thats more than half the album. “Kingdom Come” isn’t as great as his past works, but i have trouble comparing cause it is a completely different Jay-Z from his past albums. i do like it though, and overall i think it’s pretty great. scale from 1 to 10…probably a 6.5. but still. there are a handful of songs that make this cd worth it. (plus it comes with a DVD. sizzler.)


PS. i realize my track summaries got worse and worse as the album progressed, that is largely due to the fact that i dont really have any motivation to do things i dont really care about. i tried on the tracks i like and i didn’t try on the rest. so phooey.

>school supplies

>it is amazing how quickly life can go from being really fun to really busy in a matter of moments. just an hour ago i was playing Lion King on SEGA with my buddy Dan. Then here i am finding out that i have to pay rent and tuition, pack my stuff, finalize my schedule, get a new job, buy books and go back to Manhattan. talk about a buzzkill.

just as my “break” begins to slow down and i get a chance to relax for a day it picks back up almost immediately into a hurricane of errands/payments. there is just so much stress that comes with a new semester. way too much work. seriously. life should not need to be so busy.

but one thing that always seems to bring a bit of relief is school supply shopping. today i went to Office Max and picked up five graph spiral notebooks, two folders and some batteries and as i left the register i felt a slight sense of calmness. school supplies just have this crisp organized feeling about them that makes me feel so prepared. i leave that store ready to destroy any course that steps in my way. i’m organized and motivated and B’s are not an option.

but i know the moment i get to class the first day i’m going to open up my graph spirals and write “Linguistic Anthropology” or “Religion in American History” at the top and i’ll want it to look so perfect so that it would match the crispness of the unused spirals. but thats just not possible. so i’ll probably erase it and write it again, trying to land the perfect lettering, but in the process i’ll smudge up the first try and it’ll just make it worse and by the end of my first class period i will quickly remember what a poor student i truly am. awesome.

but for now, i’ll savor the organization and go to bed because i have a lot of junk to accomplish in the morning.

stupid school, always raining on my parade.


>passion unpacking part two of some

>track 5 on A Collision (3 + 4 = 7) from David Crowder*Band is entitled “Foreverandever Etc…” it incorporates whistling and a keytar and is a truly childish song. I’ve always skipped over this song on the cd because it really never fancied me much. Crowder’s lyrics are typically so spiritual and genius, and, to be honest, this song didn’t match up.

so i’m outside with 24,999 other college students from every state in the US, freezing my butt cheeks off on the 3rd of January, wishing i was back in the hotel room so i could watch LSU kick the crap out of Notre Dame, and Crowder pulls out the keytar. and i’m totally not excited about it. don’t get me wrong, the keytar is tight, but i have the cd and i know how childish the ensuing song is going to be.

there is one point in the song (where the song gets its name i assume) when the lyrics break down into a not-too-difficult-to-follow sequence that goes something like “i am Yours forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and yadda yadda yadda yadda you get it.” the quintessential moment of childish worship music banter erupted amongst the mass of 20-somethings, and i felt dumb.

yet on Wednesday night at about 11:00 PM Eastern Standard Time in Atlanta, Georgia, Crowder pulled out his keytar and played this song outdoors between the Georgie Dome and the Phillips Arena and a wave of understanding flowed over me. the song appears childish because that is exactly how it is supposed to appear. i think a lot of people, myself included, can get wrapped up in the theology and the politics and the issues of Christianity and we can sometimes miss the unbelievable relationship we have with our Father. our Father. we are little sons and daughters of God and i think sometimes we try and make ourselves bigger and better and miss what an incredible reality this is.

we have a loving Father in Heaven who cares about our every move. He loves us dearly and i know i forget that.

track five may be fruity, but Crowder wanted it that way. because that is what joy in our Heavenly Father truly looks like. we are children of God who jump and scream and dance in his presence. we giggle and squirm and laugh with Him.

here are the lyrics:

Love so incredible to know
It's never gonna go
Never gonna go

Love too impossible and true
For anyone but You
For anyone but You

I think I'm on the brink of something large
Maybe like the breaking of a dawn
Or maybe like a match being lit
Or the sinking of a ship
Letting go gives a better grip

I'm finding everything I'll ever need
By giving up gaining everything
Falling for You for eternity
Right here at Your feet
Where I wanna be
I am Yours

Love so indelible to know
You're never gonna go
You're never gonna go

Love too unthinkable and true
For anyone but You
For anyone but You

Maybe like a match being lit
Or the sinking of a ship
Letting go gives a better grip

I'm finding everything I'll ever need
By giving up gaining everything
Falling for You for eternity
Right here at Your feet
Where I wanna be
I am Yours

Forever and ever and ever and ever
And ever and ever and ever and ever... (repeat)

falling for you for eternity. right here at your feet. where i want to be. i am Yours forever and ever and ever…….

how cool is that? childish? maybe, but a legitimate thrill in our Father? definitely. so beautiful.

and suddenly i went from being my pessimistic critical self to the 25,000th dancer in the crowd. i realized the truth of it and how wonderful and joyous this song is. we are children of God lets act like it. lets go outside and jump in a pile of leaves with Him, or lets all go sledding with Him, or lets all go swimming with Him.

he is our Dad and our Papa.

how incredible to know. how impossible and true.
i am Yours.


>john mayer and spring 2007

>i must admit, i initially refused to like john mayer, and as his stock rose in popularity i became stubborn and refused to give in. and here i am three or four years later loving his stuff. i bought “heavier things” a couple weeks ago and i’m slowly working my way into it track by track. so far i’m a big fan, much bigger than i expected to be. i used to not like him cause i thought he breathed instead of sang, but the more i listen the more i love it. i’m looking forward to picking up some of his other stuff and seeing if i’m equally as pleased.

i’d also like to take time in this post to apologize to anyone i childishly dissed on for liking john mayer. he’s quality and i am sorry.

the only thing i dont like about him now is the billboard of him in atlanta. he very much resembled Edward Scissorhands which very much creeped me out as a child. i saw it on TBS one night at a sleepover and i had nightmares for a month. bad news for sure. not that appearance really means anything to me..i’m a david crowder fan too.

in other news, classes start again on thursday. isn’t that a treat? here’s what i think i’m taking:

Philosophy 301: History of Modern Philosophy
Anthropology 220: Linguistic Anthropology
History 522: Religion in American History
Philosophy 340: Theories of Knowledge and Reality
English 680: Topics in Dr. Suess

we’ll see how that goes. who knows.


>kc chiefs at indy colts

>so the chiefs play today, which is shocking really. four teams had a chance to make the playoffs last week with a win at home: bengals, broncos, titans, chiefs. and if any of the other three teams on the list won then they took the chiefs’ spot in the playoffs. but kansas city’s luck changed that day and we’re in and they’re out. haha. the broncos didn’t make it.

but, as is becoming the norm in the playoffs, the chiefs meet the colts first. the chiefs have played no other team in the post season since 1996, and we haven’t beat the colts in the playoffs yet. there was the Lin Elliot game and the-game-with-no-punting. stupid stupid stupid.

but this year is different, or so i like to think, because for the first time it is the Colts who have the better record and are playing at home. we’re the underdogs and can’t “blow it” this year. they’re expected to lose, so they have something to prove.

and this year is also different because the chiefs don’t have a complete liability. in 1996 we had the best defense in the NFL and in 2003 we had the best offense in the NFL. this year KC has the number 16 offense and the number 16 defense. we probably don’t deserve to even be in the playoffs because we are an all around average team, but at least we are an all around team. no serious flaws and no serious screw ups/Lin Elliots.

and this year we have some guy named Larry Johnson who ran for 1789 yards this season. half man, half beast, or “The Centaur” as Mitch Holtus (voice of the Chiefs, 101.1 KCFX) calls him. Indianapolis boasts the worst rushing defense in the NFL giving up 173 yards per game, and Larry Johnson ought to have a field day. i’m predicting 197 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Centaur.

however, Indianapolis has arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game. Peyton Manning is a freak, so that is obviously an issue. if the Chiefs can keep him off the field and if LJ runs the ball like he should then the Chiefs should make a game out of this one. so that having been said…the edge goes to…

when the Colts pass: Colts.
when the Chiefs pass: Colts.
when the Colts run: Chiefs.
when the Chiefs run: Chiefs.
special teams: Chiefs.
coaching: Colts.

overall? who knows. but i think the Chiefs have something to prove here.
so since i’m on meds and thinking optimistically…

Chiefs 31-24.


ps: i think tony dungy and herm edwards could be cousins/brothers/related somehow. they look so much alike. yikes.

EDIT: the chiefs offense is apparently worthless. my love is dwindling.

>passion unpacking part one of some

>this will more than likely be the first of a handful of passion-unpacking-posts. i got back last night around 10:30 from the Passion Conference in Atlanta. i went last year and it was enormously life-altering. this year it was a little different. not better or worse, still awesome and life-altering, but different still.

last year i went to Passion needing an eye opening experience. a swift Jesus-kick to the face if you will. not that i have it all together this year, because i most assuredly do not, but i have matured significantly in the past year and the “boom” from last year seemed slightly lacking this time. however, it made up for it in other areas.

last year i went for the music. i wanted to hear Crowder basically, but this year i went searching for a couple nuggets of knowledge to come away with. since this is passion though these nuggets manifested themselves in the form of boulders instead. i was hit with two major topics on this trip, discovering humility and reaching the unreached people groups of the world.

humility is something i’ve been fervently trying to master for years now. Beth Moore spoke on humility this year and had, as expected, some pretty dece thoughts. the one i latched on to most was the fact that if we lead humble lives we do so unnaturally, or the idea that we are naturally prideful as human beings. a stunning reality for me, and one that gave me a great deal of comfort. i’m not a very humble person, but my humility abounds in comparison to the self-centered life i’ve led in the past. i’m getting better, but just as we will never reach the apex of knowledge in life we will also never reach the apex of humility. we are unnaturally humble. we can strive for it all we like, but we will never achieve it to perfection. but that is good news because while one could see the glass half empty and say, “well, why try then?” another might see it more positively and realize that this is an amazing opportunity. while we will always be somewhat prideful, we can always arrive at a greater level of humility in our lives. that is good news.

the speakers, Louie Giglio, in particular, also drove home the importance of overseas missions, primarily to the unreached people of the world. a lot of the emphasis in the talks was that we should not become complacent in our Johnson County Lifestyle (my words, not theirs), but that instead we have a calling to preach. we have a duty to tell the world about Jesus Christ, and i thought both Louie and John Piper landed that point well. however, i was a little frustrated at the same time, i felt like they emphasized overseas missions nearly too much and failed to include the fact that everyone has their own mission field in their own town. i had a lengthy conversation with one of my best friends, Dan, about this. Both of us believe that everyone has their own mission field everywhere they go, and that the engineers, accountants, construction workers, teachers, and the whatevers all have their own area of influence as well. i felt like that point was missed along the way. i’m going into youth ministry soon, and even i felt a little guilt for not reaching out to the Della people of northern Iraq or the Muslims in Indonesia or whoever else hasn’t heard the gospel. it was a message that needed to be presented and a message that needed to be heard, but i think a side note touching on the fact that not all of us are called to be long term missionaries would have been nice.

anyway. it was a really awesome trip and i still haven’t come close to unpacking everything though (especially Piper’s talk and Francis Chan’s). i’m now reading Crowder’s first book Praise Habit too. so look forward to a review of that dandy. lovin it so far.

but i now must go and attempt to eat dinner out at the Q without wisdom teeth. yesss.



>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.


>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.



>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.

>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.

>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.


>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.”


>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.



>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.

>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).


>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.


>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.


REVIEW: future sex/love sounds.

REVIEW: futuresex/lovesounds.

adam paul cooper’s official review of justin timberlake’s second masterpiece, futuresex/lovesounds, is finally here. i apologize for the wait, it has been over a month since i purchased it, but i didn’t want to throw this at you before i had listened to the entire thing multiple times through. make myself aware of the catchy faders, the sleepers, and the all around incredibles. i feel that i finally have a tackle on it. so here it is.
FurtureSex/LoveSounds – Justin Timberlake
Jive Records – 09/12/06
1. futuresex/lovesound: what a tight song 1. kicks off abruptly but works through the first verse slowly. which is nice. but ‘wait a second’. that one phrase, in my mind, kicks off the cd. this song causes some serious dashboard djimbe-ing in my vehicle and thats all i ask from a start-me-up song. this song is also fun to practice ‘the robot’ to.oh snap and just like in the song – you thought i was done. but i’ve got a whole chorus left in me. just tell me which way you like that. and a sick transition into…

2. sexyback:
the single. the majority of the justin- and popular-radio-listening public had already based their opinions of this cd off of solely this song. little do they know that this is, by far, not the best song on the cd. what a pleasent surprise. its catchy and makes me move my tookus. its a typical club song. though remarkably repetitive and not terribly complex, this song does, in fact, put a serious smile on my face as well as create a wonderful life phrase for those in tune with current pop culture. bringing sexy back? please. its been brought.

3. sexy ladies/let me talk to you prelude:
not a fan of sexy ladies. well i am. just not the song. its a slow jam and it really doesnt make me want to dance (which is the main reason for buying this cd. i’ll be honest). i bob my head and maybe sway from side to side but over all i’m kinda disappointed with this song. the 3-spot has so much potential. however, we get the first sample of the next-song-intro-theme that jt decides to incorporate on this cd. the ‘let me talk to you prelude’ was well done. the percussion appears to have been played on empty soda bottles, and just when you are about to get bored with it…

4. my love:
bam. we’re back to old school jt. this song most resembles ‘justified’ i think. eh. maybe not. i guess there’s a little techno goin on still, but its our first sample of some usual jt sound. i’m a huge fan of ‘my love’. dancing ensues. it helps that i’m a big fan of fast lyrics and t.i. lands a sick rap at the 3 minute mark. i’m in the process of learning all the words so i can impress my friends at the next dance party i host. one of my favorite songs on the cd. i give it the bronze.

5. love stoned/i think she knows interlude:
HAY! this is my favorite song on the cd; i’m pretty confident in that statement. i love the verses and the chorus. “she looks like a model, except she’s got a little more AHH.” seriously who doesnt like it? speak up. we’ll rumble. there really isn’t anything negative possible to say about this. the background ohhs and ahhs are tight. the beatboxing is money. the sounds-like-there-are-multiple-justins-singing effect is in full effect and i love it. plus jt just yells randomly a few times. HOT DAMN! then cue the lil guitar solo. big fan of this song. then break it down into song 6 via some serious strings. take it down a couple notches…i think that she knows…i think that she knows…and we’re chill.

6. what goes around…/…comes around interlude:
also called “the lament of justin timberlake”. don’t take this song to the club. this song reminds me a lot of ‘cry me a river’ off his freshman works. you even get low moaning during the interlude similar to that of the monk-sounding tones on track five of ‘justified’ . some subtle strings and justin’s soothing falsetto make this song a real tear-jerker. i like it’s place on the cd as well, a good transition from the single-worthy songs into the dry section of most cds. song six is a crucial cd location. a good song six can launch the listener into the remainder of the cd. i feel ‘what goes around…’ is a winner.

7. chop me up:
initially this song did not fall under the “i like this song” category. but the more i listen to it i realize that it is solely because it isn’t much jt. lots of timba. lots of three-6. not a lot of jt – and initially i didnt like it, but this song has jumped the fence. i dont really like the super-low-slo-mo-sounding voice that says “chop me up” and “screwed up”, but three-6 mafia is actually pretty impressive. in fact, this song strikes me a little chris brown. and i like that.

8. damn girl:
this song is disappointing. with a title like “damn girl” i expected quite a bit. i wanted a “DeeeeeAAAAAAAMN GUUUUUUURRL”…but i got more of a “that is slightly impressive, girl” vibe. disappointing to say the least, but that doesnt make this a bad song. simply didnt live up to expectations. similar to my school grades. not my favorite. on a scale from ‘my humps’ to ‘smells like funk’ i think i’d give it a ‘don’t phunk with my heart’.

9. summer love/set the mood prelude:
the cd reaches a low point here. this is probably my least favorite song on futuresex/lovesounds. weak lyrics. weak beat. but a fitting location on the cd to hide an average-at-best song. BUT the set the mood prelude. wow. really beautiful and truly does “set the mood” for song ten. i’m tempted to just start this song at the 4:13 mark when the prelude begins. ‘lil asian jingle. ‘lil snaps. ‘lil oohs.

10. until the end of time:
oooh we’re bringin it down some more. you thought we were chill at track 6? how about a little slow-song treat? grab a lady/fella’s hand and prepare to couple skate, folks. ‘until the end of time’ hits me a lot like 98 degrees. justin has the benjamin wright orchestra in on this number. beautiful. if i had a girl to make out with, i’d light some candles and put on this money song. hawt.

11. losing my way:
this song is a winner as well (seems to be a trend at this point). it starts slow, and i’ll be honest, it starts as an average tune. but then the gospel choir joins in and i long for the last twenty seconds when i get to hear them go nearly acca pella.

12. (another song) all over again:
if there is any question as to whether or not justin timberlake is an incredible artist – listen to this. wow. this song completes the turn around from dance mix to glorious love songs. what the cd name alludes to this song completes. the transformation from sexy to lovely. i’ve been wanting this type of singing from justin for quite some time. i know i’ve already chosen a favorite, but this song is so vastly different that i feel its okay to have two. this song is a favorite. this is all justin. no beatboxing, no techno, no ‘featuring timbaland or three-6 mafia or t.i.’ to be found here. his maturity as an artist is so obvious with ‘all over again’. ‘jt’ is now ‘mr. timberlake’, and this song is 100% mr. timberlake. it is a wonderful finish to an entertaining, yet a beautiful album.

thats what i got. if you dont have this cd, buy it. now. justin came through big time with his sophomore cd. this cd is money – way better than i ever expected it to be. go buy it. i dont care if you dont have the bones to pay for it. go give plasma and then go straight to the best buy opening in ‘hattan next friday.