Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Christopher Hitchens Has Learned From Debating Doug Wilson

Christopher Hitchens is a celebrity of sorts among the militant atheist movement. He extended an invitation to debate any person of faith back in 2007 and has had that invitation accepted on a number of occasions. Perhaps most notably, he toured across the nation debating with Protestant theologian Douglas Wilson filming a documentary that releases on DVD this week called "Collision." (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRAILER)

Check out his honest and interesting thoughts on the whole experience HERE.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The High Cost of Getting Directions

I generally will only use the "street view" option in Google Maps if I'm unfamiliar with the area to which I'm headed. I will use it differently now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn is Here!

The seasonal change from Summer to Fall is one of the greatest times of the year. As those Summer heat waves hang on through late September, we find ourselves wondering if global warming has left Southern California in a state of perpetual triple digits.

Then after fires leave our already brown state even more brown, and after we cringe one more time at the cost of our A/C inflated electricity bills, Autumn arrives.

It was pretty dramatic this year; the temperature plummeted and the wind took on a marvelous chill. "Brisk" and "crisp" are words I like to use when describing the new fall weather, and as the leaves change, and rain (or at least chances of rain) comes, it makes falling asleep at night or for an afternoon nap a glorious experience.

I will admit that I am a SUCKER for cold weather clothing (scarves, knit hats, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, etc.) and I fall prey to the materialism that comes along with Autumn; most recently Starbucks' "Pumkin Spice Latte." Seriously, it's like Fall in a cup, but at $3 a pop, I best try and enjoy the free outside version.

On top of the great season change, I have dubbed October "Concert Month" for four very good reasons. The first two reasons have already come and gone, but they were all that I hoped they would be:

1) Mutemath with As Tall as Lions at Club Nokia.

I had been a casual As Tall as Lions fan since their first album "Lafcadio" which I bought at Best Buy simply because of the sticker on the front that said they combined elements of some bands I really liked, and I was in the mood to try something new. They had disappeared for a few years before I heard from them again, in the form of a new self-titled album with a few cool tunes on it. They put on a good show, and their music is all very heavily textured and focuses more on a creating and sustaining a vibe throughout their entire set, rather than writing catchy hooks for singles.
Mutemath is a beast of a band. They write catchy, creative, experimental, energetic, electronic-influenced rock, and their live show is all those things turned up to 11. Each of the members of the band is an essential element, but their drummer, Darren King, steals the show (which is honestly saying a LOT!). I didn't bother trying to film any of the show myself, since I prefer to "live it, don't film it," but just search for any Mutemath video on YouTube and hopefully you'll catch a glimpse of what I'm talking about. I was there with a number of good friends, and ran into some friends from back in San Gabriel, so the whole night was an absolute blast.

2) Sunny Day Real Estate with The Jealous Sound and Dead Country at Henry Fonda Theater

I got into Sunny Day Real Estate after their first two albums (the only two the original band lineup released together) had been released, but as I explored their catalog, including later albums with slightly altered member lineups and different names, I always came back to their first two: Diary, and LP2.

It was the mid-90s and we young teens were confused musically. Kurt Cobain had offed himself not too long ago, and we weren't sure if grunge could continue without him. We were still kind of unsure about this "modern rock" which also included horrible offshoots such as Ska, and Nu Metal.

Sunny Day Real Estate picked up where grunge left off thematically, in that after we were done being angry at everything, we were left with a melancholy and disappointed view of life. This would later turn into the genre we know as "emo," but Sunny Day kept our spirits up for those few years in musical no-man's land. CLICK HERE to check out this short but informative article from LA Times for a good snapshot of what this reunion tour was all about.

So those two concerts have come and gone, but two remain.

1) Petty Crux at Dakota Music Lounge.

Okay, shameless plug. Petty Crux is a band I play the drums in. We're playing Wednesday night, October 21st at 10:30 at The Dakota Music Lounge in Santa Monica. I know it's a Wednesday night, and it's late, but it's a great way to celebrate the conquering of the dreaded "hump-day" and the short time remaining until the weekend! CLICK HERE to go to Petty Crux's web site, and CLICK HERE to go to Dakota Music Lounge's site. If you can make it, I'd love to see you. If you're planning to come, then leave me a comment so I know to look for you!

2) U2 at The Rose Bowl

Enough said. U2 is one of the bands I had hoped to see before they call it quits. What can I even say? Probably everyone who reads this has lived at least part of their life with U2 as the soundtrack. My friend Phil is taking me to this concert, and he has lived MOST of his life with U2 in the background, so I couldn't have a better concert-mate. The only thing that disappoints me is that for this leg of their tour they have The Black-Eyed Peas opening for them as opposed to previous openers Muse, Snow Patrol, Elbow, and The Kaiser Chiefs. Ah well, beggars can't be choosy, and don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and any other cliches that apply.

SO that's October...so far!

Friday, October 9, 2009

One Million Frames Per Second

Some of these films were taken at the rate of 1,000,000 pictures per second!It's some beautiful film work showing the destructive magnificence of a bullet impact on various materials. Sometimes the bullet shoots right through, sometimes it wreaks havoc on the material as it pierces it, and sometimes the bullet shatters to pieces.

It's a ten minute video, so if you want to fast forward to the "highlights" then skip to about 4:00 and 6:20

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Lord's Prayer

I did this song in church a number of months ago, and I have had numerous requests to record the version I did (Alfred Malotte's classic arrangement with a few twists and a vibe similar to Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah").

So here you go!

Friday, October 2, 2009