29 November, 2007

4 AM?

Hm, still not able to sleep. My left hand is numb; I can't feel the keys as I type. Weird.

Good news! I suppose...well, probably not. It turns out I am becoming a MuteMath groupie. Bummer. But I just bought their EP (Reset) off of half.com, where it had been previously priced at $35 ish. No, silly, I didn't get it for that much. Because I waited for 3 years (yeah, I knew about the band way back when they released the EP), I saved a whole $0.02!

I can feel my left hand now. Goodnight.

28 November, 2007

Tribute To Mike

  • For the past week, I've been waking up with a strange feeling. This feeling also comes when I turn off the lights at night. Today, I realized what it is. It's the understanding that most of my bedroom floor is visible, and it's been...life-changing. Well, maybe not that dramatic. Perhaps we shall call it habit-changing.
  • I broke two ornaments when I decorated the Christmas tree yesterday. Poor, spun-glass reindeer. Poor dancers, who were given to me by Mrs. Hoffman (or maybe that was Mike's?). Oops.
  • Cameras are pretty fun, but it takes a while to get used to using one. Since I'd never had a camera before last Friday, I never bothered to learn the nitty-gritty stuff about 'em. One of the details I just can't figure out: What should I name the guy? My computer's name is Jake...Fred is the turtle in Jess' car...Bert came to mind, but I want to make sure that's the perfect name for him. What do you think? Check out my Flickr for his portrait.
  • Is naming electronics weird? I hope so. I was thinking about this phenomenon just now...all my electronics (which aren't many) have monosyllabic, male names. Except for my cell phones. They have names like "my old phone," "my first phone," "the red phone," "John's old phone," ...you get the idea. I wonder why.
  • On the way home from school, I was thinking about Jesus and prayer. This had to do with some song that was playing on my iPod, but I can't remember the song. Anyway. SO, Jesus prayed quite a bit. But why? Jesus was God incarnate, after all. Talking to himself doesn't seem like it'd be a long process. Wait, God lives in me, if my theology is correct. So, why do I pray? On the other hand, why don't I walk on water at will, or heal whenever I so choose? Huh. Something to think about, for sure. (Before anyone goes willy-nilly on me, keep your shirt on. This sort of theology isn't what I'd call necessary to a saving knowledge of Christ, it's a question probing God's grace. Prayer is a gift, I know that. If I never find the answer to this question, I don't care. It's just fun to think about.)

22 November, 2007

This Is Not The Post Mentioned In The Previous Post

Happy Thanksgiving!

And by that, I do not mean "I hope you can be more gluttonous than you were last year, because you've overeaten on a more regular basis!" I mean something like...Be aware of the goodness that surrounds you! The people that may be here today and gone tomorrow, or the people who aren't here but are missed because of the love that once pervaded shared experiences. Or the daily comforts and blessings, like slippers, breakfast, a car, and salvation by grace alone.

20 November, 2007


Oh, so much to blog about. Seriously. Don't read my next post. But I wanted to see if anyone was interested in these concerts...

January 11-13, Joshua Bell will be in town again! He's the best musician I've ever heard...

February 21-23, a concert featuring parts of Tchaikovsky's Romeo & Juliet will be playing. The interesting thing about this concert, though, is that a female percussionist will be premiering a new concerto. Fascinating...

Would anyone be interested in coming with me? Let me know if you are. I definitely want to hear Joshua Bell again, and this percussionist seems worth at least $12.50.

08 November, 2007

The Best Concert Yet

Oh my. Where to start? With sleep deprivation from midterm preparation? With the cup of deliciously caffeinated frozen chai from Kiva Han's? From a religious demonstration on campus that was soon swallowed by an anti-demonstration of homosexuals where a friend was passionately reading something in support of gay rights? Or perhaps the 54C bus driver refusing to open the bus doors, causing me to be late?

Nah. It started years ago. I don't even remember when or why I first heard MuteMath, but I knew it had some connections to an old band I liked called Earthsuit. [EDIT: I just heard their song "Peculiar People," and I think that song got me interested in the band. I often sing this song as I walk to the bus stop, or feel particularly weird.] So I watched some videos, bought the album, and fell as deeply in love with them as one can with a band. No, I'm not a groupie. Their music is simply that good. I've heard it said that people who like Mute Math are fans of music, not the band. Interesting. Explains my point, I hope. Though I do think their creativity extends beyond music. Go look them up on YouTube...Darren is hilarious.

Years before Mute Math, however, I liked Eisley. I still don't understand why they're just an opening band...I've liked them for years! Are my musical tastes just that obscure? Anyway. I saw them on tour with Switchfoot, and it wasn't bad. They weren't amazing live, but kinda like playing the CD, just really loud, with bass that will shake your pants. So the sound was good, but not the show. Still, I like them a lot.

On Tuesday a month ago, all the fun stuff mentioned in the first paragraph was accomplished and/or observed. That whole religion vs. gay rights thing had me thinking pretty hard, and I may actually blog those thoughts when I have time (like...when? Yeah). Yay for a newfound friend, Steve. He's a lot of fun, and during this trip I got a good quote out of him, though I forget the details. Something to the effect of "I just don't get awkward." I shall have to keep that in mind.

After I found a bus driver who would open the door for me, I got to Steve's neighborhood. We jumped in hiss black Taurus and found John Behrens and took off for Cleveland. John zonked out in the back seat, so Steve and I talked about music and road trips (he took 4 friends, 3.5 weeks, and a few thousand dollars to tour the US. So cool!). Dinner was some sandwich from Au Bon Pain that had really spicy guacamole. But I got a jar of actual tea, which was cool. No preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, nothing but not-from-concentrate tea. Cleveland was crowded because the Indians were there for a playoff game. Parking was expensive and hard to find, but we found a sweet meter which was a block away from John Q's Grille. Never been there, but the name was cool!

Then, back to the creepy, oppressive House of Blues. They've got this thing going on..."Unity in Diversity," or something, and have icons from major world religions all over the place. Ugh. But the first thing I noticed were my friends. Some of the Akron kids came up for the show, and I had a sweet reunion with Jess. That girl is a breath of joyful, beautiful air, and I wish I had more time to spend with her. I got to meet some of Steve's friends, too (he grew up near Cleveland). So we mulled around, chatting a bit, forcing our way forward as much as possible, and waiting for Eisley.

Eisley was good. This time around the vocals (which I've always loved) were much more stylized, and I think Stacy and Sherri have gotten much better with time. Garron (the bassist) had a disgusted look on his face...I felt bad for him. They also played songs from their new CD, which was cool. Their new sound is a lot more aggressive. Nice. They finally played Trolley Wood :-D At points during their set, I'd realize what they're playing, light up, glance at John, and we'd both exclaim "I LOVE this song!" or some variation thereof. Dave T also got hooked. He kept muttering about poetry inspirations and stuff.

Eisley left, and we waited. Craig reminded me of the Switchfoot concert, when I got tired and sore, so I just sat down on the floor between sets. Well this time I talked to Dave, tried to convince Steve that we should swing dance to the background music, rubbed John's shoulders, and tickled Jess. We pressed forward as much as possible to get close to the stage...I'd guess I was about 5 feet from it? REALLY close. Close enough to tell that Paul Meany was sweating before he started playing. Fortunately, we were also on the drummer's side of the stage.

"I approach my instrument as a frustrated athlete."~Darren King (source)
Ohhh, MuteMath. You rock. In so many ways. So, check this out--Darren, the drummer, TAPES HIS HEADPHONES TO HIS HEAD. That's certainly a sign that one should prepare for an adventure. He also had a sparse drum kit, but boy he used it maximally. He is amazing. Love in the form of a drummer, as Steve said. Heh. Any time I saw Steve he was gaping at Darren, as if he could become a better drummer just by watching Darren's genius firsthand. I certainly enjoyed the drumming. His vibes are close to my soul's rhythm, if that makes sense. His beats are creative and unpredictable and tight. At one point in the show, he pulled his drumset apart, heaped the kick drum and other random parts on the Rhodes piano and jammed there for a bit. Meanwhile Greg was playing his board full of effects pedals, Roy was playing a cymbal with his hands and a stick, and Paul was beating the life out of a freestanding bass drum.
"I want to make it hard for people to be hopeless." ~Paul Meany, in Soulshine
The lead singer/keyboardist, Paul, is childishly energetic. Not in an immature way, he just came up with crazy stuff to do and had weirdly cool dance moves and loved interacting with the crowd. He drifted between a synth, a Fender Rhodes piano, a keytar, and an instrument they made out of an Atari game console. Unfortunately the keytar broke about halfway through the concert, but I didn't miss it all that much. Paul likes to jump around, and at one point was pounding his keyboard, decided his feet would do better than his hands, and jumped on it. Bad idea--he was unbalanced and hit the stage pretty hard, knocking his mic stand over in the process (it almost hit me!). But he bounded up and kept going. A note about the Rhodes piano (get it?)--they sawed the lid in half so that just the keys were exposed, thereby protecting the rest of the instrument. Wow. Oh, yeah, he'd hit a chord then do handstands on the thing, too. I laughed out loud.

And, oh, man--Roy, the bassist, played an upright bass for "Obsolete," which was so cool! The pickups were taped onto the fingerboard, which was curious. I'm guessing they were pilfered off of an electric bass. He knows bass, in my opinion...he's not just a wanna-be guitarist or someone who wants to be in a band but give minimal effort. He knows what he's doing. Plus, I just loved seeing a classical instrument on a stage with weird electronic instruments and effects pedals. Greg, the guitarist, was amazing, as I've come to expect from lead guitarists. He had a big...guitar...that I was curious about. It was a hollow-body electric guitar with f-holes...it looked "vintage" (i.e. old), and I loved the sound. Of course, his effects pedals may have had something to do with that sound. Those pedals, by the way, were all screwed onto a board, which he carried around and played sans guitar (and maybe a sampler was involved).

The whole band was good with crowd interaction, which is cool because usually that responsibility falls on the lead singer. The crowd there was excellent, and a lot of people knew and sang the words, which the band seemed to appreciate a lot. Because of this they seemed like real people, not just "artists" on a pedestal who assumed people's appreciation.

I wanted to post a video from one of their shows, but I don't have a favorite one. So go here, or here. Just don't stay there for too long...