Sunday, March 26, 2006

Survey time... feel free to repost...

1. of all the bands & artists in your collection, which one do you own the most albums by?

Two are neck and neck... U2 -- my favorite band of all time, and the Echoing Green -- my favorite indie band that I've been fortunate enough to enjoy for the last decade, and have even gotten to know them and promote shows and stuff. But there's no question I'm a huge U2 fan.

2. what was the last song you listened to?

U2 - With or Without You just popped up in iTunes

3. what's in your record player right now?

If that means CD player, then the answer would be Family Force 5, a CD I just picked up, but haven't had time to digest yet.

4. what's your favorite instrument?

I have two favorites to play -- drums and piano. There's not an instrument I don't like to listen to. I appreciate well played guitar, bass, cello, violin, turntables, keyboards, banjo, about anything.

5. what's your favorite local band?

Hennepin Ave. Some high school kids who just won a battle of the bands I judged last week.

6. what was the last show you attended?

U2 & Kanye West blowing it up in Omaha just before Christmas.

7. what was the greatest show you've ever been to?

- U2 & Kanye West in Omaha, Dec. '05
- Sixpence None the Richer with Sarah Masen in Minneapolis in '97 or so.
- Over the Rhine at Cornerstone in Illinois a few years ago (2003?), when they had this amazing multi-instrumentalist who produced this huge wall of sound to match the husband and wife duo at the core of the group
- Echoing Green, Five Iron Frenzy November '97 (I think?) my first time seeing EG and Five Iron guys later told me that was one of their best shows ever, and I'd have to agree.
- Other than that, I've seen so many shows, it's hard to even say at this point

8. what's the worst band you've ever seen in concert?

ApologetiX. Fortunately, I only saw a song or two.

9. what band do you love musically, but dislike the member(s) of?

Tough question. There are some bands that I just dig the sound of, but it's hard to get into lyrically. Or some that just seem like jerks, but that's hard.

10. what is the most musically involved you have ever been?

Does being thanked in liner notes for several CDs count? Well, I did play piano on a song that was recorded. I've booked and promoted a music festival. I'm a staff photographer for a music festival. For nearly a decade, I've been an online music critic. I've interviewed bands like P.O.D. and MxPx.

I've also played drums for some church worship stuff.

11. what show are you looking forward to?

Probably Cornerstone -- Violet Burning, Over the Rhine, etc.

12. what is your favorite band shirt?

Probably this old navy blue Sixpence shirt I got at a show (this was before Kiss Me was overplayed on the radio).

13. what musician would you like to hang out with for a day?

Duh, Bono. Who else would I say?

14. what musician would you like to be in love with you for a day?

Hmmm, Bono? That would be brotherly love, though.

15. what was your last musical "phase" before you wizened up?

I never really got into the emo thing, and only liked 2 ska bands. I'm still on the synth / electronica thing, but not like I once was.

16. sabbath or solo ozzy?

Ozzy? A guy who was on the Osbourne's TV show signed my cast when I broke my wrist :)

17. did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek?

Of course. I'm a music elitist, didn't you know ;)

18. what was the greatest decade for music?

The '80s maybe? This one hasn't been all bad. I'm not much into '60s or '70s stuff, and while there was some interesting music in the '90s, there was also a lot of dreck.

19. what is your favorite movie soundtrack?

Anything by John Williams

20. what would you be without music?

Not much, I don't think. Music encourages me to be better, ask hard questions, love, listen, and grow. It uplifts my spirit, grounds me, and gives voice to the yearnings of my heart I can't even find the words to express.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

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Tunnels in Nebraska? Believe it. Well, they're more like bobsled runs, but everywhere you go are huge walls of snow. The good news is, the snow has stopped falling. The bad news is, the mounds of snow haven't met their slushy demise yet. 20 plus inches is a lot, even by midwestern standards. Plows have scraped enough snow of the pavement to make it driveable, but now there are massive mounds of snow everywhere. There are piles four or five feet high lining some streets. Last week it was 60. Let's hope next week it is too, so this stuff will be history.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The St. Louis Gateway Arch Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

We've been seeing some strange warning signs around St. Louis so far. How about this for our first? It's the popular "No dirty needles" sticker found on the fast food bathroom trash can.

Monday, March 06, 2006

We're gonna win Twins,
We're gonna score.
We're gonna win Twins,
Watch that baseball soar.

No. 34 has been grounded. No more leaping catches off the hefty bag, no more World Series heroics. No more soaring home runs.

Kirby Puckett died today, and a piece of my childhood did too.

He was a fallen man, undoubtedly, but a hero none the less.

Sure there was the career ending glaucoma and the sordid tales of abuse and infidelity.

But Kirby Puckett smiles at me tonight. Two of his baseball cards sit here on my desk. Kirby, and the Cardinals' Ozzie Smith are maybe the two greatest icons of my youth. I was fortunate to see both play.

As I head to St. Louis this week, I'll definitely remember that 1987 World Series between the two. Not to mention the '91 series between the Twins and Braves, arguably the greatest ever played. And the catalyst for those teams was the undeniably likeable, cherubic ball player.

Crank out a homerun,
Shout a Hip Hooray!
Here's for *the* Minnesota Twin today!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The modern evangelical church lets people down, as every church is prone to do. Guilty this time, on the charge of downplaying the mysterious.

Lent has arrived, and while I'm not a member of the Catholic church, I am a member of the church universal, the catholic church.

Giving up meat on Fridays just doesn't work for me. But I am going to give up pop (soda, coke, whatever it's called in your neck of the woods).

It's something I can stand to sacrifice, at any rate, and caffeine is a drug, so it can't hurt to kick my drug habit, right?

This is one of those things where modern evangelicalism fails me. Advent and Lent are both full of interesting stuff that's been jettisoned by evangelicals. How often do you hear evangelical pastors encourage congregants to fast, or make dietary sacrifices of some sort for a 40 day period?

I have seen some evangelicals in the last decade who have connected Passover celebrations to Easter and the last supper. I love that. There's so much rich symbolism there, that's often neglected. So maybe there's hope some evangelicals will embrace Lent in a broader way. I realize it's not in the Bible, but megachurches, worship teams, and PowerPoint worship slides aren't either.

Googling the topic, I just found out "fasting, long familiar to Catholics as a Lenten fact of life, is increasingly popular with evangelical Christians striving for spiritual awakening" according to a piece in Slate.

The author goes on to say "Catholics have for so long thought of themselves as the defenders of ritualÂ?the masters of incense, genuflection, and splendorÂ?that it still seems strange to be sharing ash-wearing with Presbyterians and Methodists. But our shared affection of late for some of the old ways of worship represents a small victory for mystery, ritual, and awe."

That's one area emergent (postmodern, whatever) Christianity is swinging the pendulum. That's a rebellion not against evangelicalism or catholicism, but against modernity. Modernism is all about triumph through science, forward progress, scientific method, forumlas, research, etc.

Sometimes, though, we need to step back and realize there's a lot of mystery and awe in our faith. Our Lord died on a cross, and on the third day rose from the dead, ascending into heaven. Scientific research won't help me understand that.

So I'm taking part in Lent, whether or not it's endorsed by my church. The ritual isn't so important as the attitude, and I want to prepare myself for the mystery of Easter, and want to go through a 40 day journey of sacrifice if it'll take my focus off the selfish onto the Selfless one.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Spring Break snuck up on me this year. You're probably thinking, Steve, aren't you too old for Spring Break? Well, yes, probably. But every year the youth group I help with loads up the vans and takes kids on a fun trip, and this year we're headed to St. Louis. It's a fun town, and I haven't been there in a long time, so I'm looking forward to it. But now I'm dealing with the I-haven't-planned-and-I'm-starting-to-stress thing. I really need to get moving to find all the stuff I'm going to need (like my air mattress that hasn't been used since last summer). Looks like a small group this year, but that can be fun too.