Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Remember mixtapes? Guess what, they're back. I want to draw everyone's attention to a new website that I stumbled upon, muxtape.com. It lets you construct and share your own mixtapes. Everyone needs to get on and make thier own to share with everyone. I made my mine already, check it out.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
It's getting down to the wire with this one. So, I figured I'd throw this out into the blogosphere to see if any of you would be interested. Let me know what you think
Dear friends and family
As some of you may know, I have been spending much of this last school year working with Young Life at Evans High School here in Augusta, GA. The ministy has been difficult, but extremely rewarding as I have been able to understand, bit by bit, my own need for a savior and the reality of the sin and death that we are faced with every day. This world is a fallen place, but I have been blessed to be used to speak and live out a message of the love and life that Jesus Christ offers to these students. I would ask for your continued prayerful support of the work that is being done at Evanc HS and throughout the Greater Augusta Area.
Every summer, YL Augusta takes a group of students to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, CO for a 10 day camp that is promised to be the "Best week of (their) life." Young Life goes to great lengths to ensure that this is the case, as these camps are designed to proclaim the Gospel through adventure and fun, and to give us leaders every opportunity to invest in the kids' lives and share in Jesus's love for us. It is a truly exciting time, and I greatly look forward to it.
The primary issue with getting kids to camp has always been the cost. Frontier Ranch costs $750 per camper, which is especially difficult in a lower income area such as Augusta. To help combat this and bring the overall costs down, we will be giving the kids a chance to raise support through a community service project on Saturday, May 3rd. We will be helping to renovate an old building in downtown Augusta to prepare it to be used as a primary care location for Christ Community Health Services (an awesome organization). Students are expected to ask their friends and family to help support them with a set amount per hour worked. The project will last no longer than 3 hours.
There are several kids that I feel are in a very unique place in their lives and with regards to their (lack of) relationships the Lord. I desperately want them to be able to come along, so I too will be working on Saturday. I would ask that you prayerfully consider contributing to the Lord's work by sponsoring me and my three hours of work. If interested, please call me at (314)308-5269 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I pray that you would continue to keep me, Evans HS, and the students I have come to know in your prayers; that the Lord would be glorified through our work at Young Life and that souls might be won over to Him. Thank you for your love and support.
I know that posting this completely re-toolifies me. But, I have to express my undying love for Zaxby's. A coworker just brought some in, which reminded me of how much I adore their food. Here's the "mission statement" that is printed on my receipt:
"Consistently create encore experiences that enrich lives one person at a time"
They're like the Holy Spirit of Fried Chicken resturaunts.
As I was flipping through the myriad of channels on my underused television, I came accross something that excited me. MTV2 was showing an episode of Sway's Hip Hop Owner's Manual, just in time for my Hip Hop Renaissance. Sway Calloway is the host, and he interviews different rappers, DJs, and culturally well-versed black people, asking them about what different slang words mean. In the 15 minutes I was watching the show, I learned a lot; 'Fo Shizzle' is no longer acceptable to use, we refer to over-weight women as 'Big Drawers,' and 'Bent' means drunk. I also learned all about a 'guap' (a large stack of money). For example, there are three rules or steps to the acquisition, maintence, and use of your guap. First, you have to keep yo hustle up (get money.) Second, you have to keep the guap ("get wit merril lynch, know what I'm sayin, those ni**** will help you wit the IRAs, savins accounts, and sh** like dat"). Third, you have to keep neat stacks, for purely aesthetic reasons.
Hopefully, my future dillegence in watching all of the webisodes will help with my street cred and my progressing rap career. More on that later.
So, get yo game tight. And, if you don't know, now you know. Holla
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Ever since my friend Fred got his turntables, I've been trying to imagine myself as a rap star. Fred made a very good observation yesterday, when we were discussing our hip-hop futures. He observed that there isn't a lot of good rap music out there these days. The few MCs with real talent and something to say are so quick to sell out to industry (Jay-Z) or to their own egos (kanye west). Now, I'm not black. But, what I've always considered "good" rap music is a lyricism that opposes social injustice and promotes personal impowerment of the people of its communities; being a voice for the impoverished inner cities. To hear an artist talking about how rich he is, or how much sex he has is a waste of time, in my opinion. When one has such a widespread cultural medium as rap as their voice, they could change their world. That's what I admire about Hip Hop music the most; its potential. So, as I continue to write my first collaborative Hip Hop record, here's Lupe Fiasco; one of the best I've found so far.
Love this video. Even if only because of the parodized white guy. Oh, and please excuse the language. It's culture.
Love this video. Even if only because of the parodized white guy. Oh, and please excuse the language. It's culture.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
"The record store. Where true fandom begins. It's the soul of discovery, and the place where you can always return for that mighty buzz. Long live that first step inside, when the music envelopes you and you can't help it. You walk up to the counter and ask the question that begins the journey -- "'what is that you're playing?'" - Cameron Crowe
Today, as not too many people know, is Record Store day. It’s a day to recognize and promote the good-ole American corner record store. Here, check out the website.
The first time I remember going to an independent record store was with my cousin, David, when I was ten or so. He was supposed to be watching me for the day, but didn't know what to do with me. So, he took me to Vintage Vinyl in the U-city Loop. Maybe it was the music exposure, maybe it was the quality time with my older cousin, but I walked out of that store in love with it. I've been exposed to music since I was a kid, thanks to dad and his record collection. And the atmosphere in that store was asphyxiating. It was a perfect combination of oceans of quality music and other people that loved music. As an adult now, there's still a certain purity about it. Record stores are a place where people can share, discuss, and learn about the art of music, undaunted by the market-driven industrialization that seeks to destroy it.
Joan Jett says it pretty well,
"The indie record stores are the backbone of the recorded music culture. The stores whose owners and staff live for music have spread the word about exciting new things faster and with more essence than either radio or the press. Any artist that doesn't support the wonderful ma and pa record stores across America is contributing to our own extinction."Wal-mart, Best Buy, Target, etc. have waged war on the locally owned and businesses that are operated by individuals that know and love their products. It’s all been sold out for what's cheaper and easier. And with the explosion of the internet and the digitalization of music, record stores have been the most effected, perhaps. It breaks my heart to see them go. But it’s telling of the age we're in, and the NeoCapitalism that is slowly selling out culture for profit, and genuineness for superficiality.
I remember driving down to Vintage Vinyl with dad, asking him to recommend some good introductory Blues music (Elmore James), that launched me into the genre. I remember making music hunting a staple pastime with my little brother every time I came back home and going to the Loop with Marta after school, just to look for records. I remember making hour-long trips to Santa Cruz, just so I could browse Streetlight Records. It’s sad to think that my kids won't be able to experience the joys and adventure that I've found in places like Euclid Records, Streetlight Records, and Papa Jazz. It breaks my heart to see them go. So, get out today and buy something at your local Record Store (ask me for suggestions). America depends on it.
ps, Brendan Toller has made a documentary about the digital-age decline of the local store, called I Need that Record (trailer here), that he's showing at select college campuses. It looks like its worth checking out.
some websites to visit:
Artists quotes on Record Stores
So the Pope made a trip to the USofA. Hey, isn't the UN headquartered in the USofA? Hmm, maybe he should go to the UN in NYC and give a speech. Maybe he can talk their heads out of their asses. Now, I'm not Catholic. I'm not a big fan of the idea of the Pope. I'm not a big fan of the UN, either. But when you combine the two, it's electric. And it was just that... electric!
11:17a Some Japanese so-and-so struggles through an Engrish introduction for a German-speaking Pope. He talks all about the "Lapidry changing world."
11:18a After the intro, Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Head of the Catholic Church, takes the stage to rousing applause and with bowing his head and raising his hands.
11:19a "Benny" begins in French. I did not see that coming. My first guess was German, my second was Latin, my third was Engrish. French might have been my fourth guess. He's all about shock value, this one.
11:19a CNN isn't sure if they want to use the audio from the Pope himself, or from his Engrish translator. So, they switch back and forth between the two awkwardly for a few minutes.
11:22a John Paul 2 shout out.
11:23a Let's talk about Africa and how much it sucks, and how its the UN's fault. A Papal "going for the juggular."
11:23a Benny's a Greenie(or enviromentalist for those of you not up on your slang.)
11:24a Ethnic Imperatives?
11:29a I just dozed off a little.
11:29a Palestine is country enough to have a UN delegation. Point, Palestine.
11:30a Pope switches to English. Now, he's just showing off.
11:32a The Israeli delegation is def. asleep
11:33a A quick Wikipedia search reveals that Pope was a Nazi.
11:35a I think Pope just dozed off a little.
11:36a I'm not sure, but he may have repeated the same four or five sentences two or three times.
11:36a Some of the phrases he uses are poorly pronounced and come out sounding rather comical. Here's what I heard; "Augustine of Hip-hop," "Do not unto assholes what you would not want done to you," "gelatin nations," "play sexperiences," "rooted in delicious dimention," "presentation of Ciscos."
11:37a The Samoan Delegate has out a handheld camera; just making another home video at the UN.
11:38a There was a pretty good turn out to this thing, I wonder if its mandatory.
11:40a He signs off, says a blessing in six different languages, which is mind-blowing. More rousing applause, fanfare (delegates wake up), etc. More standing bowing heads, raising hands, etc. And CNN anchors spend the next three hours showing "highlights."
Well, that was good. I'm still not Catholic. I'm still not a fan of the UN. I guess I thought that because the Pope and the UN were such big players on the international stage that it would be exciting and ground breaking. It wasn't. I honestly don't remember a single thing he said. Oh well, maybe next time.
Oh, and now I don't like CNN, either.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Here's a list I made out of angst, entitled The Top 10 Shows Within Driving Distance of St. Louis that I Would Attend This Spring/Summer Were I Not Trapped in Augusta, Georgia, Where the Only Bands that Come Through are Hootie and the Blowfish (yes, they're still making music) and Where The Local Film Festival Draws an Audience of 25 People. This should be fun:
10. The 10th Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival, April 23-27 at the University of Illinois, Champagne, IL.
9. Flight of the Conchors Show, May 14 at the Chicago Theatre, Chitown, IL.
8. Lollapalooza, August 1-3, Chitown, IL.
7. Feist Live in Concert, July 13, Kansas City, MO.
6. John Mayer at Riverport (or whatever they're calling it these days), July 3, St. Louis, MO.
5. Alison Krauss and Robert Plant Live, June 19 at The (fabulous) Fox Theater, St. Louis, MO.
4. Wilco Live, May 15-17 at the Pageant in St. Louis, MO.
3. Iron and Wine Live, June 13 at the Pageant.
2. Wakarusa Music Festival, June 3-5 in Lawerence, KS.
1. The Fundamental Elements CD Release Party for their forthcoming album, The Cycle We're Living In, on May 23 at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis.
Not to mention all of the Cardinals games I'd go to. But noooo, I have to stay here in Augusta and listen to crappy country music and pay $10 dollars to go see movies with Hayden Christensen and Tara Reid in them. Those 778 days can't come soon enough.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
If you can believe it, the Imperial Theatre, in downtown Augusta, GA, is hosting a film festival. It's called "First Take Film Festival, and its apparently an annual thing (website.) A group of us made the long journey down there yesterday, and paid the $5 all-day cover charge, which was awesome, and with which we saw two short films and a feature documentary (pronounced; dock-U-men-TARY, according to the box office clerk.)
The first short, You Fit the Description was an awkward, poorly lit quick-splice film that focused on racial tensions and stereoptypes. Gregory Glover, the director, seemed to have made a film out of angst and hurt, thus alienating the audience, making them feel uncomfortable, and scaring them into not paying attention.
The second, Surviving was a 15 min short by a man named Tomas Fernandez-Calvo. The cinematography of it was impressive, despite having a suprise-based plot that was hard to get into in 15 minutes. What was redeeming about the film, however, was that Mr. Calvo was there to tell the audience a bit about his vision and to answer questions. It was interesting to hear about how an independant film is made on a fifteen hundred dollar budget.
The feature, Split: A Divided America was a refreshingly insightful documentary on bi-partisianship and what has become of politics in this country. Kelly Nyks, who wrote and directed the film, takes a road trip accross the country, interviewing regular people about how they feel about politics. It was sincere and eye-opening. More on that later.
There were also plenty of under-produced films that don't appear to be worth the time. I missed Crash Gordon, a public domain-dubbed Sci-fi short film that I was somewhat looking forward to (only because it takes place on the planet "Mondo"). My favorite part of the festival was a bit of marketing I saw in a wi-fi coffee shop downtown. They had these Dvds sitting around, free to take, for people to pop into their laptops as they used the shop's internet and drank coffee:
Innovative marketing, to say the least. Augusta is trying to act like a city with 500,000+ people, I'll give them that.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I've come accross this wonderful program that actually calculates my "Happiness Factor" and time remaining in the Military, among other things. We here at work are still trying to figure out what a Happiness factor is, but here's how it looks. Let the great countdown begin.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
As all of you reading have undoubtedly heard by now, there has been some turmoil regarding the 2008 Olympics. Apparently China is responsible for some Human rights violations in Tibet, and is accused of being actively involved in the Genocide in Sudan. I've been keeping up with the developing story, as the Olympic Torch relay has been through Paris, and London, and is set to conclude today with a trip to San Francisco, where protesters have gotten a jump on things. The SFO City leaders are encouraging their citizens to get out and protest. Let me repeat that, the City leaders are promoting public and mass protests of the Olympic Torch, a symbol of peace and mutual respect. Chris Daly, who is at the head of the encouragement, said;
"The eyes of the world will be on San Francisco, and, let's be honest, if there is not alarm and there is not protest in San Francisco when the torch arrives here, that too would be news, and that would be San Francisco complicit in the human rights violations that are happening in China and around the world."
Tell me that that's good leadership. Well, I guess if everyone is expecting us to burn down the city, then we had better not let them down. You get the gas, I'll get the matches.
I honestly don't know where I stand on the whole Olympics in China thing. Its probably not the best place for it, given the country's track record. But sometimes I wonder how much these aggressive, spotlighted protests will accomplish. I guess we'll see.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
That's right, the 2008 MLB season is upon us. The Cardinals are 2-1 and us Cardinal fans have dug in and are ready to stick by our team, no matter what happens this season. Check out Deadspin's season preview here. To celebrate the start of the season, here's a well done ad for some hitting thing.