I like changing up my look occasionally. But I only like it when I can easily get rid of said change, just in case it doesn't actually look good. I got some new reading glasses recently and I decided to grow a beard as well. Since I documented my haircut a couple of months ago, I figured I would do the same with my facial hair. I started with not shaving for a week. Then I shaped it over the next week. This is what occurred:
This is my artsy attempt at a self-portrait. I had a full beard.
I read. I write. I rock.
Oh, I'm just a teddy bear.
I could be the most hardcore person who is really a wuss.
As you may be aware, I again have not posted in a few days. I assure you, it is for a good reason. Hopefully you'll believe me. But, perhaps you'll get tired of reading that introduction on every single post and vow on your unborn children never to return to this mundane and always-ranting weblog. Either way, you will be missed.
No, the reason for my lack of writing is that I have been working since Thursday morning at 5:59 AM. I am currently doing 24-hour respite and companion care for one of the guys I take care of. His family is out of town, so I'm at his house until they return this coming Monday at 5PM. Good money, but long days.
I left the eBay link up so you would buy my crap. Well, you didn't and I understand why. Basically, because it's crap! You're not interested. I get it. Well, I'm going to list some stuff again soon, so I'll be sure let you know :)
Anyway, the other day I heard something that caught my attention and I wanted to get some feedback. I heard a member of a significant band (I don't recall which one) say that "art is inherently good." It made me think. Since we are a people of a depraved state, can an inanimate object we produce have an innocent or evil nature? Is intrinsic creativity good because it is not a living organism or is it bad because it's an overflow of a marred humanity? Discuss...
I've been trying to write this post for a few years. Picking five albums wasn't an easy obstacle to go about. These discs not only be excellent musically, but they have to stand the test of time (my test, that is). This isn't in any order, except autobiographical chronology (when I first heard the album). Also, the list isn't definitive; it probably will change in the future. But, for now, enjoy:
Petra - More Power To Ya (Star Song: 1982)
This was the very first cassette tape I ever owned (I may have had a Stryper or Whitecross tape before this but who wants to admit that?). Basically, Petra was not only my first introduction to Christian music, but to music in general. It was a good start for me. While I loved this tape, later on in life, the musical elitism that inhabits me took over and kept me from enjoying this album. However, people always seem to come back to their first loves. This album does what every Petra album did. Bob Hartman wrote very sincere spiritual tunes that always had catchy hooks and ballad-esque melodies. The band used a lot of 70s influential sounds (Pink Floyd, Yes, etc) on this particular album to make what some consider an outdated effort. However, part of the greatness of this record is its ability to only use non-modern sounds as an exterior, and layer the tracks with very gritty, driving rock. I still enjoy most of the songs on this album.
Tears For Fears - Songs From The Big Chair (PolyGram: 1985)
It was August of 1985 and I had just entered kindergarten. This album was blowing up the charts during the summer months. England's finest duo with bouncy mullets were the American sensation. Tears For Fears, whom played Brit-pop before there was even such a classification, meddled in pop and new wave sounds. This album doesn't just contain a trio of the biggest hits during the 80s decade ("Shout," "Everybody Wants To Rule The World," & "Head Over Heels"), but it also ventures into the realm of rock and jazz. Lyrically, the universal message of failed relationships and the peace that can lie beyond bad fights is a great hard-to-find discovery on the radio. Twenty-one years later, this album is still very listenable.
Boyz II Men - II (Motown: 1994)
In junior high school, I moved away from just listening to what was on the radio to listening to what all my friends were digging at the moment; not much maturity there, no? While being very much into rap music and the hip hop culture, I discovered Boyz II Men on their debut album (which was actually my very first CD). When II came out, it blew me away. I still consider Boyz II Men one of the premier groups in popular and R&B music. Way before our current incarnation of boy bands, these four guys from Philadelphia made music in the way of The Temptations, except that they sang in four part harmony. Some of the most beautiful songs are on this disc ("On Bended Knee" & "Water Runs Dry"). The guys even cover The Beatles song "Yesterday" and do it in such a way that is not only complimentary, but also poses the question, which is the better version? Having an accomplished publisher like Babyface write songs isn't a bad way to go. But, some of the guys even contributed their input to a number of songs on this album. If you have never heard any songs on this CD, I only have one question for you: Have you never listened to the radio?
Further Seems Forever - The Moon Is Down (Tooth & Nail: 2001)
I have said many times that this record is my favorite album of all time. Pre-Dashboard Confessional for Chris Carrabba and initially all of the members of the amazing band Strongarm, this is a post-hardcore masterpiece. A fine line between emo and rock, the soaring vocals make this piece of art quite the moving message of hope. The album's title, taken form the John Steinbeck novel of same name, is also the introduction of the album as the first song. As the sound of an airplane taking off plays, the album does the same, busting out ten songs that sound like nothing before it. I really believe that this incarnation of the band could have been world conquering. Knowing what Carrabba wrote on the first two Dashboard records and hearing what the rest of FSF did on their other albums, this group could have been phenomenal. Yet, as fate would have it, this is the only piece of history defining music we would get from these five guys. The nearly forty minutes of music on this CD never wears thin. Of everything I have written about here today, everyone should listen to this album at least twice.
The Beatles - Revolver (Capital: 1966)
I came out of the womb listening to The Beatles. I enjoyed the band as a kid, which is a direct influence my Dad impressed upon me. However, my appreciation for the group was uninformed and quite misguided. I just lumped John, Paul, George, and Ringo into an "oldies" category and I did it for twenty years. This is an outlandish and horribly erroneous error. These guys did more for music than anyone in history (with the exception of classical music). Little things in recording, packaging, engineering, and production that the boys from Liverpool did is what culminated into a fitting and universally recognized tag line: 'the greatest band ever!' Revolver wasn't the first Beatles album I heard in completion, but it was the first that made me believe that these guys deserve more credit than I gave them. Their previous release in 1965 (Rubber Soul) was where they went from more of a pop sound to the rock side. Yet, this album is where it all started. The experimentation, changing stylistically and the ideas flowing rampant, The Beatles pushed the envelop forward for the first time. Then they would do it again and again and again. This is what changed rock. VH1 thinks this is the greatest rock record of all time. It's probably close. If it wasn't for this band, their innovations, and their craft, we might not have ever thought music could be art.
I hopped in my car tonight Heading east Just trying to get out of this small town All I found along the way Were signs of frustration Nothing but detours and exits All leading back here Why can't I get away from you I see that smile every where I go I wanted you then And I want you now But I don't know if what I want Is what's best for you
Part Two: Hmmm
In spite of what you said I may be better off dead
Instead of living here with you I could live in a world where everything wasn't blue
These things that I think and say Are the emotions that help me struggle through another day
Everything within me wants to break free Going along without everybody's sympathy
Trying to stay honest and be true Not to myself because I have nothing left to lose
Okay, this might be long or short. I've written it in my mind, but as of yet, have not typed out the thoughts. Thus the reason for the rambled yet-to-be-fully-developed thought process.
Pre-Script: I know the conclusion before I even start--God's timing!
My pal Neil wrote a post at DYL which deals with the same subject matter. It somewhat influenced this, but this is really stuff I've been dealing with for a few weeks now. Suffice to say, nobody has inspired this post. Just me. Me and my self-loathing. It's a hoot.
I want to be married, and I'm ready, I think.
I'm as ready as I can be, but I probably could be more prepared, as with anything in this life. I'm not altogether really sure what it takes or what it requires. There isn't a real checklist or anything. I know there is a process, perhaps, but that only seems to be part of the problem. I am sure that I am on my way to becoming a man after God's own heart (the process is just so painfully slow). I know, more than anything, that's what it takes to be a good husband to a wife. My slow spiritual status is not just the problem.
I would like to write about how I do the right thing when looking for a mate, but it's not true. In pursuing potential spouses, I delegate ladies into four categories:
A. Women that I am attracted to and would consider dating. B. Women that are attractive, but have ruined that by doing something stupid. C. Women that I am not attracted to at all and would just consider friends. D. Women that were once not attractive in my eyes, but now are.
That's it. It's a simple process. Easier than calculus. I'm sure most guys do this too. (I've been told by women that most girls do this as well.) Factually, more men probably just have the two categories (attracted to and not). I'm at least branching out. The multiple choice series I have presented here is ridiculous. Why should I think that I can degrade women to a simple list? I don't know either. But, I guess the list isn't the worse thing ever. It's not the best either.
So, back to my point. I'm ready to get married. But I don't know what it takes. I mean, as far as being able to support myself, save money, pay off debt, pay my bills, be independent, etc, I've got it all down (not that I'm currently doing it). I am pretty mature. I go to work without ever really calling out. I've got this adulthood thing down! Yet, I'm still alone. Like Elton John said, "Sad songs say so much." Although, he was singing about a dude.
This may sound cliche or even a bit prideful, but I know some of you reading this [the opposite sex, mind you] who would want to possibly marry me, and that's flattering, really. I've probably even considered you, too. I actually bet I've thought about you (if I've met you; maybe even if I haven't). That's just who I am.
I have thought about marrying a ton of girls. I'm a bit slutty in the manner. I can't help that though. I always think about it. I don't really date women who I don't consider marriage material. I don't really date. I pursue relationships and when that fizzles out, I commence with the messing around. I am a plague.
So... where is this going? I told you, nowhere.
This post has nothing specifically about the Bible, but I have sought it, so don't think I'm not going there. I'm just trying to work through these thoughts. What is this marriage stuff about? Neil thinks it's about finding a helpmate and I agree. I just want my helpmate to attract me. Not just with her body; mind, soul, spirit, intellect, humor, wit, brashness, selflessness, sinful nature--all those things. Whoever I choose to be with, will have to be a sinner like me. I can't win with these high expectations. I'm kidding. Someone who is a sinner, how many times do you hear a guy say that? Let's be real. I'm worse than you. But, none our righteous. So here we are again.
It's really so simple. Seek God, and all these things will be given. I make jokes, but that's what I need to do. Does this include talking about dating to every girl I am good friends with? Probably not. Does it hurt? Maybe not. I don't know. I'm giving up on what I know to be true. I'm trying to redefine my definitions. But ask me tomorrow. Ask me if I've thought more about God doing this for me or me helping me. When I help myself, that is when I'm the most helpless.
Well, here's the scoop: I got a cell phone today. After years of remarks, comments and outright disgust, I finally got one. I'll email you my number. If you would like to be included in that email, write me an email and give me your address (especially if you know I don't have yours). This is way more money I want to spend. But as a sort of on-going birthday present my Mom is helping me with it. It's only two years of my life. Two years, sheesh... I haven't even had a relationship that long.