Category Archives: art

One not so Foolish April Day

Update on Lisa: She was admitted to the hospital middle of this week and is currently in stable, but critical condition in the ICU.  She is fighting pneumonia (with very high fever) and is on a ventilator.

Other than that we ended up eating out (Cane Rosso – delicious pizzeria!) and went to the Deep Ellum Art Festival. We happened to be on that side of town so it was a nice evening (85 degrees) to walk around and take it in.

Finally, I’m now listening to the first game of the Mariners Season. *sigh* so glad to have baseball back again.

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Filed under art, dallas, health, mariners

When Parallel Lines Collide…

…with a hurricane, there must be some kind of resolve.

What do I mean? I think that I mean I see the world in lines. Intersecting lines of intellectual thought, theology, emotion, creativity, spirituality, philosophy, scientific calculation, and mathematical exactness to name just a few.  These lines run in many directions, until they swirl around in a seemly abstract jumble – giving the appearance of both mysterious chaos and understandable structure at the same time.

From this – I like to see the connections and draw more lines between the lines that already exist. Integration. That’s how it is for me with the music of Switchfoot. The lines that I draw between, through and around the songs, the parallel (and sometimes perpendicular) lines of my life, the planet I tread on, and that which I cannot see – though hope for.

Let me go back about 9 years:

I first heard “Dare You to Move” in college – off of a friend’s mixed cd, playing in his truck. Nice. I liked it. I thought they were from Canada, because up until this time, none of my US friends had told me about this band full of surfers. Through the school year, the song played, and the debate raged, which is better, the chorus or the bridge (everyone knows it’s the chorus after the bridge).

And so my introduction to Switchfoot was complete.  I picked up “Learning to Breath” and I was on my way.  Many an evening was spent studying to the cd, or taking a study break to practice my simple beginner’s beat – drumming to the title track.

And so I went on with life, time went by, and I spent my hours studying and jamming to Switchfoot. Through the course of the year (after I was thoroughly hooked) the rest of the world started hearing about them because of the soundtrack of a little movie called “A Walk to Remember”.  I also went to the Edmonton Switchfoot concert for about 2 bucks, the definition of College: good music on a budget.

At the end of my college career, I participated in a trip (long story – supposed to be teaching English in China – ended up painting in Philadelphia).  While I was slapping blue paint on Nursery walls, singing my heart out to “Playing for Keeps,” thinking about how This is for real. Life is all in.

We went on a field trip day to NY City.  6 hours. One huge place. My main memory, Virgin Records store, Second floor of 4. The brand new Switchfoot Album “The Beautiful Letdown” which I purchased and then convinced 4 of my other 5 team mates to also buy.

As the trip ended, I head back to E-town for two final weeks with friends before I ripped my heart out, returned home from the frozen tundra and grieved the end of my childhood, and the death of college friendships that can not be kept up from afar.

You may recall the song “Meant to Live” the break out single. I remember track 2 “This is your Life” – from the opening sounds. Hearing, and  closing my eyes take me back 6 years to sitting in front of a computer, playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, waiting for my friends to come home from work.

This is your Life, Are you who you want to be?

This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be

when the world was younger, and you had everything to loose.

That’s it. The question. The abyss of future starkly in front of me. This song, and this cd became the definition of the notes I was living. It paralleled the world I was walking in.

Over the years, I’ve chalked it up to the fact that Jon Foreman (lead singer, frontman and song writer of Switchfoot) is a couple of years older than me. So naturally, he writes a song, it gets on an album, and by the time the album comes out, it’s a couple of years later. The song breaks into my world at approximately the same age and life stage that Jon was living when he probably wrote it.

On that note, I went home.

I spent three years working for a construction company. Digging back in time, listening to old school Switchfoot.

Albums like “the Legend of Chin” and “New Way to be Human” got me by with their punk rock youthful spirit, a good dosing of fun and an occasional song with more sobering questions and pleads.  Particularly off of New Way to be Human — Let that Be Enough.  When I was feeling like life was NOT what I thought it would be – I would drive, run errands for work, listen and cry along to this song.  At the age of 22, a college grad, slightly having lost my way in regards to career, missing my friends, and wondering “is this it,” I was signing

I wish I had what I need
To be on my own
‘Cause I feel so defeated
And I’m feeling alone

And it all seems so helpless
And I have no plans
I’m a plane in the sunset
With nowhere to land

And all I see
It could never make me happy And all my sand castles
Spend their time collapsing …

…It’s my birthday tomorrow
No one here could now
I was born this Thursday
22 years ago

And I feel stuck
Watching history repeating
Yeah, who am I?
Just a kid who knows he’s needy

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
Let that be enough

Beyond those sad and sometimes, simply dark, times – Switchfoot followed up with “Nothing is Sound” – in my discouraged world, occasionally sick and worn out — The rocking album, though not one of their best, was dark and with a touch of anger.  Yes there was a little hope – but in my world, most of the “Sunshine” emphasized the “Shadow” Not the other way around.  All I saw was shadow. And in my world “Happy” was most definitely a “Yuppy World.” Happiness seemed shallow, empty, and unattainable.

I didn’t stay completely stuck in the mud. I went back to school. Grad school at that. Though in many respects, my attitude and outlook was equally as torn down. My “Lonely Nation” of just me – was going to classes, starting to soak up some life, but it wasn’t how I wanted it to be.

With a new degree in hand, but no job, and a harsh break up of sorts freshly added to my resume, the end of Grad school looked to be similar to undergrad. Not what I wanted – because I wasn’t what I wanted. How had I bought the lies?  After all this time – I had the truth for so long… Again, not the highlight of the Switchfoot repertoire, Oh Gravity! but it brought some new tunes, and new ways for me to scream my lungs out to something I knew I believed in.

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us…

…I want out of this machine
It doesn’t feel like freedom

This ain’t my American dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I’m tired of fighting for just me
This ain’t my American dream

Here I am – about 9 years since the words and melodies, the disonent, minor chordes of grity guitar started weaving its lullubies in and out of the themes of my life.

Today is my 29th Birthday.

Am I out of the dark forest completely – no probably not. I still struggle with things like “being tired of fighting for just me” – I see a bigger world, bigger things, I want to be a part, I want to jump in head first. But the song I’m singing has changed for brighter tones. Not without discord – not entirely. But with a bit more hope. With that I leave you my current Switchfoot anthem

Hello Hurricane – Your love is a song:

I hear you breathing in
another day begins

the stars are falling out
my dreams are fading now, fading out

I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open
I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open

your love is a symphony
all around me
running through me

your love is a melody
underneath me
running to me

your love is a song

the dawn is fire bright
against the city lights

the clouds are glowing now
the moon is blacking out

I’ve been keeping my mind wide open
I’ve been keeping my mind wide open

your love is a song

with my eyes wide open
I’ve got my eyes wide open
I’ve been keeping my hopes unbroken

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Filed under art, switchfoot, theology

Things I've learned

Since I have lived in Texas, I have learned a few things. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Yes, it is ok to wait eagerly for 2 pm to roll around and then as soon as it arrives, get in your car, drive down the street and get a half price limeade at Sonic during happy hour.

2. Just because you are registered and have uploaded your resume on hot jobs, monster jobs, career builder, all of the local government, university and large company job boards does not mean that you will not have to fill out separate work and school information for every single job you apply for. (I think I now have all contact info for previous work, schools and references memorized).

3. Painting with watercolors can be just as fun without any water and a little bit of imagination instead.

Finally (and one of my favorite things I have learned)

4. If you are playing with dolls and their heads fall off (or perhaps are pulled off), the doll is still perfectly usable. Simply do one of two things, play with the headless doll and pretend the head is still on it OR pull off a leg, jam it down the neck (where the head used to be) and continue playing.

****UPDATE****
I just learned that item number 4 has a third option. Play “genie” with the dolls and pretend that their heads appear and disappear with magic, just like in Aladdin.

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The Art

very briefly, here is small rundown of the Art Institute. I learned that I do not really care for Claude Monet. I also decided I really like Vincent van Gogh.

Here is my favorite painting of the day, Terrace and Observation Deck at the Moulin de Blute-Fin, Montmartre, 1887, Vincent van Gogh:

I also really liked this painting. It was HUGE! Something I found interesting about this painting is that the triangular building seems to be angled right at me no matter where I was standing looking at the painting.
Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877, Gustave Caillebotte:

I referenced this painting in the previous post. If you are like me, you did not know it was called “American Gothic.” 1930, Grant Wood. Also, it appears to me that the farmer’s unmarried daughter has a bit of a lazy eye.

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Filed under art, chicago, color, pictures

Frustration

I am almost completely packed. Just a few odds and ends need to be taken care of.

Earlier this evening, I got a phone call from my brother inquiring about his flight (he is flying here on Friday to help me move). Turns out, his flight was with ATA which went bankrupt a couple of days ago and cancelled all flights. I have never flown with ATA, so even though I heard something about it on the news the other day, it did not really ring a bell as being a problem for me.

Well, it was. His flight was cancelled. Fortunately, I was refunded my money on the ticket, but I then needed to buy a new ticket. After looking at several different options, we decided to stick with our day and relatively same time. It cost $200 more than then the original ATA ticket. This really frustrates me because I don’t have money. AND I was a responsible person who purchased a ticket far enough in advance to get a really good, cheap deal. On purpose. Part of the reason I am moving this next weekend was because that was how far out we needed to wait to get a good price on a plane ticket. And then, here I am 5 days before the date of the ticket, being forced to buy an expensive one. it really frustrates me. Although, I suppose all things considering, it is a good thing they will refund the first ticket amount in full.

What’s the phrase, when it rains, it pours. That has been the case for me as of late. With money, with medical insurance and with work. What can you do, just hang in there I suppose and hope. Hope that things will change, that things will improve.

In regards to last minute things in chicago, Willow Creek was really interesting. I am glad I had a chance to go. AND one of my friends and I went downtown on Saturday and I got to go to the Art Institute. Which was super cool! As previously mentioned, I did not think I was going to get a chance to go. (did you know American Gothic is a painting with a farmer and his unmarried daughter, not his wife!?!?) It was also a great day hanging out with one of my friends. We rode the train in to downtown. The weather was fantastic. We walked so much our feet were sore (I even got blisters).

Here are a couple of pictures from our adventure in Chicago.

The Bean:

The Lake:

The Lion:

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Amazing

I am not huge into viral videos, but this one was amazing. It would be so fun to do (and to see in real life). Anyone in?

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the constaints of language

I was trying to fall asleep and not able to. I had a headache this weekend, so I don’t know if my extra sleeping (while waiting for medicine to kick in) has thrown off my sleeping pattern. Probably, and I will regret it tomorrow morning.

Anyway, while I lay here awake, I was thinking about how language is actually a prison in which thoughts and ideas are bound and held captive. Many times we are left “speechless” because the ideas or thoughts contained in our heads are impossible to stuff into the simple words that we use to communicate. Music and art have an ability to communicate beyond what language can do. I wonder if societies that do not have written language are able to communicate better. Or at least communicate that which is abstract, better.

Or what about illiterate societies? I am thinking of in the Middle ages when peasants could not read. Their “bible” was the liturgy of the church, the stories on the stain glass windows, or the paintings on the cathedral walls. Maybe understanding God’s love in not at all a concrete idea, but an abstract experience and therefore understood and communicated perhaps better without the use of language.

If this is true with understanding God, and God created everything else that exists, all that we experience with our senses, all that we perceive and attempt to understand, then perhaps language is only a small tool in understanding and communicating. Reason and Logic are specific, concrete frameworks that fit within the realm of the usefulness of language. BUT could it not be argued that while creation contains a certain amount of logic, God is so much larger and more incredible than we can comprehend, therefore even in his creation, there is more that is incomprehensible then there is understandable. Which would then make me think that the scales of reality tip toward the concept that more things exist that are outside the realm of language. Does that make sense? Meaning that which exists in a neat and tidy, logical box and is able to be discussed with language, is less then the amount of that which exists and is unable to be capture in language.

At the same time, I cannot think of how I could discuss this very idea of language being restricting without using language.

Well, now that I have typed this out, I might be able to go to sleep.

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Filed under art, sleep, theology, words

One of the Most Amazing things….

I have ever seen in my life, and I am NOT exaggerating.

Yesterday, a friend of mine and I got to go to Cirque Du Soliel. My boss had two extra tickets and kindly gave them to me. I probably would have never thought of going had I not been given the tickets, but it turned into a wonderful experience.

WOW!!!! Seriously, some of those things the acrobats could do were jaw dropping. The music was incredible. The colors were extraordinary. It was like being transported into an entirely different world. At one point, it very much reminded me of Neverland in the recent film “Finding Neverland” with all of the mystical creatures and strange characters.

It will be one of those things in life I will never forget.

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Filed under art, music

Music & Color

Did you ever see Fantasia? I did, in the theater when it was re-released.

Often when I am listening to music, I close my eyes (not when I am driving) and picture “fantasia-esq” visual accompaniment to the music. It can be what I would imagine as the music video for that song, random color, or even cartoons that match the music.

As most of you probably know, when you listen to music on the computer, you can turn on the “visualizer” and it plays color on your screen matched to the music.

itunes has a pretty good one and I have just spent over 30 minutes listening and watching this. Very Relaxing! Try it some time. Its kind of like watching a campfire.

I would have to say I like watching the Jazz songs best because there is such an obvious result when the horns or drums burst onto the screen.

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More pictures

Here are a couple of other things I made that I have hanging in my bathroom. They are from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

The first is a calligraphy piece of some of the most famous lines from the book. His words, my attempt at “artistic” representation of them.

The second is map of Middle Earth. This map is a copy of the official map that was created for the movie. I drew it, but I simply re-drew the picture to the best of my ability. Neither the layout of the land, nor the artistry of it are my ideas. Those belong to Mr. Tolkien & Daniel Reeve (the official The Lord of the Rings movie calligrapher & cartographer)

Finally, Go Seahawks!!!!!

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