Showing posts from March, 2007

That Old Time Classical Music...

I'm exhausted.

Not my body, but my voice. For the last eight weeks I've been rehearsing with the Axtell Oratorio Society. This is the 50th year this group has performed Handel's complete Messiah, and that's a pretty big deal for a town about about 700. The society now consists of more than just people from the town of Axtell, and quite a few people from surrounding towns such as Minden and Kearney make the trip to Axtell on Sunday for rehearsals. Kearney just built a new performing arts center(pictured below), so it seems fitting to move the performance from the Kearney high school to the new center, especially for the celebration. The performance is this weekend and I'm excited to see how it will all come together.

I haven't been in a choir since college and worship leading is hardly conducive to keeping my high register in shape, so I was a bit rusty. But something in me still loves the stuffy ole' traditional choral music. And there is also something all…

Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction is fun and quirky with a little bit of heart and a little bit of strangeness.

But hey, I like quirky.

Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal are an unlikely on screen pairing but I was completely won over by their bizarre scene where the "meet cute" plays out.

Some critics criticized the movie for having the wrong ending. I completely disagree. Yes, ending it the way they did made it more "typical Hollywood" but it also allowed for you to remember that selfishness can only be conquered by unselfishness. Which is a lesson everyone needs to be reminded of. This is a movie definitely worth renting.

A New Focus

I've been knocked out this week with a pretty bad cold, but that didn't keep me from the Colbert Report last night.

Rich Cizik was recently appointed to the office of Vice President for Governmental Affairs with the National Association of Evangelicals. And after doing some reading, I'm excited to see what this guy is going to do to the NAE, an organization that has so much influence it's a little frightening.

As Colbert mentioned above, Cizik has a different focus from the main dominate issues Evangelicals have been so coal about these last 20 years or so. As his shifting focus in the right direction, I think, namely to "green-friendly" living. As an employee of a lighting company, I've been hearing this buzz term for a while. In fact, I just finished the design on a "green-friendly" lighting catalog we are marketing to California customers, who now have stricter state regulations on the type of lighting they can use. (And make sure to pick up th…

Hash Browns and the Gospel

I'm procrastinating everything lately, and it's not pretty. Unless it's directly in my sight, taunting "finish me!" or "do this!" I'm simply ignoring it. I don't know why, but what I'm discovering is that if I would simply do it I would save the energy I'm expending by thinking about not doing it. And to top it all off, I stubbed my toe on the coffee table this morning. Badly. Now the left side of my foot is very black and blue and it hurts. A lot. Between procrastination and complaining, it's not been the best day. (I don't even think I can get my left shoe on.) So, yes, I spent some time on the couch this afternoon with my foot on a bag of Mr. Dell's hash browns, which is another excuse to procrastinate.

Ignoring the things I need to do has no value. It's the same in my knowledge of God. That knowledge has no value if I don't act upon it. It seems the evangelical sub-culture has tried so hard to fit into the world s…

The Cranes

I spent last Saturday with my brother who lives by Overton, Nebraska, a small town about 45 minutes from where I live. As the evening approached, we decided to take a drive to see if we could capture some photos of the rural farm life he lives. And then I realized I almost missed it - the cranes.

The famous sandhill crane migration has begun.

We'd found some old abandoned buildings and farm equipment to shoot pictures of when I heard it - the sound of the cranes flying in the thousands, their calls echoing through the valley. Their wingspan alone (six to seven feet) was breathtaking to watch as they flew overhead and landed in a nearby field. But my favorite moment was when the sun set as we drove down a road to see them standing prouding on top of a hill, with the backdrop of yellows and reds behind them as they danced.

Kearney is a hub for crane migration, in particular the cranes love the Platte River. Each year for about six weeks, we are treated to the sight of fields covered w…

The Death of Good Coffee

I was driving through my neighborhood grocery store parking lot when I discovered this:

For a while now I've been wondering what the little building was to become. The sign finally went up.. this town is getting it's third Starbucks.

Not that the other two really count. One's on the University campus, and the other is in our SuperTarget, so it's not really the same. But I must say, my heart sank. Not because I dislike Starbucks, because I don't. In fact, I like their coffee just fine. But it's just more sad news for my favorite local place.

Barista's Daily Grind is the epitome of what a great coffee shop should be. An indoor/outdoor choice of seating, many, many flavor choices, beautiful atmosphere, homemade scones and desserts, owned and started by a local, etc, etc. (And they top every cup with a chocolate-covered espresso bean!) So I love it there. It's the perfect place to read peacefully, write, or just have coffee with your friends.

But they are in …

Captain America

Captain America Killed Outside Courthouse

The comic book character was first published during WWII, a time when America was polverized. Much like it is now, so says the co-creator Joe Simon. Captain America was created to be an adversary of Adolf Hilter, and while we all (most of us anyway) now agree that Hilter was indeed an evil man, many Americans at the time saw him as a hero. Tonight on Nightline,
Simon was interviewed, where he said he sees many similarities to then and now.

"We really need him now," said Simon.

I'm very interested in the different ways Captain America seems to symbolize where American's mentality is at today. The newscast briefly suggested they killed the character off because of his politics, but went no further in explaining this possibility. What is interesting to me, though, is that back then this character was created. Today, we kill him off.

I don't think we need Captain America now. My first thought after the co-creator said we needed Ca…

I Almost Ran Over Derek Webb

I've never come across a Christian musician whose work as meant as much to me as Derek Webb's. He's the Charlie Peacock of our generation (and oh how I wish Charlie recorded more. I don't care for his voice or style, but his lyrics are amazing...). However, my history with Derek Webb's music is a little rocky.

I listened to Caedmon's Call (the group he used to be in) a lot around 6-7 years ago. So we I heard Derek was launching a solo career in 2003, I rushed out to buy his first album, She Must and Shall Go Free. Only to discover... I hated it. A little too country for me, really not what I expected, but mostly I just didn't get it. Some of his music made me uncomfortable, but I've since learned that's the beauty of Derek Webb. (I now love the record... wisdom comes with age, I guess.)

So when his second album, i see things upside down, came out, I didn't purchase it right away. I think I finally picked it up late in 2005, ready to give him a ch…