December 16, 2005

Chainsaws are for girly-men!


Chainsaws are for girly-men!
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

All is cold and well here in Pendleton. I just finished exams and have break until January. Sarah is at her last day of work in her current position. And there are tree branches strewn about our backyard!

Yesterday we had quite the ice storm throughout the upstate of South Carolina, to the point that Sarah's work, among many other places, was closed. I played Christmas tunes on the piano at the Pendleton Coffee Shop while Sarah got to enjoy her day off. Meanwhile, many people went without power. Our power stayed on fortunately.

We awoke this morning to quite the cleanup. Sarah headed off to work, and I spent 2 hours in the backyard dragging tree limbs to the curb. And all I used was this hand saw! There are more photos of the destruction on my Flickr Photo Blog, just click on the photo to be magically transported there.

We head out of town tomorrow to ski with my family in Colorado through Wednesday, and then we'll be in Columbia to spend Christmas with her family.

And hopefully I will post more often in the coming weeks now that the semester is finished! :)

currently on iTunes: The Decemberists "Picaresque", The New Pornographers "Twin Cinema"

November 28, 2005

Cameron Crowe on Cameron Crowe

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Sarah and I are doing well. We went to Columbia, SC, to eat turkey, and we saw Harry Potter on Friday night with all the high schoolers!

Just saw this on Paste: Cameron Crowe discussing his films. Whether or not you liked Elizabethtown, he's still one of the better, optomistic directors out there. Say Anything is still one of my all-time favorites.

November 11, 2005

don't you love a Christian who speaks his mind?

I don't usually like to post these sort of things on this blog, but Pat Robertson has said too many things this year that have ruffled me...
Pat Robertson warns Pa. town of disaster: "'I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city,' Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's '700 Club.'"

Thank you Pat, for once again sticking your foot in the collective mouth of American Christianity... or should I say the mouth of the Body of Christ?

November 09, 2005

post #100!!!

Sorry that I don't have anything exciting to say for my hundreth post... I think I've been doing this blog for about a year... it's been fun, hope you've enjoyed it!

Life is flying along and will hit the brakes for Thanksgiving a week from today. Next week looks like this:
  • Research Paper due - Tuesday morning
  • Hebrew Quiz over Jonah 1:10-16 - Tuesday night
  • Test over Matthew-Acts - Wednesday morning
  • Test over Exodus-Deuteronomy - Wednesday afternoon
After that, I only have 1 paper to write and a few respones to write before exams.... please pray for more hours in the day (if that's in the Lord's will! :)

November 02, 2005

free Son Volt show at All Songs Considered

NPR: All Songs Considered – If you haven't had a chance, don't miss out on the web-only show from NPR, All Songs Considered. Great mix of music on and off the beaten trail. Even better are the regular postings of live shows, typically streaming, but they have an entire show for download from Son Volt, alt. country rockers from the lineage of Wilco. Don't miss the Death Cab for Cutie show posted there, as well as The Shins opening for The White Stripes.

October 24, 2005

Photo Update!


Paste - Over the Rhine 3
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

If you caught my previous post, you know that we went to Atlanta this weekend for the Paste Rock 'n Reel Festival. Well, it was great! Weather was perfect, music was wonderful, and the other things we got to catch were very unique! I'll try to post more about the specifics later this week, but I thought I'd tell you guys that there are a bunch of photos: just click on the one here of Over the Rhine (musical highlight of the day, to be sure)... Tchuss!

October 18, 2005

flying by


Zoooooom
Originally uploaded by Sita ; ).


so life is flying along at a fast clip... here's a quick snippet of what you'd see if you were standing on the platform as the train flies by:
  • mid-terms are hitting this week and next. tonight I have a Hebrew quiz over verb forms, followed by a full-blown test next week (what's the difference? don't ask me...) tomorrow in Old Testament is an exam on Genesis. phew, what a lot of things I never knew about Genesis... next week I have a test on the early church through Augustine (5th Century)... and then I have an exam over the later half of the Old Testament... yikes!!!
  • Sarah's job is showing good prospects in the not too distant future. nothing is set in stone yet, but it is all very promising!
  • we house-sat this past weekend, and slept in two nights what some people would get in a week!
  • we also say Elizabethtown... highly recommend it, but don't be distracted by any similarity it has to Garden State
  • we visited a PCA Church Plant in Greenville called Downtown Presbyterian... it is pastored by Brian Habig, former RUF Campus Minister at Vanderbilt
  • we're heading to Atlanta this Saturday for the 1st Annual Paste Magazine Rock 'n Reel Festival... notable appearances from Over the Rhine, Low, Kids with Cameras (from Born into Brothels), and the guys from Homestar Runner.... all that for $15, hot diggity!
  • every Wednesday night I record with the Clemson Presbyterian Music Team... we're 7 songs into an album with a hopeful release before Christmas...
So that's as brief an overview as I can give... email or call us if you want to hear more... and we'd love to hear from you... post a comment so we know how you're doing!

currently downloading on iTunes (for the road trip):
  • low
  • Erin McKeown
  • Frou Frou
  • Iron & Wine
  • Richard Buckner

October 11, 2005

major and minor keys

We shouldn’t limit ourselves to major key songs! The Psalms reveal that much of the Christian life might be spent in a minor key, and it’s time that the church became honest about this reality as well. The church needs to be able to lament together, and minor key songs help us do that. They help us to be honest about the trials and emotions that we encounter on our pilgrimage to heaven. They help give expression to our sorrowful thoughts and feelings in ways that honor God and encourage us to persevere. We neglect them to our own impoverishment.

—Mark Dever and Paul Alexander in THE DELIERATE CHURCH: BUILDING YOUR MINISTRY ON THE GOSPEL. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2005, p. 123. ISBN 1-58134-738-3.

This is a great quote that I got today from a mailing list. This week we sang "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" during communion at Clemson Pres. My parents were there, and my dad said that in 20 years going to his church in Kansas City, he has never sung that hymn. We talked about the very thing that this quote points to. I know that in many ways, it's easier for me to worship in a minor key, and more often should go to the major, but this is different than most of the church in America.

Update!!!


Kickoff Clemson/Miami
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Ugh, it has been too long! I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything about our lives in a while. Seminary is good; work is good... obviously there's a lot more to it than that.

Last week I posted some photos. We were at the Clemson/Miami football game in September. And there a few photos of where Sarah works.

Hope to post more soon!

September 27, 2005

Luke Brodie!!!



So did you guys check out my new Spanish Emo look? Yeah, I sound a lot like Dashboard Confessional, except I'm the Ricky Martin version....

Nope, just kidding...

I'll wait for you to catch your breath

Thank you Luke Morton for pointing this out to me. Be sure to check this guy out! He actually rocks; I only wish I new what he was singing about...

Isn't it like we were separated at birth!

(I linked you to the translated version of his website... you can get to the truly Spanish site at http://www.lukebrodie.com.)

September 15, 2005

David Brooks on Roberts Confirmation

Be sure not to miss David Brooks' take on the John Roberts Confirmation hearings. I'm not really following it too closely, so I think his column sums up how I feel quite nicely.

Ready? Cue the Sun... - New York Times

(The title of the column is a brilliant allusion to The Truman Show, which I just caught while looking at the article again!)

September 13, 2005

genre vs. auteur?

So this weekend was a good one. Mowed the lawn. Nearly finished painting the front room.

Sarah worked most of the day on Saturday, so I took the time to watch a movie that I got at goodwill called "Kansas City Confidential". It's a crime drama of the film noir persuasion. I got to be a film geek and think about all of the conventions of this genre of film, all of which stems from my minor in film from Middle Tennessee State University. I won't go into the conventions of film noir at this time... perhaps at a later date (I seem to say that a lot on here, don't I?)

As I mowed the lawn, I got thinking about what draws people to watch certain films. KC-Confidential is a somewhat forgettable film, and it didn't do too well when it was released. Not even a very notable cast. But I ate it up. And I would watch any number of films similar to it. Why?

So here's my question: what draws you to see a certain film? Obviously, you see a film becuase you think you'll like it, or someone else has told you that you'd like it (a friend, a movie critic, a blog). Here are some possible sub-questions to clarify:
  • Is it because of the director's past work? (e.g. Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Cameron Crowe) this is related to autuer theory
  • Or possibly the lead actor's past work? (e.g. Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, John Cusack)
  • Is it because of the type of film that it is? (e.g. Chick Flick, Horror, Sci-Fi Hobbit Epic) this is related to genre theory
And the question that follows is by what standard do you critique if the film was good? I would hazard a guess in saying that part of your answer has to do with holding it up against your answer to the previous question. If you saw it because of a director/actor, you would compare it to what he/she has done in the past. If you saw it because of the type of film, you would compare it to other films that you have seen in that genre of film.

I realize that there are films that one sees without any predisposed notion about it's contents, but this is very rarely the case anymore, thanks to our mass market/mass media culture. So please humor me and tell me what you think about when you spend your $9 (in the theater), $4.50 (at blockbuster), mouse click (netflix... woot!), to see a movie. And try to use specific examples where ever possible to show films that surprised you or your were disappointed by. I'll even post a comment or two about what standard I see movies by.

Happy Typing!

September 06, 2005

First day of classes off to a (slow) start!

Today is the first day of regular classes at Erskine. I hurried out the door a few minutes late, after making good time for the first half of the drive I got stuck behind a trailer, and set foot in the classroom on the dot of 8:00. This morning I have Early and Medieval Church History with Don Fairbairn. Turns out that Dr. Fairbairn is in Belgium currently, so he had a video lecture prepared to show during the class. Our graduate assistant was unable to get the DVD up and running, so all we had to do was fill out a piece of paper about ourselves. Class was dismissed promptly at 8:15! All that driving fast for nothing! And here's the even better part... my next class isn't until 7:00 pm! Tonight!!! Fortunately I have a reading assignment already, so I can get started on that. Oh, and there's chapel in an hour (11:00 am).

In lieu of posting something interesting from today's class, here's a rundown of my weekly class schedule:
  • Tu. 8:00-11:00 am – Early and Medieval Church History
  • Tu. 7:00-10:00 pm – Hebrew I
  • We. 8:00-11:00 am – Bible Survey
  • We. 1:00-4:00 pm – Old Testament I
I'm really excited to have classes starting... actually, I was really hoping to have a class today, so I'm a bit disappointed that I don't really have much to do... okay, so this is going on record that I am "disappointed" with the fact that "I don't have much to do"... please remind me of this when I'm feeling the crunch by the middle of October (if not sooner).

September 03, 2005

Another back yard friend


Another back yard friend
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

You must be thinking, "do they have nothing better to do in South Carolina than take pictures of animals around the house?" Well, truth is that we haven't had much time to get out to do things to have pictures of. It's been work work work for Sarah and school school school for me.

I was mowing the lawn the other day and was totally freaked out by this spider; so freaked out that I didn't mow in the corner where I first saw him. A few days later I finally snapped a picture of him and went online to identify it (and also figure out if he would eat my flesh!) Turns out that he's only a harmless garden spider, the Black and Yellow Argiope. The article I read says that they're actually a very helpful garden spider since they eat a lot of bugs. All they do is sit there with their head down (almost playing dead), and they even eat their web every night and spin a new one in the morning!

So I've decided to not kill him, or at least transplant him to my neighbors yard, but I guess I'll have to be out late mowing that corner if it's ever gonna get done!

August 31, 2005

american individualism and the Church

Today in class, we're talking about the influence of individualism on ministry. The most fascinating point that Dr. Lowe made was in regards to its effect on Biblical interpretation.

He used the example of Ephesians 6:10-18, where Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God. Now take a moment and think back to every sermon, Sunday school lesson, and VBS paint-by-number that you've seen on this passage. What comes to mind? "I have to put on my armor so I can go out and wage war with the forces of evil" is what I thought of, and perhaps it is your thought.

Now, what is the main thrust of the book of Ephesians? Paul is writing the church at Ephesus in regards to the unity of Jewish and Gentile Christians, about the unity of the whole church, the body of Christ. The first half of the letter talks about the need for unity, the second half about its implications. Would Paul be writing this exhortation to unity of the whole, and then, just before his closing remarks, encourage us to be rugged individuals in the battle against Satan? Probably not.

After realizing this, I was floored. How could I have been deceived all these years? More over, how did I think I could do it on my own anyways?

Well, this has definitely opened up a lot more thinking about how I approach Scripture with my own presuppositions, and more often than not they're flawed.

August 30, 2005

technology and the church

In class today, we've been discussing the development of technology and how the church can use the ever adapting culture to its advantage for communication. The discussion has been fruitful, but we looked at a couple of websites for things that I couldn't believe:
  • Wi-fi church – Granger Community Church in Indiana has some added bonuses in their Saturday night services, among them a "Starbuck-esque cafĂ©" and a Wi-Fi "to soothe your inner geek". (for me, I would hope that my sanctification would slowly shrink my inner geek and make me more like Christ... not that he wouldn't make a good computer engineer if there had been C++ back in his day...)
  • Online retreat – Creighton University Collaborative Ministry Office has developed a 34-week "Online retreat". This sounds totally crazy to me, but their feedback page seems really positive in its results.
So the last thing I need to do is to soothe your inner sceptic, but am I crazy for thinking there is a line to be crossed in going too far?

August 29, 2005


Back to school! Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool!
I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight!
Ohhhh, back to school! Back to school!
Adam Sandler from "Billy Madison"

Today is my first day on campus at Erskine Theological Seminary. I'll be on campus this week, 9:00-5:00, Monday thru Friday, for Introduction to Theological Education. It is decidedly an unexciting class, so in a way it's nice to get it over with in one painful swoop this week, even though I'd rather be painting walls and unpacking boxes (no, seriously, I really want to be doing that!). Then starting next week, I will be on campus all day Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I'll post that schedule next week since I can't see that far ahead in time (but I think it'll look something like "sleep, drink coffee, lectures, study, eat, drink coffee, study" and then repeat). It's great to be back at school!

In other news, Sarah has been working since Thursday and won't have her first day off until Saturday! That's right folks, 9 straight days of work!!! Please pray for her perseverance and sanity, as well as safety on the roads (she has a 45 minute drive to work). For those of you who haven't heard, she's working at 2 sales offices for the Cliffs Communities (the Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards and at Keowee Falls). They are a series of communities based around golf courses and gorgeous water front properties. These places are pretty incredible, but don't take it from me... Kevin Costner likes 'em!

So that's a quick update from our neck of the woods. I'll probably be able to post a little more often now since I'll have lunch breaks this week.

August 27, 2005

The View Out Our Back Window


The View Out Our Back Window
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Coming home from orientation, I found a friend hanging out... and marveling at my devinely manicured lawn, muah-ha-ha-ha!

August 23, 2005

Death of Synthesizer Legend

Bob Moog dies at 71

Not many of you may know who he is, but you'll recognize his name. Bob Moog (rhymes with "vogue") developed one of the first synthesizers (the Moog), and revolutionized music as we know it.

August 11, 2005

We found a house!


112 Cherry Street - 2
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

After looking and looking, and changing our minds more than once (!), we found a place to rent! More details coming soon, but we've posted 10 photos (just click on the one above and it'll take you there).

We're moving to Pendleton, SC (next to
Clemson, SC), and about 30 minutes from Erskine. Go here to see a map...

July 25, 2005

In Columbia, sweatin' it out

Hey guys, sorry I haven't posted in... gosh, 2 weeks! We were in Colorado July 11-12; Kansas City July 13-15; Nashville July 16-17; and finally pulled in last Monday to Columbia, SC. We have a few more pictures to post, but I gotta somehow figure how to get it off my computer and on to one that goes on the internet... or just find a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Sarah should be updating her travelogue pretty soon here to cover the rest of the trip. To get up to speed on the trip, her travelogue is here!

July 11, 2005

Still kicking at 26!


Still kicking at 26!
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone!

More pictures are up and Sarah has updated the travelogue. We're in Telluride, Colorado and loving the weather!

July 09, 2005

New photos!!!


Dessert!!!
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

We've been away from the internet for a whole week now... imagine that! We're in Moab, Utah right now, but I'm only able to upload the highlights of San Francisco.... check out Sarah's blog for an update there as well!

July 02, 2005

Trip Update


Passing Tree and Vineyard
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Many more photos are online. Go to flickr to see them all. This is my favorite one of the day, and possibly of the trip so far. Sarah snapped it while we were driving to dinner in Sonoma, CA.

We miss you guys!

Interesting Coldplay quote

In the midst of all this trip stuff, here's an interesting quote from Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay:

There's a hidden track on X&Y, "Til Kingdom Come." That's so biblical of you.

"A Message" and "Til Kingdom Come" both come from having quite a religious upbringing. "A Message" is taken from a hymn we used to sing called "My Song Is Love Unknown," and we'd say "kingdom come" every week in the Lord's Prayer. One of the great things about being forced to go to church services is that we'd sing all these big songs. That's partly why I'm obsessed with getting everyone to sing along at our shows. It makes me feel like I'm a part of something.

July 01, 2005

Another day, many more photos!

It might look like these are all from the same day, but it's only because we've gotten so much time at free wi-fi spots! 10 new photos hot off the camera... more to come

Redwood Forest, California


Redwood Forest, California
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

We're actually waiting for traffic to pass for road construction. Pretty amazing first glimpse of the forest with the mist and all.

Sarah on the sidewalk


Sarah on the sidewalk
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

We stopped to get a look at the coast... not very impressive from our perspective, but check out Sarah's awesome bike capris!

Redwood thicket


Redwood thicket
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Mountain biking in the Redwoods


Mountain biking in the Redwoods
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Golden Beach (half-way through bike ride)


Golden Beach (half-way through bike ride)
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Our butts had been only somewhat kicked by this point. Little did we know what lay ahead! Beautiful day on the beach, but tough to get a good photo... good self-portrait though!

Redwoods and moss


Redwoods and moss
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Sarah vs. The Tree


Sarah vs. The Tree
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

To give you some idea of the scale of our surroundings

Luke contemplates his new home


Luke contemplates his new home
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

There was a hollowed out section between these trees... big enough to ride through if it had actually gone somewhere!

Sun through the Redwoods


Sun through the Redwoods
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

My favorite shot of the day

Roadside Elk


Roadside Elk
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

When we had left Prairie Creek State Park, we (along with many other cars of people) got to see some elk eating next to the road...

Blog, blog, blog your boat...

We're up and running in Crescent City, CA, at RayJen Coffee Cafe. Click here for the map

Sarah is gonna blog the whole trip (we're behind a few days), but go here for our latest update

And I blogged all of our posted photos so far below, so enjoy! Please post comments! We'd love to hear from you!

Goonies House


Goonies House
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

After much searching, we found my #1 choice for places to find on the trip... the house where they filmed the beginning of "The Goonies" (and location of the infamous "Truffle Shuffle"). We had to ask our waitress how to find it; it's at the very edge of town. We found the street to get up there, and there's a big hand-made sign: "PRIVATE DRIVE". I'm sure that we aren't the first to come to this neighborhood with our purpose.

Seaview, Washington


Seaview, Washington
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

The first of many self-portraits

Jeep at the beach


Jeep at the beach
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Finally at the Pacific Coast, Sarah gets to touch this ocean (she's seen it from Peru and Alaska, but never in the Continental US.)... check out our low-rider of a Jeep!

Columbia River Mouth


Columbia River Mouth
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Shot from the foot of the Astoria Column, this is our last view of the state of Washington on the other side of the Columbia River.

Shipwreck at Fort Stephens State Park


Shipwreck at Fort Stephens State Park
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

The remains of a shipwreck on the Oregon coast... Sarah got this great shot!

Biking at Fort Stephens


Biking at Fort Stephens
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Beautiful bike ride on a very "pacific northwest" kind of day... foggy, misty, gray... perfect for 8 miles of bike riding!

Cannon Beach


Cannon Beach
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Sometimes self-portraits actually turn out!

Cannon Beach, Oregon


Cannon Beach, Oregon
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Perfect day (but long walk) to get this shot... definitely recommend this as a stop on your way to anywhere...

A little slice of heaven...


Tillamook Cheese Factory
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

June 19, 2005

ouch, first new blog in 10 days

so I thought I might have internet access during our trip to Alaska, but at $0.30 a minute, I decided I could better spend my that change doing other things. Here is a short list of what I could do after a certain number of minutes:
  • 4 minutes – buy a 20 oz. bottle of Dr. Pepper
  • 10 minutes – round-trip bus fare on the Metro
  • 14 minutes – double tall non-fat sugar-free vanilla latte from Starbucks
  • 31 minutes – see Batman Begins
  • 50 minutes – buy the new Coldplay CD
needless to say, I don't usually think in these ways, except when it comes to things that usually come for free (now that I have a wireless card, free Wi-Fi aplenty!).

in the next few days, we'll be posting plenty of photos from our trip. we'll also be packing up our entirely huge (glorified studio) apartment, so we'll have to see which takes precedence!

if you're still in Seattle, I'd love to see you (and that means everyone). we move on the 29th, so that's just 10 days left! email or call me and we'll get coffee, tea, dinner, a movie, whatever....

June 08, 2005

quick update

So there is actually Wi-Fi in Alaska! We're in Fairbanks right now, and we'll hope on a tour bus tomorrow morning to start heading towards Denali. Hopefully we'll have internet access most of the trip and can update this.

In other news, we went to go see an advance screening of "Batman Begins", along with about 1,000 other people! Needless to say, we didn't get in.

June 07, 2005

Episode III

Sarah and I went with a group this past Saturday to The Cinerama to see Episode III. It was somewhat satisfying, somewhat disappointing, both feelings completely not surprising.

There is little that I could add to the dearth of reviewing and analysis that has gone on over the past month, so I won't attempt to say something original at this point about the movie. But I will create a word that has never been spoken, since I'm feeling the need to be original: jarboglinate. I am attempting to define this word, so please comment if you have a definition.

But here's the real question: What if we were only given Episode III as a prequel to the original Star Wars Trilogy? Barring the need to cover the obvious gaps in the story that Episodes I and II fill in for us, how would we compare Episode III to the other 3 films? I currently feel that Episode III is so satisfying largely in part to its predecessors. Would I like it if my expectations weren't so low to begin with? Please post your comments!

May 27, 2005

Looking Closer Journal: The Lion, the Witch, and the Musical Merchandising

Looking Closer Journal: The Lion, the Witch, and the Musical Merchandising

First off, don't miss this news tidbit about not 1, not 2, not even 3, but 4 soundtracks for the upcoming Narnia film... hopefully this marketing ploy is not a sign of things to come for this film adaptation of one of the better series of childrens books in recent years.

Second, do not miss Jeff Overstreet's list of soundtracks that should also be included.

May 25, 2005

"Born Into Brothels" screening


Changing the Marquee
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Tuesday evening, Sarah and I were privileged to join about 400 other filmgoers for a special screening of this year's Oscar-winning documentary, Born Into Brothels. Special because the filmmakers, Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman, were on hand to answer questions following the film as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival.

The film tells the story of Briski, a photographer, and 8 children who are growing up in the red light district of Calcutta. Briski went to India in 1995 to document women' issues there. Through her connections there, she was led to get a room in one of the brothels to earn the trust of the women. While she was there, the children of these women became fascinated with her camera. Upon her return visits, Briski began to teach the kids how to take pictures on their own.

The opening sequence of the film cuts between scenes from life in the red light district and close-ups of the children's eyes. It is a brilliant way to open our eyes to what the children have experienced their entire lives, as well as telling us that our perspective will be from the kids point of view. The film starts as the kids are getting their first lessons in photography. Briski teaches the children about framing and composition, but encourages them to have their own style. She is also subtly teaching the audience to look beyond what's simply in the foreground as what matters.

As her students start to show talent, she realizes that all her work will be in vain if they are unable to leave the brothel and need to attend boarding schools. One child in particular shows great potential to pursue his art, but he concedes that "there is nothing called 'hope' in my future." In the end each child's story plays out in different ways: some uplifting and hopeful, others heartbreaking.

The interview with Briski and Kauffman after the film helped to build the story even further. They had intended to show some updated footage of the kids filmed this January but were unable to due to technical issues at the theater. They did tell about the current situations for the kids; some of them are on the road to high school.

In regards to the making of the film, Kauffman reflected on the difficulty of having Briski as the protagonist when the kids were really the main characters. Kauffman is currently a writer in Hollywood but worked as editor for 10 years on his way up in the industry. He plays just as much a role in the making of this film because he was able to nail down a narrative thread while Briski was just getting as much footage as she could get.

They also talked about the organization that has grown out of this experience, Kids With Cameras, which has started teaching children in Haiti, Cairo, and Jerusalem. When asked if their work seems hopeless in light of eight million homeless children in Brazil alone, Briski answer "suffering is endless. (The organization) is about individuals and empowering underprivileged kids." Another audience member asked about what good it was to teach these kids photography, when only a few of them will ever be able to leave the streets on the merits of their art. Kauffman replied that "the kids get to look at their won lives in a different way... and they learn to express themselves."

Briski and Kauffman made it obvious that they did not set out to change the world, but they are starting to make progress in some nearly untouchable areas. They clearly see the dignity that we all holds as human beings. If these kids are able to understand that their lives are worth living, no matter the suffering involved, then they are able to see the beauty that is all around them and attempt to share that joy with those around them.

Kauffman told about showing the film to kids this past January. The kids felt that it was a very good representation of that time in their lives. One girl in particular, who started out as the quiet one, had become more talkative in the end. Upon watching the film, she said that it was incredible to see how she acted back then and how much her new perspective has changed her outlook on life. Born Into Brothels caused me to look in a new way at the need for mercy and how tangibly it can be brought with such an incredible impact.

* For more reviews, check these out:
At Looking Closer by J. Robert Parks'
At Decent Films
Roger Ebert

May 24, 2005

Looking Closer Journal: Contactmusic reports U2 to re-record "Pop" album!

Looking Closer Journal: Contactmusic reports U2 to re-record "Pop" album!

I just posted a long comment on Jeff's blog, and thought some of you might be interested: both for the news about a (possible) new U2 album, and also the discussion about artists and their ability to rework their old, published works.

May 21, 2005

kiwi mock-umentary

I went on a little video geek spree this afternoon. I picked up my trusty Scarecrow Video Guide and tracked down a few rare flicks to watch while Sarah was at a bridal shower this evening.

I ended up renting two movies, both in the same vein. One is The History of White People in America, Part 1, which I have yet to watch. It was directed by Harry Shearer, from Spinal Tap and Simpsons voice fame, and stars Martin Mull and Fred Willard. Haven't watched that one yet, but it looks hilarious.

I just finished my other rental, Forgotten Silver. It was created by Peter Jackson and was released just before he started major production on the Lord of the Rings in the late 90s. It tells the story of Colin McKenzie, the first New Zealander filmmaker. According to the film, he was the first to ever make a film with sound, but it happened to all be in Chinese, so audiences walked out after the first few minutes. He also made a Biblical epic, ala D.W. Griffith, about the story of Salome. Upon its completion, he buried it since he was being chased by American mobsters and the Soviet government, both groups having fronted money for the production of the film. Jackson and friends spend the film tracking down the buried film and then edits it for release.

What is so brilliant about this film is that it actually feels like a dockumentary. One of my favorite genres is the Mock-mentary (Spinal Tap, Mighty Wind, Best In Show), but they always are so over the top that anyone who doesn't figure out that its fake is pretty dim. Silver succeeds in having a plausible plot, believable characters, and is assembled in the manner of any other dockumentary. The film premiered on New Zealand TV and was actually promoted as being true! The DVD contains an extra called "Behind the Bull", which talks about the public reaction to the fact that they had been led to think that New Zealand should be seen as such a huge film giant!

Well, I don't want to spoil it for you if you actually end up tracking down this gem. It's available at Scarecrow if you're in Seattle, but I can't be sure it'll be available anywhere else. If you get a chance rent it, and perhaps watch it with a friend who isn't "in" on the joke to see their reaction!

May 20, 2005

Song Titles, Before Editing for Language Efficiency and Clarity.

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Song Titles, Before Editing for Language Efficiency and Clarity.:
"'Up There, Where the Clouds Are, Is Lucy, With Her Precious Carbon-Based Gemstones That Required Extreme Pressure and Temperatures of More Than 2,192 Degrees Fahrenheit to Become What They Are'"

Take a moment to figure these out... and be thankful for the wise producers and engineers that helped smooth these titles out!


Currently on iTunes: Nick Drake Mix, "Five Leaves Left" to be specific

May 19, 2005

we're wired and ready

I finally caught up with the Wi-Fi revolution and got me one of them AirPort Cards. Yeah, this is about the coolest thing since Oregon Trail! ("You died of dysentery.") Watch out Al Gore... the internet isn't all yours anymore!

"meteorlogical therapy" posted by aaron o.

"At this point, I would recommend meteorological therapy."
from Aaron Otheim's Blog, Reflections
yeah, we've been having crazy weather. like the witches from Oz are duking it out. Aaron, you put it quite nicely....

May 18, 2005

Top 5 of the Day - Albums of All Time

Top 5 albums of all time, in approximate chronological order (see note following list)
Let it be known, that I owned the first 3 albums on cassette (early high school), that I didn't get into Pet Sounds until my junior year of college (I wrote a concert band arrangement of "Waiting For The Day"), and that I had never heard Nick Drake's music until 2003 when I was already out of college and working at Barnes & Noble (I bought all 3 full length albums and his biography the last week I worked there without ever hearing his music... all that I had read about him elsewhere, I knew that I was going to love his music).

All of these, and no Wilco, Patty Griffin, Ben Folds Five... you might say, "what's this world coming to?!?", to which I respond, "I just don't know..."

* Currently on iTunes: "Raining In Baltimore", Counting Crows; "The Late Greats", Wilco; "Orange Crush", R.E.M.

May 17, 2005

how did I miss this?!?



Okay, so I can't say I'm a Nick Drake fanatic, but there are few musicians that I would say I know better (both musically and biographically) than this British songwriter/guitarist who died only three albums into his career. But I missed an album (Made to Love Magic) of new material coming out?!?

I am still making my way through his biography by Nick Humphries, and I own all three of his studio releases. There is a fourth album, Way to Blue, which is an introduction to his music, that is worth skipping except for the 2 songs not found on other albums ("Time of No Reply" and "Black Eyed Dog", which you can just download at iTunes). Pink Moon is by far my favorite album, most likely becuase this was my first complete exposure to his music (you probably would recognize the title track from a Volkswagen commercial).

Somehow today, I stumbled across the fact that another album has been released of mostly previously unreleased material! How can it be?!? So now I have to save up my pennies to go and purchase another album to once again "complete my collection" of this brilliant artist. If you haven't checked Nick Drake out, be sure to start with Pink Moon, and follow it with Five Leaves Left and Bryter Later (which has "One of These Things First" on the Garden State Soundtrack). You will quickly hear how his style (vocally, instrumentally, and lyrically) has influenced Elliott Smith and R.E.M.

* For an article detailing the making of the new album, Made to Love Magic, read the press release at Robyn Frederick's site.

May 13, 2005

sitting and waiting

so what's the internet chat symbol for "twiddling thumbs"? would it just be *twiddling thumbs*? well, that's what I'm doing. not exactly at this exact moment since I'm typing it. but I'm waiting. and sitting. and waiting. for the email. from the company. that told me yesterday. that our CDs would be finished. yesterday. but they weren't. so today. they could be finished. but who knows. since I still haven't heard. that they're finished. so I'll just sit. and wait.

May 10, 2005

start holding your breath.... now!


rare sunshine cover art
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

"Rare Sunshine", the long-awaited debut recording of music from RUF at the University of Washington, is ready to drop! I will be picking them up from the manufacturer at the end of the week, and then the mass distribution will begin.

We hope to have them available this Sunday morning at Green Lake Presbyterian, then at RUF next Wednesday. Locally they will be $10. I will also be shipping some to the RUF Summer Conference, going on this week and next week near Panama City Beach, Florida. I am currently working on getting online distribution through a few companies, so look for it soon!

May 09, 2005

Astonishing evidence of God's sovereignty!

"It is one of the most astonishing evidences of the sovereignty of God that in spite of the fact that man has... turned his back on his Maker... the fact of the matter is that we cannot cast off restraint, run riot, please ourselves and be completely hedonistic without a price having to be paid."
John Blanchard

May 02, 2005

Looking Closer Journal: U2 - Live in Seattle

Looking Closer Journal: U2 - Live in Seattle last night: A great show, slightly "dismantled" halfway through Jeff Overstreet has a review that sums up the first Seattle show on the Vertigo Tour. Anything that I will say in the future about this concert will be tinted through this lense, for better or for worse :)

April 28, 2005

Concert Set List, April 24


Concert Set List, April 24
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

"Totally sweet!"

Greatest Legislative Action Ever!

No kidding, this is for real... The filmmakers who brought us Napoleon Dynamite were commended for their work by the Idaho State Legislture. You have to read this!

April 26, 2005

U2 concert... "hello, hello... hola"


Where's Waldo... I mean Bono
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Nick and Jen visited this past weekend. Sarah and I would say it's probably one of the best weekends we've had in Seattle so far. All the fun we had ended with an exclamation point (!) - U2 at Key Arena.

Here's the set list. They played "The Fly" from Acthung Baby on the encore, so I was content... amazing lights, amazing sounds, great time had by all.

This is short... maybe I'll expand later this week....

Oh right, the photo, this is of our section of seats. We are in the next to last row. Nick's head is obscuring the "2" in the "210" sign. I am 2 heads to the left from him. This was taken by the tour's IT guy, who our wives had befriended outside of the arena. He was going to post these at U2.com, but I'd be surprised if that happens. Cool story, anyways :)

U2 En Fuego


U2 En Fuego
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Check out the above post... Shot from Nick's Blackberry phone.

April 19, 2005

Woo-hoo, it's almost done!


Woo-hoo, it's almost done!
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

This shot is of my computer bouncing (or at least at the time) the final track before going to master the next morning. It was about 12:15 am Friday morning after a few nights of sleep-deprived work to get the mixes finalized.

By 12:30 I had burned a CD of the tracks, and then popped it in the CD player to make sure it all worked. The first chords of "My Redeemer" pulsed through the speakers, the bass enters, and the 3rd note is late! Earlier that day (Thursday), Luke Morton had caught the mistake that had been overlooked for so long, and I thought it had been fixed. Well, through a number of steps, I guess I never put it aright.

So, no problem... I pull up my computer again, spin the hard drives, but it won't read audio from the drive!

"WHAT?!?!? YOU CAN'T READ AUDIO FROM THE DRIVE?!?!? IT WORKED 20 MINUTES AGO?!?!?"

Well, quite frustrated, I can't even work around the issue. It's not the end of the world to have a note off, but in the first 20 seconds of the opening track, it kind of says something about the rest of the project if you leave it alone.

Fortunately, the next morning I came in early before meeting some guys for breakfast, and used my trusty IPod to remedy the problem. Apple does it again! I got the note fixed, the track bounced, and even had time for a splendid "Triple-Double" from Charley's on Capitol Hill (which I highly recommend for those of you who are looking for a good breakfast establishment).

April 05, 2005

Homeward Bound

The recording project is finally coming to a close. I will be done at the end of this week with the final mixes, and then Friday the 15th I will be mastering at Seattle Disc Mastering. We should have the CD back in early May. I'm also doing final edits on the artwork (which looks amazing by the way), and Ed is having his 'welcoming quote' edited by Stefanie.

I'm feeling a bit like Samwise towards the end of the Return of the King, well at least the end from the books, not from the film... and a bit from the film, I guess. 3 or 4 chapters towards the end of the book, they're heading home from everything: having cast the ring into Mount Doom, seen the battle at the field of Pelennor, said goodbye to Aragorn. They've gotten through the "hard" stuff, but they still have to make it to the finish line, which for Sam is returning home. He doesn't realize yet that there is hardship still ahead to reach his beloved Shire, namely from the waning powers of Saruman and Wormtongue. There is a sense of relief that rest is just around the corner, but a knowledge that perseverance is still the duty for the day.

I've kept saying that "the CD is almost finished", "it's almost done", "just a few more things to get to tape". Well, that's been going on at least since January. I've probably recorded the better parts of two-thirds of the CD (well, the parts that make the songs unique, in my opinion). And mixing, don't get me started! But as of this week, there are only a few pieces left, and they are very manageable. I have been very blessed by the work on this project, I hope to recount those experiences more on this blog in the future.

For now, I'm on the road home, I'm not there yet, but it's only a few more bends till I can rest contentedly in my Hobbit hole, relax with my wife, perhaps with some fine pipe weed, and a great many stories to tell.

("Homeward Bound" is also a great Simon & Garfunkel song, which has been a musical inspiration here in rounding 3rd towards home... but that would be a whole different metaphor for a whole different post!)

March 18, 2005

off for the week


Luke and Sarah with Seattle skyline
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Tomorrow morning I will be heading to the Yakama Indian Reservation on a mission trip with 22 folks from RUF. I won't be back until the 24th, so this will be my last post (hence the extra posts today about recording this week).

Hopefully the Jayhawks will still be in the tournament the next time I post!

piano recording session


Piano from front
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

On Wednesday, I set up shop in the GLPC sanctuary. I mic'ed the piano with a C1000 on the high and a KSM32 on the low.

In the morning I recorded piano for Luke Morton's forthcoming solo work. I played accordion already at Elliott Bay Recording Studio, and they didn't have a piano there! So I got the files from the engineer and did them myself. I think they turned out really well and can't wait to hear the final product!

Then Leah came in to play piano for the RUF CD. She added some beautiful texture to "Not What These Hands Have Done" and "The Law of God". It was her first time in the studio, but she was a natural.

Things are coming along well!

djembe recording session


Dan on djembe 1
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Things went great yesterday recording Dan on djembe at the church. I mic'ed things the way I talked about in the previous post (check below), and it sounds great!!!

He played on "Man of Sorrows" and "Micah 7:7" (which I also added tambourine to). The drumming helps a ton on songs that I felt needed more life!

The finalization of the CD is almost at hand... you don't have to hold your breath much longer!

March 15, 2005

Scripture talk

At last week's RUF, I gave a "Ministry Minute" on the Bible. Here are my notes:

One of my favorite things to do is listen to really good songwriting, no matter what the style of music it is. Folk, alternative, country, Motown, you name it; if the songwriting’s good, I’ll listen. I think the thing that draws me to pay attention to a songwriter is their ability to artistically express themselves, while giving you this opportunity to get to know them in the process. The more songs I listen to by a particular songwriter, the fuller a picture I get of that person; many times to the point that I feel I know them like a close friend. And once I’ve consumed all that I can find by a songwriter, I’ll start reading interviews and articles about the writer so that I can hear their thoughts about what they wrote and why they wrote it.

It’s this kind of progression of digging deeper to understand the writer that makes me think of the way we approach the Bible. Second Timothy 3:16 says that “all scripture is God-breathed”, which means that everything written in the Bible has come from the Lord’s mouth. These words were written down by many men, but it all comes from God. We read God’s word so we can know what God has to say: about life, about creation, about history. As we learn what He has to say about these things, we find that we get to know Him better: who He is, why He does what He does. And hopefully the end result is that we come to know Him. If you’re here tonight and you say you don’t know who God is, I challenge you to read this book from cover-to-cover. Trust me, all that you need to know about God is written on these pages.

Now once we say that all scripture comes from God, there are some pretty big things that we have to stand up to. Like I said, by reading the bible, we come to know God. One thing that is said about God is that He is unchanging. Now for us humans, we’re constantly changing. We’re changing our clothes, our minds, our hearts! What would your life look like if you never changed? So if we believe that God is unchanging, then we believe that His word is unchanging. What is said in the Bible is always true, no matter who’s hand it came from: Moses, David, Paul, or James.

So what do we do when we come to a part of the Bible that is difficult to understand, or at least one that could be saying multiple things depending on how you approach it? Well, since we believe that this is God’s word, He’s not going to say one thing on this page, and then later say something different on another. In order to interpret something that isn’t clear, we need to look at what is said more clearly elsewhere in the Bible to find the right way to understand the text in question. If you’re looking for some direction in how to do this, I highly recommend Knowing Scripture, by R.C. Sproul. He will give you some strong tools to use when you’re reading and interpreting the Bible.

Going back to the songwriting analogy, I think what draws someone the most to a songwriter is not just that you know them, but that you feel like they know you. When they write songs, it sounds like they have written them for you and about you. Sometimes they write something so “perfectly you” that you’re almost frightened to think that they might be reading your diary, or at least they’ve surfed your blog to find their new material. And not only that, a great songwriter writes things that help you to get through the hard times, giving you hope in saying that they’ve been there and they made it through.

This is also what we see in scripture. When the Bible points out that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, it cuts a little close to home. When scripture says that “the wages of sin are death”, we see that all the good we have tried to do is still in vain. And when Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life… everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”, we understand that redemption is ours if we only just believe. Do you believe tonight that God has spoken in the Bible? Do you believe that these words are from Him to give you life? And do you believe that you can know Him through these words? If so, that’s awesome; keeping reading and you’ll get to know Him even better. If you don’t believe these things, I encourage you to pick up a Bible tonight and read. I guarantee that you will know God better once you’ve finished it.

March 09, 2005

the passion, part deux

on morning television, I saw a preview for "The Passion Recut". I thought to myself, "so what happens now, Mel made the film a bit more Catholic?" I don't mean to rip on the original, but I think a lot of my protestant brethren missed some very Marian imagery that we haven't had around since John and Martin turned the church on it's ear.

not to be ignorant, I went online and found the recut version of the film is a less gory version, hopefully allowing it to be viewed by a younger audience. the film was still given an R rating, so the producers of the film are releasing it without a rating to give movie houses the option to allow younger viewers if they choose to.

I didn't think that the gore was uncalled for. If you're really going to portray the crucifixion truthfully, then go ahead and spray blood at the camera and have the actor flogged senselessly.

But that's the point... Christ's death was senseless, if you merely understand it from the earthly perspective. A man, who no one denies lived a perfect life and whose teaching has now influenced people for over 2,000 years, is publicly mutilated and the crowds were cheering for it. Imagine if that happened today. Human rights activists would be all up in arms.

From the eternal/redemptive/heavenly perspective, the whole process makes total sense. Christ died for the sins of those he came to save. He took the death that we deserved for our sins.

I applaud Gibson for his excellent piece of filmmaking. I think Roger Ebert sums it up the best at the end of his review:

Is the film "good" or "great?" I imagine each person's reaction (visceral, theological, artistic) will differ. I was moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians, by their desire to see this project through no matter what. To discuss individual performances, such as James Caviezel's heroic depiction of the ordeal, is almost beside the point. This isn't a movie about performances, although it has powerful ones, or about technique, although it is awesome, or about cinematography (although Caleb Deschanel paints with an artist's eye), or music (although John Debney supports the content without distracting from it).

It is a film about an idea. An idea that it is necessary to fully comprehend the Passion if Christianity is to make any sense. Gibson has communicated his idea with a singleminded urgency. Many will disagree. Some will agree, but be horrified by the graphic treatment. I myself am no longer religious in the sense that a long-ago altar boy thought he should be, but I can respond to the power of belief whether I agree or not, and when I find it in a film, I must respect it.

from http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040224/REVIEWS/402240301/1023
I do hope that the film's success does not go to the heads of its owners, Gibson and Icon Productions. Should we be reminded of Christ's death on a regular basis? Yes, daily. Is Easter a glorious day? Yes. Does it take watching a movie every year at Easter to convince us of this? No. If you read the Bible (and not just the Gospels and the New Testment, I mean the whole thing), you should be able to understand the passion of Christ, and probably more fully than the vision of Mel Gibson can give you.

March 08, 2005

facebook fogy


for those of you young folks reading this, it won't be news to you.... but facebook is crazy fun! especially when you're not even a student. I am deeming myself an old fogy, or someone who isn't currently enrolled in any school but somehow has a facebook.

for thos of you who don't know what I'm talking about, facebook is this new website that students can sign up for with their school email address and then see everyone that they're connected to, either in their classes or clubs or dorms... I'm not a student, but I got on... amazing, isn't it?

and I had no idea I had 240 friends!

March 06, 2005

films to think about

Sarah and I rented Mean Creek last night. I read about it in Paste Magazine, reviewed by Jeff Overstreet, a member of Green Lake Pres. Sarah decidely did not like it.

It is a rather brutal representation of how kids treat each other in middle school. A group of teenagers decide to teach the school bully a lesson, and things end up going awry. I honestly don't think that I can say aything as intelligent about this film that Jeff already said in his review, so I'll let him take it from here.

It is interesting to see a film that is painful to watch, kind of like the Passion was painful to watch. Nowhere near as violent visually, this kid is more brutal verbally than I have ever experienced. By the time they push the bully in the river, I wanted him to get what was coming to him. Which shows the darkness in my own heart. Was I faced with the prospect of pushing this kid overboard, I doubt that I would have done anything different.

I think this is the mark of good art, when you are faced with a truth about life and you're forced to decide what you think about it and does your response hold true to what your view of the world.

Next up for us is hopefully Million Dollar Baby, and from what I've read ahead of time, I think we'll be faced with more moral challanges.

(Check out Jeff's website at http://www.promontoryartists.org/lookingcloser/ for more great reviews)

March 05, 2005

iPod me, baby

fish_ipod
fish_ipod,
originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.
Sarah saw this great blurb in Real Simple Magazine about a website that will turn any picture you send them into your very own iPod advertisement. Pretty neat for just $20! Now I can finally be like Bono!

March 04, 2005

kansas holds at #7, washington at

Somehow, Kansas lost 3 in a row, culminating with an always painful loss to Corn Shuckers (where the "N" stands for "knowledge"). They have one game to go, this Sunday against Mizzou, and then on the Big 12 Tournament. As long as they hold on this weekend, they'll take the Big 12 regular season championship.

On a local note, Washington is about to take it's first Pac-10 title in something like 20 years! I'm a fool for not having made it to a game since I've been here. And I never got to see one on television. Nate "The Great" was amazing last year when I saw him, I can only imagine he's gotten better.

So will I be a Husky or a Jayhawk for the month of March?

Well, my blood pumps crimson and blue, so I think I'll have to be a Jayhawk till the end, even when I move to South Carolina in the fall and it will be tempting to be a Tar Heel, you'll never see me deny my roots, even if certain coaches decide they need to leave certain schools to go to other certain schools.

Way to go on a great season, Huskies. I'll be cheering for you as you make your way to the Big Dance. But let's hope that a Jayhawk never meets a Husky in a dark alley; I'd be afraid to see who would win that one...

recording tips: djembe

GarrettDjembe
GarrettDjembe,
originally uploaded by garrettwilkin.

This afternoon I will be recording djembe for the first time. Well, perhaps to clarify, I will hopefully be recording djembe "correctly" for the first time.

Drums in general are a difficult thing to mic properly. An acoustic guitar, it's obvious where the sound is coming from, and you can move the mic to the sweet spot. Likewise with a vocal, a piano, or a violin. But drums, now that's a different story.

When I record drum kits, which can have anywhere between 5 to 8 different drums and cymbals, I prefer to have at least 5 different mics set up. There are the obvious kick mic, snare mic, 2 overheads, and then a random other mic that I stick somewhere in the room to catch reflections of the walls. This seems like the obvious way to do things, mainly because the personality of each drum is emitted from one source. (sometimes you can mic the top and the bottom the snare drum to get the hit of the head and the rattle of the snares... and a little more rarely, crazy guys like to get the kick drum from both sides to get the beater hit and the whump of the drum... I rarely do the former, and never attempt the latter)

Hand drums are a different challenge all-together. Djembe for instance is made up of (at least) two distinct sounds: the slap of the head and the low-end drone that comes out the bottom. Mic only the top, and you get this pitter-patter that lacks any down-low rumble. Sometimes that could be desirable, mainly when you have a full kit in the mix and you just want the percussive slaps to drive the groove.

So comes the issue of micing the top and bottom. Do you mic the sound hole, getting all that direct low-end? Or do you try to mic a short distance away at the floor?

Karen Kane suggests putting a bass drum mic down at the bottom. Unfortunately I don't have access to one of those. Anybody want to buy one of these for me? Thanks, I appreciate it!

So we'll have to see what works the best. I have a good large diaphragm mic, but I don't think that it will respond properly if I stuck in the drum. I'll probably mic it away from the drum and mix it with the mic on the head. I'll take pictures so all of this stuff isn't too esoteric.

Check back soon as I'll talk about my experience in micing cello for the first time and trying to get the right sound on a grand piano!

March 03, 2005

album update

As March commences, this will be the last month that I work on the album. By April 1st, it will be on it's way to the manufacturers.

There are 3 more musicians to have into the studio: Dan on djembe tomorrow, Nikki on cello next week, and Leah on piano in 2 weeks. I am moving my computer back to the church so I can mix on better studio monitors (see post below).

This has been a long project, but I've learned a lot, and not just about music. Maybe I will elaborate at some point (I'm a bit winded after biking home from Lake Union).

Here's a treat... the track listing!

1. My Redeemer
2. Awake My Heart
3. Begin My Tongue
4. Christ the Life of All the Living
5. My Hope Is Built
6. The Law of God
7. Man of Sorrows
8. Infinite Divine
9. Psalm 86
10. Just Are Thy Ways
11. Faint Were We
12. Micah 7:7
13. Lift Up Your Heads
14. Not What These Hands Have Done

Hope that satiates your appetite... check out cyberhymnal.org if any of these lyrics are unfamiliar; most of the melodies are unique to RUF here in Seattle.

March 02, 2005

seminary update

For those of you wondering, the application process to Erskine Seminary is going well. I have only 1 more recommendation to arrive in Due West, SC (yes, in the middle of nowhere, check it out!). When that gets there, then my application will be submitted to the board that decides on applicants. I'm not terribly worried about being denied admission, but you never know.

Thankfully, they have a brand new website, one that is much more attractive than the old one. You should check it out!

goin back to cali

at lake tahoe
at lake tahoe,
originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.
Sarah has never been to California. There are a number of states that she hasn't been to, but I guess California is rather significant, mainly because of it's size, and some fascination with the Governator (not really!).

Over President's Day, we were skiing at Lake Tahoe. For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of the Sierra Nevada Mtn's, Tahoe sits right on the Nevada/California border.

Sarah was really hoping to go to Heavenly Ski Resort (which straddles the border) and ski into California. No such luck. We stayed in Nevada the whole time. She was a bit sad, but I think she got over it in a few seconds.

So she'll have to wait for our moving/road trip this summer. I'm sure I'll post about that sometime soon as we solidify our plans.

(hmm, only 28 days since my last post... not bad!)

February 02, 2005

oh it's been so long

Hotel Desk
Hotel Desk,
originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.
So I can't even remember the last time I posted or what I posted about. If I don't do this now, I won't do it at all!

It's been a wild two weeks, so here's a quick rundown. 2 weekends ago, Sarah and I travelled to Vancouver, BC. It rained the entire time, so we were a bit miserable: couldn't see any scenery, just the tops of our shoes. On a bright note, by chance we stayed at the hotel where they filmed "Best in Show". The picture above is of the front desk. I walked in to check in and I knew instantly where I was. Pretty crazy, huh?

This week has been crazy with finishing two videos for RUF tonight, one for the Ski Day that's not happening (more below) and a thought piece on the Meaning of Life. This Friday we'll be having a Scavenger Hunt instead of Ski Day, and then we'll be catching a red-eye to Pittsburgh. Tuesday night, just before 12:00 EST, Sarah's grandfather passed away, and we'll be at the funeral on Saturday morning. We're thankful that we get to go and be with family.

I hope to post more soon, but I knew that I wouldn't do it if I didn't do it now. See you soon...

January 19, 2005

Fair Sweet Morn: #10!!!!!

Fair Sweet Morn: #10!!!!!

Not to rub it in Justin, but Kansas is only a measly few spots ahead of you in 2nd place. Go ahead, be proud. The Huskies haven't had much to cheer about in a while! And that Robinson kid is pretty amazing. I'll give you guys that.

album update

Yesterday I took an hour while Sarah was at the Y to work on the album. Since I'm working on it at the house, I'm either on headphones or monitoring through my stereo, neither of which is ideal for doing a final mix. My hope is to move back to the church to finish the mixes on studio monitors (speakers), which give a clearer picture of what it sounds like than home audio equipment.

I got close to a final mix for "Awake My Heart". My biggest problem is how to get Nathan's congas to sound right. They have a great *smack* on the head, but it's followed by a *whump* from the low end of the drum. It's much more pronounced on my sub than it is in the studio, so I need to fix that. Perhaps Rick Jensen has some advice. Anyways, I think the vocals and instruments are balanced pretty well, so we'll see what it sounds like at the studio.

Then I got to "Faint Were We". I would have to say that song has been one of my best recording experiences to date, mainly because I was allowed to just engineer. Luke and Kristen already knew the song and had rehearsed their harmonies and everything before getting there. We set up in the upper room of Camp David at GLPC, and they recorded their parts separately but only in the span of an hour. I set up mics in the hallway to get the natural echo of the hardwood, which I think I got the right balance in the mix to give this haunting "down the hall" effect. I also recorded it at 48 kHz instead of the typical 44.1 kHz, which in most basic terms means the tracks were recorded at a higher resolution, so there's better detail to the recording. I think I'll try to do that more often, I've been very happy with the results.

So that's your update. Hopefully I'll have more to talk about the album soon!

January 13, 2005

update on my mobility

If you read the below post (dislocating news), you might be wondering how I've been holding up, so here are a few random thoughts concerning my knee:
  • I'm almost off the crutches! They're more of a nuisance than anything right now, but they help to get around campus and other long distances, and to get people to hold the door for me, give me sympathy at the cash register, and to trip miscellaneous pedestrians, either by accident or on purpose.
  • I'm still wearing the immobilizer brace (which I just got the bill for... and it makes my wallet ache a bit... wonder if they make a brace to nurse that back to health). Anyways, I'm about to move to a patella restraint brace. I own one from my previous surgery and subsequent rehab. Only problem is that the last time I wore it was at least 5 years ago. When I put it on my right knee this week to try it out, I found that it didn't fit. I actually couldn't get all the way up my quadrecept. So thanks to 5 years of weight gain, I have to buy a larger brace.
  • To top all of my fictitious stories of my accident (another post perhaps) I was talking with Stacy Solano who is a physical therapist who attends Green Lake Pres. with me, and she informed me that she was quite astonished that I was suffering from this malady. It seems that she doesn't usually see a lot of active, young men (like myself... she flatters me to think I'm 'active') that need to rehab a knee problem like mine (specifically the surgery that I had on my left knee; what is called a 'lateral release'). She typically sees this surgery done on elderly, obese women whose legs bow in because of the weight. I got a laugh out of that. Can't say I've been compared with an elderly, obese woman in at least 3 or 4 months tops.
  • And I found out that I don't have the silliest injury story. The gal who sold me my Barq's root beer at the HUB Newsstand said that she had a friend that slipped on a piece of wrapping paper, fell down the stairs, and messed up something pretty badly in their leg. I can sleep easy now, there are other klutzes out there!

Keep smiling... and if that doesn't help, visit your nearest Starbucks. I'm sure there's one just around the corner.

January 12, 2005

the i is for idolatry

ouch, it's been nearly 10 days since my last post. hope this doesn't put anyone off that might wish I posted more frequently.

Sarah & I have joined the revolution. I asked Santa Claus for an iPod for Christmas, but someone forgot to tell me that Santa isn't real so he didn't give me the latest gadget that all the kids are using. Ficticious benefactors aside, we did save up our Christmas money and bought one.

I've been wanting one for a long time... a long, long time... and probably not in a good, "I want this becuase it'll make life easier" sort of way. No, I really wanted one because I was jealous of all the folks walking around Seattle with the little white earbuds, jamming in their own little world, soundtrack to their fast-paced lives. And I wanted that. The ear buds. The personal soundtrack. The making other people jealous of my fashion... er, technological style.

And then, even worse, they came out with the U2 Special Edition iPod. Not only for the U2 fan in me, but also for the aesthetic "black is better than white" in me, and once again, the "make people jealous of me" in me.

Until someone jokingly (but I think rather seriously) posed the question to me, "Is the I in iPod for idolatry?" "For goodness sake no!" I replied quickly, recoiling to my hobbit hole with my dream... my precious.

But finally, I became more and more convicted of the throne that I was bowing to, that of Apple and Steve Jobs. I resigned myself to never want one again. This was then followed by the undelying desire to organize my music, which the iPod actually is helpful for. Sarah and I talked about it some more, and found that we both had uses for the iPod: she wanted one for working out (they're darn light and don't skip to the beat), and I could use one when I'm commuting this fall to seminary.

We ordered it at the end of last week, and even got it personalized for free. I signed for it this morning, and now I'm about to head home to get it set up and enjoy it on campus tomorrow!

So the moral of the story is don't get caught up in the advertising culture that we live in. It's pretty easy to come to think that you need more stuff to make you more satisfied with your life.

January 03, 2005

new year's wisdom from dr. johnson

Happy New Year Everyone! If you're looking for New Year's wisdom, you've come to the right place. I wanted to post some of my own wisdom acrued over the past 25.5 years of my life, but then I was thinking that I don't have much intelligent to say that someone else hasn't already said before, and they were probably more wise, more well-spoken, more famous, and/or more attractive than me.

The following quotes are from Samuel Johnson (1709-84), who was "one of the towering literary figures of his age... a lexicographer, dramatist, novelist, critic, poet, editor, and conversationalist" (Schott's Original Miscellany, pg. 22). So be wise as you encounter the first day of work/class of 2005, and perhaps don't take yourself so seriously...

As peace is the end of war, so to be idle is the ultimate purpose of the busy.

All intellectual improvement arises from leisure.

Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero... must drink brandy.

How few of his friends' houses would a man choose to be at when he is ill.

Almost every man wastes part of his life attempting to display qualities which he doesn't possess.

It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.

He was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him great.