Tag Archives: music

Advent, revisited.

My poor, neglected blog.  It’s already Advent again, and I haven’t written anything in months.  But, it’s because I’ve been busy – waiting.  But actively waiting – making preparations for a wedding in the new year.  Isn’t it strange how sometimes waiting feels active, and sometimes it feels passive?

I was in a meeting with a staff a couple weeks ago where I talked about the difference between actively waiting and passively waiting.  And I realized, that passively waiting feels most powerless, and it’s where my heart goes when I’m tired.  Anyway, the actively waiting has been very busy – and while I’ve had lots of blog-worthy thoughts, there has not been much energy to write.

But now I’m procrastinating during a seminary paper and thought I’d just put this up here.  I have a thing about Advent, and not listening to Christmas carols during it.  It short-circuits the waiting, I think.  On December 1, someone told me “Merry Christmas!” and that December was for Christmas music.  I beg to differ.  Most of December is for Advent music.  The waiting, sometimes active, sometimes passive – the difficulty, the day-to-day.  Too often our American Christianity focuses only on the easy, the celebration, the triumphant parts of the faith.  And there is so much more than that.

Anyway, to help me remember that, I have listened to my Advent playlist from last year – reposted below, but with an additional song that I added after posting this last year.  Makes me smile, looking back on that late add – but it means more to me than romantic love – in the end, the truest love prevails.

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”   (November 21, 1943) – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

1. The Laugh of Recognition – Over the Rhine – ‘c’mon boys it’s time to let it go // everybody has a dream that they will never own… it’s called the laugh of recognition when you laugh but you feel like dyin”

2. Bitterness Hotel – Martha’s Trouble ‘well i don’t know how I got here, it’s not where I want to be’ (a lovely band I met in college – they moved from Houston to Birmingham)

3. Long Lost Brother – Over the Rhine – ‘I thought that we’d be further along by now // I can’t remember how I stumbled to this place’

4. Only God Can Save Us Now – Over the Rhine ‘who will save me from myself and the night’

5. Remembrance – Balmorhea my favorite hometown band – I especially love 2:20-4:00 here.
6. The Waiting Room – Sixpence – ‘when will it happen, baby? // it could be near, but then maybe it could be far // here we are in the waiting room of the world’

7.The Cure for Pain – Jon Foreman – ‘I’m not sure why it always goes downhill, why broken cisterns never could stay filled’

8. Some Peace Tonight – Martha’s Trouble ‘Let me run and hide from the fear that is in me // My head is spinning and I need some peace tonight’

9. First Breath After Coma – Explosions in the Sky 3:20-4:20 is a great section, but for this playlist, the 4:20-5:30 is right on, and then the melody at 5:30 always sounds a little like ‘o come let us adore him’ to me…

10. Windmills – Mutual Admiration Society (orig. by Toad the Wet Sprocket)‘there’s something that you won’t show, waiting where the light goes // and anyway the wind blows, it’s all worth waiting for’

11. The Revolution Choir – Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band there is a land it is full of giants // but do not lose step and do not be frightened // cuz there is a great fire, it came from the mountains // we wait in the watchtower, just tryin’ to keep it lit //it cannot be too much longer’ (I miss singing this with my Mosaic family.)

12. All is Full of Love – Death Cab for Cutie (orig. by Bjork) ‘you’ll be given love, you’ll be taken care of… you have to trust it’

13. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize – Mavis Staples – ‘got my hand on the freedom plow, wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now // keep your eyes on the prize, hold on’

14. Travelin’ Thru – Dolly Parton ‘Oh sometimes the road is rugged, and it’s hard to travel on // But holdin’ to each other, we don’t have to walk alone …//  oh sweet Jesus if you’re listenin’ keep me ever close to you // As I’m stumblin’ tumblin’ wonderin’ as I’m travelin’ thru

15. Tension is a Passing Note – Sixpence but tension is to be loved // when it is like a passing note // to a beautiful beautiful chord’

16. God Believes in You – Jill Phillips (orig. by Pierce Pettis) ‘when you swear you don’t believe in him // God believes in you… blessed are the ones who grieve // the ones who mourn and the ones who bleed // in sorrow you sow, but in joy you’ll reap’

17. Brave – Miranda Stone Look at me, I’m being brave // Look at me, I’m being brave // Look at you, you’re being brave

18. Up to the Mountain (MLK song) – Patty Griffin ‘Then I hear your sweet voice, oh // Oh, come and then go, come and then go //Telling me softly You love me so’

19.  True Love Will Find You in the End – Daniel Johnston, covered by Mates of State   Don’t be sad, I know you will // Don’t give up until // True love finds you in the end

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advent playlist

Confession – I don’t really like Christmas songs.  Yes, there was an altercation (read: throw-down) with Leon after a carol game at last year’s Red River Staff conference.  And then when I was a kid, my sister and I decided to sing all the Christmas carols we knew in the car… in July.

I’ll have to think more about why I don’t like Christmas songs… but suffice it to say I don’t make Christmas playlists.  But I decided to make an Advent playlist – sorta inspired by this Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote about Advent and prison (and he would certainly know).

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”   (November 21, 1943)

1. The Laugh of Recognition – Over the Rhine‘c’mon boys it’s time to let it go // everybody has a dream that they will never own… it’s called the laugh of recognition when you laugh but you feel like dyin”

2. Bitterness Hotel – Martha’s Trouble ‘well i don’t know how I got here, it’s not where I want to be’ (a lovely band I met in college – they moved from Houston to Birmingham)

3. Long Lost Brother – Over the Rhine ‘I thought that we’d be further along by now // I can’t remember how I stumbled to this place’

4. Only God Can Save Us Now – Over the Rhine ‘who will save me from myself and the night’

5. Remembrance – Balmorhea my favorite hometown band – I especially love 2:20-4:00 here.

6. The Waiting Room – Sixpence ‘when will it happen, baby? // it could be near, but then maybe it could be far // here we are in the waiting room of the world’

7.The Cure for Pain – Jon Foreman – ‘I’m not sure why it always goes downhill, why broken cisterns never could stay filled’

8. Some Peace Tonight – Martha’s Trouble ‘Let me run and hide from the fear that is in me // My head is spinning and I need some peace tonight’

9. First Breath After Coma – Explosions in the Sky 3:20-4:20 is a great section, but for this playlist, the 4:20-5:30 is right on, and then the melody at 5:30 always sounds a little like ‘o come let us adore him’ to me…

10. Windmills – Mutual Admiration Society (orig. by Toad the Wet Sprocket) ‘there’s something that you won’t show, waiting where the light goes // and anyway the wind blows, it’s all worth waiting for’

11. The Revolution Choir – Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band there is a land it is full of giants // but do not lose step and do not be frightened // cuz there is a great fire, it came from the mountains // we wait in the watchtower, just tryin’ to keep it lit //it cannot be too much longer’ (I miss singing this with my Mosaic family.)

12. All is Full of Love – Death Cab for Cutie (orig. by Bjork) ‘you’ll be given love, you’ll be taken care of… you have to trust it’

13. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize – Mavis Staples‘got my hand on the freedom plow, wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now // keep your eyes on the prize, hold on’

14. Travelin’ Thru – Dolly Parton ‘Oh sometimes the road is rugged, and it’s hard to travel on // But holdin’ to each other, we don’t have to walk alone …//  oh sweet Jesus if you’re listenin’ keep me ever close to you // As I’m stumblin’ tumblin’ wonderin’ as I’m travelin’ thru

15. Tension is a Passing Note – Sixpence but tension is to be loved // when it is like a passing note // to a beautiful beautiful chord’

16. God Believes in You – Jill Phillips (orig. by Pierce Pettis) ‘when you swear you don’t believe in him // God believes in you… blessed are the ones who grieve // the ones who mourn and the ones who bleed // in sorrow you sow, but in joy you’ll reap’

17. Brave – Miranda Stone

18. Up to the Mountain (MLK song) – Patty Griffin ‘Then I hear your sweet voice, oh // Oh, come and then go, come and then go //Telling me softly You love me so’

now playing:  see above! 🙂

P.S.  Over the Rhine’s new album The Long Surrender was my soundtrack for a little photographic walk today.  I guess you can see the influence.  Here’s a picture from today.

these are the the flowers in my neighborhood

winter in my neighborhood

of food and friends

A lazy blog post – I just got back from Terraburger on the drag.  I love burgers, and this one did not disappoint.  It’s a tad on the pricey side ($8 combos on Sunday, other days, $8.75), but actually, that’s including tax so it ain’t bad.  Comes with a choice of sweet potato fries, regular, or half and half  (get sweet potato!), and also a drink.  They only serve cane sugar sweetened sodas, and they are good.  There’s parking in the back (woohoo!) and they also serve milkshakes and coffee.

It was really nice to sit with friends after church and just hang out – be silly, catch up, etc.  Food is good stuff, but good food with good people is what makes it great.  Oh, that, and the music they were playing – a Police cover album with just some really weird covers.  I can’t find it online (it’s not the reggae one, but there were reggae songs…)  It was hilarious to see what song would play next.

As a side note, I’m also currently hooked on the combination of Sweet Leaf tea (the regular) and milk.  Mix it up half/half and you have an approximation of Hong Kong lai cha (milk tea).  Yum.  (and thanks to Jocelyn for that tip – see, food and friends again!)

Off to write this paper on Philippians 3.  Perhaps in the best way, it has also been writing me.

(now listening:  Pandora station – The Police)

windows down

Tonight I was driving home from a wonderful concert in someone’s backyard – the only downside being that it was sweltering all evening.  So, driving home, I put the windows down – it felt cooler than it had been just sitting outside, and I especially like driving at night with windows down.

As I drove up Enfield with the radio on, I heard some other music interfering, as if a party was going on nearby.  I looked around for a club confusedly, there aren’t any on that street.  Then I realized it was coming from the truck in front of me.

The truck changed lanes to turn left, and as I pulled up I recognized the music first.  It was unmistakable.  1992’s “Baby Got Back.”   The truck turned out to be a very low truck that was also a convertible (?!) and there were two college-age women in it bopping along to the beat.  They were probably still toddlers when the song came out!  I laughed as I pulled away.

And then I laughed at myself, when I realized what my radio was playing — Third Eye Blind… ‘doo do doo, doo do doo do’  [sing along now – yes, now it’s in your head]’

The things you learn when driving with the windows down.

PS – the movie “Yes Man” has a hilarious scene with a Third Eye Blind song in it…

albums on repeat…

Three quick music recommendations in chronological order:

1.  Vienna Teng – I’ve mentioned her before, saw her in concert this spring.  The new album is out and shows different styles of music well – her stuff just keeps getting better and better.  I love “Grandmother’s Song” and “Augustine.”

2. Lucy Wainwright Roche – I saw her open for Over the Rhine in May, and she was aMAZing.  She’s a former elementary school teacher who has a hilarious in-between-song presence!  And her music is thoughtful and beautiful.  I bought both albums on the spot.  The link is to her myspace, and check out the songs “The Worst Part” and “Chicago.”

3.  Matt Graham – performed at his art opening at 5619 Friday night.  (He gave the CD out to artists and friends and had them create album art!) I had never heard his music, but it was phenomenal and I’ve listened to it nonstop since I got it.  You can download the album at his site, and pay what you can.  My personal favorites are “a horse named faith” and “still in the fight.”

That’s all for now… Post any music suggestions you’ve got for me in the comments!

all that talk

After all that talk, I finally did it. Took the plunge. Got clipless pedals and shoes to go with. I got them installed yesterday, and promptly took a nice fall in my backyard. Bummer. But took ’em out for a quick ride today, and had a blast! I can really notice the difference on hills, and it’s sorta nice to feel ‘one with the bike’ – except when you’re falling… I think Speedy likes it too (that’s my bike’s name).

It was a very short ride because I just haven’t been feeling well. I’ve been off and on sick for over a month now (more sick than well), so I took it very easy, but still tired out super-quick. Hopefully I’ll feel totally well, soon.

So the last few weeks have been crazy busy, thought I’d pull some pictures that give you an idea…

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Here’s my awesome small group from Breakthrough’s What’s Next track…

daniel project crazies
At the Asian American Staff Conference… Daniel Project crazies. 🙂  Are they sure they want us to lead?

daniel project and mentors
looking more civilized, for a picture with the mentors and teachers. 🙂

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my friend Morgan and I, high above San Francisco…

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Exit Clov at Lovejoy’s during SXSW. The picture’s super-blurry, and you can’t really see Aaron or Brett, but I like how Emily and Susan are right in front of the angels on the backdrop.

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Clov at Ruta Maya, this is the only one where you can really see John, the drummer

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at the Rio for the official showcase. Awesome, just awesome. (fyi – the Rio used to be the Real World Austin house… confirmed by the crazy loud colors on the walls in the back area)

Unfortunately, my camera isn’t that good, and I also don’t have any pictures of my friend Ellen (cousin of the twins) who was in town too… but check the website, because they have better pictures there. 🙂 Despite the lack of pictures, I did get to see some other bands – most notably, the Polyphonic Spree. Amazing!

Whew, I’m tired. I’ll have to put up post-Spring Break pictures later…


eclectic

Waterloo Records has a sale this weekend.  I stopped by to finish off a gift certificate with some ‘getting better’ music.  I ended up with:

Guns N’ Roses – Greatest Hits (i’ve been wanting this for a long time)
Derek Webb – I See things Upside Down (wanted to see what post-Caedmon’s was like. I saw Matrix in the theater with him and some others…)
Squeeze – Singles 45’s and under (had this a long time ago, and missed it)

weird. 

I feel eclectic in other ways, too.  Normally, my life goes at about 85 mph, but for the past coupla weeks it’s been 10mph, and before that I was either in massive pain or high on drugs.  Slowing down lets me feel what’s really going on inside. 

When I’m flying through life I forget that I have lots of different interests, lots of things that I love and wish I could devote more time to.  Reading, music, writing, movies, practicing Cantonese, talking to HK relatives, catching up with friends, cleaning house, setting up my router, going to the doctor, updating this xanga… these are some of the things I’ve been doing, ever so slowly.  Or rather, like, one thing a day.  I get tired real easily still, and I’m still not eating as much or with as much gusto as I used to. But I had mac and cheese today thanks to Angela, and that was great!

Oh, today the doctor said that I can eat whatever I want now, and just don’t do lift any heavy things or exercise for another 2 weeks.  Things seem to be progressing, which I’m glad for. 

Thanks for all the prayers, kind comments, emails, calls,  flowers,  goldfish, plants,  etc.  It means a lot.