September, Stories, & Writing (my brain needs a break!)

As anyone that even remotely follows this blog knows, my summer was mainly spent with me teaching a Bible Survey Class at my church (the fruits of which can be found here). I spent roughly 15 to 20 hours a week working on it. As I mentioned last week, I read and read and read to prepare each week for this class. I’d spend the week reading scholarly articles, books, journals, commentaries, etc, and then spend Friday and Saturday writing anywhere from 15 to 35 pages of material for the class. Nearly every week.

I’m exhausted. The analytical side of my brain needs rest. And so, I’m going to take September to spend some time with some stories and fiction. I’m doing this in three main ways:
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the Staché is upon us. (looking for a book club?)

No, this post has nothing to do with the picture. Sorry.

(But it is an amazing picture, though, am I right? I think I look like Mario.)

As most people know, several months ago I started a new job. Part of my orientation in the specifics of this field was a 12-week training course with others in the field from different agencies all over the city. We had assigned seating–assigned at random–and the table of people I ended up with were pretty fantastic. We joked and learned and had a great time for our twelve weeks together.

During our hour-long lunch breaks, we would all pull out books and read at the table. We learned that each of us were lovers of books and as our 12-weeks came to an end, we decided to start a book club to stay in touch with one another.

Enter: Staché: the paper trail
The website:
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House Show at my place TOMORROW!

birdhouse shows

After the amazing success of our first house show several months ago, we just had to have another one.  Therefore tomorrow, Saturday, December 4th at 7pm in Philadelphia, we are having our second house show entitled The Birdhouse presents, Vol. 2: The Housecooling (Go to the Facebook event page for details and to RSVP).  Our house, as a venue, is called “The Birdhouse” (it’s even on Foursquare).  The show’s gonna be really, really good.  This time around we have four main acts performing (with me doing a little intro set).  Acts include:

  • Chris Currie (formerly of Full Fathom Five) & friends
  • Luke Bartolomeo (novelist, poet, and editor of the Monongahela Review)
  • Heath Warner (also known as “Paul Warner” by day)

We will be recording this evening and putting online for free, just like the first show (Chris also played at that one, though just by himself).  We will have some drinks and snacks, but feel free to bring a six pack, a bottle of wine, or some food (baked goods are always welcome!).  See you there!

Music On-the-Go: Reviews & Requests (Rdio vs. Pandora)

[I know this article is obscenely long, considering the content, and incredibly random, considering this blog.  But I just needed a place to vent my thoughts.  And don’t worry, Part 3 of my little biographical sketch will be up in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, you can catch up: Part 1, Part 2]

I recently purchased the “GOgroove FlexSMART X2 ADVANCED Wireless In-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter with Charging and Hands-Free Capability” (yes, that’s its full name) and it has changed how I listen to music.  It’s incredible and works just as advertised.  It is able to take audio transmitted via Bluetooth wireless technology and then broadcast it over the radio in your car.  So, long story short, it makes it possible to listen to music streaming onto your phone while driving.  The most immediate benefit I’ve found for this is that I can now listen to Pandora while driving.

Of course, Pandora is the much-loved music discovery service where you make “stations” based on artists or individual tracks you like and it delivers songs that it thinks you would also enjoy.  (You can view my Pandora profile here.)  It has a really high success rate for nailing the sound you’re looking for.  You’re then able to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to each song that plays, and it will use this to refine its offerings to you.
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It is done: Derek Webb’s “Stockholm Syndrome” album release + new free song


[WARNING: there’s a “bad” word mentioned a few times in this post]

[Also, for those reading this on Facebook, click here to read this on my actual blog, so you can watch the videos, stream the music, and download the audio more easily.]

Well, it’s done.  After all the drama, Derek Webb’s new album “Stockholm Syndrome” is set for release this Tuesday.  Apparently, if you pre-order the album off his website on Tuesday, you will be able to get a free download of the entire album immediately.

But –

this revelation did not come before another song – the song of the album perhaps – was released.  Anyone who has been following this situation knows that Derek has been releasing “stems” (or pieces of the song) for a while.  This is the song with the cursing that started this whole thing.  It is a song that has been titled “What Matters More” and it has to do with the Church’s treatment of homosexuals.  So without further ado, here are all the songs that have been released off of Derek Webb’s newest album “Stockholm Syndrome”.  Enjoy and be sure to download them all on Tuesday.

Thanks again to Shane for the update.  The name above each streaming song is a link to the actual file for you to download.  Right-click or whatever you do to download these things.

“What Matters More?”

“Freddie, Please”


“The Spirit vs. the Kick-Drum”

It sounds like the new song is what inspired (or vice versa) Webb’s recent purchase of the domain, which he plans on using as a fundraising site.  The site’s had no content on it for a while, but just now as I saw that it has a black screen on it, apparently holding the spot for new content coming soon (Tuesday, perhaps?).  We’ll see.

Lastly, I heard from musical artist and friend Joel Rakes (so if it’s not true, blame him – or the people he follows on Twitter) that there was also a documentary done about this whole thing, so keep an eye out for that.  And check out Joel’s stuff while you’re at it.

Here are other sites concerning Webb and the album. Please visit these as well to support the artist and his craft.

For those that don’t even know about Derek Webb and his music, here are a few of my favorite songs by him. Yeah, he’s pretty stinking good. [Once again, if you’re on facebook, these videos may not show up, so click here to watch them]

“Wedding Dress” off of “She Must and Shall Go Free”
Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Medication” off of “I See things Upside Down”
Vodpod videos no longer available.

“My Enemies Are Men Like Me” off of “Mockingbird”
Vodpod videos no longer available.

A Portrait of the Artist as God


Summer is over. The autumn rains
Have descended like tears from an invisible god.
I lie on this rock, the ringing of the isle’s name
                                                                    drips off my ear
along with the stampede of water rushing
                                                             rushing through the silence

Clothed with beauty,
                              I began to understand,
The source of Jupiter-Zeus
And begin to form my own mythology
Within the realm of reality

I see the personality of the wind
The fright of the trees
                                the whispers of the water
The art of the sky the song of nature
My altar erected
                        I now understand

The quiver of twigs
                            the movement of fingers
through the hair of some autumn goddess
Golden; beloved and adored above all the others.

Birds in silent homage,
                                  while sabbatical flowers fall.
I smell the smell of my sacrifice
                                               burning at the altar
of my gods and goddesses as I long to merge.
Be made a tree,
                        the breeze
                                        the ground.

To know and experience all that I love
As lovers
              in one embrace
One flesh of flesh
                          Dust of dust.

My heart in one accord, in that which I was made for
Worship of somethings someone anything
                                                             never nothing
In hopes of finding joy.
As I lie in the midst of beauty’s nature’s beauty
I grow sad because:
For although they knew him,
                                          they did not honor him as such
or give thanks to him,
                                but they became futile in their thinking,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Claiming to be wise,
                              they became fools,
and exchanged the glory of the immortal for images
resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Because they exchanged the truth about him for a lie
and worshiped and served the creation rather than
                                                                          the Creator.

And I am no different.