Sunday, November 30, 2008

Song of the Week: "Round Here"

"Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog, where no one notices the contrast between white on white..."

From the captivating, poetic first line to the determined pleas at the end, Round Here is one of the greatest Counting Crows songs in their catalog. And, today, it has the honor of being crowned "Song of the Week". The fact of the matter is Adam Duritz can speak what he is feeling, something most of us cannot do very well. He is lonely, confused, afraid, misunderstood. Emotions tend to flow from him in the form of words and magically are put into a song normal folks can relate to.

Folks like me. I think part of the reason people have blogs is to offer what they are thinking or how they are feeling to the masses, e'en though the masses could generally care less (unless you're Brad Pitt or something). Who wants to read what Carol down the road has to say about the election? Or maybe what Thom got for his birthday? Isn't the blog-world like the lottery a bit? The readers never know what they're going to get from the blogs they read, truly. There is always the chance that there will be some randomness to the posts.

Maybe you read "Dan's Daily Dental Dilemmas" religiously. Day after day after day faithful Dan posts about the importance of flossing regularly, or the poor soul who lost his teeth in an automobile accident and how luckily Dan managed to create a perfect set of replica false teeth. You love to read what Dan deals with daily, and one day you click on your RSS and your jaw hits the floor (if your teeth break, that's okay, Dan's a dentist). Dan has posted something about the election, or maybe some wisdom on how to clean a cast-iron skillet. The point is, with blogs, you have no certainties in what you're going to get. And that's the same with this one. As with Adam, I feel like I "walk through myself and back again" to some unknown place. Things flood through my brain at a constant, unrelenting pace, and I find myself o'erwhelmed and confused quite often. Or misunderstood. Or afraid.

And that is why Round Here is this weeks song. Things are happening, folks. And you have to stand or jump. And who knows if there'll be a Holden Caulfield there to catch you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coldplay (on words)

Oh Death will never conquer, no it'll ju' get you lost!
No Death shall ne'er conquer, only lost?

Now don't panic, my friends, it'll pass as soon as the sparks are o'er,
The yellow bursts behind the parachutes and nothing more.
The spies shiver on Violet Hill as the warning signs and sirens blare.

Viva la vida! Vive le Roi!
Now all things are fine, right here in my place,
with you by my side and the smile God put upon your face.
So what if the king lives in the cemeteries of London?
Everything's already lost.

I am here, and I will fix you, or we'll be swallowed in the sea together.
Yes, we will pass on to Kingdom Come, hands held and trouble in the sky,
smiling as we join the ranks of Death and all His friends.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Several people have recommended to me the ABC show Heroes. Finally, I decided to try it out. I rented the first 3 discs of Season One, spanning episodes 1-10, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the show thus far. I've always loved comics and such, and this show's character's are completely likable. Anyway, I just thought that I'd throw a quick "thanks" to everybody that recommended the show (Bill, Brian, etc.) and let you know that I am very glad to be watching it finally. Have a cold night, folks.

Post Script: By the way, if you look at the word for very long, it's one of those words that start to look funny and made-up. You know, like, roads. The more you look, the more you're convinced that it's misspelled.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Looking back through my past posts I see that I have a post on Tea & Probability. However, I cannot limit myself to just one post on a subject as grand as tea.

Tea is one of the most consumed beverages across the world. It's so important in England that people take a special time of the day to have a quaint glass. And in the South (that is, southern parts of the US) it is a staple during the summer time. I recently read something saying that the average American consumes 6 gallons of tea per year. That appalled me, to be quite honest. A year ago, my roommate and myself were drinking a gallon a day. Now, though, I've lessened a bit, and I'm down to about a gallon or two a week.

And this is sweet, iced tea, just in case you're wondering. I'll fill a pot o' water and put 4-5 tea bags in, wait til the pot boils, steep the tea for a while, then mix and make my gallon. Voila. And it's pretty tasty, too.

But I also enjoy a cup of hot tea quite often. I really enjoy Earl Grey, just because I think it smells and tastes great, but I like a few other types, too. Not much on the green teas, though. But on a cold night, or a late night, there's few things that compare to a cup of hot tea. And if you've never had a cup of hot tea, then you're missing out. Get yourself a kettle and some tea (I'd recommend the Earl Grey to start out) and make yourself a cup. Enjoy the complex taste. Let it tickle your tongue a bit. I know I do.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Patrick Rothfuss

I read all the time. And I mean all the time. Typically I'm reading two or three books at a time. What kind of books do I read, you wonder? Typically fantasy and science fiction, but also quite a bit of graphic novels, classics, mystery, westerns, suspense, horror, short stories, poetry, and a very little amount of non-fiction (unless you count wikipedia).

Nevertheless, most of my life has been fantasy novels. Sadly I did not realize how similar many of these books were until I read The Name of the Wind, by Pat Rothfuss. Pat revolutionized the fantasy genre for me with this book. There's few, if any, typical fantasy cliches in his book, and I cannot remember the last book I was this pleased with a read.

Pat stole my heart and and took it along for a ride with his protagonist, Kvothe. The man's tale is full of mystery, magic, joy and grief, and love (o'course). I forced my mom to read this book (she's a non-fiction, true story reader, or horror...) and she enjoyed it. I'm reading it aloud to my wife. I've recommended it to several folks and they've all loved it. And now I recommend it to you.

Go buy "The Name of the Wind" tomorrow. Or tonight. It doesn't matter when, just the longer you wait the more you'll wish you would've got it sooner. Savor every page. And when you're done, or before you start, visit Pat's blog and check out the awesomeness that he is.

You're welcome.

EDIT: I'm not really sure why there was such a gap from when I read this book until I mentioned it on my blog.  I read Name of the Wind during the summer of 2007.  I guess I wasn't blogging frequently between then.

Joe Purdy

As an avid listener of music (is that such a unique thing?), I think my taste is rather eclectic. I mostly listen to folky-bluegrassy-acoustic stuff, but sometimes I'll feel the need for techno, pop, blues, country, rock, classical, catchy hip hop, foreign music, and almost anything that's playing. However, I have to point out and give recognition to one of my favorite artists: Joe Purdy.

I became aware of Joe during the first season of Lost, from his song "Wash Away", which appeared on one of the episodes. Joe's also had several songs featured in Grey's Anatomy, and a movie or two, too, I believe. However, he's not in the mainstream music industry largely due to the fact that he's completely independent, that is to say that he produces and makes his own stuff without the hassles of a Big Name record company.

Joe has an extensive catalog, all of which is free to listen on his website. Every album is a wonderful pleasure for your ears, and thought stimulating for your brain. I would classify Joe Purdy as an acoustic-folk artist, similar to Jack Johnson and John Mayer, but without the pop themes. Instruments include acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, percussion, the occasional harmonica, and a wonderful voice.

I can easily recommend Joe to anyone with any taste in music, and I can almost guarantee that you'll love him. Enjoy.

New Layout

I'm not really sure why I have a blog, but there is the chance that someone (even one) might read it and actually get something from it, then that's fine by me. I'm not sure what anyone could glean from the harvest of my blog, but, who knows.

I've renovated the layout. I think it's time for something new. Something green.

To give an account of how things have been, simply: Grad student now, in Civil & Environmental Engineering. Mandolin skills increasing steadily. Writing still defunct and strange. Books upon books continue to pass my eyes and hands. Life is wonderful, and I'm greatly blessed.

It's nearing winter, and the first flurries of snow are to be expected tonight or tomorrow. It's gonna be a cold one, I'm thinking.