That's the spirit of the whole thing, isn't it? A place to discuss whatever is on your mind - ask questions when you have them, propose theories or explain thoughts when they come to you. An open place for conversation among many diverse individuals.


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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Favorite Things

When I first started brainstorming for this list, I started with very specific, detailed items but quickly with such narrow topics,my list would become more like a flavors of the week countdown rather than a snapshot of my mind right now that I will perhaps look back on in five or ten years and notice how I've matured and changed, how my priorities have shifted with the times, even note how society has shaped my point of view. However, I did compile all these little details and then broke it down into broader categories, but that resulted in a run-down of 101 classes at most universities rather than a personal image of how my world is shaped. So, naturally I compromised. I continued adding more ideas, subtracting the ones I felt were kind of tacked on, combining into larger categories and then breaking those down into topics and the end result was a solid 12 (rules were made to be broken) bullets, ranked, along with two honorable mentions which I could have grouped with some of the larger topic fields, but I felt that they deserved to be at least mentioned in their own right while also not quite getting the kind of recognition that the rest of the list is receiving. One thing I did find fascinating while compiling this list was how many of my interests overlapped with other topics, it's as if my favorite thing is a Venn diagram, and this is just my way of illustrating it. I shall now reveal my list to you in dramatic twelve to one traditional fashion, then I shall explain each topic individually throughout the next week from one up to twelve and the honorable mentions. And thus, without further delay, I give you my favorite things...

Honorable Mentions: Lists and Philosophy

12. Bowling - family hobby, along with Euchre and Hearts.

11. Roller Coasters - another longtime fascination of mine.

10. Animals/Evolution - from my early childhood love of big cats to the concept of evolution blowing my mind.

9. Weather - storms and disasters...what more can I say?

8. Mathematics - Pythagoras and other awesome things, bonus: shapes (triangles, circles the suffix -gon) and colors.

7. Words/Language - words, sentences, paragraphs, conversations, Google and mythology.

6. the Simpson's - I think this one kind of explains itself.

5. Family Life - started with walking the dog, but will likely transition into family and friends and eventually, playing the Sims.

4. Architecture/Engineering/Landscaping - a broad topic from skyscrapers and highways, to brick houses, ivy used as ground cover, and Legos.

3. Man over Nature - more so, harnessing lower, for instance windmills, watermills, hydroelectric dams and solar power.

2. Water - including, but not limited to; rivers, rapids, erosion, waterfalls, fountains, lighthouses and catamarans.

1. Music - but more specifically, live music.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ten Things and Global Warming

It's alright you haven't seen them, although I've meaning to ask, why are you in Utah right now anyways? Just curious.

I think you're right though, that the 2008 will be one of extreme change, so we should be optimistic, I mean, how much damage can be done in 18 months? Right?

So I was walking the dog the other day, and we've kind of gotten into the habit of taking long marathon walks, a good three or four hours just wandering around Kalamazoo and I thought of an excellent talking point for us. What are your favorite ten things ever? And I mean, and all intensive list of concepts, people, places, things, whatever - I don't care if 7 is dragons and 6 is tile floors and 5 is motivation...whatever you want. I'm still kind of working on my list, I have a few things down, but I want to rank them yet and I don't have 10 yet. And don't forget to include the always necessary why - nobody likes just a list of random shit.

So this past issue of Rolling Stone (with the Police on the cover) has an excellent three part article about Global Warming. The first part is a short conversation with Al Gore about his campaign to save the planet in and our of the political ring. The second part is about the Bush administration's do-nothing strategy that has put us another 20 years closer to destruction. The third part is a piece on changes that are already happening that do benefit the environment and what we as individuals can do. So what are your thoughts on global warming? Hoax or problem? Is it too late or can we save the planet? Discuss. Ta.

Friday, June 22, 2007

So first my reply to your question. I'm sorry to say that I haven't seen either movie, although both are at the top of my list to see as soon as I'm some place that has a DVD player again. Hotel rooms aren't very conducive to watching DVDs. So as soon as I see them I'll let you know.

Back to the topic of music for a moment though. I hope that our generation is up to it, because that is what we have. Lord knows that the current political climate is not going to continue to work and when all of the old guys that are in congress now die, or retire, or get kicked out of office, or what have you we are going to have to be there to pick up the pieces or as you said, we will fall much like the Romans did. Knowing that, I think that there will come a time some time in the not so distant future where we will see the government start to have opinions that are much more like our own. It happened in Vietnam, that's why we finally left the conflict. We left because 1) the climate had changed because of media influence and 2) because the political leadership had a turn over and it ended up favoring the younger generation, if I had to pick a number 3 it would be because we were getting our asses handed to us, but that was just bad strategy from the beginning. But I think the climate in politics can and will change to our favor the question is whether anyone our age will want to pick up the torch when most of us are disenchanted with the way things are going in this country. And I think it can happen again, it's just sad when you don't hear people standing up for their right to stand up. The first amendment is one that should never be ignored or forgotten. Ok, I'm done on my soap box for now.

And yes, we did both forget that American Idiot was the best selling album, and I'm sorry for that, because it was a work of art.

Again, I'm sorry that I haven't seen either of those movies, I would love to comment, but it wouldn't make sense since I haven't seen them. Ta.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

...and yet we still forgot.

It seems both of us let it slip our minds that the most successful album of 2004 was indeed a political statement against Bush and the war, if we recall. Green Day's "American Idiot" was a huge success as far as record sales go, however, it still failed to motivate any sweeping change.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A response...if you will

I'm so glad I'm not alone in my desire to ave a little conversation that actually requires a little though prior to speaking (or in this case typing, but the response is the same). It seems that whenever someone leaves an institute of learning, they immediately leave anything intelligent they may have had to say as well. "I didn't know" or "it's someone else's responsibility" are more and more becoming acceptable excuses for endangering incompetence. While it still seems little are fetched that stupidity could be the downfall of society, I sometimes fear that this ineptitude will lead to things far worse than we could ever imagine, if not on the global scale, at least here in America where things have already begun crumbling. I feel like a Roman as the empire came crashing in on itself due to spreading of military forces and corruptness in our political leaders. Some serious changes need to occur and it looks like it'll have to start with our that's some scary shit because I know these kids and I wonder if we're up to it. I hope this thing catches on though, I really enjoying having these types of talks, and yet it seems that there is no real appropriate place for them out in the "real world." Somebody remember to discuss the "real world" at a later date, the whole concept would make an excellent discussion, however, moving on past my own hubris on creating this wonderfully popular blog for us to talk these things out...

As for the music industry, I could not agree more. Mainstream America's silence here during a national disgrace ongoing in Iraq is more unsettling than anything else. Has pop music really gone that soft? Do they have nothing to say? What is wrong with this picture? I suppose first we must look at the movement against Vietnam so we have that starting point for argument. So it was the late sixties and the two most influential artists of all time, the Beatles and Bob Dylan, were at the top of their game and campaigned endlessly against the war (so much, in fact, that the FBI tried to have John Lennon deported). I think this had a major contribution into the protest efforts on mainstream America since it was sold as the cool thing to do - it wasn't at all controversial, it was what the big guns were doing, so everyone could do it. Today, there are no Beatles or Bob Dylan leading the way for songwriters and radio DJs, really it's a big guessing game on what will be popular and what will disappear into pop trivial history. On one side, I see the logic of the record industry staying away from the controversial topics with all of the other problems they are dealing with. The four remaining majors (with another merger imminent) are falling fast to piracy and new competition like cheap DVDs and video games, while the bread and butter of the industry, the teenagers, just don't seem to care anymore and aren't buying CDs as a sign of the times. They keep hoping one amazing hit single will save them, but they have to look bigger than that...and that's the side I see, that they are playing the only game they know how and aren't looking for alternatives. They are playing it safe with songs they know will do well on the radio and staying as far away from controversy as possible, probably as a kind of response to the Dixie Chicks backlash. A boycott like that could be the fatal blow to an already crippled industry. They aren't seeing, however, the main catalyst in the Dixie Chicks situation - the Dixie Chicks' main audience was made up entirely of red state supporters. Pop music is made up of a lot more diverse, politically, audience. I suppose indie rock has always had it's political moments, but unfortunately the limited audience isn't changing any minds or motivating any apathetic listeners. Way back in 2003, the Fiery Furnaces released "We Got Back the Plague," one of the first truly political songs to come out of the indie underground in response to Bush and his antics. I think it may have taken this long because it did take a while for 1) everyone to move past September 11th, as it was such a catastrophic event for us, as a nation to witness and 2) figure out that we were indeed being duped into some pointless war...we all saw the writing on the wall, but couldn't exactly read it until it was too late as we were wrapped up in swell of other emotions. Once the occupation started in 2004, many bands from Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M. and Pearl Jam toured and campaigned for John Kerry and while the concerts were a huge success, they ultimately came up short wen stirring up the vote. Later year, Eminem released his lackluster political single "Mosh," but it was October and most states had already closed registration for those of voting age. The same can be said for P. Diddy's, Moby's and others failed voting campaigns - too little too late. That's not to say music is a complete failure on the political front. More songs came out, for instance Rilo Kiley "It's a Hit", Bright Eyes "Road to Joy" and the Decemberists "16 Military Wives", but after the 2004 election was a bust (how did he get re-elected?) a lot seemed to move on, or lose hope (Bright Eyes went apocalyptic on "No One Would Riot For Less"). The Beastie Boys released "To the 5 Boroughs," both a grieving album for New York, but also a venting of sorts towards the maddening stupidity and bad decisions coming out of OUR White House. With 17 months to go until the next election and nobody seems to be able to wait - now that's depressing!

Now to answer my own question, I prefer the Prestige because the love story in the Illusionists seems too contrived and while it is difficult to dislike a film with both Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti, but I don't much care for Jessica Biel and poor on-screen chemistry didn't help much. As for the Prestige, it was an intriguing story that had me guessing until the very end, plus David Bowie as (my favorite eccentric scientist) Nikola Tesla! Just my opinion though, yours?



The Illusionist or the Prestige and why?

I'll reply to Jana's posts when I get home, it's time for work. Ta.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Current Songwriters Finally Start Standing Up

Ok, So I'm going to do something weird and do two posts in a row. The last one was a little bit more sentimental where as I'm hoping this one will start discussion. All I have to say is it's about time that mainstream music started hearing some songs about the current war. Throughout the Vietnam war there were tons of songs, everyone was writing a song about it whether in support or against, mostly against. However, in the current day and age, it's almost as if the songwriters out there have either been too apathetic or too afraid to speak their mind.
There were of course a few that did right away, most notably Toby Keith. And there were boatloads of songs about nine eleven itself. But once the "war" started, there was a silence. There weren't any songs coming out that were political in any way shape or form, at least not mainstream. I found that sad and somewhat disconcerting.

Which in turn is why I'm glad that there are now songs finally coming out that are political and that songwriters finally are stating their opinions. There are three that come to my mind right this minute; John Mayer's waiting on the world to change, Maroon 5's recent song makes me wonder and a song off Linkin Park's new CD Hands Held High. I sincerely hope that this is just the beginning of our pop stars speaking their mind. I believe that if the people who are already in the lime light speak their minds more will follow and maybe the citizens of the United States will wake up from their daze and remember that we live in a Democracy that is a capitalist society.

It's your turn, what do you think of the music industry finally speaking up through their music?

Transcontinential Railroad to where again?

Well, I have to say that I miss the conversations as much as you do. I find it very hard to carry get people to have in depth talks about anything and no one seems to care. I have to say I find myself more so than ever now that I've graduated going back to the days of Mr. Loncharte's classes where you and I and a few others would find ourselves engrossed in talks about the book of the week and trying to find connections to our lives. Here I am in Utah. I passed a sign that said Taggart and poof it's like I'm right back there again. And the first thing I do when I get Internet? I e-mail you about it Nathan. Well, shows how much I haven't changed doesn't it?

Ok, so the point of all of this is. That no matter where I go, there are certain things that stick with me no matter where I go and the thoughts of the transcontinental railroad, and the fall of the world are all within that realm of shall I say imagination. I am moving into the real world and in that real world I see more and more of the things we all used to talk about occurring. I'm not sure where the train that we're all on is going, but I do know that I wouldn't trade my time with my friends for anything. So as we take this ride call life, and ask constantly where are we headed? Lets remember to have those conversations that connected us together in the first place. For now Ta!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I have been thinking, as I often find myself doing in times of terribly mundane routine of day-to-day existence. I get up, I work, I come home and sleep. I didn't always do this, obviously, but I feel myself falling into a rut that I know is very difficult to climb out of and continuing on this thought process, I determined exactly what I'm missing from my past lives. I always woke up in the morning (or afternoon, but who's watching the clock?), I always went to work...sometimes school, but rarely, and then I would return home and sleep, but never has this routine truly brought me down and I think this is possibly because of the lack of group discussions I have had recently that match the shear intensity of the past. From talking "true evil" (better known as Darth Vader vs. Hitler to those who were there), capitalism vs. communism OR "I'm an objectivist, don't take it personally", even to debating God's existence while stuffing tacos. I'm not talking about changing the world or making any breakthroughs on any fronts, I just want to have some good old fashioned conversations with a group of people I know that will mentally stimulate me and give me something to think about. I'm not exactly sure where I want this to go, but I know I want if you come up with a topic before I do, please - post, anyone who wants it has permission to join in...well, I have to add you, but just comment and I will. Generally speaking, the more the merrier is an excellent motto for these types of things. And don't be limited to the current topic, hell - random thoughts are just as much fun as topical issues. So, I guess since I have nothing else to add - let the discussion begin.