Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Random Ten

The last concert in my concert series is Chris Tomlin, who I saw last fall and you can reread my thoughts from then, rather than having me rehash that here.

Instead, I'd like write about one of the songs that he does that I really love, especially with the emphasis Tomlin has put on sharing the story behind one of our oldest hymns, "Amazing Grace". John Newton wrote it in the 1700s where he had spent most of his live as a slave trader. The ship was being rocked by a storm, and he was relieved from his post in the middle of that to return under the deck. Shortly thereafter, the man who replaced him was swept overboard and lost at sea. That event, and the lack of control he had over such an occurrence started him on a path to accepting the tenets of Christianity in his own life, and to one powerful poem. Tomlin added a refrain in his version, and that's what you can watch/listen to below.

Then I asked Pandora to make a station off of Chris Tomlin's style. Here is what I they picked:

"How Can I Keep From Singing" by Chris Tomlin* on See The Morning
"Here I Am To Worship" by Passion on Our Love Is Loud
"All Who Are Thirsty" by Kutless on Strong Tower
"I Give You My Heart" by Reuben Morgan on World Through Your Eyes
"Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin* on Arriving
"Wholly Yours" by The David Crowder Band on B Collision
"All Creatures of Our God and King" by Passion on Hymns Ancient & Modern
"All The Heavens" by Reuben Morgan on World Through Your Eyes
"Better Is One Day" Collection: Top 25 Praise Songs 2005 Edition
"Made To Worship" by Chris Tomlin* on See The Morning

As I would have expected, this list is pretty heavily laden with the standard worship songs of today. Most of these songs have been recorded by multiple artists along the way, and seem relatively nondescript for listening to. They are fun to sing, but it's not what I want to have pumped into my ears during the workday. Good thing I am now officially finished with my little Pandora experiment. I think I can safely say I'd rather listen to a more eclectic mix than might be identified by Pandora, so I'll be back to iTunes next week. I know you just can't wait.

* Acts I've seen live

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tiptoe Through The Tulips: Indian Blood Peach

I really had no idea this was a peach tree -- there were no fruit last year. This year, however, we had tons of these little peaches.

The ones that weren't eaten up by birds were tasty and I enjoyed them all, since GB won't eat peaches (silly guy). The fruits are small -- maybe 2-3 inches in diameter -- and the stones were definitely a cling-type. Based on the varieties of peach that grow in this area, my best guess is that these are Indian Blood peaches, though it's quite likely I am wrong, and welcome whatever other suggestions I can get. I never noticed a flower, so I don't have that to review in the identification details, but just based on size, stone, and color, that's the one I settled on. There's another small tree in the front, so I look forward to the day that I can race the birds on two trees, instead of just one.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Random Eights

With a day like 08-08-08, and with it falling on a Friday no less, I've decided to pull together my eighth tracks (as opposed to eight tracks), and jumble them together for you. This left out any EPs and albums with really long tracks, since they didn't have 8 tracks on them. Also, any albums that had lots of tracks still just get the one entry -- no 16th tracks or anything like that.

Here are the random eighth tracks for you.

"I Got a Cheese Log" by Trout Fishing in America* on Merry Fishes to All
"Ice" by Sarah McLachlan on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
"French Rockin' Boogie" by Geno Delafose on Zydeco Essentials
"I Believe" by R.E.M. on Life's Rich Pageant
"If Not For Love" by Wayne Watson on Home Free
"Prince Ali" by Robin Williams on Aladdin soundtrack
"I Just Shot John Lennon" by The Cranberries on To The Faithful Departed
"When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin IV

Way to go, iTunes! You done good -- even though eighth tracks tend not to be the strong point of most of the albums as I was looking through them. It was a good collection for my favorite day. I especially enjoyed the banjo-heavy Boogie into the light banjo feel to the start of the REM song. It's gotta be the only REM song that starts with banjo, so it was nice of them to fall together. Also, the shots from the end of the shooting of Mister Lennon into the drum solo beginning of the breaking levee created some nice imagery flow in my mind. Nice pairings all over the place!

* Acts I've seen live

My Favorite Day

In case you're not aware, my favorite day that I will ever live to see is today. August 8, 2008 -- 08/08/08.

I absolutely love the number 8. Besides the fact that I have Chinese roots, and 8 is the number of prosperity in the Chinese culture, there are so many other reasons to love the number.

I have previously indicated how big a nerd I am based on my love of numbers. 8 is no exception to that fun. Somewhere along the way, I recall a card game where you turn over a card with a number in it. You have cards in your hand that contain numbers and operators, and you have to put down a combination of cards that will result in the target number, with the object to get rid of all your cards faster than anyone else. So, for example, if the target number was 13, you might put down the five cards that go with 7 x 2 - 1. Along the lines of that game, with 8 as the target number, here are some fun little calculations.

I'm 32. Take 32 x 2 (the cubed root of 8) and you get 8 squared.

My street number is 2680. Rearranging the digits, that's 2 + 6 + 0 = 8

Yes, it's true. I'm a nerd. Regardless, I just can't help the octophilia that I've come down with. I've always loved 8, (don't you love how you can turn it on it's side and get the symbol for infinity? No? That's just me?), so this day is pretty darn cool. And I like today more than 08/08/88, even though that had more 8s, because of all the pretty symmetry on today's date.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Congrats to Matt and Constance!

I am currently more excited for two people I wouldn't know from anyone else on the street than should be strictly allowed. After two solid years of trying, and at least 18 months of blogging about it, they have just found out they are pregnant. Please jump over to and congratulate them at this joyous time for them. Knowing their official pregnancy test was today, I've been refreshing their site like a madwoman waiting for news. And, yes indeedy, congratulations are in order. Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tiptoe Through The Tulips: Hoya carnosa (Snowball)

This was such a surprise when I found the first group of flowers. Previously, I was convinced that it was a vine that was all over a tree, but was just a vine.
This shows you the woody vine that I had definitely seen, and it gives you a little bit of an idea of how the flowers were hiding in and amongst the leaves of this guy. However, once I found the flowers, I couldn't stop noticing them. The bees certainly found the flowers, even if they are hiding.
In this picture, which I took from underneath the flower bunch, pointed right up to the sky, you can see the flowers mixed in with some moss that is hanging from that tree along with the vines. I know you can't smell through the picture, but those flowers are sweet and I'm so happy that more and more clusters flower, because I love to just go out there and smell them. Mmmm!!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Random Ten

Now we're into the realm of local Austin acts that Pandora doesn't know anything about. I really confused it with some of the options I through in there, so I don't think those will work in our little summer posting diversion here.

The next concert I went to that was from a recognizable band name was Cowboy Mouth in Austin. I remember a lot of alcohol was consumed at the concert and my ears rang until I fell asleep that night. You can read my recap of the second time I saw them, so I won't bore you with it. But I hope you'll enjoy watching a little of their Louisiana-Rock in this little live bit.

Here are the songs that were played with Cowboy Mouth as the inspirational starting point.

"This Much Fun" by Cowboy Mouth* on Voodoo Shoppe
"Run To The Water" by Live on Awake: The Best of Live
"The First Eviction Notice" by The Lawrence Arms on Apathy and Exhaustion
"Stay With You" by The Goo Goo Dolls on Stay With You
"Everybody Loves Jill" by Cowboy Mouth* on Easy
"Fire Escape" by Fastball on All the Pain Money Can Buy
"Longview" by Green Day on Dookie
"I Dare You" by Shinedown on Us And Them
"Everybody" by Gameface on Four To Go
"Let Me Hold It Open" by Cowboy Mouth* on Easy

I was surprised how low-key this batch of music really was, since I have Cowboy Mouth in my mind as being a loud, heavy-drumming sort of band. However, their studio recordings have a lot less of that in them, and that's got to be why we ended up with this calm group. Not bad, necessarily, but calm, and generally already known by me. And I was all set for loud and crazy stuff I'd never heard of.

* Acts I've seen live