29 April 2011

Music Day

I loved this CD to death when I first got it only a few months after it was released. I must have listened to it almost every day for two or three straight years. David Meece is a unique artist that way -- no matter how many times you listen to his music it never ever seems to get old. I still love this album.
Title: I'll Be Waiting For You
Artist: David Meece
Album: There I Go Again
Year: 2002
Record Label: Aluminum Records
Here it is on iTunes and here it is on YouTube.

And while we're on the topic of music, it might interest you to know that I have now added YouTube links to the following Music Day posts:
Group 1 Crew -- Transcend
Petra -- I Will Celebrate/When The Spirit Of The Lord
PFR -- Pour Me Out
Rich Mullins -- My Deliverer

24 April 2011

Music Day, Part Two

It isn't rock. But it's intense. It's dramatic. And it's extrapolated from something that really happened (that is to say, based on a true story).

Title: He's Alive
Artist: Don Francisco
Album: Forgiven (and compilations, lots of compilations -- this was a huge song in the Christian music world)
Year: 1977
It's on iTunes here and YouTube here.

To get the full account of what happened, find a Bible (personally I recommend a New King James Version -- it's pretty easy to follow), find a quiet place, and carefully read the following:
Genesis, chapters one through three.
Matthew, chapter one, verses 18-25.
Luke, chapter one, verses 26-38.
Mark, chapter one, verses nine through eleven.
Matthew again, chapters twenty-six through twenty-eight.
Luke, chapters twenty-two through twenty-four.
And John, chapters seventeen through twenty-one.
For clarity, I recommend that you read at least all of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but the references listed above will give you the basic idea of what happened.

22 April 2011

Music Day, Part One

Today being Good Friday -- the day set aside to really remember Jesus' crucifixion -- I thought this song might be appropriate. It's almost too common, almost to the point of cliche in fact; but for once there's a good reason for its popularity.

Title: Via Dolorosa
Artist: Sandi Patti
Album: Songs From The Heart
Year: 1990
Here it is on iTunes.
There's a live version on YouTube here.

Tune in this Sunday for another excellent (and cheerier) song.

20 April 2011

Historical Accuracy Fail

I quite like Facebook's idea of displaying photo albums you've been tagged in from months or even years ago. So often we forget the good times and dwell only on our current depressing situation. Going back to a friend's photo album from nearly a year ago and remembering all the fun you had at a particular event really brightens one's day.
This is what Facebook recommended for me today:

Photo by Kate.
This was taken at West Edmonton Mall and I believe it's meant to be a replica of one of Columbus' ships. My friend and I were there with her youth group and we both spotted this at the same time. (Then, of course, we both had to take pictures.)
It pretty much made my night. You'd think the people in charge of a historical display would know better than to put a plastic IKEA-style trash can on a seventeenth-century ship.

19 April 2011

The Blue Screen Of Death

I'm not afraid of the Blue Screen of Death. I never have been.
Oh sure, I heard the horror stories as a child of computers suddenly displaying this mysterious blue screen with 'gibberish' written in white text, then never working again.
I think the reason for my utter lack of fear (or even healthy respect) of the BSOD is because although I knew the stories, the first (and second and third and fourth) time I encountered one I didn't know what it was.
I was about twelve years old at the time and while listening to a CD on our old Windows ME computer I somehow discovered that I could import music off of it into the computer -- and only the songs I liked.
So I pulled a couple of favourite songs off of two or three CDs and was having a wonderful time listening to them when suddenly the music went into a loop about five seconds long and a blue screen with white text came up.
I read it carefully. I didn't understand most of it, but it said 'Press any key to continue,' so I did.
I can't recall if it rebooted or if the blue screen simply disappeared, but at any rate I found myself back at the desktop -- although all the running programs had been closed.
Thinking it was fluke or something (ah, how much I've learned about computers over the years!), I opened Media Player, found the songs, and tried to play them again.
About a minute into the first song the same thing happened -- the music suddenly went into an annoying loop and the blue screen with white text came up again. I read the screen -- in case it said something different this time -- and pressed a key to continue.
Again I ended up back at the desktop with WMP closed.
I was quite stubborn back then and opened Windows Media Player a third time and began to play the music. However, if I recall correctly I did choose a different song.
Once again the blue screen appeared. I was only slightly perturbed at this point (things really have changed since then...). I pressed a key and was dumped back to the desktop.
I decided to try once more. If it still didn't work then Windows Media Player just wasn't worth the time and energy.
So for a fourth time I launched WMP and began to play music. For a fourth time the blue screen appeared and I pressed a key and ended up back at the desktop. I simply chose something else to do and continued on my merry (if somewhat quieter) way.
It wasn't until several months later that I realised that I had seen the infamous Blue Screen of Death that day. That screen I had always feared and dreaded... that apparently heralded the computer's immediate and inescapable demise... I had simply blown past it four times in a row. I had conquered it. The computer hadn't succumbed.
In other words, the almighty and powerful Blue Screen of Death was not a huge monster that would ruin the computer instantly no matter what one tried. It was completely controllable and I was capable of defeating it.
No, the BSOD doesn't scare me.
This scares me:

My apologies for the glare -- my photo editing software is currently out of commission (again...). Photo by Kate.

For the reason, read this, this, and this (in that order). I suppose if you're in a hurry you could get off with reading just the last one though.

15 April 2011

Music Day

This week is a bit of a deviation from rock music, but this song is by no means dull. This artist has a touch of the dramatic about him, even though he uses a minimal amount of instruments. He tends to utilise an Irish theme throughout a lot of his music (it shows a bit in this song), which is probably why most haven't heard of him -- heaven forbid that Christian radio play something that might deviate from the bland Phillips, Craig and Dean blueprint. This man seems to have existed alongside the Christian music world rather than within it.
I hope you're encouraged by this song.

Title: The Edge
Artist: Michael Card
Album: Poie'ma
Year: 1994
Record Label: Sparrow
It's on iTunes here, and on YouTube here.

09 April 2011

Why I Hate Spring

According to the calendar and the sun-watchers here in Canada, it is now spring. This is a revolting development if you ask me. I hate spring. And here are the reasons why (in no particular order):

1. Mud.
I live in a very rural area. The only roads for the next four kilometres are all dirt. In the spring, this means industrial-strength mud. I have seen tractors get stuck in the stuff. No lie.

2. Melting snow.
I love snow. I don't even mind driving through it that much (in fact, it's preferable around here to drive through snow because you can at least follow the tracks other vehicles have left behind rather than dry your eyes out trying to see the centre line that hasn't been repainted for fifteen years).
One of the most painful things in the world is to watch the lovely pure white snow melt. Even more painful is to listen to people callously say things like, 'hopefully the snow melts soon' and 'finally some sun -- maybe the snow will melt.' It's like they actually enjoy watching something so beautiful shrivel up and die a horrible lingering death (see also #4).

3. Standing water.
While admittedly fun to splash around in if you're dressed for it, when you're not dressed for it the only parking space you can ever find anywhere is right in the middle of a puddle deep enough to rival Lake Winnipeg.

4. Inanely cheerful people.
No offense to my dear friends who like spring, but collectively you tend to get very annoying very quickly. Especially on Facebook. Few things are more irritating than logging in and having to wade through posts from 72 otherwise fairly mature people saying 'Sun, sun, Mr Golden Sun, please shine down on me.' (See #8.)

5. Chronically warm housemates.
I don't care that the calendar says spring. That calendar was most likely printed in California. If you haven't heard yet, they have a completely different seasonal schedule than we do in Alberta. Do not tell me to put on a sweater; in case you haven't noticed I'm wearing seven of them already and in fact do not own any more sweaters to put on.
Furthermore I do not care that the weatherman says there might possibly, maybe, perhaps, if you're lucky, be one ray of sun peeking through the clouds for about ten seconds. One ray of sun is not sufficient to melt the thirty-foot high snowdrift on your yard, so stop squealing like an idiot. Nor is it sufficient to warm the air to the point where one can wear shorts and a t-shirt and go barefoot. I have a news flash for you -- it is still minus fifteen out; SHUT THE FLIPPING WINDOWS!

6. 'Fresh' air.
In the city, spring means fresh air. Like actual fresh air that I really don't mind breathing in because it's nice.
In the country, however, spring means fertiliser. Fertiliser means animal dung. Spread all over the abundance of fields around here. And trucked back and forth and back and forth across the roads you live on to get to said fields. Also, the increase of sun (see #8) means an increase of heat, which leads to an increase of smell.
Even more intolerable are the people who have been in the country long enough that their brains have been permanently warped by the smell and claim to enjoy it. These unfortunate folk will actually roll down windows, stick their heads out and breathe deep whenever they pass a fertiliser truck or a tractor fresh from the field. Then they will spend the next ten minutes asking if you were dropped on your head as an infant because you still have functioning olfactory glands.

7. Bugs.
I despise bugs. We don't get that many here in Canada (I'm told from those who have been Stateside), but the ones we do have are massive and seem to have an unnatural love for my bedroom. When you require three hours and a cement block larger than your dog to kill the three-inch-round spider on your wall, you have a problem. It's 1 to 4 am. You should be sleeping.
You also have a problem if a moth the size of a semi trailer gets caught in the fluorescent 'twisty' light bulb and literally burns half to death but can still fly fast enough to evade your cement block.

8. Brighter (and longer-lasting) sun.
I don't mind the sun -- to a point. However, when you spend an average of an hour a day driving into the sun, you get a pounding headache very quickly. Add to that logging into Facebook and finding an abundance of brainwashed robots singing the sun's praises (see #4), and it all makes you want to go out and buy yourself a firearm.
I'll admit that I'm one of those famed 'night owls.' I do my best work in the dark. The longer lasting sun forces me to stay up later to get anything of worth done and thus I oversleep the following morning. Mornings are bad enough without having everyone biting your head off because you're late for everything. (Also see #9.)

9. Daylight Savings Time. Enough said.

There are many other reasons why spring simply should be skipped over, but I'm sure you get my drift. Spring sucks, winter's cool, and that's all I have to say. Thank you for your time and attention to this very pressing matter.

08 April 2011

Music Day

I'm almost completely new to this band and their music, but my mother was a fan for quite a while (now I think the band has faded away).
If you like Petra, you might enjoy this band too -- same era, similar style.

Title: Independence Day
Artist: White Heart
Album: Powerhouse
Year: 1990
Record Label: Star Song
It's on iTunes here. Don't be fooled by the preview -- it's rock, don't worry. The iTunes Store has a premonition for picking the cheesiest part of almost any song and setting that as the preview.
If you download the song (and you should), skip the first minute if you aren't American -- there's an Americana-type intro that I personally find boring and probably wouldn't interest anyone of any other nationality. (This is what you hear at the beginning of the iTunes Store preview, which is what makes the preview so misleading.)
Here it is on YouTube -- the intro previously mentioned isn't on this video.

01 April 2011

Music Day

If you enjoy either spoofs or dramatizations (or rock music), you must listen to this song. This is one of the more well-known Christian artists of the 1980s, primarily because of this song.

Title: The Champion
Artist: Carman
Album: The Champion
Year: 1986
Find it on iTunes here.
Here is just one version of it on YouTube (skip the first minute if you don't really care who he dedicates the song to). Search 'Carman The Champion' on the site to find quite a few other videos (a lot of them are live tapings too, so that's always fun.)