Friday, May 28, 2010

New Music: Moses Mayfield

I came across this band, Moses Mayfield, on my Pandora radio station. I haven't heard much about them, but I really like their sound.

According to Wikipedia: Moses Mayfield was a 5-piece rock band from Birmingham, Alabama. Their major-label debut album, The Inside was released in March, 2007 under Columbia Records and Sony BMG. The Inside reached #43 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.[1] Prior to the release of their first album, they opened for Switchfoot, The Fray, Will Hoge, Pete Yorn, Blue October, and many others on several different nationwide tours. In October 2007, original guitarist Will Mason announced his departure from the band. The Inside failed to make a major splash in the market, so Moses Mayfield began to write in hopes of creating a followup to their critically acclaimed major label release. Unfortunately due to a realignment of personal goals the band decided to take an indefinite hiatus in December 2007.
Not long after they band broke up, lead singer Matthew Mayfield started playing shows centered around the Birmingham, AL area, usually solo acoustic but occasionally with a new backing band. Within a year, he independently released an album of acoustic songs, including acoustic versions of songs that previously appeared on The Inside. He also revealed that Moses Mayfield called it quits mainly due to disagreements with the record label, as well as some members deciding they wanted to leave the band due to these disagreements. A combination of those two items led to the sudden break-up.

So I guess I might have missed the boat on this band, but hopefully I can get my hands on their one and only album to be released.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bike to Work Week

This week is the official Bike to Work Week! The weather has been awesome so far to bike to work.
I have been biking to work for a little while now and I love bike to work week. Here are a few observations of Bike to Work Week:
First off, you see other people riding their bike to work too. This is one of the best benefits of Bike to Work Week, you see other people biking to work and generally they are friendly and say "Hello!"
Secondly, it is best to get to work early. With more people riding their bike to work this week, if you show up 15 to 20 minutes late chances are the bike rack will be full!
Thirdly, reducing your carbon footprint! According to Bike Iowa's web site, 51,111 commuting miles have been pledged. The average vehicle gets 18 mpg and the nationwide average of gas is $2.93 per gallon. Factor all of that in and 2,839.5 gallons of gas and $8,319.74 will be saved during Bike to Work Week!

I know it is not possible for everyone to bike to work, but if you have the chance this week I would highly recommend you give it a try...and then let me know how it goes! Grab a helmet, pack your work clothes in a backpack and head to work! Have fun and be safe.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SUV vs Mini

Swagger Wagon! If you have discussed vehicles with Heather and I, you might know where we stand. I lean towards mini-van's (Mini-Van = Mega-Fun) while Heather is definitely in the SUV camp. Toyota's new "Swagger Wagon" campaign is awesome and they are making Mini-Van's awesome

This video is hilarious and actually good, the lyrics are funny and it is a very catchy tune! Check out the Sienna YouTube channel to see all the great ads Toyota has produced about these self proclaimed "best parents in the world". What camp are you in...Mini or SUV?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review: Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven

The book club that I am in just finished reading the book "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Die or (the eschatology of bluegrass)" by David Crowder and Mike Hogan.

What a title! What a book! This is a great read, not at all what I expected before I read it, but it was a great book and I would recommend it.

To me, this book was like 4 small books all mixed together into one book that tackles the subject of loss, grief, suffering and how we can deal with death and tragedy. Those 4 books are shuffled together and then they add in an "IM" or instant messenger section that contains dialog between the two authors. They write in such a way that even though they are tackeling some pretty heavy subject matter they are able to keep it light with humor. They wrote this book shortly after the death of their friend and pastor, Kyle Lake. I think, this was their way of sorting through the grief and pain and coping with the loss of a close friend.

First, they tackle the subject of the soul and dig into the history of the soul. Throughout the years people have tried to discover scientifically if the soul exists. What is the soul, where is the soul, where does the soul go? All these questions that science has yet to prove one way or another. Despite all of this, the authors argue that even though science can't prove there is a soul, there is no denying that when you are standing next to the casket of a friend or loved one, there is definately something missing.

Second, they tackle the subject of the history bluegrass music. How the music came to America from Scotland and into the Appilation Hills to the backwoods. They discussed how bluegrass, in a way, expresses the feelings of grief and sadness but also looks to what could be and has themes of hope and joy.
Third, they tackle grief and loss and how we as people share, express and deal with those emotions. Often times we push those feelings dow or hide them, but they are emotions that we will all deal with. If we are in relationships, at some point we will all face death. They discuss how, like bluegrass, even though there is pain and sadness, it helps to remember the good times and the joy that was shared. Often times we get together in groups and share stories and how good that is for our souls to heal and share with one another.

Lastly, there is a section of the book called "Columns", at first I was so confused by this section, but as they unfolded I realized that they were a metaphor for the Gospel and how Jesus came to bear the weight of the world and to save us from our sins. Once we got all the pieces sorted out, I went back and reread this section and loved it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I really like how open and honest they were with the feelings and emotions that they processed through grief and loss of thier friend. It was a good reminder that we don't need and shouldn't rush through the healing process. It is even more essential to have a community of friends and family around during those times.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gracie's Birthday

Saturday evening, we celebrated Gracie's birthday! Per her request, Heather and I made tulip cupcakes. Before the parade, I put the finishing touches on the tulips.
Karys and Gracie watch and point out which cupcakes need more frosting.
Gracie is excited to turn 5!
Her eyes get wider as Erin lights the candles on her cupcakes!
We all sing her "Happy Birthday"...
...then Gracie blows out her candles.
After the cupcakes, Gracie opens up her presents!
Auntie Heather shows Gracie the memory game that she made!
After opening gifts, we headed to the backyard to play! So much fun can we had with a "twirly" slide! The birthday girl flew down the slide!
Karys next...
...and then Nathan came flying down.
Then they got a little inventive...forming a train, Karys and Nathan went down the slide together!
Then the adults joined in. Gracie and I went down the slide together!
Rob managed to slide down...head first!
Nathan rode on my back as we went down head first!
Auntie Heather and Gracie went down the slide together!
Rob and Karys are all laughs as they hit the grass.
Nathan and Chad come flying down together!
More train...this time all three! Gracie, Nathan and Karys!
We had a great time celebrating Gracie! We had a ton of fun all weekend with Heather's family, from the parade, to dinner, to the twirly slide. Big thanks to Rob and Erin for making the trip! Big thanks to Chad and Shay for opening up your home to all the craziness! It was so much fun to see Grandma Great, Aunt Kris and cousin John as well as for Brent and Doreen! It is always good to have the whole crew together!

Saturday Parade

Saturday afternoon, Heather walked in the parade with the gals from the year she was on the tulip court. Andrea, Heather and Sarah, all dressed up and ready to walk!
Rob and I picked out some prime spots to watch prior to the parade and marked our turf with some blankets. It paid off because we had a great spot to see the whole parade. Karys and Gracie were excited to watch the parade go by! Notice the was really cold, probably around 45 to 50 degrees.
Karys was really excited about the windmill float, she waved to the kids riding on the float!
Royalty! Andrea, Amy, Sarah and Heather representing the 2002 Tulip Court.
There was a crazy ice cream truck float in the parade and they were handing out ice cream cones...Karys got one!
The Siskow's and the Pine's joined us for the parade and an afternoon of fun in Pella.
Although not Dutch, these guys were awesome...bagpipes, drums and kilts, simply awesome!
These guys were demonstrating their fighting skills...very entertaining!
Joni, Heather and Dawn, all smiles after the parade.
Joni thought Heather's costume was great...and she could fit under Heather's kraplap
Derek and Aaron both enjoyed some of Pella's fine foods...Pella Bologna on a stick, Aaron enjoyed his while counting his money!
The gals also stood in line for the famous paffertjies...the ladies loved theirs!
While the guys were less than impressed with the tiny pancakes.
The whole crew at the table!
We had a ton of fun Saturday at the parade and checking out all Tulip Time has to offer! Big thanks to the Siskows and the Pines for making the trip.

Dutch Dancing World Record

Saturday morning, we headed back to Pella for more Tulip Time festivities. Heather got to attend the Queens brunch so we were in town at 8:30. After the brunch we meet up with 2,500 other people and set a new world record for dutch dancing!
They closed down the square and had people lined up on all 4 sides! All in wooden shoes!
We danced alongside of Heather's friend from their court Andrea and her mom, luckily they had a spare pair of wooden shoes for me to wear!
That's right, I wore wooden shoes and dutch danced with my wife to help set a world record. First step is wooden shoes, next step full dutch costume?
Heather and Andrea with their matching wooden shoes
Dutch dancing with over 2,500 other people is actually a lot of fun! If you ever have the chance, I would highly recommend it.

Tulip Time - Friday Night

Friday afternoon, Heather and I took off from work at lunch and headed to Pella to enjoy the 75th Tulip Time. Heather was walking in the parade on Saturday, so Friday afternoon we were tourists! I was a tourist with my own Tulip Time royalty as my tour guide! Despite the cold weather and strong wind, there were still some tulips that looked pretty good!
Heather and I all bundled up as we head up to watch the parade.
This year's tulip queen!
...and her court. This is the same buggy that Heather rode in when she was on the court!
I had to take a picture of this band..."Saber" marching band, it made me think of The Office.
Heather's family was walking in the parade. Heather's mom Doreen, Shay, Chad, Erin and Rob. Nathan, Karys and Gracie in the stroller and Addyson in Rob's arms. All decked out in dutch costumes!
Former Central College president, Dr. Roe was walking in the parade!
We caught the family again at the end of the parade, still smiling!
Shay and Chad are all smiles. Heather tells me you can't help but smile when you have on a dutch costume.
After the parade, we headed over and waited in line for Heather's favorite Dutch treat...poffertjes!
We had a lot of fun at the parade on Friday, it was a great start to a tulip time weekend!