Friday, March 28, 2008

The Art of the Mix Tape and how to waste time on your spring break.

I have been known from time to time to make the infamous mix tape. I have wrote about them before but I felt the need today to talk about the use, formation, and creation of said object of my affection.

The mix tape is used creatively. It sends emotions through song and collaboration to the recipient of said mix. Now I think the use of the word 'tape' sounds a bit misleading since I no longer tape songs off the radio or feel the need to hit both play and record at the same time on my boombox. I like the novelty of the word and will, without feeling guilty, continue to use the word mixTAPE with the full knowledge that I burned MP3s onto a CD from my computer.

I started becoming interested in the development of the mixtape when I obsessively watched the movie High Fidelity. I found a quote that seems highly appropriate:

"To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with "Got to Get You Off My Mind", but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs and...oh, there are loads of rules."

And that's right there ARE lots of rules. A good mix starts with a feeling or a purpose. I made another one last night that consisted of the all so common road trip. A good driving mix holds emotion, it can keep you going, it can get you started, it can dictate the drive, it stirs conversation, or it can make you ponder through what is happening in life or the drive. You should never take two songs from the same album or use the artist more than once. You can use the same artist only if it is following a theme like: These are my favorite Iron Maiden songs. Then it would lead you to believe that the mix is full of loud London sounds. The mood is important. The message is important. Sometimes these can be put together. Other times it is one or the other. Choose carefully. Start with one and move to the other if needed.

The most common of the mix is the: "I just started dating you and I want you to know how I feel about you" mix. These are the cute songs that get you excited about life and love, these are the songs that make you smile when you hear them and stare longingly into space because you are thinking of that person. These mixes you find later in life and you smile and they remind you of those soft quiet nights that you spent staying up way to late thinking about the possibilities of what will be and the words of some Death Cab song leads you to believe he/she was the one.

The mix tape (in my mind) needs a clever title that relates the feel of the record. Stealing lyrics from songs on the mix tape are definitely allowed and should be used. Cover art is helpful and brings in the creativity. Receiving a mix tape is an honor and if it is done well can be talked about over low grade vodka and olives on sticks. The overall presentation is important and can seal the deal when presented to the receiver. The mix tape can (and should) be the golden ticket. It reveals a lot of your personality, musical tastes, and hoping that the receiver can decipher the encoded message within.

I will make you a mix if you want me to.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Movie List

I am on Spring Break and have had this overwhelming desire to unwind, process, and have an absence of plans, obligations, and expectations. So I have watched movies. Lots of them.

Flight of the Concords--Amazing. Love this show, couldn't (and still) stop laughing about the randomness of these New Zealanders. My favorite episode was about Race....I laughed for almost the whole show.

Episodes of Sex and the City--Standby favorite show. I like the relationships and help me think/process what I would want (and not want) in a relationship.

Sliding Doors--One of the few chick flick movies that I can watch and not want to vomit a little in my mouth. It's cute. Gwenyth Paltrow is adorable and the thought of fate is intriguing.

Pride and Prejudice-- One of the most beautiful films that I watch as my go to movie. It is sweepingly beautiful and the story classic.

Run Lola Run:I love this opening quote:
Mankind, probably the most mysterious species on our planet. A mystery of open questions. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How do we know what we believe to know? Why do we believe anything at all? Innumerable questions looking for an answer, an answer which will raise the next question and the following answer will raise a following question and so on and so forth. But in the end, isn't it always the same question and always the same answer?

Big Fish Using my imagination is one of my favorite things that has evoked my passions. What a great story.

Stranger than Fiction: One of my favorite movies as of late. I think it gives me hope for a future that is so unknown...

As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true. And, so it was, a wristwatch saved Harold Crick.

Labyrinth: David Bowie sings. David Bowie dances. David Bowie in tights. Muppets.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: This movie was cute though one of my least favorites in the bunch but I really loved this ending quote:

At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey. We hope to have you back in our arms soon, darlings, but in case this letter arrives before our return, know that we love you. It fills us with pride to know that no matter what happens in this life, that you three will take care of each other, with kindness and bravery and selflessness, as you always have. And remember one thing, my darlings, and never forget it: that no matter where we are, know that as long as you have each other, you have your family. And you are home.'

Once I really feel calm when I watch this film. I LOVE the ending. I love the messiness. I love the simplicity. The soundtrack is great.

Chocolat: Again one of my favorite movies. I love this quote from the film. I think it's great and kind and wonderful. It draws out the simple beauty in life.

From the Priest: Our Lord... His Humanity... how He lived His life here on earth. His kindness, His tolerance... we can't go 'round measuring our goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude... we've go to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.

Spanglish: Cute movie. Totally LA. The need and desire was cute.

The Hours: One of the BEST movies of the weekend. I am still processing and deserves its own post but this was one of m favorite lines from the film....

I remember one morning getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling? And I remember thinking to myself: So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And of course there will always be more. It never occurred to me it wasn't the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment. Right then.

Blades of GloryHAHAHAHAHA....
Cutting Edge meets Zoolander.

Little Women: I feel similar feelings towards this moving like I feel about Pride and Prejudice. I love this film and it always makes me feel safe. My favorite moment:

Oh, Jo. Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You're ready to go out and - and find a good use for your talent. Tho' I don't know what I shall do without my Jo. Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it.

Dan in Real Life: It was cute. Steve Carell is captivating and you feel and sense the pain. I love this last line....
Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised.

Outfoxed: The War on Journalism Great documentary on media manipulation. There are a lot of good reaction points and something we need to be in aware of on a regular basis.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


At five o'clock tonight I will be done with this quarter and working until Monday. This quarter has been good, challenging, and full of the feeling of transition. I wrote on the body, women and hop hop, media literacy, and David Bazan. I moved. My computer died. I met new people. I felt new feelings.

Overall this quarter was crazy, but in the last couple of weeks I was able to take a really deep breath and assess my life. I am happy. I was driving in my car yesterday with my sunglasses on, the windows down, and singing the chorus to an old song that I had resurrected:

Here's to new beginnings.
Here's to so much more.
Here's to you and your dreams.
and everything you worked so hard for.

I smiled and a tear dripped down my cheeks. I am happy with all that's happening. In just eleven weeks I will be done with my graduate degree. I will have created a path for myself. I live in a new house with some amazing people. I wake up every morning with the coffee pot full and within a moment a smile on my face and a giggle escaping from my lips.

This next week will be slow. I plan on watching movies (good and bad) and going to art museums. I believe there will also be a trip to San Francisco in the works. I think that sounds lovely.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Two statements that were whispered to me today.

This is a new day. Forget what made you sleep last night and embrace what made you wake.

Don't forget what you've learned, what you give is returned, and when life seems absurd what you need is some laughter.
Clense Song--Bright Eyes

Monday, March 10, 2008

Best Mix Ever

I was in a great mood yesterday and realized in the last couple of weeks I had promised some mixes for some people so I put them together and OH MY GOSH did I put some mixes together. Here are a couple. Let me know if you want a copy....

Ryan Adams: Dear Chicago (from album: Demolition)
Sufjan Stevens: For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti (from album: Michigan)
The Avett Brothers: The Ballad of Love and Hate (album: Emotionalism)
Nick Drake: Pink Moon (album: Pink Moon)
Iron and Wine: The Trapeze Swinger (from soundtrack: In Good Company)
Califone: Bottles and Bones (from Roomsound)
Sia: Breathe Me (from album: Colour the Small One)
Ray LaMontagne: Jolene (from album: Trouble)
Tom Waits: Hold On (from album: Mule Variations)
Jeff Tweedy: Be Not So Fearful (live from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Demos)
Gillian Welch: Dear Someone (from:Time (the Revelator))
Feist: Intuition (from the album: The Reminder)
Son Volt: World Waits for You (from the album:Okemah and the Melody of Riot)
Neutral Milk Hotel: Two Headed Boy Part 2 (from the album: In an Aeroplane over the Sea)
David Bowie: Life on Mars? (from the Life Aquatic soundtrack OR Hunky Dory)
Ryan Adams: Wonderwall (from Love is Hell, Part One)
Radiohead: True Love Waits (from: I Might Be Wrong Live EP)

Some mixes are made for what the lyrics are telling you, a story written by someone else and rewritten by you by the order of the mix. Some mixes are for the energy placed in songs. This mix is more of a feel record mixed with lyrics that are lovely though not a mix that is not written from beginning to end.

What I love about this mix is that it is really mellow. I love that it spans all sorts of genres but has a similar feel and flow. Some of these are some of my all time favorite songs and musicians that really resonate with my life. The simplicities of the songs challenge the complex nature of life and I feel lucky that they have graced my life.

I love this mix. The Sia song is where I am at might be my favorite one (of this current period of time) on this mix...

Monday class reflection

I really enjoyed today's lecture. I think it's helpful to be aware of Global connectedness and youth culture as well as American youth culture and identity. Today I feel like the church is more worried about right actions and proper living rather than the holistic dialogue that breathes life. What needs to happen is instead of separating church and culture and begs the church to introduce the need for media literacy. It begs for authentic faith and authentic culture and plugging these ideas together wrestles us free form consumer holds and transfers the power back into the people.

Image from

Reflection Week 9

Cobb: Everlasting Life
Cobb surprised me with this chapter and took a different route than I would have expected him to when he talked about the different visions of the omega stories. I don’t think I normally would have connected the paintings of Thomas Kinkade with omega stories. I guess I didn’t realize that they were so interconnected towards the opposition contemporary artwork. Cobb’s vision of the book as a whole is interesting, not something that I really connected to and if it was my chance I don’t think I would use an overwhelming amount of examples to prove my point. What will happen in the future of the dialogue of theology and culture? What happens twenty years down the road when people are very acquainted with culture. Will we be able to say that we were able to help make connections with their culture and their theology?

Bevans: The Countercultural Model.
Of all the models this is probably the most interesting model for the ideas are quite complex and I don’t think just any person will be able to relate to this concept or model. I do like the model because it intercepts with a postmodern point of view valuing our experiences and looking at our life now rather than a future end. I liked that it is a continual reinterpretation of history and how we need to stay involved within our cultural context. I love that culture continues to change and it we need to continue to be aware of the needs of the community and time to be aware of how the gospel can continue to stay ‘relevant.’

Paper Proposal:
Due to a conversation in class last week as well with Wess I have decided to change my paper topic from women’s issues (gasp….!) to integrating Batine’s theory of carnival with the musical interpretation of David Bazan/ Pedro the Lion. I would like to understand the theory of Batine and practical application through the models of Bevans. I think the best fits are the Praxis Model as well as the Transcendental Model. I think there is a fantastic subversive message of David Bazan in light of the Christian faith and calling out the lawfulness of people and look deeper at the root of the Christian message, in theory I believe this connects quite well with the ideas of Batine.

Wednesday Response:
Though late I still find youth culture enthralling and interesting. I am shocked at the fact that we in the class attempt to separate ourselves from the rest of the world in regards to media messages and how some people seem that we are unaffected from their daily lives. It’s hard for me to believe that. I love that we need to reconnect with the idea of cultural theory and inspire people to recognize what is being marketed to their daily lives. To think that by having Jesus we are unaffected seems ignorant….

Monday, March 3, 2008

A blog gone adrift

SO sorry for the lack of non-class responses. I have been busy moving, living, homeworking, traveling... In the midst of the chaos I have found some time to watching some movies and listening to old and new records alike.

Last weekend I watched the fabulous documentary Paris Je'taime which is a film of about 15 vignettes from different directors on their view of love, relationships, and the city of and surrounding Paris. The film is a fabulous little guy that made my little heart sing and raise new ideas on what it means to love others, myself, and the understanding of being in relationships.

The film is filled with snippets of beauty, pain, and wonder. I liked the agony and the success that tug on one another. I think there are beautiful modern representations of the undeniable need for love and what we put ourselves through and in to have these moments of connection and response. It's amazing what we put ourselves through to be in love and to desire love. It's one of the few entities in our life that we have little or no control over. We fall into people because of who they are and of who we are. Is this a choice? I am not sure and I think I am wrestling with these ideas. What is love, really? and what I assume is love and act out in love is only conditional to me and my thoughts and how I live my life. But is there limits to love? How do we REALLY fall in love? Is there really one right person?

For me, in a really vulnerable space is, yes. I think we can fall in love. I hope we fall in love with all kinds of people without boundaries and limitations. I hope love grows up out of the weeds and pierces our understanding of normalcy. I want love sometime to an achingly degree but I know that love sometimes appears out of nowhere. Love is that connection that we don't really have words for and you just love...

I don't know what I am trying to get at but the movie lifted my soul and the cinematography is fantastic..

Almost done with the quarter

The Transcendental Model:

This model is a great model if you are going to be in one place for a significant period of time. It helps to pull out the essence of listening and being able to be open for transformational change without limits, plans, boxes, or strategies. It is a model that allows the spirit to move you and the community to a place where you never expected because you didn't plan it to head in a specific direction. The model allows for the spirit and freedom to be at its essence. It hits the core of the basic human experience as well as being available to no ready made answers.

Cobb: Salvation
Cobb views cultural salvation through the lens of popular culture. I liked his lens of seeing life of the spirit through the life of these musicians. My questions lie in the fact do people really process through the lens of salvation? I think Christians really struggle in making connections with pop culture how do they even go a step further to see it in the eyes of beauty of salvation and grace.

Paper Outline:
My goal for the paper is to devise a strategy to look at deconstructing media images for teenage and college women. The goal is to be able to look at the need for deconstructing the images and understanding the benefit of education and understanding. I hope to enable the use of the translation as well as the transcendental model to look at the need as well as communicating the need of such a deconstruction.