The Day My Music Died

April.29.2007

Considering I work in an office by myself everyday, it should come as no surprise that I am quite connected to my iPod. I take it with me literally everywhere around camp as I work so I can listen to mostly podcasts and the occasional music.

It has held up surprisingly well considering the daily use. Well, that is until today. Today, my dear friend, the iPod, died.

I was a little panicky when it first happened until I was clear that it was a done deal. I diagnosed the problem using some message board posts and it is clearly a dead hard drive; a fairly common problem I guess.

So a fine mess this is. I looked into a replacement hard drive and if I do the repair myself, it will still cost about $90 for the hard drive and tools. Ugh. No thanks.

In the interim, my dear wife has offered to let me use her 2 GB iPod nano she got for Christmas. While I was skeptical at first, it looks like it will be a perfect fit. I was able to fit all of my podcasts and the only playlist I actually use (Last 100 Added Songs) with about 1 GB left.

So here is my new question. Why fix my old iPod for $90 when I can get one just like my wife’s for about $110? In addition to that, the iPod nano does not use a hard drive that can be corrupted. It uses solid state flash memory which can handle my active routine a little better.

With that said, I think it is clear what my next iPod purchase will be when the time is right.

Songs for Christmas

December.13.2006

When it comes to Christmas music, I am an inherently cynical person. It is very difficult to find something I truly enjoy. The typical Christmas music always seems so trite and commercialized that it just flies in the face of what I view Christmas as. Instead of a truly holy miracle, it is cheapened to a synthetic Santa pulled by plastic reindeer.

For a while I was appeased by the remakes by current Christian artists as I felt they often put emphasis on songs I had otherwise overlooked. However, over the years, that has even worn on me. I was still hearing more production values than their heart.

However, on a recent Relevant podcast, they talked about a new Sufjan Stevens Christmas album. I have always been an outsider on the Sufjan Stevens phenomena, meaning to pick up one of his albums but never quite following through. But after hearing a few of these songs on the podcast, I knew I had to hear the rest.

The songs just sound so authentic. You really get the feeling that he means the words he is singing. That he is happy for the coming of Christ and the eventual salvation that He would provide. It doesn’t hurt that the album is huge too. 42 songs huge.

And what would you pay for something like this? $100? $50? How about only $15?!? Yeah. I was shocked too. If you go to Amazon it’s like $22, but on iTunes the album download is $15. Crazy. A must buy in my opinion. It will be in heavy rotation for me through the holiday and some songs (Come Thou Fount) will live long past January for me.

I’m not sure I could be any more sporatic of a blogger right now. I really want to be more consistent, but my work load is so inconsistent that it is hard to get in a groove. I keep thinking, “well next month should be better…” and then it isn’t. Oh well. At least I’m still posting sometimes, right?

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, so bear with me if this is kind of “rambly.” The more time I spend out here in the woods, the more I am realizing that I am changing as a person. It is nothing of huge magnitude, but there are small things.

First, I know that I am becoming more laid back than I have been in the past. It’s n0t that my job is a cake walk, it is actually probably more stressful than my previous job. But the difference is my environment. Being surrounded by nature is so different than being in the city. The fact that I bike to the office past deer and turkeys daily. It’s crazy. It’s as if God is literally walking/biking right there with me.

Second, I am learning how to cultivate my faith without being able to really go to church. This is not to say I’m denying the need for corporate worship. There is nothing I crave more than worship right now. Unfortunately Sundays are a rather busy day here which is kind of eliminating worship from the schedule for the time being. I am hoping to change that next year as I value worship, but we’ll see. For now I am listening to a lot of sermon podcasts and doing daily Bible reading on my personalized Google start page.

Finally, I am realizing how culture and the media really impact their audience. Since we now watch all of our TV on a DVR (skipping most commercials), we have no decent radio stations, and I am removed from year-round youth ministry, I am realizing that I am literally unplugged from most popular culture. Kind of scary for a guy like me.

Thankfully I still have podcasts to help me stay connected. Between the Relevant podcast, several videogame podcasts, and of course every single ESPN podcast.

Speaking of the Relevant podcast, last week they had a great cover of Hey Ya by Outkast. This version is by Obadiah Parker. Since I really wanted the song, but I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere, I used some fancy Mac software to chop the song out of the podcast. Not really a big deal, but I did it so we can all appreciate the song. My gift to you for not posting regularly I guess. Wait…I just found a link so I don’t have to host it. Enjoy!

Hey Ya – Obadiah Parker

Last Day of Work

April.21.2006

Okay, so maybe that isn’t be punching out on my last day of work, but it is some guy doing it and I’ll be doing the same thing later today. And I will definitely give the thumbs up to anyone with a camera in the area.

It’s really weird being here. It is kind of rewarding though since a lot of people are coming up to me and telling me they will be praying for my success or how much they enjoyed working with me. I’m really trying hard to convey a moment of Christ to everyone I talk to, but it is difficult not to just force it in most cases.

This also marks the last day of daycare for the little peanut Leah. I’m really glad actually. She needs to be home with Jamie. I’m sure she will be a happier baby because of it. I can’t wait to see her multiple times everyday.

I’m in the midst of designing the new website for Pine Lake. I have more or less decided to design it myself. My hope is that it will be a learning experience for me and that I can use that knowledge to start designing websites for other camps or ministries in the future. From the research I have done it looks like a lot of camps have really lousy websites. I’ll be happy to change that as much as I can.

We also had a pretty huge blessing yesterday. My friend Josh called me and told me he had free tickets for Jamie and I to see Switchfoot in Mankato this weekend. I really wanted to go all along, but I figured we could save the money and that we had enough other stuff going on. However, after the past couple of weeks, it will be great to go to a concert and unwind a little. Much thanks to Josh for the gift!