Find what you're looking for

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Live & Acoustic

This one is an album from a guy who goes by the stage name of Latchkey Kid (real name Gavin Heaney). It's got a bit of the folk style in there, probably a pop/folk mix at a guess. If you haven't heard of the guy (a distinct possibility), this one plays guitar, piano, drums, mandolin, harmonica, bass and sings. Thankfully, not all at once. Obviously, however, because this one's an acoustic album he doesn't play each of the instruments. I would hazard a guess and say that, apart from singing, he does guitar and harmonica. Wiki wasn't any help :P

The album starts off with a song you may be familiar with if you ever watched Packed to the Rafters in its first season - Good Times was actually the song played in the ads for it. It's a good starting song, with a decent beat to it, and a nice happy feel. That beat and feel continues more or less throughout the album, and it's all got a very laid-back style to it.

Another couple of good ones that pop up (in my opinion) are Almost Anything and Angel in the Alleyway. It's a great album to just cruise along to, though, and it really doesn't have any let-downs in there. Good stuff :)

Y u no acting, B?

Thought I'd put up a post about this. I've had a few remarks here and there that my music is quite theatrical, or that I'd be pretty good in theatre/acting.

Firstly, just to give a bit of background: I've been in the school musical in years 6, 10 and 11. Year 6 was one of the main parts (I think the character with the third most lines or something), year 10 was chorus, and year 11 was a couple of minor parts. I was also involved in A Midsummer Night's Dream, where I was two relatively minor parts. (Funny, though. Liked them. :) )

So I have done a bit of acting, and I like doing it. I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it, too. So the question may arise, then - why haven't I pursued this?

Well, the reason is fairly simple, but the explanation will take a bit longer: I don't want to be in a spot where I'd have to say, "No, I won't do that." Won't, not can't. There's a few things I'd say that to: A role where the character was smoking, swearing excessively,doing drugs, or in an involved relationship.

The first few are fairly simple; I just don't want to do things that I'm against. So you could probably include a few other things in there as well, I guess.

The last one, though, less so. You might find that a bit weird, particularly because of the proliferance of relationships in most drama. (By the "involved", by the way, I simply mean a relationship where the two people are actively interested in each other. So I wouldn't have any problem, for example, playing Mr Sowerberry from Oliver! because he and his wife barely interact.) Here's my logic: with this sort of thing, I don't want to "act" it. Either it's real, or I'm not interested. As such, if I don't have those sort of feelings for the person that my character would, I wouldn't do that.

So there's my dilemma. Which annoys me. Thankfully, I haven't faced that problem yet. But it annoys me because I really like acting and such. Wouldn't mind doing it a bit on the side or something. But I don't want to end up in this sort of position....

Any ideas from people would be most welcome. Particularly as the comments seem to be drying up as of late. I know they're only reviews, guys, but that doesn't mean you have to agree with me. Feel free to say that I'm talking out of my backside, if you want. I'd like to hear what you guys have to say :)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Karate Kid (Part II)

I know. You're probably thinking, "Part II? What?" Pretty much the only reason I know about it is because we've got a box set, with the original, and Parts II and III. (And now I blow your minds again by saying there's a part III.)

This one follows straight on from the events of the original, with the first few minutes being those directly after the martial arts contest. Kreese gets some bloody hands from trying and failing to hit Mr Miyagi, and ends up looking pretty stupid. We get a fast forward six months. Ali has left Daniel, and he now lives with Mr Miyagi, because his mum's over in Fresno for a while. Miyagi then gets a phone call to go back to Okinawa (his home town) because his father is dying. The rest of the movie is then basically Daniel falling for another girl, and Miyagi sorting out a fight with his best friend, which was the reason why he left Okinawa. And, of course, there's another iconic karate move - the "drum technique".

It's a decent sequel. It's got a good storyline, and it follows on fairly well from the original. (Apart from you kinda thinking that they just got another girl because the original one would only stay on for one movie or something.) Good morals, good ending, that kind of thing. But you do kinda wonder why it needed a sequel, at some of the points; and that can be a bit weird.

But if you're happy to just let that go, and the extra girl, it's a decent movie. Don't recommend the third one, though; not as good.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Jesus Freaks.

This will be a bit late. Been watching a livestream of a new game.

This one is a book - largely put together by an organisation called the Voice Of the Martyrs (VOM). The phrase came from a song by dcTalk, who also put a bit into the book (though I'm not exactly sure what, and Wiki ain't helping). It's best described as a compilation of stories of martyrs (though there are a few that either escaped, survived or refused it).

It's certainly not a book for the faint-hearted. It's got some heavy stuff in there - I remember one guy who got rolled through glass and got cigarette burns all over him. Think that might have actually been the guy who started VOM, Richard Wurmbrand (who actually only died a few years back). They've also got ones from much older times, such as Polycarp - the last living relation to the apostles, because he studied under John. He was burned alive - but apparently he appeared like gold in the flames, and the scent was like incense. There's some amazing stories in there.

If you're not a Christian - then some of these stories are just great examples of human perseverance and excellence. But that's your call. Again, if you're interested uni dudes, can lend.

Monday, 26 September 2011


There's a song by the Axis of Awesome called Wwjd? working off the popularised acronym, What Would Jesus Do? It's been a bit controversial, as they haven't painted Jesus in the manner many would like to. If you want to see what I mean, here's the Youtube link: Warning: NSFC, but safe for work. As long as you use headphones.

The basic premise behind, it, though, is simply this: don't expect to be able to be as good as Jesus, because he's a heck of a lot better than us. And I think that's a fair call. I think that many people can expect too much of themselves, because they think that Jesus is setting a bar that they're supposed to be attaining; that they should be acting like Jesus would in every single situation.

PSA: You won't reach that bar this side of heaven. No-one will or can. It's a perfection to strive for, an exemplar to follow, not a "10 steps to holiness" handbook. It's an impossible to reach star that we do our best to reach anyway, because we know that the closer we get, the better, even if we never reach it here on Earth.

That's my view, anyway. You might think the song is just plain blasphemous. But there you go.

Infinity Rock Explosion.

I had a look at the calendar, and realised that if I continued at the rate I do, this series will take me until nearly the end of October. I'm hoping to start my next one before then. As such, I'll now be doing these daily again, which should see me starting the next one in mid-October, which is a bit better. Stay tuned as to what that next one will be. (No, I don't need ideas this time. I've already got it, but I won't tell you yet. :D)

This is the second album by the comedy rock trio the Axis of Awesome, of 4 Chords fame. And this time, I haven't just done this the day before. So it should be good.

The album has a very evident comedic tone throughout, with some pretty well-thought out lines. The three guys that make up the Axis of Awesome each have their distinct "personas" that they fill; Jordan, the egotistical frontman; Benny, the smart short guy who gets picked on; and Lee, the dumb guy who just doesn't always get it. It's a formula that works well, and they've got it down pat.

The album starts off with a small intro segment and The Glorious Epic of Three Men who are Awesome, which immediately set up the aforementioned personas. It then goes through to Birdplane, probably their second most well-known tune, a parody of Five for Fighting's Superman. The laughs continue with Songs to Sing Along To, and Harry Potter and the Drunk Teenage Animals Escaping from Zoos. They continue into more serious ground with their more controversial, Wwjd? (About which I might do a post in itself.) but then unfortunately do the seemingly-mandatory-sex-joke-song-these-days, Sexual Harassment. The album then finishes with their classic Four Chords, and a rehash of Birdplane in Spanglish, El Pajaro Avion.

All in all, I think the album's pretty good. But for the more conservative among us, in almost every song there's at least one swear word used, and not necessarily the more "tame" of them. The album does venture into more risque area a few times, which is a bit unfortunate, because they can really be funny without needing to do that.

So as long as you're not too fussed about that sort of thing, then this is a great album to check out. Alternatively, if you do want to listen to them but are a bit more conservative, check the songs on Youtube first so you know which to perhaps avoid.

Sunday, 25 September 2011


This one is probably not so well known, and certainly not as much as it should be. That's probably because it's by this Christian author - Stephen Lawhead, who's also written a few others, mostly located somewhere on the British Isles and somewhere in the more medieval period.

In this one, though, he's undertaken the task of one of the more well-known folk stories of all time - Robin Hood. And he's put a bit of an interesting twist on it. Well, a few, actually, but this is the main one; he's in Wales. He's pushed it back into the time of King William II of England, when the Normans were in power, and they were attempting (unsuccessfully) to expand over into Wales.

And this is where he's rebirthed Robin Hood; rebirthed as the young prince Bran ap Brychan, heir to the throne of Elfael, a fairly rebellious, stubborn and charming sort of guy, who liked the ladies. It seems quite removed from the Robin Hood we know. And, indeed, the name Hood only crops up once (probably a throwaway), as a misheard word.

Bran's father goes to Lundein (London) to swear allegiance to William (he's delayed for so long because he's proud and stubborn). But he's delayed for too long and gets met on the way by a Norman force, who have been "given" his land because he took too long. As such, he and almost the entire warband are killed. Bran, with the one remaining member of the warband, attempts to reclaim Elfael from the Normans, but is captured, outlawed and nearly killed. A healer/bard/wise woman finds Bran and nurses him back to health, and in the process teaches him what he needs to know to become a good leader.

And so Bran, with what is left of Elfael, launches what can only be described as a guerilla war against the Normans; using a combination of stealth and superstition, they fight back as best they can.

It's a great read, combining historical fiction with adventure. And this guy really knows his history; he's researched all the facts about the different eras and such. And he actually has a sound historical basis for why he put Robin Hood in Wales, which I think might be an Afterword in this book; though it may be in Scarlet or Tuck, the second and third in the trilogy.

If you're thinking, but ohhh, it'll be so different without all the things I loved in Robin Hood - it's got Little John, it's got Friar Tuck, Marian (though she's called Merian), and in the latter books there's Will Scarlet as well. Bran's an unrivalled shot with the bow (a crucial point to the series, as a matter of fact), and he's still taking from the rich and giving to the poor. But it's all a bit different, and it's a really refreshing and interesting new way of looking at it.

I'd highly recommend to anyone having a look at this one, and indeed the whole trilogy; guys at uni, if you're interested, I can lend you my copies.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Gruen Transfer

This one will probably be up a bit late. Been doing some stuff. And that sort of thing.

Anyway. This show you will quite possibly know, or have heard of. If not, it is essentially about advertising, and understanding the way that advertisers sell us stuff. In a nutshell. In that, they've done everything from sport to religion, water to flight. They've done a fair bit, over the time they've been up.

Being hosted by Wil Anderson, they've also done their best to make it pretty entertaining. And they've really done a pretty decent job of it. One particular section, where they ask two ad agencies to sell the impossible, almost inevitably brings a laugh or two.

The two consistent panellists that join Wil on the show, Russell and Todd, are such different people that it's quite funny watching them argue about almost everything.

Though, for the more conservative among us, this probably isn't the show for you. If you can manage to get an episode that doesn't have a fairly high level of sexual references or coarse language, then great, but they can be few and far between.

However, if that doesn't worry you too much, then this would be a show I'd definitely suggest. They've actually just finished up for this season, but are starting a new one (spin-off, I don't know) called Gruen Planet, where they go a bit more global, and that starts this week. I'll certainly be checking it out, and I'd recommend it to anyone else as well.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Full House.

This one's from good old John Farnham. A reasonably lengthy album, 16 tracks from one of his live shows (hence the title). Though no idea which one.

Being a live show, of course, this one has all the classics thrown in. If you don't know at least one of the tracks on the album.... well, maybe you're not from round here.....

It includes some of Farnham's best, including Age of Reason, Help!, You're the Voice, and A Touch of Paradise, just to name a few. All great songs.

The pace varies nicely across the songs, and there's some good instrumentation and solos happening there. Good stuff. OK, I'm struggling to come up with anything to say apart from "it's good" in 10 different ways. Hello, Wikipedia...Hmmm. Apparently, it was recorded across three different tours back in 1987, 1989 and 1990. And there's not much else Wikipedia has to say about it. Thanks, Wiki. :P

Well, I've got nothing else then. It's a decent album. Worth a look. Got enough singles on it that you may as well just buy the album, rather than just the ones off it that you know. They're all pretty good :)
Sorry for the lack of deep philosophical talk here....couldn't think of anything else good for F.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


The movie, that is, not the book.

For those that are only familiar with one and not the other - if you've only seen the movie; read the book and it's a lot better, but the movie will now seem shit. If you've only read the book; don't watch the movie.

The Eragon movie had big shoes to fill. Christopher Paolini (the author) has reaped in massive numbers of readers, and for good reason; it's a pretty decent book. And there's two more (and one on the way very soon) to follow.

But for some reason, despite the big interest in Eragon, the moviemakers thought that the Eragon movie wouldn't actually get that much interest. And so we have book inconsistencies, left right and centre. Sections in the book that take up long amounts of time may only find bare moments in the movie; in particular, one bit I remember - what was a large trading city in the book was reduced to some ramshackle dwellings on stilts in the water. Some great characters only barely mentioned. Argh! As well as that, there were bits - particularly the ending - that meant it was virtually impossible to continue on with the series, without changing it quite significantly.

However, if it's looked at as a stand-alone movie, ignoring the book entirely - it's not too bad. It's got a couple of decent actors in there, some good moments occasionally, but it doesn't jump out at you.

In summation; if you've come from the book, it's going to be a big let-down. Movies-from-books usually are, but more so. If you haven't, it's alright, but nothing special. I'm hoping for a re-attempt at it in a few years time or something.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Da Vinci Code.

Before you ask; the book, not the movie.

This one has had a fair bit of hype surrounding it, with a lot of people crying "wolf!" I'm going to ignore that to a large degree, and just look at the story.

For those who aren't familiar with the book; go read it. Just straight up, it's a good book. But, essentially, it's a fairly in-depth historical drama, slightly lengthy for some, and again with the romantic subplot. It mainly focusses around a cryptographer (who works with codes, if you don't know the word) and the idea that Mary (Magdalene) had a child with Jesus, and this was the real "Holy Grail" of sorts. Obviously, there's a fair bit of opposition to the idea, and so the "race against time" is thrown in there as well. Oh, and yeah, there's an extremist cult too.

It's certainly not a light read; it's fairly involved, and it has a lot going on with it. But for those who have some sort of interest in history, it's a pretty interesting read, and certainly one of the more classic books of slightly more recent days.

As an aside, many other Dan Brown offerings are also quite good, if you ever come across any of them. I haven't read all of them, but we've got a few, and those I've been pretty happy with.


OK, looks like I'm branching out into TV shows. I was planning to do a book today, but couldn't think of a good one starting with C. Also, sorry for the late post. Been doing arranging all night :P

Castle fits the bill for your typical police/detective drama, with mandatory two-mains-attracted-to-each-other subplot. Different person dying in some other way they can come up with each day, and it's usually not the butler.


The main reason I like Castle is because of the guy. Castle. (If you're not familiar with the show, yes, that's a weird name. It is his last name, so it's allowed to be somewhat weird. :P) The idea is that he's a writer, who is basing a line of books around the character of PD Kate Beckett. He's your typical kid-who-never-really-grew-up stereotype, crossed over with the guy-who-actually-cares-deep-inside one.

And I suppose the reason I like it is because of the parallels I draw between us, having done a bit of writing myself. (Not nearly on the same scale, but hey, I've always liked a good story.) And not particularly wanting to grow up. And (speaking for myself, I know, but I'm pretty sure others would agree) being a fairly caring person.

So I guess that's probably why I like the show myself, even if it is mostly just coming up with lots of creative ways to kill people. And borrowing off other police/detective/forensic dramas in that area. Oh well :P

So, in my opinion, probably a bit of a better police/detective drama than many of the other ones out there. But it depends on what you're looking for, I guess.

Friday, 16 September 2011


This post is about a Facebook status i put up a minute or two ago. I thought I'd probably better expand on it a bit, and explain it a bit more.
This was what I wrote:
"PSA: From now on, peoples, unless you have something really important you *have* to talk to me about, it'd be great if you didn't start a conversation with me - make me have to do it :) Because I am really, terribly bad at it. :P So, hopefully, this will help with that."
 I wrote this because I realised - I can't remember exactly when - that I am terrible at starting things. Once I really have, I'm great at keeping on going with them, or finishing if I need to; I'm just shit at starting. And it's particularly evident in a social context, and it's the main reason (I think, at least) why I socially epic fail.

So the idea is that this will help me to actually start a bit more, start a few conversations. It's loosely based around the idea of operant conditioning in psychology; I'm specifically using positive reinforcement and negative punishment, here. (Basically, there's the four different types, used by combining either positive or negative with either reinforcement or punishment. If it's positive, you're adding something, negative, taking something away. Reinforcement increases said behaviour, punishment decreases.) So the negative punishment is people not talking to me if I don't start the conversation. Which is pretty darn effective for me, as long as it's done well. And the positive reinforcement is them talking to me if I do start it. Though, one point; I'm debating whether this is really much of a positive reinforcement, as it's something I'm used to anyway. So if anyone can think of a better positive reinforcer that people could give me (that would actually mean something fairly significant), then that would be fantastic.

I should probably (at least attempt) to explain the "why" behind this not starting thing. Well, I don't know about the general reason of it, but I think I can piece out why it's the case in a social situation. It's because of my too-good imagination.

That's going to sound weird. So I'll take you through the logic. Because I have an overactive imagination, I am ridiculously good at thinking up worst-case scenarios for pretty much any given situation. The scenarios are usually quite ridiculous in themselves, and are frequently so unlikely that it's ludicrous.

The thing is this: most usually, these scenarios involve estrangement from someone, losing a friendship. That's the problem. Because friendship, trust, is one of the things that is most important to me. It's something that I really, really don't want to lose. And so I feel uncomfortable about going into a situation where that's a possibility, even if that possibility is ridiculously low. To me, trust is paramount. I crave for it, I don't want to risk it. (By the way, if about now you're thinking this guy's pretty weird, well yeah. But a lot of this is fairly subconscious.)

And so I find myself in a situation where it's really difficult for me to start a conversation. Of course, this changes a bit depending on the situation; if I'm right next to someone, I'll probably say hey, how you doing, that sort of thing; but if I'm a bit further away, I probably won't come over and say hi, unless they're pretty good friends. Bit easier with groups. Lot harder with girls :P And a lot harder with people I don't know. So I'm not really the "tell the world about Jesus" type, I guess :P Pretty sure I've almost never told someone straight off that I'm a Christian, in fact, though I think a couple of times I've said that I go to church, that sort of thing. But anyway, I digress. I do that a lot :P

Anyway, so I think that's the why. And so hopefully, this plan should help me a bit with it. We'll see, I guess.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Better Life

In these ones, for future reference, "The"s and "A"s at the beginning don't count for the alphabetical thing. Hence, this one is still B. And I think I'll be doing a few posts here and there when I need to outside of this A to Z, but they'll be on my other days.

If I mention the band 3 Doors Down, you probably don't recognise the name. Maybe it rings a bell. If I then mention the song Kryptonite, then you'll probably know that. Well, they wrote it. They're not extremely well known; pretty much a one-hit wonder type of thing. But they are a pretty darn successful band; just not perhaps as well known as some of the other ones around.

The Better Life was their debut album. The general feel is very much solid rock almost throughout the album, and each of the songs are quite easy to sing along to, tap your foot to it, that sort of thing. (By the way guys, if this doesn't go massively in-depth, it's because I was pretty much thinking this through just on the way home from uni today.)

It starts off with Kryptonite, which starts off much quieter than the majority of the album. But it's established a definite rock feel by the second verse, and especially as it goes into the chorus. It has a couple of interesting sound effects towards the end of the track, which are a bit unexpected. The next track, Loser, starts off with some sound effects that are a bit different as well, but then goes back very much into the rock feel by the verse. The rest of the album passes by pretty smoothly, with not too much standing out - except the interesting use of the part-chorus and Duck and Run, and another refreshing softer start in Be Like That. The title song, The Better Life, basically does what it says on the box. Decent guitar riff, fairly good beat, etc etc.

It's a solid album, which doesn't have many faults, apart from perhaps a lack of much variation. So why is it then that they aren't fabulously well known? They're certainly successful, so they must be well known to some, evidently. Maybe I'm just out of the loop ;P

But I think it's because, though they're good, they don't really have too much that's exceptional. Kryptonite is really their big single, but apart from that, they don't have much that's fantastic. They're good, but they're a bit like any other rock band that I listen to. They're forgettable.

So, my final verdict: is it worth getting? Well, I think it's certainly a decent album, worth having a listen to. If you don't mind having another album that you can just listen to and sing along a bit, without being surprised too much, then go ahead and get it. I did, and I'm glad I did.
If you'd prefer to just grab a couple of singles from it, then the first four that I've mentioned up there I would recommend most.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Today I'm starting my A to Z of movies/music/books (and possibly TV shows, if I can't think of some letters :P). I said I'd start yesterday, but I decided to go back to my four days a week schedule, which I remembered was Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. So that's what I'll be doing from now.

And, seriously, I had to do this one. Whether you think it's good or bad, it's had a pretty darn big impact on the movie world. If you do really, really, like it, you might want to skip down a couple of paragraphs.

Avatar has a lot of cliches in it, first off. Unobtanium? Please. And we have the cliche of the guy from the "bad" side (which is powerful and economic-based) going undercover on the "good" side (which is weak and "all for one, one for all"), and then turning over to the "good" side and helping them fight back against the "bad" side (with, of course, the addition of a good looking girl from the "good" side). Also, the cliches of the tech/geek/nerd guy, the crabby-but-actually-nice older woman, the soldier-with-a-heart, the guy-who-calls-the-shots-and-has-no-morals, and the guy-who-shouts-and-shoots-a-lot. Among others. Oh, and of course the cliche of the girl falling for the main dude, even though she didn't like him at the beginning.

OK, rant over.

There's one main problem with this argument, though: most good movies will have these cliches. These days, it's almost impossible to avoid them all, they're so plentiful. It's getting to the stage where, until something radically changes, most things have been done to some degree of similarity already :P An idea which you music folks should be very familiar with :D  :P

But, as well as that, I'm the kind of person that, while they know all the stuff above - and are acutely aware of it - ignores it. I just love the story, whether I've heard it a million times before or not; I've always loved a good story. And then there were the graphics/environment stuff, which was quite interesting. It was obvious that you could see where they'd borrowed from existing things on Earth; but I think they were quite interesting. The music I liked a fair bit as well - though honestly, for me, that's not saying a heck of a lot. I'll like most music, as long as I can get a sense of melody/harmony/rhythm from it.

Mozart is probably raging by now. Sorry man. :P
And if you're wondering, yes, this is quite possibly going to be the tack for many of what I'll look at for this series. I'll try to find some I don't like, to change it up a bit, but I'll probably have to dig around a bit. I guess I'm just not a very critical person, with this kind of thing :P
Hey, Jessie, you asked for this. :P

Sunday, 11 September 2011

No matter what.

I'm going to start my next A to Z tomorrow. Don't know whether I'll be doing that everyday, or similarly to previously, four times a week. I'll keep you posted :P

Anyway, I thought I needed to post this today. I've been having a hard time lately. Not so much physically, or emotionally, but more spiritually, I guess. Old Toby knows where to hit, and he likes to hit a lot. And it is very easy to fall. Very easy.

But then again, with God's help, I've been able to do OK. I'm certainly no saint, but I'm doing better at the moment than I have in a while. Though if you go by Jesus' standard of "If you do it in your head, then it's just as bad" then I think I'm getting a heck of a lot of nowhere fast. But I think it's certainly better than nothing. It is, in fact, a heck of a lot better than nothing.

But it is damn hard. I'm just praying that there's going to be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel, preferably before my death :P But if not, at least a lessening of the incline would be good. Otherwise, I'm foreseeing a heck of a lot more falling down in my future. Which I do not want. And I know God doesn't want either.

So here's hoping there'll be some sort of action in this department before my failure...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Bup, ba da bup, ba da...

Well, now that I've finished the A to Z blog post series, I will shortly be onto my next series (kindly suggested to me by Jessie, who runs the "Never Mind The Arias" blog that I've got on my links page, if you want to check it out) which will be an A to Z of books/music/movies kind of thing. I guess a mix between reviews, opinions, and analysis. Probably not much of the latter.

So I'll probably start that in the next day or two, unless someone else suggests something else to me so undeniably epic that I just have to do it first. :D

Anyway, thought I'd actually post something here, and not just do an update.

I've found that I seem to ask for a lot from God. Which, in one way, makes sense; I mean, he can give you a lot, so he's really the only one you can ask a lot from. But on the other hand, he's already given so much. And who am I to know what I really need?

It can get a bit confusing sometimes. Attempting to figure out exactly what he's going to do....usually it doesn't work. He tends to only tell you when he wants to.

I guess the hardest thing is handing over the biggest things to God. What you really long for, what you feel you really need and can't do without (not so much talking about the material here, really) - just putting that to God and leaving it in his hands. As hard and difficult as that is, the reality is that he knows best. And he knows best for you. Sometimes that will be what you're thinking of, sometimes it won't. That's faith, I guess. Trusting that He'll make it work out for the best whatever happens.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm really writing this more for my benefit than anyone else's. :P

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Z for Zap.

As in, done. Zap. Zing. Etc.

As in, this A to Z thing. Yay! I've managed to do a blog post every day for the last 26 days from A to Z. I'm pretty happy with that. And I'm now wondering about what to do next...if anyone has any good ideas about the next series (or any future ones) of blog posts that I could do, that would be fantasmagorical. Just spam me with ideas, better than getting none.

Oh, and here is a list of what we've gone through in the last 26 days:
Z for Zap.
Y for You.
X for Xenophobia.
W for What?
V for Vlog.
U for Understanding.
T for Talent.
S for Special.

R for Repetition.
Q for Questions.
P for Problem.
O for Opportunity.
N for Nought.
M for Modnarama.
L for Lazy.
K for Knowledge.
J for Joy.
I for Important.
H for History.
G for Girls.
F for Failure.
E for... Everything!
D for Drama.
C for Cooking.
B for Botched.
A for Anger.

So, if we add it all together, we get an Angry, Botched Cooking Drama about Everything that results in total Failure, largely due to the Girls' History. Which is Important, because Joy (who's always on about getting Knowledge) is actually fairly Lazy. Modnarama! [How else would I put that in?] But as said, it was all for Nought because of a wasted Opportunity, a Problem that raised many Questions. The frequent Repetition of these called for some Special Talent to arise, that had some Understanding of how to Vlog. What? I hear you say, that just makes no sense. Well, just because you have an acute Xenophobia, doesn't mean it should get You down. Zap!

:P Oh well, I tried. I find those things fun/ny to do.

Anyway, that's it from me for today. Tomorrow I should be uploading another vlog, I believe, for those interested.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Y for You.

As in, you guys, which is what this post is going to be about.

This is my 100th post. Yay! Yahoo! Yippee! OK, got that out.

This post is basically a thanks to you guys for sticking around. Some of you have been here for ages, and keep coming back and commenting and stuff, and some of you have only just started reading my posts. But I haven't scared any of you off, and I'm grateful for that.

So, in this post, I'm going to give you guys a few things. Firstly, my newest recording I've put up on SoundCloud, but it's as a private, so only specific people can view it. Unfortunately, it's not just a link that I can give to you; I have to add each person that can view it individually. Unless I've got it wrong, and this link actually takes you to the audio file:
But if not, then I'll have to add each of you individually by email addresses, if you're interested in having a look. (Already got yours, Mozart.) I reckon it's probably one of the best songs I've written, as an aside.

Also, if you're interested, my version of the well-know 4 chords song, with 100 songs in it:

And a little gem from the classic Tim Hawkins. If you haven't heard of him before, I suggest you check him out, some great comedy stuff:

That will be all from me for today. Oh, and if anyone can think of a good one for Z, that'd be great. At the moment, can't think of anything.

X for Xenophobia.

Basically because there wasn't much else I could think of that began with X.

Xenophobia, if people don't know and can't be bothered looking it up, is of course defined as the word that gave us the phrase "please explain" from Pauline Hanson.
OK, OK. It's a fear of foreigners/strangers, though can be extended to just a fear of the strange.

It seems to be quite rife amongst people these days. Strange is not good. It scares us. And that's not necessarily just whatever the "mainstream" is - because that's like an "anti-stream", which is predictable in itself that it always goes the opposite of where the mainstream goes.

If you've watched the Dark Knight, it's a bit like what the Joker said in it; "Nobody panics when things go "according to plan"… even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I told the press that, like, a gang-banger will get shot, or a truck load of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die…well, then everyone loses their minds!"

Strange is whatever isn't in the plan. It's what we can't account for or plan into what we've got organised. And that's what we fear. That the plan will get disrupted....that our perfect little picture will get blown up. Or maybe we accept that it's not perfect, but it's still ours, and nobody else is going to break it.

Thing is, there's only one picture, and it's not mine or yours. It's one on an infinite canvas, and it's God's. We're each just standing on a little piece of it and we like to frame it and call it "ours". Those people that do things that are, or are in themselves deemed "strange", aren't messing up the big picture. They're just intruding on our little ones where we don't want them to.

Monday, 5 September 2011

W for What?

These days, there are a lot of opportunities to make it big. There's a million and one versions of the TV show, the contest, the lottery, whatever.

In these, people will (generally) take one of two stances:
1. I really think I can get this, I'm going to give all I've got into getting it!
2. I know I probably won't get it, but I'm going to try anyway.

Either of these two stances face a thorny issue if they ever manage to get there. (Of course, the other issue is if they never get there; but that's another matter entirely.) And that's this question: What now?

Because in this situation, people have either spent so much energy getting here, or just never thought they would, and so when they do, they don't know what to do. Either because they never expected to be here, or because their entire purpose up until now was defined in getting here; they never thought about afterwards.

I think that's happened to more people than it should've. People always think about just getting to X, never about what they do once they get there. (Unless they just travel continuously, but that's like the previous bracket.) Admittedly, I'm as guilty of this as the next person. I don't want to think about what happens when I finish this course. I'm enjoying just being in it right now, thank you very much.

Probably something I'm going to need to start to go over with God, if He doesn't make something pop up for me in the near future.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

V for Vlog.

Today I thought I'd do something a bit different. This is a link to today's blog, which is in fact a vlog.
It's something that I'm planning to do on a fairly regular basis, though it will be more related to me as a musician than this blog.
It's all in the vlog there. Check it out.

Also, if anybody has ideas on what to do for my 100th blog post (which is Y), please post. Or do people think I should wait until 101 (Z), which will also be the end of this A to Z series?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

U for Understanding.

It's something that's pretty rare in this world. Some might argue that true understanding is never found. Knowledge is all the rage and in abundance. The more knowledge you have, the better. It's crammed into you from birth till death.

But understanding is difficult. Particularly when people are involved, which they often are. And even more so when we turn introspective and attempt to understand ourselves...

It's often said that those closest to us surprise us the most. Because we think we know them the best, so when they do something we don't expect, it's even more of a shock. It's so much more the case with ourselves. Every now and then, we do something that makes us realise how little we really know ourselves.

And it scares us.

Which is why God's grace is so much more the amazing, given that he knows us absolutely...

Friday, 2 September 2011

T for Talent.

Tonight was the high school that I went to (Macarthur Anglican School)'s Talent night, based loosely off AGT. (So they call it Macarthur's Got Talent.) This one was number 5. When I was back there, I played in number 2 and 3.

For number 2 what I did was actually a song originally by a friend of mine, from a Crusaders camp I went on - I figured out the chords at camp, but when I got home, I couldn't quite remember how all the lyrics went together. So I mashed it all up together with bits that I made up, and ended up with some sort of patchwork quilt version of my friend's song. It was called, quite simply, the Balloon song. Went down pretty darn well, a good comedy one. Will probably put up a vid of it on Youtube at some point.

Following the success of the Balloon song, a few nights later I wrote the Plastic Bag song, which ran off the same basic idea and structure. You kinda had to hear it, so I should probably put up vids of these soon, otherwise people will just be confused...and confusion is confusing... :P So that's what I did the following year, which they liked even more. They liked it enough, in fact, that I was asked to do a mini-encore.

This year I did Teacher's Pet, one that I wrote a year or two ago, I think. Can't quite remember....anyway, I've been honing that song up a fair bit, because that's what I'm planning to do (well, shortened version of) for my AGT audition. (Which I've just today received word about; they're late next month.) So this playing of it was easily my best, I think. And my Dad (who'd heard it played a couple of times before) thought that as well, so I must be doing something right :D

There was some other pretty darn good performers as well. One of the guys (one of those types that just always gets this sort of stuff, till it becomes obvious/unquestionable) did an original song that he wrote. Got a semi-standing ovation, it was pretty good. As an aside, later he said that he had 2 1/2 (:P) originals written, including that one. Which is interesting, given that I think I had about - well, maybe a dozen - written by that stage, I think. Guess that shows it's quality, not quantity. And, of course, the audience you play it to. I've always found that bigger audiences inevitably give you a better reception (unless you're bad :P), because then each person feels less awkward about clapping/laughing/cheering/whatever, because they're a much smaller portion of the crowd. Just an interesting thing I've noticed...

Thursday, 1 September 2011

S for Special.

Everybody knows that saying, accompanied by the cutesy voice, "Everybody's special in their own special way!" :P

Then, if you're familiar with The Incredibles (Disney ftw :D) you'll also be familiar with the phrase, "Then if everybody's will be. *evil laugh* "

They seem slightly contradictory. One says that everyone is special, one says that if that happens then that special becomes the normal. Well, in a way, they're both right. Everyone is special; but each in different ways. Each person has unique talents/skills/abilities etc. So that doesn't mean that just because everyone is special, no-one is; because not everyone is special in the same way.

Which is a good thing. I mean, there are some things we all have, which are great to have; but it's great that we have diversity as well. That's what makes us human. Too little diversity, and we have the nearly 7 billion Joe Bloggs problem. Too much diversity, and we cease to be able to communicate nearly as effectively with each other. We're about right. But heck, who am I to say what's right? :P