Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm Taylor and I'm a Mac.

I grew up as a PC user like most people do. My schools always had PCs and that's what I became computer literate on, so because of that, I'm sure, I saw Macintosh computers as these difficult, uncomfortable things with only one inefficient button on the mouse.

Near the end of high school I started dating a girl who's dad was a graphic designer and their whole family was thoroughly indoctrinated in the Apple cult. Not just because of them but because of a lot of people who derive a sense of superiority from their computer choice, I was more turned off towards Macs. I just thought it was a computer and acting like a snob because other people like the PC operating system is, at best, silly.

When we put together Quiet Company, I needed a new computer for recording demos and live tracks and by this time I had softened to the idea of a Mac because I'd noticed that that was the computer of choice for just about everyone with creativity based careers. So I got a Mac but I never got snobby about it, though I was/am very happy with my choice. So for a few years now, I've been exclusively using a Mac, rarely operating a PC. But when I started this job I found myself using one everyday. Its a Dell desktop and I hate it. I hate it so much. It gets viruses and crashes or freezes, it runs ridiculously slow and will only load about half the pictures online, and its processing power is such that watching a simple video is a harrowing affair. I still don't understand the elitism that is the Macintosh Cult but at the same time I will probably never ever buy another PC. And if I could get away with it, I'd probably punch holes in this one.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Do you know any Aggie jokes?!?

So this weekend a few things got around to happening in the world. Quiet Company played two shows with a handful of great bands, I saw the new Transformers movie, and Michael Jackson died. No one really cares about the shows unless you were there or unless you're in the band (they were both good), so lets talk about the iconic plastic alien robot and then talk about The Transformers. I kid.

I was on my way home from work when the my coworker called and told me that Michael Jackson was dead. I don't mean to sound cold but, at best, I found this news mildly interesting. I love the early Jackson 5 recordings but I've never had any time for Michael as a solo artist. He's been creepy to me since that "Rock With You" video, and while I feel bad for him and his lost childhood and obviously piece of shit dad, he hasn't really mattered in over a decade. And before everyone crucifies me, I realize that he has sold more records and contributed more to pop music than I could do in seven lifetimes. When I say he hasn't really mattered, I know his early seminal work will always be hugely influential, but he hasn't made anything of importance in quite some time. Instead, anyone born in the last 15 year doesn't know Michael as the incredibly talented singer of the Jackson 5 or as the guy who brought us the moonwalk and Thriller. They undoubtedly know him as this sexually ambiguous, trainwreck of a person who is always fighting charges of pedophilia and who, maybe, used to do music. I don't know if he's guilty of those charges. If I had to bet, I would bet on guilty. I would bet a lot on guilty. I would feel like my odds were strong. I do know that if someone accused me of pedophilia and I was innocent, I would fight tooth and nail until there wasn't a doubt remaining. I certainly wouldn't pay $20 million to shut them up (unless, of course, I was guilty). On the other hand, if anyone ever did that to my child I would fight tooth and nail until everyone in the world knew what they'd done and they were punished to the full extent of the law, I wouldn't stop for any amount (unless, of course, I knew he was innocent and I was just some horrible parasite of a person). SUCH A MYSTERY!

I don't know, I guess I could say I respected him as a musician but let me tell you a secret. "I respect him as a musician" is actually musician code for, "I'm just trying to be nice. In actuality, I couldn't possibly give less of a shit about this person or their art." All musicians say it about someone. I actually do respect Michael but really only because of the Jackson 5, his solo career has never meant anything to me and with all of this hullabaloo about his death all I keep thinking is, "I wonder how many talented, creative, people in the world, who certainly don't molest children, will starve to death today and no one will notice or care because they never proclaimed themselves king of anything."

Another person that I "respect as a musician" is Sting. Once someone told me that he can have sex for something like 12 hours. My response is that its probably just like his music; It goes on forever and nothing interesting happens. Man, I'm talking some shit today!!

I finally saw the Transformers movie this weekend. While I understand what everyone's problems with it are, I will say that I really enjoyed it. Its a movie about 50 ft. alien robots that transform into vehicles, not The Godfather. If you liked the first one, I don't seen any reason that you don't have a pretty good chance of liking this one, as well. There are some pretty ridiculous things going on but overall, its a good time. I could've done without the Twins, but they did fix one of my biggest problems with the first one. In the first movie, Optimus Prime is a nice guy but when he goes toe to toe with Megatron he gets his ass handed to him. In the new film, Optimus is finally the big noble badass that we know and love from the comics. He will shoot you in the face and have no qualms about it, provided that you're a Decepticon, of course.

Don't get me wrong, critically, I could tear the movie apart, but that wouldn't be nearly as much fun. I hope, if they make another one, they take a cue from the critics and reduce or eliminate the twins' roles, just like Lucas did with Jar Jar. I will say that the twins are not nearly as annoying as Jar Jar. On an annoyance scale, he's a 10 and they're like a 6.

This post is sure to make people hate me. I don't care about the guy that everyone loves and I like the movie that everyone loves to hate.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

FACT: Return of the Jedi would've been way better if the Ewoks had worn jerseys.

Perhaps you're aware of this, but I'm into a lot of "nerdy" things. I have mild to dangerous obsessions with Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, Spider-Man, Transformers, GI Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. So its no surprise that I'm really pumped to see the new Transformers movie. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time at work reading reviews for the new film and apparently, its one of the worst films ever made. I couldn't find a single positive review. I really liked the first one, even if it is a somewhat mindless summer flick with a lot of destruction and explosions. Let's face it, that's what any movie about giant alien robots is going to be, and that's the only kind of movie Michael Bay makes. Perfect, right? Apparently not. I guess this movie features robot testicles, gay dog sex, and a couple of "Jar Jar Binks" Autobots. All that low brow humor mixed with the same convoluted robot fighting from the first movie has every critic in America vomiting energon. But still, I plan on seeing it and I expect to enjoy it, despite it's obvious flaws. I just wish that Seaspray was one of the 40 Transformers in the movie. He was, after all, the only Transformer to fall in love with a humanoid. I don't know why he's always been a personal favorite but he is. Anyway, if anyone has seen the movie, please post your thoughts on it in the comments.

Quiet Company was recently invited to participate in Channel 8's rooftop summer music series, so last night we headed downtown, carried our gear up a few flights of stairs and played a somewhat stripped down version of "My New Year's Resolution is to Cope With My Mortality," on the Channel 8 roof. I think it probably went OK, though there weren't any monitors, so who knows if we sang on key. Leah, Betsy, Paul, and Jason (from Jets Under Fire)came and sang backup for us and I think that that's what's going to make it cool. I'll post a link to it once it goes up online.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Do you remember when Weezer was the best band in the world. I do.

So I've actually remained pretty disciplined in my resolution to start running. In fact, I'm doing the C to 5K workout, which becomes increasingly more difficult every week until you can run a 5k. I'm glad I'm doing it and although I've only been at it for 4 weeks, I think I'm starting to see the beginning of results. That said, I really hate running. I would rather do almost any other kind of exercise. The one good thing about it is that it gives me a chance to listen to music and absorb new records and rediscover old ones. Last night I listened to one of my favorite records of all time, Pinkerton by Weezer. I don't know if I've ever listened to it on headphones and I was amazed by all the stuff I'd never noticed before. Some records, particularly older stereo records like the Beatles', I don't like listening to on headphones because, to me, the music is panned so hard right and left that it loses a lot of its body weight; it's meat and potatoes, if you will. Anyway, I love everything about how Pinkerton sounds. Matt, if you're reading this, do you think we can make our next recording sound like this one? Weezer has never made another record like Pinkerton, but they have made some very bad records (Cameron says that, where Star Wars and Weezer are concerned, I'm like an abusive husband that says I love them but make fun of them all the time). So it goes. I still have love for them, though, if for no other reason than the fact that their first two records essentially defined my teenage years, and still stand up as 2 of the best rock records of all time.

When Weezer's first record came out, almost no one in east Texas knew anything about it. And its because of that that Jeremy and I got away with constantly telling and convincing people that we were in Weezer while at UIL competitions in high school. I just love the idea that somewhere there are people talking about how one time, they met two guys from Weezer at a theatre competition. Jeremy was always Rivers and I was always Brian Bell. So it goes.

Probably once ever year or two, I re-read the gospels for one reason or another. Its always interesting to notice how every time I read them I see them a little differently. Its not hard to imagine why. A year or two has passed and my perspective has changed and therefore my interpretation has undoubtedly changed accordingly. I only started yesterday, and I'm currently reading 2 other books as well, so I'm only about half-way through Matthew (which has always been my favorite). So far the things that have stood out to me are that the sermon on the mount is a beautiful rant on the merits of selflessness, but that isn't really anything new to anyone, but what's interesting is how uninterested Jesus is in anyone who isn't Jewish. It isn't until chapter 12 that he quotes a scripture that even remotely sounds like he has anything for the gentiles ("...And in his name the gentiles will hope"). Another thing that's weird is that Jesus is understood to be a descendant of King David, but in the lineage at the beginning, he's only related to David on Joseph's side. So you see the problem, if it is even a problem. If he's a virgin birth then Joseph's bloodline has nothing to do with Jesus'.

I've always thought Jesus said some weird stuff mixed in with his good stuff, but I've always liked his character for how he handles the Pharisees. He's always breaking their laws and when they call him on it, he's quick to make them feel stupid for valuing laws more than people and, personally, I've always envisioned his tone of voice to be very "hey man, shut the f**k up," when addressing them.

I've updated my Amazon widget largely so I could recommend the book Lamb by Christopher Moore. Its a fictional account of Yeshua's first 30 years which are consistently left out of the gospels. Its funny and endearing and instantly became a new favorite for me. I found myself really wishing it was true because I loved the character of Joshua (Jesus/Yeshua) so much. I didn't think it was irreverent but I suppose some people might. I don't guess its ridiculous to assume that making religion remotely funny requires at least a little irreverence. Either way, whether you're the faithful or the faithless, its a good time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My first Father's Day

Yesterday, was the first time I spent Father's Day as a father so, I got up and decided to do some outdoor work befitting a dad. I changed the oil in the lawn mower, mowed and trimmed the lawn, and began redoing the awful landscaping left from the previous owner of the house. Leah had to be at a bridal convention all day so she was gone until about six. Harper spent the morning hanging out with her Aunt Elana, who's visiting from Canada, and after I finished my yard work and cleaned up, Harper, Elana, and I spent most of the afternoon watching a Ninja Warrior marathon on G4. I love that show. I wish I had a huge obstacle course like that to play on, although, it would probably result in my death.

Eventually, it was nap time. I usually like to watch a movie while I'm trying to sleep, which I realize is often counterproductive but hey, its who I am. My choice yesterday was Titan A.E. I, honestly, think this is one of the most under-rated movies of all time. Its directed by the world class Don Bluth and the screenplay was written by Joss Whedon (who needs no introduction) and Ben Edlund (who created The Tick). I think Harper loved it, which would make sense because she has all the genes necessary to have impeccable taste. But seriously, that movie really is fantastic. After I write this, I'm going to go to IMDB and see if Don Bluth is still making movies.

After Leah got home we all went and ate at Chili's and then spent the rest of the night lounging around. All in all, a nice lazy Sunday.

If anyone out there knows a good proxy site that hasn't been blocked yet, please let me know. It would be really great if I could get on Facebook and Myspace during the day to do work for the band. Speaking of which, we have a big show this Friday in Austin at Antone's. If you'd like some cheap tickets you can get half price by following us on Twitter and by going to the event page at Do512 and clicking "I like it." Please do both of those things and tell your friends to do them as well. When you RSVP at the Do512 page you also get a free 9 song sampler that features all the bands playing that night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Insert sensational title about republicans being bad here.

There's been a lot of talk lately about how the republican party can stay relevant. This is something I am concerned about because I think its crucial for them to stay relevant for our politics to be useful. You might say, "Wait a minute, Taylor. Why do you care? You're supposed to be a left wing, socialist democrat, liberal douche bag." And you'd be right. I'd love to live in an America where all my opinions are put into law but what I'd really love is to have two parties that I feel like have something to offer. So here are my top five suggestions to keep republicans in the game.

1. Stop letting hot headed, sensational, bullies be your voice. You know who I'm talking about. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'reiley, Sean Hannity, etc. These people make you all look like assholes. Especially Rush and Bill. They have these absolutist positions on all the issues, but when they're challenged they don't defend their position, as much as they just try to shout down the opposition. Even if you can get someone to shut up doesn't mean you've proven them wrong. People just tune in to these programs to hear someone agree with them about how much they hate immigrants and liberals, and I just don't see how that's helpful. Its also probably irresponsible to have these shows on a "news" channel, when they're very clearly not news. They're not "fair and balanced" either but we'll pick our battles.

2. Speak up, moderates! John (circa 2000) and Megan McCain are who you need to be looking to, not crabby ass Cheney. Moderates can lean with the zeitgeist and that's what the party really needs if its going to appeal to young people. Stop trying to hold on to this image of a prudish Christian America that never really existed.

3. Engage in the discussions of the issues like human beings and realise that there are really no black and white issues. I disagree with Mike Huckabee on probably just about every issue, but I've loved him every time he goes on the Daily Show because he seems to at least try to understand the other side. Demonizing the other side because you disagree isn't really helping and it just comes across as childish. When you can't talk about the issue you talk about the other people. Stop acting like the political arena is your 4th grade playground.

4. Jesus probably wouldn't vote for you so stop acting like he's your frat brother. Make decisions based on what's best for America, objectively, and leave your religion out of it. Its only going to serve as enough rope to hang yourself anyway. Also, kooks like Pat Robertson don't do much for intellectual or moral credibility.

5. Be smart. Stop ignoring scientists and environmentalists. Stay away from people like Sarah Palin, she may be folksy and relatable but she's borderline retarded. Trust me, she's not doing you any favors.

Good luck.

Check out the latest Mike Huckabee/Jon Stewart interview here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Songs I wish I'd written.

In no particular order, here are 20 songs that I think are so good, that they fill me with jealousy when I hear them, or at the very least make me want to go straight home and start working on something to rival their quality.

1. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
2. Only in Dreams - Weezer
3. Your Ex-Lover is Dead - Stars
4. Save Me - Amiee Mann
5. Save Me - Remy Zero
6. Where The Streets Have No Name - U2
7. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder
8. The Prophet - Sunny Day Real Estate
9. Good Vibrations - Beach Boys
10. The Ballad of John & Yoko - The Beatles
11. Bowl of Oranges - Bright Eyes
12. Mayonaise - Smashing Pumpkins
13. Songs of Love - Ben Folds
14. Destination Ursa Major - Superdrag
15. Mr. Love - The Toadies
16. The Reasons - The Weakerthans
17. Promise - Pedro the Lion
18. Naveed - Our Lady Peace
19. Jackie, Dressed in Cobras - The New Pornographers
20. Holland, 1945 - Neutral Milk Hotel

I could, honestly, go on and on but I'll cap it at 20 and maybe update it periodically.

Last night, Leah and I dropped Harper off with Robin and Jeremy and went to see The Brothers Bloom and eat at PF Changs. The movie was really good and the food was exquisite, as always, but the company was the best thing about the evening. We had a great time and thankfully, Harper was really good for Robin and Jeremy. Jeremy said that Harper sat and watched "So you think you can dance" for a long time. I always wonder what she thinks of the things she sees, and since she has no frame of reference, does she think things are weird and confusing or does she just observe and accept? I wonder if she thinks we worship the TV or something.

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to having no frame of reference and just view the world with no preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be and just enjoy the sense of wonder that would accompany such innocence. But mostly, I would just use the opportunity to watch The Empire Strikes Back and actually be surprised when Vader tells Luke he's his father. By the time I was old enough to appreciate Star Wars, Darth Vader was already so iconic that I knew he was Luke's father long before I actually saw the movie. I was cheated by pop culture, damn it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"I love you" "I know"

I don't think I really knew what I wanted out of life until I fell in love with Leah. I'd been "in love" before but when she and I got together, there was no denying that this was something I had never experienced. We've been married for 3 years today and I can, without a doubt, say that they've been the best 3 years of my life.

In Vonnegut's Mother Night, the protagonist is a playwright who writes a play called "A Nation Of Two" for his wife. The idea is that the two of them form their own nation that has no room and no need for politics, religion, greed, or other people. I love that book so much because that's how I feel about Leah and I, though now we're a nation of three. Which is not to say that we don't love all our friends and family but suffice to say that I'd rather spend eternity in hell with Leah than in heaven without her, if I believed in such places.

Last night we played at Emo's in Austin, and it was OK. All the bands were really good, I just wish we'd had a little more solid of a show. My voice went totally out on the last song which was really frustrating, but thankfully, the Rocketboys were there to sing with us, which is always great.

Coincidentally, on the Emo's outdoor stage, mewithoutYou was playing last night and their set started right after ours so I was happy. However, I'm sad to say that this band, while having made some of my favorite records in the past few years, has gotten lazy as a live band. The first time I saw them they were clearly out to make a name for themselves. They covered the stage in rose pedals and accented their crescendos by throwing them up in explosive displays. Their energy was undeniable. Now, I just don't feel like they try as hard. I was also really curious to see how their new material translated to a live setting. The answer is "not well." After a few songs, I realized that they'd probably never top that first time I saw them and went home to help my wife put our daughter to bed.

I've added an Amazon.com widget to the side of my blog so I can recommend things to people who happen by here and maybe earn some credit for myself at Amazon. So, bad show review aside, mewithoutYou's new record is on there and you really should pick it up, as well as all that other crap I've decided to push on you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yeah, I work out. Its no big deal.

This is Leah and I, circa 2002. Why she was attracted to this at all is a mystery to me. In this picture we had gone to Teen Mania to see the band Switchfoot and probably because I have a lot against Teen Mania, I felt compelled to take my shirt off and do whatever jackasses do to get laughs from their friends and the girl they have a crush on.

This is us about a year later in the Opry hotel in Nashville. She came to visit me there and I decided to tell her I loved her and make her my girlfriend. It was the first in the long line of good decisions I made that turned my life into what I wanted it to be. Which is to say, happy and whole.

Today marks the 6 year anniversary of that day. Six years, and I have never been bored. Six years, and I still love seeing her name on my caller ID. I'm pretty sure there would be no war if everyone in the world got to have what we have.

I sure do love her.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hey, did you ever see Apocolypto? Yeah, it was really good, I liked it when he made poison darts with the frogs. Oh, yeah, me too.

I'm really tired today. Big deal. I'm tired everyday. Harper pretty much slept through the night on Saturday. She only did it once, but still, that's progress.

Tonight we've got band practice and then tomorrow night, a show. We're at Emo's in Austin with Dear & the Headlights and the Bright Light Social Hour. I've never heard either of them but I'm sure they're fabulous. Come on down.

Actually, we're playing a show in a couple of weeks in Austin that we really do need to beg everyone to come to. We're playing one of Antone's anniversary shows, and for some reason, unknown to me, we've been asked to headline it. Flattering but sure to be disappointing. We have secured a really solid bill for that one though. Its us, The Mercers, Zookeeper, and Wiretree. What's crazy about that is that Zookeeper is Chris Simpson's (from Mineral/Gloria Record) new band. In late high school/early college, I can't tell you how much time I spent obsessing over Mineral's records and now that guy is opening for me. Very strange indeed. I guess I've finally made it...

The other day we had an interview for a local publication and then spent some time at Matt's house doing some pre-production for our upcoming EP. While we were there Matt hands me my guitar and tells me that he got everything wrong with it fixed and to pay for it, he traded a guy some recording time at Matt's studio. I was/am overwhelmed by how generous and selfless that was. He also fixed my amp but then Tommy sat on it and it stopped working again, so hopefully, we'll get that figured out soon. CURSE YOU, TOMMY BLANK!!

We had another hail storm in Austin the other day, so this is one of the rare occasions that I actually have work to do. Better get to it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

We are all strange people in a strange land.

One thing that I think is gross is when people don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. I always want to stop them and be like "Hey buddy, back it up. Those hands have been in or around your bathing suit area and we'd all like you to clean them." Sometimes, when I'm feeling less articulate, I'm just tempted to yell "GROSS" at them.

Speaking of the bathroom. The other day I was defecating at work and I guess one of my coworkers ventured into the bathroom while I was there because when I came back to my desk there was a post-it note on my monitor that simply read, "Your shit stinks." Pretty funny.

I finished reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins yesterday. I enjoyed it though I remain unconvinced that the existence of god should be written off. If you haven't read it, Dawkins argues for god's nonexistence based on probability, saying that its highly improbable that god exists. My thought is that even if god's existence is only 10% likely and 90% unlikely, I still think it warrants a place in the discussion. Those are just percentages that I made up for the sake of it, by the way. I'm having lunch with my friend Matt in a few minutes and it was his suggestion that I read the book so I'm looking forward to discussing it with him. I think Dawkins does a highly effective job at tearing apart religion but religion's lack of validity and the existence of a god are untethered issues to me.

Just as I do every morning, today I was listening to the Bobby Bones show on the way to work. Apparently, this story, about a boy who's parents say he's a reincarnated WWII pilot, has made it onto their radar. I think the only appropriate response to that sort of thing is skepticism, but it is really interesting, when you read the story. They also talked about some preacher who was in a car accident and said he was dead for 90 minutes, which he spent surrounded by loved ones in Heaven. He wrote a book, appropriately titled 90 Minutes In Heaven (There's another book with a similar theme out called 23 Minutes In Hell which I've read a little bit of and it has all the hallmarks of a story you'd hear from a homeless man who's been in the sun for 20 years.) Amy, from the Bobby Bones show, is their resident Christian, and while I'm sure she'd probably consider herself a moderate, she does profess to believe the Bible. Her responses to the stories were skeptical and it reminded me of a story from my youth.

When I was in high school in east Texas, I worked at Journeys shoes at the mall in Longview. I had a friend that worked there with me named Andy. Andy and I both ran with crowds full of Christian musicians and artists, though he and his friends tended to come from more "charismatic" denominations. One day, Andy came into Journeys and asked when I got off, what I had planned for the evening and did I want to see some crazy shit? I got off at 6, had nothing planned and of course I wanted to see some crazy shit. He told me that, apparently, a few towns over in Liberty City, there was a revival going on. (Is it weird that we think we can schedule revival?) There were rumors that the lady who was doing the preaching was performing some impressive signs and wonders. He had heard that she bled out of her hands, gold flakes came out of her hair, and wherever she walked she left pools of oil in her footprints.

So that night Andy and I trekked over to Liberty City and found the small crowded church in the virtual middle of nowhere. It was a Pentecostal church so there was a lot of high spirited dancing and singing and a handful of people speaking in tongues (which is the weirdest thing to be around, by the way). Then the lady got up to speak and she delivered what I considered to be a pretty normal evangelical sermon. She was a good speaker but Andy and I didn't really come to see that, we came for the freak show. We watched her as intensely as we could from our seats, which were about 30 feet away, to make sure she didn't pull any funny stuff. Then she gave the invitation and held one hand high. That was when we saw it. In her upheld hand we saw a dark spot appear and it seemed to grow just a tiny bit. She noticed it and said, very casually, "Oh, the sign of the blood is coming." After some discussion, Andy and I decided that it would be OK for us to leave our seats and go investigate. We walked right up to her and she showed us her hand. I didn't see any cuts or any reason for the blood. Andy and I left probably more confused than we were when we arrived, but I think its important to note that everyone there seemed genuine (except for the people speaking in tongues, those people are liars) and genuinely nice, they never asked us to join their church or for any money. That being said, I realize that this feat is less impressive than David Blaine levitating himself on the street or David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear, and I still think skepticism is the appropriate response.

That stuff all really happened. But what I always found interesting is that when I'd share that story with people, both the faithful and the faithless have the same response. "Bullshit." The faithless are understandable but the faithful, not so much. Isn't that the kind of thing that happens all the time in the scriptures. I can assure you, it is. So why do people acccept that all the biblical miracles are not only possible but definitely happened but when I say a lady's hands were bleeding in Liberty City, TX they look at me like I just fell out of the kook tree.

I don't know why her hands were really bleeding. I do know that the world is a big weird place and that's probably why I love it so much.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's make today a special one!

Last night Harper had her first real bath. Up til now we've been bathing her in this hammock type thing that suspends her above her bathtub, but now she's actually in the water. I believe that she loved it and it was ridiculously adorable. What wasn't adorable was the diaper full of what must have been a record amount of baby feces that I had to change yesterday. I was gagging at the stench. GAGGING! Upsetting, but we persevere.

Since Leah's grandmother has been in town, we've gotten to see a couple of movies that we've been anticipating. The first was The Hangover and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. I love Zach Galifianakis so I'm hoping this movie really makes him a star so we can see more of his beard on the big screen. Once at SXSW, we were downtown handing out Quiet Company CD samplers when Leah said "Hey there's that guy you love." It was Zach Galifianakis walking down 6th street. So I ran to catch him, jumped in front of him and I think I screamed at him "Hey I love you, here's my CD." He said, "OK" and put it in his pocket and we both went about our business.

The second movie we saw was Disney/Pixar's Up. It was fantastic but quite possibly the saddest thing I've ever seen. I don't typically cry at movies but I'm exceptionally vulnerable to anything that makes me think of Leah & I. If it brings to my attention the inevitable truth that one day we will lose the one we love (or they will lose us) I just go to pieces. With Up they do it to you really early in the film so probably 10 minutes in, Leah is crying, my eyes are wet, and I'm leaning over and whispering "That's the saddest f***ing thing I've ever seen." (I guess I didn't cry as hard as when I saw the Notebook, so maybe that one is sadder. I wept like an old lady in the Notebook. I also cried at Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl when J.Lo dies. Leah and I have promised each other to never die so we should be fine. When and if we ever do die, we want to die like in Bicentennial Man where they die together holding hands, real peaceful like.) All that to say that Up is a triumph.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hurry up and get the Zeitgeist in the car before Ann and Pat realize that we've left...

I've often wondered, and for that matter, continue to wonder what happens in a person's life that fills them full of poison, the way that people like Ann Coulter are full of poison. Its one thing to passionately disagree and another thing entirely to seemingly devote your life to being the most malicious, mean, and thoroughly bad person you can possibly be, short of committing genocide or molesting children. At least with Ann, you get the impression that deep down she knows what a snake she is (my apologies to snakes), while Pat Robertson's deluded senility seems to run rampant under a guise of "good, Christian morality."

Spend some time here if you want to have your stomach turned. I found this collection this morning and it makes me physically ill that not only do these people exist, but several of them have positions of power (political or otherwise), in our country.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A new name for everything

There are a new set of polls going around on Facebook, and I love sharing my worthless opinion with people who care as little for it as I care for theirs, so I joined in.

The first one was simple enough. Do you approve of President Obama?
Yes, I do. I saw that a friend of mine, Jubal, had put that he approved and had come under some fire from people who I can only assume are conservative and more likely, militantly conservative. Jubal had said that Obama's diplomacy, and pledge to end American torture were two of the reasons he approves of the president, and one of his detractors posted something like "I only need one reason to disapprove of Obama and that's his stance on abortion." And then this crusader posted again saying "how about we stop American torture of innocent babies." So of course, I (in all my maturity) commented and said "How about we stop reducing complex issues to bumper sticker slogans?" I just hate that. The world is almost never black and white, as sensationalist talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reily would like you to believe.

I'm not impressed with the bailouts, but I'm very proud of Obama, largely because of his foreign policy. We voted for change and it seems that that is exactly what he's giving us, particularly in the case of Israel. I don't have anything against Israel that I don't have against Palestine, I just don't understand why we've decided that they're right no matter what. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

The second poll was about another one of my favorite discussions, Evolution vs. Creationism. I know people that say Creationism or Intelligent Design (which is the same thing at the end of the day) are the only way this world could possibly have occurred. I know people that say Evolution is the only way this world could have occurred. I also know people that say maybe God used Evolution to make this world occur. I can understand the last two, but in the year 2009 I don't understand how anyone can still cling to the first one, unless they simply don't care, which is the most viable reason I can think of. Most Christians I know have dropped the idea that the book of Genesis is to be taken literally, since they know that a) the things in it are illogical and impossible and b)science has disproved a lot of it. Anyway, these Facebook polls have room for people to comment after they've voted and in the comments you see the same argument repeating that we had here a few weeks ago. "Evolution is just a theory."

Why doesn't the scientific community come up with a new word for the scientific definition of "theory?" Its confusing that a word can have two almost polar opposite meanings. I remember in my high school biology class the teacher told us it was "just a theory." He didn't understand the difference either and if this is the kind of understanding of the subject matter that our biology teachers have, what hope can the students have of grasping the concept? Hopefully, schools like mine that teach misunderstanding of the topic are the exception and not the rule.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Would you like to hear a song I made?

Here is that demo that Todd and I did.
Its called "Brother, I Think You're In Love," and as a departure from the norm, those words are actually in the song.

I like calling my friends "brother." It reminds me of Animal Farm where the animals all call each other "comrade." It really just gives me a sense that we're all in this together. So, in this song, when I say "brother" I'm not talking about my actual brother, but rather Tommy.

Don't go to Devil's Bathtub without a sponsor...

Recently, an old friend from church came into town and we had lunch. It was good to see him and talk about how much things have changed. This guy used to, basically, take over our Sunday school class and teach it (which always annoyed the crap out of me) but now it seems that he, too, has taken the first few steps on a road away from faith and I wish him luck, whatever that means. One of the things he seemed to be having trouble reconciling was that he had such good memories in the church. I had them, too. In fact, I've been really nostalgic about them today. Probably because my brother, who is a minister, posted about how he's getting ready for church camp, and I started thinking about all my summers at Falls Creek Baptist church camp in Davis, OK.

I stopped being a Christian because I, simply, couldn't make the square peg that is the Bible fit into the round hole that is my conscience and logic. And after years of trying, desperately, to do so, gave it up as a bad job. That being said, there is a large part of me that really wishes that I could believe like I did in high school, before I had seen or thought anything that challenged my faith. I would love to go back to church camp and relive the passion, the emotion, the week long attempt to get a summer girlfriend (come on, we all know this is one of, if not the main reason for teenage boys to go to church camp). Sometimes, I even miss church itself. Not the sermons or the music or the classes so much, just the hanging out really, and the idea that we were all part of some great purpose handed down by god. It was a lot of fun and it would be ridiculous to act like it didn't shape me. That's not to say that its improbable that I would've turned out just as good without it, I probably would have.

There is a summer camp for Humanists with several locations in the U.S. but while, I'm sure its fun, I doubt its the same kind of fun because it wouldn't be the kind of thing that would pull on your emotions the way church camp does.

Maybe Quiet Company should just make it a priority to try and play Cornerstone every year so I can get my nostalgia fix. When we were there last year, it was really obvious how weird a lot of it seemed to Tommy, who has always been a non-believer, but to me there was such a familiarity. Maybe there's just something in my personality that tends to enjoy a certain level of mysticism. I don't know.

Of course, its unfair to look backward through those rose colored glasses of nostalgia. Things like that were never really as good as we would like to remember. I don't miss the guilt or the shame that is often exploited in the hopes of conversions, and I don't miss all the guys with their guitars who don't know how to play, yet, seem to always have the instrument handy. One time, I was playing this kids guitar at church camp and he stopped me and said, "Taylor, I only want Christian music played on my guitar." I said, OK, but come on, I wasn't even singing anything. Is the D chord more christian than the A chord? Has the G made a profession of faith whereas the F# lives in sin? Ridiculous.

Anyway, weird guitar kids aside, I kind of miss church camp.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gotta eat to live, gotta steal to eat...

Today, Leah and Harper came and ate lunch with me and it was lovely. We went to Cosco because its really cheap and surprisingly delicious. While we were there, Leah and I noticed a really cute little boy who couldn't have been more than 3 years old. After we both made a few comments about how cute he was, Leah said "...he looks like a street rat." I laughed a lot. In hindsight, the boy did look a lot like the little homeless kid in Disney's Aladdin. And now I'm listening to the Aladdin soundtrack at my desk.

A while back I had the idea of doing a show where all the bands would pick a Disney movie and do their own renditions of the soundtracks. We could make it a really early show with more of a family atmosphere so people could bring their kids. I still plan on doing it because I think it would be a lot of fun. Quiet Company has already got dibs on Aladdin and I've spent a little time on reworking the songs but it hasn't been a priority, what with a baby, an album, an upcoming EP and upcoming musical of our own to worry about.

Leah's grandmother is coming to visit from Canada tomorrow, so we're really excited to see her. She's a good time. Actually we've got a myriad of guests this weekend. Leah's mom is coming in on Saturday to see Leah's grandmother (and also I'm sure she won't mind seeing Harper), and then next week Leah's dad is coming in.

I finished mixing a demo today, perhaps I'll post it tomorrow, perhaps I won't. Sounds pretty good though, if I do say so myself. Todd from Jets Under Fire helped out on the drums, so thanks to him.

I haven't seen the Davis twins in a bit and I miss them. I'll probably try and stop by there today, so if you're reading this, Davis family, be prepared.

I just can't get enough Brad Neely

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So far, at work today, I've just been looking at the amazingly hilarious work of Brad Neely. You may know him from his overdubbing of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, called "Dear Readers, Wizard People." He lives in Austin, and is a genius.

Last night I watched some of Jon & Kate + 8 with Leah. I don't know why she watches that stuff. Jon's seems dopey as hell, and Kate is an insufferable shrew. Right after that incredible tripe went off, another show about a family that has 18 kids came on. ARE YOU SERIOUS, TLC?!? Its ridiculous that all you have to do is be incredibly selfish, and/or irresponsible with your breeding and TLC will apparently give you your own show. Oh, it also helps if you're little people. I just told Leah last night that there's probably tons of fertile, awful people out there thinking that they've found their cash cow, and lo and behold, when I got to work today I read that the "Octomom" has a show now. I wish everyone would stop watching these things because then they'd stop making them. These are the kinds of shows that I want to shelter Harper from. Good job America, lets teach our kids that selfishness and vanity are almost always rewarded with money and fame, no talent required.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Its five o'clock somewhere.

I miss my wife while I'm at work. She's my very best friend and she is the most beautiful person I've ever known, inside and out. Her talent and drive inspire me. We have a great time together. Five o'clock can't come soon enough.

A celebration of parents!

I've had a couple of suggestions for what to blog about today, so I've decided to take them. One of my best friends(and Quiet Company manager), Paul, told me a while back that becoming a parent made him realize how much his parents must love him. I'm starting to see that now, as well. I've never had any doubt that my parents love me, but having a child of your own makes your understanding of that love that much more tangible. You start to appreciate all the little things you know they did for you but you never saw, the sacrifices they made and whatnot. Seeing Leah go through her pregnancy so gracefully makes me appreciate all mothers, but mine especially. The knowledge that someone wanted you enough to put their body through pregnancy is humbling, to say the least.

I think my earliest memory is of my mother's love for me. I couldn't have been more than 4 years old and I had just woken up from a nap. My brother Seth, told me that Mom had gotten me something while she was out and he would show me where it was hidden. She had bought me a Superman action figure. Now, I wasn't a fan of Superman, necessarily, but I distinctly remember thinking, "she didn't have to get me anything." I was really moved then just by the fact that Mom was thinking about me when she was out and got me something she thought would make me happy, just because she loved me. It wasn't my birthday and I'm sure I hadn't been exceptionally good that day. Its such a small thing but hey, it stuck with me and as cheesy as it is, it still warms my heart when I remember it. But that's what life is, a series of little things. I love my parents and my memories are full of little things they did to show that they loved me, and sacrifices they made for me, and tough decisions that they made that pissed me off at the time but in hindsight were good ones and always made with my best interest in mind. I think its also a kind of evolutionary process. You look back at how you were raised and say "this was good and this wasn't" and try to do a little better when its your turn. Well, good luck, Harper.

Since I'm on the subject of mothers, there's something else in the news that is heartbreaking. A doctor in Kansas has been murdered in his church. Dr. Tiller was killed because he performed abortions. I understand this is polarizing, but bare with me. Tiller had already been shot in both his arms in 1993 and had his clinic bombed as well. I'm not trying to build a pity case for him but at the same time I don't think I should have to. Everyone is making a huge deal out of the fact that Tiller performed "Late Term Abortions" which I agree is disgusting, but what no one is saying is that late term abortions are used in cases where the mother's safety is endangered and its not a form of birth control. I'm just really saddened by all the people saying things like "justifiable homicide." I don't like abortion, I don't think any person in their right mind would say that they're a fan. Being a parent, its almost impossible to imagine. That being said, I do consider myself pro-choice because there are several situations that could arise where I would rather have an abortion than risk the birth. While I'm pro-choice, I'm also pro-responsibility. I don't believe abortion is an acceptable form of birth control, especially when there are so many couples that would love to have children and can't for one reason or another. I don't know, it just makes me feel disheartened to see anybody rejoicing in a man's murder and acting like he got what was coming to him. I'm sure that Dr. Tiller was doing what he considered best for women's health, and its especially sad to see yet another person making Christians look so un-Christlike.

Paul would also like me to mention that the newest Star Wars game looks amazing. It really does.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I want my MTV

Leah and I watched the 2009 MTV movie awards last night, and I must say they were really entertaining. I thought Andy Samberg was a great host, mainly because the show seemed to be one Lonely Island skit after another. Eminem was amazing and I'm thinking I may need to get that new record, after all. I felt bad for him when Sasha Baron Cohen had his way with him, though. Poor thing just doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor about a naked man's ass falling in his face.

Speaking of MTV... Up in the great north, MTV.CA has added our newest video "Its better to spend money..." to their website and one of the other Canadian music TV channels, Fuse, played the song as background music for a countdown last week. Thanks, Canada!

In other Quiet Company news, today Soundcheck Magazine is posting their 21st issue, which features a 4 page spread about us. I've read the article already and while its very well written, I must confess, I didn't expect him to talk about some of the stuff I said with such transparency. A couple things in the article made me a little uncomfortable, but maybe that's a good thing. Also, he got a few things wrong which I'll clarify here but they're not a big deal.

1. The article paints my childhood as more strict than it actually was. My parents were very wary of secular music but I wouldn't say that I was "forbidden" to listen to it. They actually bought me Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness, I didn't have to sneak it into my room.
2. The article makes it seem as if Leah and I were never Christians, particularly around the time of our wedding, but that's not true. While we may have not been the most devout of believers, we did very much consider ourselves to belong in that category.
3. When Derrick is talking about specific lyrics from the album that deal with religious imagery, he doesn't necessarily always translate the metaphors the way I meant them, but that's something that I like about songwriting.

All in all, I think its a really sweet, hopefully endearing, article. Its supposed to go online today around 3, so go check it out.

I had a doctors appointment the other day to try and finally get this god forsaken acne off my face. While I was there, they weighed me and I did not like the result. So yesterday, I went running. I'm going to try and run every night, or maybe alternate between running and bicycling. All that to say, I hurt all over today. Its really important to me to stay fit so that by the time Harper is old enough to retain memories, I still have enough energy to play with her.

Yet another evil socialist.

Another hero of the Socialist Party, championed by Vonnegut, is Powers Hapgood. He was an American Trade Union organizer who was famous for all manner of derrings-do on the side of worker rights and civil liberties. He was imprisoned several times for his protests, in fact, Vonnegut's novel Jailbird pays homage to him.

Hapgood came from a distinguished family and was a Harvard graduate. However, after graduation he opted for manual labor in the coal mines, and found his place fighting to make life better for the working man. Later in his life, he led protesters at the execution of the anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in Massachusetts in 1927 and after some trouble at the picket line, had to testify in court about what he'd witnessed there. After his testimony, the Judge asked him why, with all his social and educational advantages, would he choose to live this way? Powers delivered one of my favorite responses. Its my favorite largely because of the way the conservative media is trying to paint Socialism in America today.

Powers replied, "Why, because of the sermon on the mount, sir."

I think most, if not all, of the Christians I know and love would agree that the ideas of Jesus are more in line with the ideas of Karl Marx than of Joel Osteen.

PS. If you find that you have had a comment deleted, please do not be offended. I had to delete a few for reasons I won't go into publicly but would be more than happy to tell you in private. I promise I won't ever delete your comment for any trivial reason. Thanks for understanding.