Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Years resolution is to do a better job of taking a name for every ass I kick.

Tomorrow it will be the year 2010. Holy smokes! The big question on my mind is "would I go to my 10 year high school reunion if we had one?" I assume we're having one but I'm not yet sure if I'll want to attend.

On one hand, there are a handful of people I wouldn't mind seeing.
On the other hand, I guess I didn't care that much about them or I would've stayed in touch.
On one hand, I've got a lot to show off (which is all those things are really for): great family, hot wife, decent job, cool beard, and judging by internet presence, I'm easily the most famous person in my class, probably my school (which is saying next to nothing).
On the other hand, in order to rub those assholes' noses in it, I'd actually have to talk to those assholes.

I'll probably decide in the same way I decided my involvement in things in high school: I'll go if Jeremy goes.

Now to take stock of 2009...

It was damn near perfect.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hey, which crazy thing happening are you guys screaming about?

It's, once again, time for the Austin Chronicle Best of 2009 Music poll. The difference, this year, is that I'd actually like to win something. So, please, for the love of all things good and pure in the world, GO VOTE FOR QUIET COMPANY.

The only categories I really care about are "Band Of The Year" and "Album Of The Year" but I wouldn't say no to some recognition in the best rock and indie categories, as well. Please do this, and encourage your friends to do it too.

Anyone that has followed this blog for any time at all knows that, since I came out as a non-believer earlier this year, my brother and I haven't seen eye to eye, philosophically, very often. However, a few days ago, we talked for over an hour about faith and religion and I can only speak for myself but I found our discussion quite enjoyable. When I "came out," I did so partly because I suppose I had deluded myself into the notion that, though it would surely be difficult initially, it would eventually make my family closer. I like to believe that honesty does that. I don't know if Seth and I will ever agree about anything, (we barely agreed about anything when we were both Christians) but I have hope that our conversations will continue to become more and more enlightening and open for both of us as the years go by.

And still, we're not without common ground. For instance, we both think that people that speak in tongues are liars. And ridiculous sounding liars, at that.

Still, life is more about appreciating differences than finding common ground, of this I am convinced. Several years back, I realized that I liked my life a lot more when I was surrounded by people who were vastly different from me than I did when I was surrounded by people just like me. I used to run with a different crowd. We were all musicians, we were all into the same bands, we all liked the same movies, we even dressed pretty much the same. Eventually, I realized how unfulfilling those relationships tended to be, so because of that and some incessant drama that seemed to plague the clique, Leah and I went in search of a new life. We set off to surround our selves with a different kind of friend, many different kinds of friend. Because of this, I now feel like one of the luckiest people when I think of the company I keep.

I still have musician friends, but even they are people who are vastly different from myself. One of the main reasons I chose Tommy when he auditioned for Quiet Company is because he wasn't at all like any other musician I'd ever played with.

The flip side of this coin is that, obviously, nobody wants to be friends with someone who you can't find any common ground with. Recently, I unfriended a friend on Facebook because it was like being friends with Fox "News." (I really love the guy but I don't need to see 8 status updates a day about how Obama and the liberals hate America.) All I'm saying is that I think its wise to cherish the things you have in common with your friends, but still celebrate the differences too because, at the end of the day, they're probably what makes your friendship interesting.


Also, this is funny. I hate those billboards and I've always wanted to make one that says "Stop putting words in my mouth - God" but this one is good too.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The sun is up, the sky is blue. Its beautiful, and so are you.

Harper is crawling, climbing, learning to walk behind her lion push-cart, and yesterday she balanced herself standing up with no help for about 4 seconds. She's amazing and I'm very proud.

Also, my wife is an amazing photographer/person.

Monday, December 28, 2009

You really can't trust anyone who won't dance.

Leah and I are now officially home owners. There are a lot of great things about owning your own home and a lot of benefits but the thing I'm most excited about is being done with the buying process. If there is a hell, for me, I'm sure it involves spending eternity trying to buy a house and also, shopping at IKEA is somehow involved.

Another thing I'm pumped about is that, as soon as Harper is old enough for me to push a large part of the responsibility onto her, we're getting a dog. A big, badass dog! Almost definitely a mutt; definitely a rescue. And it will be an inside dog, something I've never had.

Leah and I watched a documentary last week called The God Who Wasn't There, which makes the case that Jesus, not only wasn't divine, but didn't actually even exist. Its an entertaining movie and, despite some cheesy music and graphics, I liked it. Though, honestly, its more of an emotional appeal than an educational one. Ideas are presented but not backed up thoroughly. Its a feel good movie for atheists, in other words. It left me in, generally, the same place I was before viewing it. Which is to say, "I don't know."

Leah and I went to east Texas to celebrate the holidays with our families a couple of weekends ago, so we were tired of driving and opted to stay home on Christmas. It. Was. Amazing. We watched a lot of movies, cooked and ate good food, relaxed, she got some editing done, I got some recording done and also beat X-Men Origins: Wolverine for Xbox 360. My favorite thing was on Friday when we put Harper to bed and made a huge pallet on the living room floor out of blankets and comforters and watched Inglorious Basterds, which is a lovely film. Last night, my mom and dad came to town (because we bought our house from them and we closed today) and we went out to eat and got in some sweet hang time. All in all, one of my favorite holidays ever.

I've been a little annoyed with something on Facebook/Twitter lately. And its not a big deal, just one of those things. But on Facebook, especially on Sundays, you get a ton of people updating their statuses with really exuberantly religious statements. "Going to church to worship our perfect lord and bask in his ray of golden loveliness with forgiveness and mercy etc. etc. etc...."

That's all fine and good, and while I may quietly (or loudly) scoff a little bit, that's not what annoys me, really.
First, let me say that sometimes when I've told my Christian friends that I'm no longer a believer, the news is met with a sort of...I don't know if "pity" is the right word, but we'll run with it. I get the feeling that they think I've lost my faith in the same way that a little boy loses his puppy. But that's not the truth. I haven't "lost" anything in the sense that I've misplaced it or had it taken from me, I've very calmly, and very intently rejected it, least ways until that time where I'm provided sound reasoning to return to it. And I'm not sad about it. Quite the contrary. I LOVE HUMANISM. I love the idea that we can be good for goodness' sake, without the permission, direction, or threat of punishment from an unseen deity. I love the idea that humans are all in this together and I love being part of a community that I feel is a proponent of reason, equality, kindness, and scientific thought.

So, that being said, sometimes I'd love to fire off a status update about how free I feel, having abandoned religion, and how joyous that is to me, but knowing a lot of my Christian friends, I feel like a lot of them see any representation of ideals that conflict with their own as an affront to their ideals. Its a double standard, and maybe one that exists only in my head, but an annoyance all the same. Technically speaking, their status updates are an affront to my beliefs, but I don't get offended. Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit. Maybe we'll never know.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Q & A vol. 2

I don't really feel like blogging today but I've set a precedent by blogging every weekday. So here I am, honoring the precedent.

Leah posted a blog not too long ago where she just allowed people to ask her questions. I've done this before too, but since she has a ton more readers than me, she actually got quite a few questions submitted.

Well my pride is sometimes a glutton for punishment so let's try again and see how remotely interested people are in the things I fill my days with.

Ask me a question, any question, and I'll give you the best answer I can.

James asked: Would Quiet Company like to play with the band Guns of Navarone (Seth from Consider the Source) sometime soon?
I would definitely be interested in this. Paul, our manager ( is the best person to talk to about setting something up. Consider The Source was one of my favorite bands in Austin and one of our favorite bands to play with. I was really sad to see them break up but I'm really glad to see Seth in another band. James is also one of the best drummers in town and easily one of the nicest people.

Leah asked: What has been the best day of your life? Worst day of your life? Most mediocre day of your life?
Best day is a tie, as I'm sure you knew it would be. The day I married you, and the day Harper was born were monumentally happy days. Those are the days where you're so full of joy you almost can't breathe. Worst day of my life was probably the day I almost committed suicide, sitting on the couch in my apartment with a knife for 2 hours, and trying to see any substantial reason to stick around. Obviously, I found a few. I don't know if I could remember a most mediocre day. That's what makes a day mediocre, right? Easily forgettable.

Mitch asked: What is your favorite part about being a father?
I've only been a dad for 7 months, so I fully expect to find a ton of new things to love about it, but I would probably say my favorite thing is getting to see her personality develop. I can't wait to see who she turns out to be as she becomes a more and more interesting person. I can already tell that Harper thinks she's pretty funny sometimes, which I find amazing.

Miss Alexandra asked: What is your weirdest Christmas memory?
When I was young I could always count on my grandparents (mom's side) to give me a badass Xmas gift. They set this precedent when they gave me all four Ninja Turtles one year, hidden inside a yellow TMNT suitcase (all of which I still have). But one year, I guess they had no clue what to get me, so at gift time I found myself seated in front of a large, flat package with my name on it. When it was my turn, I unwrapped a large, air brushed, framed picture of a Native American chief's head floating above some running horses. I didn't have the words to express myself then but what I meant to say is "What the fuck is this?" I just remember feeling completely disillusioned the rest of the day. My cousin, Trevor, got a knife. A knife!! And I got floating head chief. I'm sure you can imagine how this is so much more troubling to a 9 year old.

Lindsey asked:
1a. How many guitars do you own?

I currently have 4 guitars. A Taylor 314 acoustic, a 1977 Gibson RD Custom, An American made Fender California Telecaster, and an Epiphone Sheraton. I play the Sheraton and the Tele the most.
1b. How many guitars are you currently wishing you owned?
I'm not terribly into guitars, past knowing how to play one and liking the ones I have. Least ways, I'm not always lusting after new ones. If I was filthy rich, I wouldn't say no to a Gibson ES-335, or some kind of customized, large bodied Telecaster.
2a. Which do you love more: Star Wars or Harry Potter?
Harry Potter.
2b. How difficult is it for you to answer the above question?Not as hard as you'd think, thanks to the prequels. I still love the hell out of Star Wars but I look at it as a two part question. 1. Who has the best quality of story in the cannon, meaning the core story, excluding the Expanded Universe (comics, cartoons, books, etc). The HP saga is amazing from the first page of The Sorcerer's Stone to the last page of The Deathly Hallows and the Star Wars saga is really only amazing in the final 3 episodes. 2. Which universe would I rather live in, or, would I rather be a Jedi or a wizard? As amazing as a lightsaber is, I could do a lot more damage with a wand. The game goes to Harry Potter, that veritable weapon of the gods.

Eric asked:
What American geographic region do you prefer to tour in? To what extent does your answer depend on the fact that you're based out of Austin?

We've only done the southwest once but I think it was the most beautiful. Our shows were the best in the midwest or east coast though. Nowadays, I don't really like playing outside of Texas, though I would like to get back to our neighboring states. We may try to do that in the summer or something.

When was the last time you were super pumped about going to a show (as pumped as you would have been when you were a kid where you'd wait through shitty openers by the stage so you'd have a good view and then after the show, you'd ask for their setlist and for autographs), who was it, and does this type of mentality affect the way you play a show?

I don't know how long its been since I've felt like that, but the last show that I got really pumped about was probably a few months ago when David Bazan played. Leah and I went on a double date with Tommy and Betsy to see it. We ate rich people food beforehand. He was amazing and the show was like church for people who don't have any reason to go to church. I loved it and I felt a little like a fanboy when I handed one of the band members a copy of our record and asked him to give it to David. I don't know if he ever did or not. I assume not, because he never called and asked us to play with him.
Just this year, we've started getting people at the show that we don't know and who are just normal fans like real bands have and that has been amazing to me. I don't know if we have anyone that gets that crazy about us, in that they want our setlists and things like that. We've signed some autographs in our day but I doubt anyone gets nervous to talk to us. But I do try to put in 110% at every show in the hopes that one day people will be nerdy about us.

Todd asked: How dare you love Harry Potter more than Star Wars!!!????!?!?!?!
Harry Potter has no Jar Jar Binks, no midiclorians, no General Grievous, and Harry would have definitely shot Greedo first.

Matt asked: What was the name of the first song you remember writing?
Rain, Rain, Go Away...Don't ask.

Seth asked: What is your favorite TV show/movie to hate?
I hate most reality TV. The Simple Life comes to mind, though there are certainly worse shows now. But that show showed the TV execs that you could glorify two mean spirited, ignorant, bitches with nothing to offer society other than an overly developed, delusion of entitlement, and America would eat them shitz up.
As far as movies go, has anyone seen Mission to Mars? Mortal Combat: Annihilation? The Brown Bunny? Twilight? Closer? All the Tim Burton Batman movies? Those are the movies where I left the theatre feeling really sad about the fact that I'll never get the previous 2 hours of my life back and losing a little bit of faith in humanity. Mission to Mars, Mortal Combat: Annihilation, The Brown Bunny, and Twilight are all just horribly made movies (bad acting, bad script, bad special effects, just everything bad). I also hate Twilight, Closer, and the Tim Burton Batman movies for moral reasons. Twilight, aside from being about a really lame version of vampires and having werewolves fall in love with babies, it teaches girls that its cool to be stalked. I liked how Green put it the other day, "Literacy should be an avenue towards personal growth or imagination, not empty-headed subversion of healthy relationship dynamics...Twilight teaches young girls that the story of your life is blank and meaningless if your boyfriend breaks up with you."
Closer just made me sick. I don't like infidelity, I especially don't like movies that make infidelity look like something that everyone takes part in. That, and the movie was boring as hell.
Tim Burton has, admittedly, never read a comic book, and that became very obvious in his "Batman" movies. I actually enjoy the first two that Burton directed, though the character in that movie is pretty far from being Batman. As a Batman fanboy, all I can do when I watch those movies are point out the huge flaws in the characters and the story. The 3rd and 4th movies that Burton produced were just the epitome of expensive, Hollywood tripe. Pure unadulterated kitsch. Artless tacky shit.

I totally remember that (floating Chief's head) picture. How hung above your bed for so long. What was with the Indian theme?
I don't know, you'll have to ask Mom. I remember it had something to do with the colors or design of my bed spread. To her, I guess they just screamed "accessorize with Native American crap!!" I told her I didn't want a Native American themed room but, as history shows us, she was not deterred. I also acquired a "dream catcher" at some point.

Ryan Ford asked: I think it's funny that in response to Matt's question you said, "Rain, Rain, Go Away...Don't ask." in a post that is supposed to be about asking you questions. So, with that being said: what's with the song Rain, Rain, Go Away?
Ha! I knew this would happen. I don't know what I can really say about my earliest work other than it was really awful. I started trying to write songs as soon as I knew 3 chords. There's nothing wrong with writing songs with 3 chords, provided that they are good songs. "Rain, Rain, Go Away" was a sad attempt by any standard, though. I was really obsessed with Christian hair metal bands like Bride, White Cross, and Petra, so my first song writing attempt was also my first (and last) attempt at a power ballad. Shortly after, however, I heard Weezer's "Undone" on the radio and my musical path was (miraculously) changed forever.

My mom said...
I have apologized for that Indian picture! How long will you be bitter over it?


Leah asked: What's your favorite present that I've given you?
Does our daughter count? Probably not. The Beatles Anthology was pretty badass. I was also a fan of your virginity. ZING!

Green asked:
What was your favorite song on the recent album?

I don't even know if I could pick one, but I'm inclined to say that "On Modern Men" "Well, The Truth is.." and "On Husbands & Wives" all turned out more or less exactly how I envisioned them. I'm also a big fan of "How To Fake Like You're Nice & Caring."

Are there any songs that have gotten a positive reception from fans that you are ironically not too fond of?
If I don't really love a song, I'm not going to put it out. So this isn't generally a problem for me. However, Tommy wasn't terribly pleased with how the recording of "Congratulations, Seth & Kara" came out and he fought hard to keep it off the record. I'm glad a put my foot down because it seems like almost every other review we get picks that song out as a highlight. Which just goes to show that I am super smart and Tommy is not. Nobody cares about your degree, college boy! Tommy never reads my blog, so I can talk shit about him all day and he'll never know. It also helps that Tommy doesn't know how to read.

Do you ever get sick of playing certain songs at shows?
I got sick of playing "The Beginning of Everything at the End of the World" just because I've never felt like it sounded that good live. I still love it on the record, though.

Have you ever written a song and then decided it was too personal to be part of the band's work, or is personal something you feel comfortable writing about?
I think that one of the things that has made Quiet Company an interesting band is that I make a conscious effort to never do that. To me, art is best when its deeply personal. I've written about politics a few times but I know there's no reason to give a shit about what I think of any of these yahoos in Washington or the drivel they spend their time on. However, the way I see it, if a normal person writes about their normal life and sings about the lessons they learn along the way to enlightenment, then that's something people can use. That's relatable.

Leah said...
What are you most looking forward to in relation to Harper?

I'm looking forward to her running to greet me when I come home from work. I'm looking forward to seeing what she finds interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing what ways she establishes her uniqueness. I'm looking forward to her understanding my jokes and hopefully finding them funny. I'm looking forward to seeing who she finds love with. I'm looking forward to being a cool family that her friends will undoubtedly envy.

How will you explain to her why we don't celebrate holidays or practice religion when the rest of your family does?
I really feel like if you don't raise your kids to feel like they need saving, they won't feel like they do. When she gets old enough to realize that we're the black sheep, I'll just explain to her why you and I think religion is bad. I think our arguments are strong enough to stand on their own. I also plan on us teaching her to apply critical thinking to every aspect of her life, which I think will go a long way. Maybe we won't have to teach her though and she'll just inherit your insistent trait of always being the devil's advocate, so to speak.

At what age do you think it's okay for her to start dating?
I wouldn't think any earlier than 16.

Why am I so awesome?
Because you're beautiful, smart, funny, and strong. You're also driven, kind, and full of integrity.

Green asked:
Do songs come at you full force or do they start with a little melody/lyric and snowball into a whole song?
Melody and chords always come first and at virtually the same time. I don't know if that's how it works for other songwriters or not. I usually have a general idea of what I want the finished product to be, but things always evolve and develop once you start playing it as a band.

How much credit do you take for the finished version of songs ie what's the group process for creating a song?

Someone once told me that, legally, a song is comprised of lyrics, melody, and chords. I always write all of those parts so technically, I'm entitled to claim full credit for all the songs. That's how it has to be for me to be happy in a band. The other 3 guys definitely contribute a huge amount but they don't get writing credit.

Leah said...
If you could punch someone in the face over and over with no repercussion, who would it be?

Fred Phelps, Andrew Jackson, or those guys that write the Left Behind books.

Seth said...
If you were desperate for money, what type of band would you still not join, even if they were rolling in the cash?
I don't know if such a band exists. I'll play just about any kind of music for money. I even play in a praise & worship band from time to time. There are bands that I don't think I could join, just because I would have no clue what to do, like jazz or tejano bands. But I think the answer you're looking for is 3 Doors Down. They're just pathetic. I might still join them to take care of my family but I would definitely die a little inside every time I took the stage.

Is that...the silly putty...I bought you last week?
I'm assuming this is a reference but I don't know what the reference is to.

What is the answer: Pizza, Abe Lincoln, A Fruit Smoothie, or Slacks?
I've heard it said that pizza is like sex. Even when its not awesome, its still OK and if you didn't pay for it then you really can't complain.

If Harper decides to believe in Jesus (in her late teenage or young adult years), will you let her?
I don't see what I could do to stop her. However, I would challenge her decision with the same tenacity that I challenged my own. Religion only sticks when people decide that that one area of their life is off limits to critical examination, I think. If I've done my job right, then Harper will probably realize that it doesn't really make sense on her own.

Cameron McCasland said...
-How many Journeys Stickers do you still have?

You're a few days late with these questions, sir. But because its you, I'll answer them. I don't think I have any Journeys stickers left. There may still be some in some crevice at my parents house, but I don't know.

-While understanding your reasoning for leaving me in Nashville for your lovely bride, what do you feel you learned here, and how have you applied that to life?
This won't be a problem when you move here this year, but I learned a lot in Nashville. I learned that the people in Texas are, for better or worse, my favorite kind of people. I just feel like you can bullshit with people more here than anywhere else I've been. I can't really describe it but I certainly felt the difference when I arrived back here. I learned a lot about what I want out of life and what kind of person I don't want to be, which is equally important as learning what kind you do. I learned who my real friends were. I learned that Nashville is one of the worst cities to try and build a name for yourself musically. I learned that I love Kurt Vonnegut. I learned that there are no rules to life and that you can do whatever you want really, with respect to obvious consequences. I learned what its like to feel like you have no one to be accountable to and why its important to remain accountable to yourself. I learned or continued to learn what its like to be lonely, yet constantly surrounded by friends.

-What records, books, or films that may have moved you as a christian do you miss? While I know that good tunes is good tunes, It seems to me that the feeling behind them could wear off their luster.
Admitedly, I'm sure reading the Chronicles of Narnia to Harper will be different now than it would've been but overall, my change in station hasn't affected my opinions of any band that I actually care about. I still adore Starflyer 59, mewithoutYou, Luxury, Bleach, Switchfoot, Sixpence NTR, etc. One of the lyrics in an upcoming Quiet Company song is "I did find some tears when they played that song but for the four right chords I will play along. I have always been that way, it doesn't matter what the lyrics say." A weird possition to take for someone who cares as much about lyrics as I do, I admit, but what can you do?

Why don't you just shut the fuck up and talk about how awesome the iron man 2 trailer is?
I actually haven't seen it yet, but I mean to rectify this as soon as possible.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Doing my part to keep America beautiful.

You don't see a lot of mullets around nowadays. You still see them, to be sure, but not as much as we once did. Probably because they became a huge national joke. I don't know how it would be possible to have one and be unaware that the rest of the world wasn't laughing with you, but most certainly, at you. Unless you're one of those cool indie guys with a taste for the ironic where your hair is concerned, you most likely recognize what a bad idea the mullet is.

There are a couple of other fashion trends, I'd love to see go the way of the mullet, and here they are.

1. Drawn on lip liner and/or eyebrows.

Maybe its that no one has the heart to tell these girls, but no one, and I mean absolutely no one, could possibly find this attractive. And I don't just mean on this poor creature, but on anyone. Once when I was 14 or so, I met a girl at a church function and hit it off enough to justify talking on the phone a lot. When I met her she was just a normal looking girl in a t-shirt and jeans. She called one day and asked if she could come over and hang out since she was going to be in the area so I said, "sure." When she arrived she was scantily clad and her eyebrows were drawn on. She really wanted to get her make out on with me but those eyebrows were really freaking me out. I was really disgusted with her. Why would anyone shave off their eyebrows and draw them back on? We know they're not real eyebrows.

I don't like make up, in general. If I can tell a girl is wearing make up, she's wearing too much. The idea of kissing a girl wearing lipstick really sicks me out too, but if I had to kiss a girl wearing lip liner I'd probably puke in her mouth.

Maybe some girls just don't know this, but most guys I know say that they like girls who look natural. Also, I can only speak for myself, but fake boobs are gross.

Side note: I don't really need anymore reasons to find Sarah Palin repugnant, but in my search for lip liner pictures, I discovered that she has tattooed lip liner. God, everything about this woman irks me.

2. Affliction and/or Ed Hardy t-shirts, ie Douchegear.

I've got to be honest, I fully intended to mock the shit out of the people in this picture but now that I'm looking at it, I just feel really sorry for these guys. I mean...gosh. I wonder if they know that their mothers cry themselves to sleep every night.

Anyway, we had a great weekend in east Texas with the family. Our first holiday as humanists went off without any kind of conflict or friction. However, irony did strike when Harper was the only child in the entire family to receive a religious gift from my grandmother. I'm pretty sure she doesn't know that her family includes any humanists, so its not a big deal.

Its weird to see holidays through non religious eyes now. The weirdest part is how the holidays are really not religious at all. Aside from the baby angel doll that says a prayer when you squeeze it that Harper got, I doubt anybody said anything about their faith, or lack thereof, the entire time we were there.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with friends, eating at the best Mexican restaurant in the world, playing with Harper and my niece and nephew, and everyone having their ass kicked by Leah at bowling. I also got quite a bit of cash to spend at via gift cards and such. I've, thus far, bought 11 DVDs, 2 box sets, 4 CDs, and 4 books and I've still got $30 left. I love my family! I love! I love humanism! I love Festivus!

Friday, December 18, 2009

If a grown man "imprinted" on my baby, I'd have him arrested.

According to
Top 10 best-selling books of the decade:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - JK Rowling
3. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
4. Twilight -Stephenie Meyer
5. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
6. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - JK Rowling
7. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
8. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
9. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
10. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini

Top 10 best-selling authors of the decade:

1. JK Rowling
2. Stephenie Meyer
3. Julia Donaldson
4. Terry Pratchett
5. Jamie Oliver
6. Dan Brown
7. Enid Blyton
8. Bernard Cornwell
9. Alexander McCall Smith
10. William Shakespeare

Its kind of crazy that only 4 authors make up the top ten best selling books, but I think the message here to note is: "Suck a butt Twilight!"

I still stand by my statement that the Harry Potter saga is the best work of fiction in the history of recorded story telling. And despite what Stephanie Meyer may have you believe, young ladies, being stalked isn't cool, even if its by some sparkly, neutered, vampire. It doesn't matter how charming, or shiny, he may be. Oh, and remember how a werewolf falls in love with a baby? Totes redic!

We're leaving today after I get off work to go back to east Texas. We're celebrating the holidays with our family this weekend because everyone's schedules didn't line up to do it next week. I am looking forward to seeing my family. I am not looking forward to the 4 hour drive.

Matt finished up the violins and the horns for the EP yesterday. I can't wait to hear them. We did the choir and flute tracks on Wednesday with the help of my neighbor, a few Rocketboys and some other friends. Now we've moved past the point of being "almost almost done" to being "almost done."

I'm on a new medication to cure my lingering acne but so far it seems like the idea is to burn my face off in the hopes that an acne free face will spring up in its stead. I'm really starting to question whether the cure is worse than the affliction, especially since this is the 3rd medicine to have this effect and, in the end, the other medicines didn't do shit. Its not that my acne is bad, most people say they never notice it. Its just the fact that I'm 27 years old and I have to deal with it at all that bothers me. Oh well, maybe its just my lot in life. There are worse fates, I suppose.

On the the weekend, where we shall pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bill O'Reily is an asshole. Also, bears shit in the woods.

If you watch Fox "News" for any reason other than comedic value, then you deserve to have your head filled with polarizing, sensationalist, right wing tripe. Its a testament to Bill's journalistic integrity that instead of bringing on a representative from the American Humanist Association he brings on 2 other Fox "News" talking heads, presumably so they can all agree with each other. That is, after all, the point of Fox: so people who are too conservative for their own good get to hear someone shouting out what they think on TV, regardless of whether or not what they say is factual, objective, or responsible. As long as you're completely sure you're right, no matter what and the truth be damned, you have a place at a 24 hour news network in America.

Since no humanist was present to answer Bill's nonsensical questions, I'll do it.
-Humanist groups have been putting up signage like this all over Europe for quite some time now, and now American groups are starting to.
-Yes, they'll put them up in July.
-Yes, they'll put them up around Easter.
-Yes, they'll put them up around Ramadan.
-No, we don't hate the baby Jesus...moron.
-No, those signs are no more of an affront to religious groups than nativity scenes all over the place are to Muslims or Jews.
-The sign says, "No God? No problem. You can be good without god." it doesn't say "If you believe in god, you're a f**king moron! And we hate you. And we hate your stupid family." What, exactly, is wrong with people reaching out to the like minded for a sense of community? Isn't that what church is? The fact is that we live in a hugely religious society, and its not uncommon for non-believers to feel like they're alone in their beliefs, especially around the holidays.
-Most of us celebrate some form of the holiday anyway so, no, you arogant child, we're not "jealous" of what a good time religious people have around the holiday.
-Christmas, like Easter, is an originally pagan holiday that Christianity hijacked somewhere along the way. So, if you want to get into a game of "who was here first?" the Christians will find themselves pretty far back in the line.

It is trully sad how much Bill O'Reilly depends on his audience being ignorant little sheep. A loud voice does not a sound argument make.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don't drink, don't chew, don't go with girls who do.

Getting a bunch of your friends to sing on your record always seems like its going to be so much easier than it ever turns out to be.

Here is a really decent sounding video of us playing the immortal Pixies classic "Monkey Gone To Heaven" at Antone's in Austin earlier this year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who wants to feel uncomfortable?!?!

I think I may be ovulating. Or maybe the fact that I've cried twice in the short span of a few days is purely circumstantial. I don't know. But I do know how much I hate that feeling, where you realize that you have little to no control about the manner in which your emotions are about to manifest themselves. You don't want to talk because you know if you talk you'll completely lose the tiny bit of control that its taking every bit of your concentration to maintain. I just hate it.

Last night, Leah, Harper, and I made a run to Wal-Mart for some light bulbs and cooking supplies. As we were pulling out of the parking lot onto the main road we noticed an SUV stalled in the middle of the road with an old man laying on the ground. At first, it just looked like he was trying to reach under the car for something but as we pulled up next to it we realized that the SUV had run over this man. Leah called 911 and we pulled over to see if we could help. The family that hit him were already on the phone with 911 and apparently he had walked in front of them when they had a green light and they just didn't see him. He was wearing dark clothes and the sun had long ago set. The cops arrived shortly and when they did we left, but standing there looking down on the elderly gentleman who had just walked to Wal-Mart for some chocolate covered cherries, I was reminded more than I wanted to be of my grandfather.

My grandfather was killed by a drunk (among other things) driver when I was about 11 or 12. He was out riding his bike on the country roads of Harelton, TX in the late afternoon when he was hit. The man hit him and ran. Yesterday, I couldn't stop thinking about how lonely and scared he must've been, laying on the concrete, probably knowing that he was dying, wondering if his family would even find him.

I remember my dad getting the call that night and jumping in the car and praying that he was OK. On the drive from White Oak to Harelton (about 40 minutes) we didn't know if he was alive or not, just that he'd been hit by a car. When we arrived at the rural road that they lived on there were cars backed up for what seemed like miles. One of the men helping to direct the traffic knew my father and dad stopped to ask him if my grandfather was alive. I can still remember the man's face when he said "no" and the way my mom reached out and touched my dad when he said it.

Their house was full when we arrived; my PawPaw was a popular man in his community. My grandmother sat in his favorite chair surrounded by women and wailing into her hands. I remember being a little confused because I never got the impression that my grandmother and grandfather liked each other very much, but I was young and now I get it. I wandered into his room, which was empty, and for some reason it was then that the reality of the situation hit me. Looking in his closet, I thought, "No one is ever going to wear these clothes again," and I don't know why but that was what made it real.

My mother's parents arrived shortly after and the only thing I remember about them that night is when my Granddad, in an attempt to comfort me, told me that "the second your Pawpaw hit that windshield, he was in heaven." I knew that I was supposed to believe that, but now that it actually applied I remember feeling like it sounded too convenient somehow. I don't remember exactly what I thought but I remember it made me uncomfortable. Its possible that that was the first time I wondered if Heaven was just a way to feel better about death. But maybe there are things that we're not meant to find shelter from, things for which we can not and should not be comforted. I don't know.

Last night, I held Harper when we got home with a deep feeling of sadness because she will never get to meet him. He was a good man and I was an awful grandson. I'm sure Harper would've treated him better than I did, and he would've really loved to meet her. He would've loved to meet Leah too, for that matter, and I like to think he'd of gotten a kick out of seeing what Seth and I grew up to be.

I don't think the car hit the man all that hard last night, by the looks of things. I hope he's OK and at home enjoying his chocolate covered cherries by now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.

I feel like we had a pretty eventful weekend but I can't remember anything about Friday or Saturday now that I sit down to write about it. I remember that on Saturday, after Harper went to bed, Leah and I watched Up and in the first 10 minutes of the movie I was crying. Not just teary eyed but flat out crying, even more than I did the first time I saw it. How did I get to this point? At one time, I was the guy that never cried at movies, but since Leah and I have been together I've cried while watching The Notebook, Jersey Girl, Up and even Homeward Bound. Yeah, the one about the pets.

At some point this weekend we were informed that our song "Its Better To Spend Money Like There's No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There's No Money," was going to be on the season premier of, like, the 3rd worst show on American television, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. So that was weird. Its cool to have your song played on national television but strange to have it associated with a show like that. The shows on the E! Network don't credit the music at any point during the show either so I'm not sure how much good it really does a band, but oh well.

In equally scary news, Harper figured out how to pull herself up this weekend, which means that there is now a lot of falling in our immediate future. We lowered her mattress in her crib so she doesn't jump out but now we're worried about her pulling herself up in her crib and then falling into the sides. She only learned to crawl a week ago! Why is she growing so fast? I guess she's got nothing else better to do.

Leah and I went back to the studio on Sunday to retrack her vocals and I think we're all going to be really glad we did. I think she was more relaxed this time and I think that will show on the recording.

I love my wife. Sometimes, I'm really overwhelmed by how extremely fortunate I am to have her as a partner. She is the best wife and mother that Harper and I could ask for. I hope that when Harper's old enough to understand these things, she doesn't take it for granted how lucky she is to be loved the way Leah loves her.

The holiday season is upon us. Leah and I have just about finished all our shopping and we'll be going to east Texas this weekend to celebrate with our family. Being that this is my first holiday as a Humanist, I guess I won't technically be celebrating Christmas. I'll be celebrating Festivus. I just need to find a pole before we get on with the Feats of Strength and the Airing of Grievances.

I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Michael Gambon is to Dumbledore as George Clooney is to Batman

I wish I spoke Spanish, though I'm not really a fan of the language. To me, the best sounding language, other than English, is British....
I have a few Kent records where they sing in Swedish and its very pleasant but learning that language would not be useful in the least here in Texas.
Honestly, my problem is not a lack of affection for other languages but a lack of desire to spend the time and energy to learn one. So it goes.

Recently, Leah came to the studio and sang on a few songs on the EP. On one song, "Hold my head above the water," she has solos. The more I listen to her sweet little voice on it, the more I love it. I did, however, hurt her feelings by telling her that we wanted her to come back in and redo some parts. Its not that the parts were bad but rather that we could record them a little differently to help them sit better in the mix. I forget that other people don't listen to music the way musicians listen to it, and while she heard it and was able to enjoy it like a normal person, my ears were scanning the material for any and every correctable flaw. So I realize that I'm hard to live/work with sometimes. When its done though, I know that that song will probably be a lot of people's favorite on the EP and it will probably be because of her performance.

Anyway, hopefully, we'll get that done this weekend. All we have left now is one song of horns, some strings and some choir. Then we get to start mixing and finding artwork.

The weekend beckons...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All I want for X-mas is gift cards.

Thanks, everyone, for the show of solidarity. I really do appreciate the encouragement.

Now let's all ask ourselves the really important question...

Why was Michael Gambon allowed to shit all over the role of Dumbledore?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Heritage not hate....

By now, most of the people who care know how hardly any of our founding fathers were evangelical Christians. Some were Deists, some where probably Atheists, most were skeptics at least. So I don't know how we got from that point to this point where non religious people can't get elected to any public office without at least paying some form of lip service to one denomination or another.

Well, color me impressed, Asheville, NC. They've elected an openly Atheist man, Cecil Bothwell to the city council. Its only the city council but its a start. Now, I don't know if this is a good choice or bad choice, since I know nothing about his politics, I just think its impressive that he was able to get elected at all.

Apparently, there are some crazies trying to bar him from service because the NC state constitution states that no one can hold public office if they "deny the being of almighty God." Obviously, their constitution is unconstitutional, but you can't explain that to crazy Confederate flag loving, former NAACP president H.K. Edgerton. So it goes.

I recently received an email from girl I knew in high school and also went to church with. She had purchased Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon, off of itunes and wanted to tell me how much she liked it. However she was curious what the terms "Deist" and "Humanist" meant, as she had seen them on my Facebook. I explained the terms and, through a few email exchanges, told her a little about my deconversion from Christianity. Being devoutly Christian herself, I suppose she found this somewhat disturbing and wrote me yesterday to explain that now she can't listen to some of the songs on the record because they show a disregard for the things she believes. She specifically referred to the song "How to Fake Like You're Nice & Caring." I've heard other people talk about how that is the most anti-Christian song on the record and it just goes to show that what you mean for a song to say and what it actually ends up saying to people can be two totally different things.

First off, the record is full of mixed philosophies mainly because there was a lot of time between the first and second record. So some songs have been around for a really long time by the time they get recorded. That's why in "Congratulations, April and Lucas" I'm sure that there "must be a god" but by the time I wrote "Congrats Seth & Kara" I thought that Old Testament Joshua was "an asshole" and by the time I wrote "My new Years Resolution..." I was sure that nobody knows anything about death and the afterlife.

"How to fake" was written out of frustration with our culture's politics and right wing political theatre but I used a lot of religious imagery so I'm sure its misleading to some people. To me, its one of the more, if not christian then certainly, moralist songs on the record.

All these mixed philosophies won't be problem on the third record though. I'm really happy with the way the writing is going. There will be parts that are so epic and anthemic that they'll seem like a Humanist praise and worship record (if that wasn't an oxymoron, that is), but I think it will also be the most personal thing I've ever written.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about losing fans, though. I know that either by circumstance or coincidence, we've aquired a lot of Christian fans over the years and I hope they remain fans. I hope they can continue to listen to Quiet Company and just accept that everyone's journey is different and that they don't have to agree with me to empathize with me. I made mewithoutYou my #1 record of the year and I certainly disagree with the philosophy of that band. But when I listen to them, I'm not sitting here going "Oh, I disagree with that and that and that." Instead, I'm sitting here going "Man, he's a great f**king lyricist!"

But who knows. That's me, I could be wrong.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In honor of John Lennon, I propose that today we all walk around loudly belittling Paul McCartney's involvement.

Last nights show wasn't the standing-room-only rock fest that we hoped but I had a good time nonetheless. If we're not careful, I'm going to get spoiled with having horns and background singers all the time. Especially because Leah's interpretive dancing is a sight to behold. But it was a Monday night, it was raining, it was finals week and there was a game on, was an intimate show. And by "intimate" I mean that there was hardly anyone there.

It was a weird way to end what has otherwise been an enormously successful year for us. We set out to make 2009 the year that the city of Austin realized that we existed and we've made some huge strides.
1. We released a record that we're very proud of and that is still getting regular radio play on several stations.
2. The record was reviewed a lot more than the last record and all the reviews have been good - great.
3. A lot of the local blogs and publications have become fond of us and often plug our shows.
4. We shot 2 videos, so far, for our record which have been well received and play in regular rotation on the local music channel and both were picked up by MTV.CA.
5. We entered into relationships with several licensing companies for TV, film, etc that will hopefully bare fruit.
6. People that we don't know started coming to our shows thus enabling us to book better shows with bigger bands ie. The Toadies, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Los Lonely Boys, etc.
7. We had a ton of fun.

So I'm calling 2009 a big success for Quiet Company and looking at 2010 with all the hope in the world. We've already got some shows booked that we're excited about and plans to release the EP in February, if everything goes according to plan.

As for today, I'm just ready to get home, kiss my wife, kiss my child, order pizza, relax, and maybe get in bed a little early.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Do you even know how to work this thing?" "I invented it, didn't I? You wouldn't ask Thomas Edison if he knew how to work a Sex-matron."

One more show tonight and hopefully, it will be over in time to get a little rest before work tomorrow. I'm very tired but this weekend has been a lot of fun. Now I'm most excited about some down time with my family and finishing the EP.

My father's always telling me not to "burn the candle at both ends." I don't think I do. Maybe there's a generational gap between what he and I think is an acceptable level of activity. I just feel like life is painfully short and I have a lot of things I need to get done before I move on. I may have said it before but one of my biggest fears is dying with a lot of unfinished business. If life was a slice of pizza from the mall, I want to be the guy that uses the last bit of crust to mop up every bit of grease that has drizzled off onto the plate and eats it. I assume that I will sleep when I'm dead...figuratively speaking. In literal terms, I plan on being asleep by (no later than) 1am.

Horns are almost done on the EP. We hope to get the strings and choir in in the next week or so. After those things are done, there's just a handful of things to track and re-track and we'll be ready to start mixing. Yay.

Come to the Parish in Austin tonight for the (actual) last Quiet Company show of the year. Here's some things nice people are saying about the show:
Austin Bloggy
Ian Morales' Music Blog
And here is the article that's in the Statesman today.
the 'Nites blog

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Top 10 Records of 2009

10. Dignan - Cheaters & Thieves
Dignan is a fantastic band that we've had the pleasure of touring with and this is an intriguingly dark record. If you like your music brooding, you'll find a lot to love about Dignan.

9. The Rocketboys - 20,000 Ghosts
Another band that we count as good friends. I think this record shows a lot of growth from their EP and I was happy to hear them spending a lot more time in major keys.

8. Richard Swift - The Atlantic Ocean
What's not to love about Richard Swift? He is the epitome of cool.

7. Jeremy Enigk - OK Bear
I'll always love Jeremy Enigk but when the Fire Theft came out I wondered if his days of grandeur were over. Then he released World Waits and it was really good and proved that Enigk could still break your heart. With OK Bear, He proves that he can still break your heart AND kick your ass.

6. Jets Under Fire - EP 1-3I'm counting all of Jets Under Fire's EPs as one album since that is the end goal and even though part 4 is still missing, I can still safely say that this is a fantastic record. The lyrics are introspective, the melodies are great and the production is as polished as it should be.

5. Death Cab For Cutie - The Open Door EP
Ben Gibbard remains one of the best songwriters writing music today. Success hasn't made his lyrics or his melodies any less perfect and that is evident on this short but fulfilling EP.

4. David Bazan - Curse Your Branches
Any of these top 4 records could've been #1. I probably connected with Curse Your Branches on an emotional level more than any other record this year.

3. Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen
Cursive's songs have always had a uniquely aggressive energy and in my opinion it only becomes more potent and focused with every record. This record, while maybe not their best, does include some of their more amazing moments.

2. The Features - Some Kind Of Salvation
The Features have been great for a long time but their first record Exhibit A only gave us a promise of their potential and not a fulfillment of it. Some Kind Of Salvation pulls out all the stops and gives you a blast of immensely original rock & roll right in the face.

1. mewithoutYou - Its All Crazy! Its All False! Its All A Dream! Its Alright.
This record is pure genius. MewithoutYou took a chance and it really paid off. A huge departure that had fans nervous but ended up instilling in us the idea that this band can do whatever they want and make it original, joyful, and perfect. As I said before, any of the top 4 could've been #1 but this one got the spot because it was the most addictive.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two posts in one day. CRAZY!

I just also wanted to share that Harper started crawling yesterday. Now there will be no stopping her. Of course this means that the parenting game just changed. Now we actually have to start baby proofing our house.

Apparently, Harper crawled her first "step" at Robin and Jeremy's house but I like to think that she waited til I got home to give us the real show.

With all this Tiger Woods business going on it really puts infidelity in the spotlight. I heard someone on the radio say (and I've had a guy say this to me before) that sometimes infidelity just happens. Yeah, I guess it just happens when you're a selfish douche bag with no integrity or respect for your family. Its bad enough when a husband cheats on his wife, its even worse when they have kids together. Why don't more men realize that being a good father means being a good husband? They're not mutually exclusive.

I don't know who god hates. Personally, I hate the Westboro Baptist Church.

I discovered the twitter account of Megan Phelps and while its comically absurd, it still fills me with rage. I'm not interested in sounding compassionate or enlightened when it comes to these people so bare with me.

Most people know about the Westboro Baptist Church and how they're awful people, I mean real human garbage. So I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I hope horrible things happen to those people.

They're a perfect example of how powerful indoctrination is and how easily evil gets passed from generation to generation. The church's 70 or so members are pretty much composed of the Phelps family and you'd almost feel sorry for the children if they weren't such evil little bastards.

I wonder if when Fred Phelps dies if people will protest his funeral like he's done to so many fallen soldiers with signs that say "Thank God Fred Phelps is dead." If I happen to be in Topeka, KS when he dies, I'm down.

People that believe in Hell have different opinions about what its like. Some say its simple non existence and others (like the Phelps') believe its an eternal burning pit of anguish (because their god is a loving god). My only complaint is that the Phelps' hell probably doesn't exist for them to go to.

This is sounding really mean. Perhaps a lighter touch is what the Phelps family needs. Let me try.
I hope Fred Phelps and every other asshole in his family get caught in gay love affairs and contract HIV. I hope their suffering is great and lasts a long time. If there is any justice in this world that is what will happen.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Strangers on this road we are on, we are not two, we are one.

I got to do an interview for the Austin American Statesman last night. It was a good conversation and I hope it makes for a good write up. It should be out soon.
We touched on all the bases, making a record, making a record without a label, the songwriting process, what influences me, why we write predominantly happy music, etc.

He prefaced a question by saying, "You came out of that north Texas music boom in places like Tyler and Denton..." and that was weird to me because I never knew that the rest of the world took notice of things in Tyler. I guess some people did see what was going on in Tyler in the late 90's/early 2000's as some kind of movement albeit a tiny one. I mentioned this in the interview but who knows if it will make print but I just remember there being a real sense that several people in that community could've really been somebody if they just got the chance. A decade later, hardly anyone from that community has "made it" so either hardly any of us got the chance or I was dead wrong in my assumption. Most likely the latter. So it goes.

Please tell your friends about Quiet Company.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You will pay the price for your lack of vision!

I'm not a fan of Catholicism. Also, bears shit in the woods.
Anyway, this video got me thinking about some of the things that I've always found disturbing about the Catholic church.

What is the deal with all the titles and the hierarchy? I'm not calling anyone "lord" or "Eminence" or "grace." I'm certainly not calling anyone "father" who isn't Merl Muse. Not on their best day, let alone after they've covered up years of child abuse. But their terrible, terrible sins aside, who do they think they are? What have they done that they feel like they deserved these titles in the first place?

And the pope! The king of Catholics! The thrilla' in vanilla! Who gives a shit? He's just another Catholic with a bigger hat and a bulletproof car, right? Maybe you have to be a Catholic to understand the subtle nuances of the selection process for pope, but to me it seems that the list of requirements goes like this:
1. Be Catholic
2. Be old
3. Be white
4. Enjoy being looked up to and revered for no apparent reason.
5. How do you feel about hats? The bigger the better you say? Perfect!

Does that sound like you? Then you, my friend, may have an exciting career in poping ahead of you. All kidding aside, if there are any Catholics that read this and could help me understand why your church is run the way it is, I'd love to hear from you.

Also, I'm a little bit obsessed with New Magnetic Wonder by The Apples In Stereo right now. There are a few songs I could live without but overall its a fantastic record that sat on my Ipod without attention for far too long.