Monday, December 30, 2013

Favorites of 2013: Books

In the year 2013, I managed to knock back over 60 books, and not all were Dr. Seuss and Goosebumps.

Here's a small list of some of my favorites of the year:

10. Tradecraft by Larry McCrary, Caleb Crider, Wade Stephens, and Rodney Calfee

An excellent primer on living missionally regardless of where you are in life.

9. A Small Corner of Hell by Anna Politkovskaya

Unrelenting, fearless, heartbreaking. 

This is something that we absolutely should be aware of. But the book pointed out something very interesting - that it's very difficult to know exactly how bad things are precisely because things are so awful. It's just too dangerous. Which makes what Politkovskaya did all the more courageous and impactful.

6. Desiring the Kingdom by James K. A. Smith

Incredible book from one of my favorite philosophers - the first of three books revisioning the way we educate and worship.

7. What Are People For? by Wendell Berry

Education without being preachy, and passionate without only emotion. Tremendous essays that don't try to talk down to the reader.

6. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

This is one, among most of this list probably, that I couldn't believe I hadn't read yet. Profoundly vivid examination of soldiers at war and every aspect of emotions that combat touches.

5. Magic Hours by Tom Bissell

Brillant essays on creators and the creation process (that might actually the tagline).

4. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Part mad-cap adventure, part history and science of running. Brilliantly fleshed out -- I'm not sure anyone could NOT start running after reading this.

3. Vintage Lopez by Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez is an author, essayist, philosopher, biologist, historian, etc. -- and it shows in all that he writes.

2. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Wonderful and poetic novel traversing the lifetime of a friendship between two couples. With a threadbare plot and very little narrative conflict, the brilliance of this work comes out in the characters and the quiet lives they lead.

1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

There's not much more to say about this work that hasn't already been said. The world that Wallace creates is unlike anything I've read, and seemingly unlike anything that's ever been written. It's difficult to believe a single person could flesh out a narrative as large, specific, and encompassing as this one.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Favorites of 2013: TV Shows

It's that time of the year again where I chime in on some of my favorite art of the year.  Starting out, here's some of my favorite TV shows of 2013.

(For the record, I hate those little blurbs after each ranking, but I felt weird not doing it.)

10. The Walking Dead

Still inching closer and closer in zombie-like fashion to the show it needs to be, The Walking Dead is gradually getting to the point where the character drama is as good as the action. It's got a ways to go, but it's getting there.

9. Girls

I might get the most flak for this one, and it's hard to explain. I just really appreciate the honesty of this show.

8. Community

Gradually getting better as season 4 played out, Community is still among my favorite television comedies.

7. Parks and Recreation

Not quite the brilliance of previous seasons -- but it's still got the charm and the laughs. I'm just worried it might have peaked a season or two ago.

6. The Americans

One of the best new shows of the year. Fascinating look at life and espionage during the Cold War.

5. Mad Men

This season of Mad Men might be one of my favorites. With Don finally starting to own up to his faults, hopefully he'll become less fragmented as well.

4. Arrested Development

It took a few episodes, but when it got back into the groove, it could do no wrong. Although the new season had some of the worst episodes in Arrested Development history it also had some of the best.

3. Hannibal

Gruesome, but gorgeous. I never thought I'd say this, but Mads Mikkelsen gives Anthony Hopkins a run for his money. Much creepier, less tongue-in-cheek. And the broader philosophical look at life and death is astounding.

2. Southland

Southland ended as it began: not with a whimper, but a bang. Right to the heart. The only way it could have ended.

1. Breaking Bad


Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// When Reality Hits Reality TV -

// Scariest Video -

// Favorite Selfie -

// Favorite Music Video -

Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Info -

// Favorite Blooper Reel -

// Favorite Parody Trailer -

// Favorite Music Video - It's like I'm back in college!

// Favorite Ad - Lego would totally have all my money right now if I didn't already use them for a tissue.

// Favorite Late-Night Clip - When has Harrison Ford been this playful??

// Favorite Sketch -

Friday, October 18, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Reminder That it's Good to Be Human -

// Favorite Late Night Clip -

// Favorite Advice -

// Another Favorite Late Night Clip -

// Favorite Interview -

// Favorite Slow-Mo

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Prank -

// Least Favorite Trailer -

// Favorite Proposal - I miss these guys!!!

// Favorite Protester -

// Craziest Song -

// Favorite Organization -

// Favorite Camp -

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Crazy People -

// Favorite Video Essay -

The Career of Paul Thomas Anderson in Five Shots from Kevin B. Lee on Vimeo.

// Favorite Prank -

// A Better Prank -

// Favorite Song -

// Favorite New Device -

// Worst Luck Ever -

// Favorite Live Performance -

// Favorite Celebrity Sighting -

// Favorite Supercut -

// Favorite Teaser -

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Man on the Street -

// Something to Think About -

// Favorite Panel Discussion -

EFCA One Hot Topic Panel: The Gospel-Centered Church’s Response to Culture from EFCA on Vimeo.

// Favorite Safety Video -

Friday, July 12, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Mashup -

// Favorite Testimonial -

// Least Favorite Pastor -

// Favorite Karaoke -

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

practice resurrection

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready-made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

"Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright ® 1973 by Wendell Berry, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Supercut - In honor of Arrested Development's return.

// Favorite Long-Lost Interview -

// Favorite Song -

// "Are Those Your Drums" -

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Liam!

"We're all born to broken people on their most honest day of living."

I know anything I say concerning Liam's birth three years ago today is going to come off as about cliche as it can get. But I have no clue how else to sum it up - on Jun 9, 2010, my thoughts were forever altered, my life completely changed, and my perspective on love and meaning completely reformed.

Sheesh -- I told you it was going to be pretty bad.

I guess, more succinctly -- happy birthday Liam! I'm extremely fortunate to be your Dad, and I'm going to make sure you always know that.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Least Favorite Commercial -

// Favorite Parody -

// Favorite Hidden Camera -

// Favorite Video That Feels Like it's From the Onion but it Really Isn't -

// Favorite Music Video -

// Favorite SNL Sketch -

// Favorite Time-Lapse (Kind Of) -

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alexander Casimir Rhodes

Alexander Casimir Rhodes was born on May 14th, at 12:53 p.m!

He weighed 7 pounds, 10.9 ounces, and was 21 inches long.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Billboard -

// Favorite Song -

// Favorite Live Performance -

// Favorite Guest Entrance -

// Favorite Inspiration -

// Favorite Overreaction -

// Favorite Short -

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Close Encounter -

// Favorite Prank -

// Favorite Stolen Idea - TIMS was going to be MY thing.

// Favorite Feature - Finding Paul Miller

Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Rap Battle -

// Favorite Song -

// Favorite Cover -

// Favorite Prank -

// Favorite Live Performance -

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Record Store Day is Tomorrow!

// Favorite Filibuster -

// Favorite Interview -

// Favorite Live Performance -

// Favorite  Late-Night Interview -

// Favorite Music Video -

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Song -

// Favorite Honest Trailer -

// Favorite Science Video -

// Favorite Explanation -

// Favorite Fake Trailer -

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

i need you so much closer

I'm always hesitant to post stuff like this, for many reasons. Among them:

  • It's probably something only Beth and I will enjoy
  • It's over two minutes of just Liam (with me saying stupid things in the background)
  • Not much happens for most of it

I don't expect everyone (or even a few of you) to care. I understand. But I'm just so happy with how much this kid loves this song.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Video Essay -

// Favorite Discovery - Mike Rowe used to be on QVC. Enough said.

// Favorite Cinema Sins - The eagle one still really bothers me too.

// Craziest Video -

Sunday, April 7, 2013

it's not desiring the fall

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn't do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life's assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom  invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire's flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It's not desiring the fall; it's terror of the flames. Yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don‘t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You'd have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Game-Changer -

// Favorite Ad -

// Favorite Slow Motion -

// Favorite Supercut -The Fourth Wall

// Favorite Song -

// Favorite Comedian - Bill Cosby

// Favorite Most Disappointing Information -

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Self-Promotion -

// Favorite Device -

// Favorite Live Performance -

// Favorite Prank -

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Five-Three Charlie" Premiere


What a weekend.

On Friday, myself, along with a few good friends, premiered a short documentary we had been working on for some time now.

Despite the stress of everything (which, I have to admit, I wasn't feeling as much as my fellow filmmakers, Jack and James Savage), which included a broken projector at the last minute,  popcorn problems (I almost had to pick up my microwave and take it to the venue and get popping), and some last minute edits, things couldn't have gone better.

It's one of the few big projects I'm genuinely proud of, and it only makes me more excited for the future.

I have to admit something - I have a pretty bad habit of second guessing everything I do, and I'm pretty self-critical about my work. My role in this project was mixing the audio, and there were many times I considered letting Jack and James know that they could hire a professional if they wanted. I was not confident in my work, and that's a character trait I've noticed for quite some time now.

With the success of this project -- especially given my immense fear of failure from the very beginning, I'm more confident in my work. I still recognize I've got a lot of improving to do, but it's good to know that I can improve.

Anyways. I'll let you know when we're showing the film again. We hope you can make it!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Live Performance - It seems I'm posting a lot of Frightened Rabbit lately. You should check out their new album, just released a few weeks ago. It might be my favorite album of the year so far.

// Favorite Reimagining -

// Favorite Ball Pit -

Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Short -

A Sublime Disruption from Gareth Nolan on Vimeo.

// Most Shocking Video -

MIDWAY : trailer : a film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.

// Favorite Product -

// Favorite Dubstep -

// Favorite Song -

// Another Favorite Product -

// Favorite Mission -

// Favorite Vlog -

// Favorite/Strangest Music Video -

Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Short -  Full text of this incredible poem can be found here.

// Favorite Song -

// Favorite Ambassador -

JACK WHITE: RECORD STORE DAY 2013 AMBASSADOR from Record Store Day on Vimeo.


// Favorite Future Technology - This keeps looking better and better with every update.

// Favorite Short -

So Where's Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity from Adrian Bautista on Vimeo.

// Favorite Music Video -

// Favorite Late Night Performance -

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Music Video -

// Favorite Father and Son -

// Favorite Product -

// Favorite Short -

// Favorite Vlog - Great questions that we all must ask ourselves.

// Favorite Octopus Skills - This is really amazing.

// Craziest Event -

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Close Call -

// Favorite Song/Music Video -

// Another Favorite Song -

// I Love Hans Rosling -

// Favorite Trailer - It's actually a short film I'm working on! I'm doing the audio mixing. Coming soon to a Youtube near you!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Favorite Songs of 2012: 5 - 1

5. Shad - "It Ain't Over"

4. Frank Ocean - "Thinking About You"

3. Grizzly Bear - "Yet Again"

2. Japandroids - "The House that Heaven Built"

1. Lambchop - "Gone Tomorrow"

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Pep Talk - 

// Favorite Rescue -

// Favorite Murmuration -

// Favorite Short -

// Favorite Autotune -

// Favorite Tearjerker -

// Favorite Live Performance -

// Favorite Interview -

// Favorite Digital Short - Speaking of Andy Samberg

// Favorite Song - this new one from Iron and Wine

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Favorite Songs of 2012: 10 - 6

10. Kishi Bashi - "Bright Whites"

9. Grimes - "Oblivion"

8. Tame Impala - "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"

7. Dr. Dog - "Lonesome"

6. Dry The River - "Lion's Den"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Favorite Songs of 2012: 15 - 11

15. Ponderosa - "Heather"

14. M.I.A. - "Bad Girls"

13. The xx - "Angels"

12. Chvrches - "The Mother We Share"

11. Lord Huron - "Time to Run"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Favorite Songs of 2012: 20 - 16

Here's the second entry of my favorite songs of the year -- enjoy!

20. John Legend - "Who Did That To You?"

19. Tallest Man On Earth - "Little Brother"

18. Andrew Bird - "Three White Horses"

17. Momcat - "The Knife"

16. Jack White - "Love Interruption"

Get ready! 15 through 11 is coming tomorrow!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Favorite Songs of 2012: 25 - 21

As I mentioned in my favorite album post last week, this past year was really more about the songs for me. As you'll see, these are all over the place.

I always make sure to mention that I don't think I have the authority to boast that these are the "best" of the year, just some favorites of mine that I happened to hear.

25. Y.N. Rich Kids - "Hot Cheetos and Takis"

24. Greg Holden - "The Lost Boy"

23. Lupe Fiasco - "Around My Way"

22. Tiny Victories - "Mr. Bones"

21. First Aid Kit - "The Lion's Roar"

Tomorrow, songs number 20 through 16!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Ad - 

// Favorite Proof -

// Favorite Explanation -

// Favorite PSA -

// Favorite Song - This one from Youth Lagoon's upcoming album.

// Favorite Honest Trailer -

// Another Favorite Song -

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Favorite Albums of 2012

I have to admit -- I didn't really listen to as many albums this year as I would have liked. This year, for me, felt like more of a year of songs. I've got a list for that, which will be posted shortly, but for now, here's 10 of my favorite albums of the year. 

10. The Tallest Man on Earth - There’s No Leaving Now

Still not convinced this belongs on the list, but I love this guy. Not nearly as great as his previous albums, but still solid.

9.. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m. A. A. d. City

This cover art says it all.

9. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

Although this album is somewhat on par with what they've done in the past, I was still really surprised by it.

8. The Walkmen - Heaven

Mature, self-assured rock. Good stuff.

7. Crystal Castles - III

Perfect example of a genre that I am not completely into, where one band singularly changes my mind.

5. Freelance Whales - Diluvia

This is no sophomore slump. This takes the good points of their first album, and expands everything.

4. Jack White - Blunderbuss

Much like the White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan, White's first solo effort is surprisingly keyboard dominated. Unexpected, but very welcome.

3. Grizzly Bear - Shields

A natural and expected album in the evolution of this fantastic band. At the height of their talents.

2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange


1. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

This kind of rock seems more and more rare each year. Maybe that's why why I was so pulled in by the album. The album couldn't be more aptly titled.

What about you? Did I leave anything out?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Mother Nature, She Can Be One Cruel B -

// Favorite Discussion - Jack White. Conan O'Brian. Yes.

// Favorite Fan Remake - Toy Story - IN REAL LIFE

// Favorite Song -

// Hooray for Science! And dubstep! -

// Favorite Behind-the-Scenes -

// Favorite Demolition - This is really cool.

// Favorite Translated Theme Song -

// Favorite (Potential) New Species of Spider -

Friday, January 11, 2013

Weekly Discoveries

// Favorite Onion News -

// Favorite Song - Thao and the Get Down Stay down are releasing a new album next month, and I can't wait.

// Favorite Truth -

// Favorite Use of a GoPro - Now I want one!

// Worst CES Keynote -

// Favorite Kid - A week or so ago, out of nowhere, Liam started saying "clown" and imitating juggling. And I have no idea where he saw this or learned about it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

15 Favorite TV Shows of 2012

You might already know this, but television is really good right now. REALLY good. Sadly, for every decent show we've got a couple Jersey Shores or Real Housewives. But quality show do exist, and there are quite a few of them. Here are some of my favorites for the year:

15. Misfits  -

Although season four of the show was probably its weakest so far, it still had a lot to say about many topics most shows are too afraid to talk about. And, since it's a show about young adults with strange powers, it does so in a fun, irreverent way.

Watch on Hulu Plus

14. Raising Hope -

Although this is far from my favorite comedy on TV, I probably laugh out loud more on this show than anything else. Completely ridiculous, but the prowess of Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt sell everything.

Watch on Netflix and Hulu Plus

13. 30 Rock -

There's not much more to say about this show -- not what it used to be, but still going out on a strong note.

Watch on Netflix and Hulu Plus

12. Dexter -

I honestly did not expect this to be on my list at all this year. Season six was painful and almost unwatchable, but something clicked this season, and the writers handled the fallout from last year's finale incredibly well. They had one of the show's best guest stars with Ray Stevenson, and brought this show back on par with it's earlier seasons.

11. Parenthood -

So much of this show impresses me -- the way they handle the rather large ensemble cast, the way they strive to make even simple things as realistic as possible. This season worried me with the inevitable cancer storyline, but has pulled it off with a great amount of respect.

Watch on Netflix and Hulu Plus

10. Southland - 

This might be television's most underrated show. Though it lacks the bite and social commentary of classic cop drams like The Wire, it still has the authenticity that really makes it stand out.

9. The Walking Dead -

Although I've enjoyed the first couple seasons of this show, it had a pretty fair amount of problems. Somehow, shockingly, season three has seemed to fixed almost all of those problems.

Watch on Netflix

8. Girls -

I have not seen a show more sure of itself and more well-defined in its first season than this one. There are characters that are unique to only this show, which says a lot.

7. Sherlock -

There's only one downside to this show: we only get three episodes every year or so.

Watch on Netflix

6. Sons of Anarchy -

Although the show's fifth season began with kind of a rocky start, everything gradually fell into place far better than I had anticipated. And by falling into place, I mean spiraling out of control.

Watch on Netflix

5. Parks and Recreation -

This show is one of few the progressively get better as it progresses. Into its fourth season it still shows no signs of tapering off.

Watch on Netflix and Hulu Plus

4. Community -

Despite being mired in low ratings and various controversy, this show still manages to be one of the cleverest and most daring comedies on television.

Watch on Hulu Plus

3. Louie -

Speaking of daring television, Louis C.K. has completely transformed and comedies on television. Although season three was not the show's best, Louis continues to break the rules while remaining solidly grounded.

Watch on Netflix

2. Mad Men -

Season five was quite possibly the show's best, with things looking bleaker in exchange for the success of Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

Watch on Netflix

1. Breaking Bad -

What did you think would be number one? I know I talk way too much about this show, but Breaking Bad is something special that doesn't happen very often on television. Not only are the aesthetics breathtaking -- beautiful cinematography, fantastic settings, score, etc. But the characters and plot are incredible -- compelling, gripping, and each turn in the plot is simultaneously obvious and completely unexpected. It's a great example of what can happen when the characters influence the plot more than the writers' desires to get to a certain place. That of course may change with the end of the show, but it's so great to see a show where the creators care a great deal about the characters they've made.

Watch on Netflix

What about you? What have I missed?